Earlier this month, we traveled to Las Vegas to join the annual pilgrimage of car and truck enthusiasts to the SEMA Show. This massive event is organized by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA), and claims the title of the world's largest automotive trade show. In simple terms, it's a gathering of thousands of the most elaborate custom vehicles you can imagine. Just about every car and truck manufacturer has a large booth at the show, along with countless smaller booths for companies that offer parts and accessories.
This industry-only show is not open to the public, so you'll need to work in the industry or have approved media credentials to get in the door. The good news is that we fall into the latter category, so we walked throughout the show snapping photos of the coolest — and strangest — trucks, SUVs, Jeeps, and other off-road or adventure vehicles we saw. Today, we present a mega-gallery of more than 200 photos from SEMA 2018. Slow internet connections be warned, this article is image-heavy.
When it comes to off-roading, Jeep is one of the first names that comes to mind, and for good reason. Aside from the brand's decades of pedigree in combat zones and rugged environments around the world, Jeep has produced many models with great built-in off-roading capacity and incredible aftermarket support. You might say the Jeep Wrangler is like the AR-15 of the automotive world — a capable platform that can be upgraded, modified, and rebuilt in countless ways. Below, we'll share a selection we saw at SEMA 2018.
The following two new-body-style Wranglers from the American Expedition Vehicles booth were some of our favorites at the show as a result of their simple and functional design.
This survival-oriented build from 5.11 Tactical is known as the All Missions Vehicle (AMV). It features a supercharged engine, on-board solar panels with battery storage, and even a refrigerator. Check out this video for more info on the build.
There were plenty of classic Jeeps, too. Here's a small selection of those we spotted:
With a reputation for bulletproof reliability, simplicity, and easy maintenance, Toyota trucks are also hugely popular in the off-roading and adventure vehicle community. This popularity was reflected at SEMA with dozens of Toyota trucks and SUVs, both old and new.
One of our favorite trucks at the show was this Quicksand tan Tacoma found in the Injen booth.
The Toyota Hilux, a sibling to the Tacoma, is not available in the United States. However, that didn't stop a few manufacturers from bringing them to the show to display parts for the European, Middle-Eastern, Asian, and South-American markets.
In addition to these mid-size models, there were also plenty of full-size Tundras, as well as 4Runner and Land Cruiser SUVs.
We certainly appreciate late-model Toyotas, but it's always cool to see some old-school builds as well:
There was a very respectable showing of Ford trucks at SEMA 2018, with the F-150/Raptor, and Super Duty lines remaining popular as ever. The mud-splattered F-250 below was featured in the official Ford booth, and looks like it'd make a great overland or bug-out truck.
We also saw quite a few of the 2019 Ford Ranger pickups, which are finally making a long-overdue comeback to the U.S. market to compete with the Toyota Tacoma and Chevy Colorado. No matter your preference, competition breeds innovation, so it's a good time to be shopping for a new mid-size truck.
This “Ranger X” from the Ford booth had a cool setup, including a toolbox bed, spare tire carrier, and fabricated winch bumper.
For fans of the Bow Tie, there were many mid-size and full-size trucks to look at. The Colorado seemed to be the most popular Chevy truck platform at this year's show, but there was no shortage of Silverados (both gas and diesel-powered variants).
Ram trucks were slightly less plentiful than the other brands, but this relative lack of quantity was made up for by an impressive level of build quality. There were several Rams and older Dodge models we'd love to take out for a weekend on the trail.
It wouldn't be SEMA without some oddball builds, so here's a purple and yellow Challenger riding on a set of oversized mud tires.
One other brand that deserves an honorable mention is Honda. You might associate the company with economical commuter cars rather than off-roaders, but Honda surprised us with this one-of-a-kind Rugged Open Air Vehicle Concept. It's powered by a 3.5L V6 motor and features 4-wheel-drive, 33-inch tires, and a weatherproofed interior. You can read more about the Rugged Open Air Vehicle on HondaNews.com.
Side-by-sides and UTVs are always popular, so we saw quite a few of them throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center.
We'll bring our gallery to a close with some of the builds that didn't fit anywhere else, including this insane Mercedes Sprinter van designed for traversing arctic terrain.