The importance of this variable in the BOV selection process should go without saying for obvious reasons. You ultimately have no idea what you may or may not encounter in an actual bug out scenario. It could be wall to wall traffic and you need a way to get off the traffic-blocked road and get away from what could become numerous potential threats as time passes and the people who are stuck in traffic all around you become less and less “civil” because they are running out of food and water. It could be downed trees or power lines. It could be road blocks. Whatever threat you might encounter, you want to be able to confidently choose another path quickly… and often that new path is going to be considerably rougher than the one you originally planned on.
So you want a vehicle that can meet the demands of said new path. You want to choose a vehicle that is rugged and sturdy and can take some bumps without a hitch. You want a vehicle that can manage some mud and water without getting stuck.
You may also want to consider a vehicle that can take some bumps from other vehicles and keep on trucking as well! God forbid someone actually tries to incapacitate you and your vehicle in an attempt to take YOUR gear and supplies, but it could happen. This is another front where older vehicles have an advantage over newer cars. Their bodies are MUCH more solid and sturdy and can take more abuse than newer, lighter and more fuel efficient vehicles.
Have you ever seen an accident with a newer car and an older car and the newer car is demolished and the older car barely has a scratch? Yup. That’s exactly what I am describing.