I have managed to break not one, but THREE antenna's offroading, the most recent one a more expensive and very nice Wilson. (Yes, I do have a full-gonzo style offroad, so sue me, lol...)
I'm going back to crap, lol. Mainly because I generally do NOT need any distance for what I use it for.
However I fully agree that a better antenna improves performance more than a better radio. Certain radios may resist nearby interference from other stations on adjacent channels better (selectivity), and my have better noise immunity or suppression ("ANL" -- automatic noise limiting) or special speech compressor circuits to optimize modulation. But often, for general use, such features may be not worth what they cost.
It really depends on what you want and what you're willing to spend. Cobra hands down has the reputation, and for a reason. Some (or all, don't know) of those units are built by Ranger Communications for Cobra and they make some ham gear that ain't bad either.
Uniden is a reliable "cheap" brand. Radio Shack stuff works fine, but won't get you any compliments on your mod, lol. I'm pretty pragmatic about it and I've got some decent gear for my "real" radio work, so an inexpensive CB is fine by me. But, buy what you can afford that has what you want and use the heck out of it. You'll enjoy whatever you get that way, lol.
I've been north of Philadelphia at a funeral for a guy I worked with who is MY age (50) and just suddenly died. Weird. No way I could have won the "race", lol. I also finally had to go to bed last night, so I couldn't keep up than either. Old guy -- you know how it is...or you will one day anyway!