A CVT transfer case? The horror!!!
You’re right, though. If a vehicle like that showed up at our offices, and the transfer case, when engaged, could mimic a reasonably low crawl gear—we’re thinking 30:1 or better—we’d probably include it in our test. And yes, we’ve always welcomed new technology, but not necessarily if “newer” doesn’t equal “better.”
As it turned out, we were premature in our worries about Pickup Truck of the Year. Our friends at the OE manufacturers reminded us that the 2012 Ram heavy-duty will sport the re-tuned Cummins 6.7L, now said to produce 800 lb-ft of torque; the 2012 Power Wagon will be offered with a new six-speed automatic; and Ford will sell a four-door version of the 6.2L SVT Raptor Super Crew, which rides on a longer wheelbase than the two-door version. All three qualify for our test given our current standards, and we’ll be whomping them in the dirt in a couple of months.
Of all the suggestions we received from you (and they were nearly all good), the one we’d thought of already, and which we’ll likely incorporate in future years, will be to invite the previous year’s Truck of the Year winners to defend their titles against a new batch of 4x4s. There could be some downside to this, though. For instance, if we’d done this already, we could easily imagine the Jeep Wrangler JK having won the last five Four Wheeler of the Year awards in a row. This would be great for Jeep guys, of course, but we fear it might start to bore the readers. (Kinda like what happens when the Yankees win the World Series every year—great for New Yorkers, not so much for everyone else.)
Finally: Holman in a Barbie car? Brubaker on a skateboard? Be careful what you wish for, friend . . . and thanks to all who wrote in.
Wants More Gen-X Coverage
I just got through thumbing through my September issue. Imagine my surprise to finally see some discussion regarding a Nissan product (other than the Titan), in “10 Best Buys in Four-Wheel Drive.” I quote, “We still think this robust little pickup [Frontier] is the best midsize truck on the market today.” So where are all the articles on the Nissan Xterra? Same rig, shorter wheelbase, and even more off-road-capable.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the magazine. And I can appreciate a Jeep, Ford, Dodge, Jimmy, or Toyota as well as the next guy, but how come you keep skipping over the Xterra!? I drive a second-gen X, and I’m starved for articles about this great 4x4. I read the online forums, so I know there are plenty of fans out there, but I wonder what magazines they’re reading? Please make it point to include a couple of Xterra articles in future issues. Us X-folks would appreciate it.
Klamath Falls, OR
Well, we just wrapped up our year-plus, 20,000-mile evaluation of an ’09 Xterra in last month’s issue, and you can find our other reports online at fourwheeler.com. Otherwise, we haven’t had much to say about either the Xterra or Frontier lately because the vehicles haven’t been revised for several years. We understand that new versions of both vehicles are coming down the pike for 2013, so stay tuned.
More Overlanding, Please
I was recently advised to pick up the Aug. ’11 issue. I hadn’t bought an issue in about eight years. There have been a couple other 4x4 mags that have covered my interests more: 4 Wheel Drive & Sport-Utility, Overland Journal and 4WD Toyota Owner. I have always been into four wheeling but just not the radical rockcrawlers or wannabe monster trucks. What I’m looking for is a simple vehicle built more for adventure and camping than anything else. It’s what I do.
After I got a chance to look through the August issue I was quite surprised to see featured vehicles I really liked. Then, to top it off, there was equipment featured that I would use. In my eyes, you guys hit a home run with that issue. Keep it up, and you may have a subscriber.
Bay City, MI
The response to our August issue was overwhelmingly positive—in fact, we still haven’t received any letters from folks who didn’t like it—so rest assured, we’ll be returning to this subject on a much more regular basis.
Bring Back the Ranger!
I loved your article, “So Long, Ranger” (Sept. ’11). It literally almost brought tears to my eyes. I was wondering if you could do a budget build on an older Ranger, like a first- or second-gen—something that will be good at off-roading and as a daily driver. It would be appreciated by Ford and Ranger fans nationwide, please.
A few years ago, we built a later-model (2002) Ranger that was capable of fast desert prerunning, slow-speed rockcrawling, and street-legal commuting, all in one package. We called it “Project RangeRunner,” and you can find all of the episodes online at fourwheeler.com.
Over The Top, or Back to Basics?
I would love to see Four Wheeler build a Dodge Ram Runner as your next project vehicle. Not only could you build it as intended and do the obligatory comparison test against the Raptor, but then maybe you all could take it a step further and build something wild? Like a Baja-ready race vehicle? Or how about installing a 6.4L Hemi? A manual transmission? Regardless of what you all do to it, I think it would be an interesting project. I miss the over-the-top, big-budget builds, but I still enjoy the magazine nonetheless.
Las Cruces, NM
A buddy of mine recently gave me a box of old back issues from the ’80s. He found them while cleaning out his attic. The issues were from around 1982 up until around 1989. I took them home and spent a couple of weeks reading through them. One of the things that really stood out to me is that back then, almost all of your articles were about trucks and SUVs that the average man could actually have in his own driveway. There were very few $100,000 project rigs in the mags—just a bunch of daily-driven rigs that anyone with a job could own themselves, and that made reading the articles really interesting. I think with the new direction your magazine is taking recently, we’re starting to see a little more of that coming back and I really like it. Please keep doing more articles on stuff that we middle-class folks could actually own. Nobody gives a flip about what the guy with millions had built to display at car shows. I want to see more about the rigs that the common man actually owns and wheels—just like you did in the ’80s.
Where To Write
Address your correspondence to: Four Wheeler, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245. All letters become the property of Four Wheeler, and we reserve the right to edit them for length, accuracy, and clarity. The editorial department can also be reached through the website at www.fourwheeler.com. Due to the volume of mail, electronic and otherwise, we cannot respond to every reader, but we do read everything.