Base Price: $35,470
Consecutive years on the list: 4While it may not offer the comprehensive off-road equipment that the Power Wagon does, it certainly makes up for it in configurations, options, and the ability to tow competently just about anything you can hook to it. The Super Duty offers three different cab styles, two beds, three engines, manual or automatic transmissions, and single or dual rear wheels. The Super Duty also has one of the most luxurious and functional interiors of any fullsize truck, with a quiet and comfortable ride that rivals any 1-ton and even some 3/4-tons. We also have high praise for the TorqShift transmission's tow/haul mode, as well as Ford's integrated trailer-brake controller. A capable FX4 trim level that includes Rancho shocks, 33-inch tires, a rear limited-slip, and skidplates seals the deal for the Super Duty to remain on our list for the fourth year in a row, especially fitting since it is also our 2008 Pickup Truck of the Year champion.
Others Considered: None
Base Price: $31,250
Consecutive years on the list: 2It came down to the wire this year: H3 Alpha versus Wrangler Unlimited-a grudge match that pitted IFS critics against solid-axle survivors, with debates that raged well into the lunch hour, past quitting time, and on to our BlackBerrys after hours. But when the arguments concluded and the thumbs wore out, value and equipment won out, and this round went to the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon for its lower price and front locker, although our FWOTY winning H3 Alpha with its sultry V-8 was right there up until the decision time. It's hard not to go with a value-packed rig that has incredible wheeling capability along with removable doors and top, a standard "Sport Bar" and a real honest-to-God transfer-case shift lever. It also comes with a manual for the ultimate in crawl ratio, while the H3 Alpha can only be had with an automatic. It's a nearly perfect rig, with tons of aftermarket support, and it is just small enough for the trail and just big enough for the family. So for the second year in a row, the 10 Best Buys Editors' Choice award goes to the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.
Others Considered: Hummer H3 Alpha FW
Consecutive years on the list: 1While we are often smitten with the latest techno gadgetry, one area we enjoy Old School is in our four-wheel-drive systems, where we prefer to grab levers whenever possible and rely on the effectiveness of mechanical traction aids. For these reasons, the Dodge Power Wagon earns the distinction of having the best four-wheel-drive system available. Solid axles, backed with lockers front and rear with a lever-actuated transfer case, a disconnecting sway bar, and a helical rear limited-slip in the rear axle when the locker is disengaged. These are the specifications of dreams, and we are glad a vehicle can still be purchased to wheel without all the electronic nannies.
Others Considered: Land Rover Terrain Response, Jeep Wrangler RockTrac, Toyota Land Cruiser Crawl Control