Base Price: $64,100
Consecutive years on the list: 1The all-new Toyota Land Cruiser comes with more bells and whistles than a Boeing Dreamliner and concedes little luxury to its Lexus brethren at a lower price, yet it is still as capable on the trail as ever. Based on a heavy-duty frame with a unitized body on top of it, the Toyota is a solid piece of machinery. It is dead quiet on the Interstate and features a smooth and powerful 5.7L V-8, every gizmo you'd ever want to keep you comfortable, and many more to keep you going on the trail. Take Crawl Control, for instance: You select the terrain and the vehicle handles the throttle to keep you going. It is a point-and-shoot affair that only requires the driver to pick a good line and steer. The new Cruiser also comes standard with the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and a Torsen center differential, as well as the latest active traction control and Vehicle Stability Control for the ultimate in techno-wheeling, if you are in to that sort of thing.
Others Considered: Lexus LX 570
Base Price: $23,780
Consecutive years on the list: 4The Nissan Frontier NISMO has been on our 10 Best Buys list for four straight years now-and for good reason too. First of all, the Frontier has a solid foundation in Nissan's F-Alpha architecture, shared with the fullsize Titan. The Frontier NISMO also has a potent 4.0L V-6 with standard six-speed automatic transmission. Trail equipment includes BFGood-rich Rugged Trail 32-inch tires, full skidplates, Bilstein shocks, and a rear locker. And if that wasn't enough, it is also a blast to drive-probably the most fun four-wheel-drive pickup out there, especially if you like to make tires suffer in the first two gears and chirp in the third. In the dirt, the locker makes all the difference and when you factor in such standard features as a factory spray-in bedliner and a Utili-track Channel System, it just makes the case stronger for why it is such a good pickup.
Others Considered: Toyota Tacoma TRD, Dodge Dakota TRX4
Base Price: $28,470
Consecutive years on the list: 4The Z/71 Off Road package is a steal at $625, because it includes heavy-duty shocks, off-road jounce bumpers, a 34mm front stabilizer bar, a high-capacity air cleaner, an automatic locking rear differential, and a skidplate package, but you have to ante up for the $6,805 1LT trim level before you can check off the Z/71 option box, and the all-terrain tires will cost you another $200. However, you can order almost everything in the Z/71 (if you can live with the similar Z85 suspension package, minus the off-road jounces and no Z/71 stickers on your rear fenders) a'la carte for $595, which brings the price of a regular-cab WT-trim level to $22,260 with the 4.3L V-6. Now that's a deal, especially when you factor in available small-block power and fuel economy from the optional 5.3L V-8 that gets more miles per gallon (14 city/19 hwy) than the V-6 or 4.8L V-8 (14 city/18 hwy).
Others Considered: Dodge Ram TRX4, F-150 FX4, Nissan Titan NISMO
Base Price: $39,360
Consecutive years on the list: 4Last year, we called it pure pickup perfection, and we are still on board with that descriptor. The current HD Ram body style may be close to retirement, but until the HDs are replaced for 2010, this Power Wagon is the best fullsize pickup for those who need HD capability and plan on hitting the trail. The Power Wagon's Hemi is perfectly capable of hauling a load or towing your favorite rig to the trailhead, but it is equally good at taking on the trail. A robust foundation, a hearty V-8, solid axles, Bilstein shocks, 33-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires on forged wheels, front and rear lockers, 4.56:1 gearing, an electronically disconnecting front sway bar, a factory Warn winch and rocker protection-all standard. What else could you want in a four-wheeler? A 4:1 transfer case and selectable hubs may be the only thing from our wish list that the Power Wagon doesn't offer. While it may not necessarily be suited to the Rubicon, we know from experience you can have a lot of fun in a wide-open and technical place such as Moab. We've also seen them popping up more and more as BLM and National Park Service vehicles. With unconfirmed rumors of its demise in the air, we suggest you buy this ultimate wheeler's pickup while you can.
Others Considered: None