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May 2012 Inbox Letters To The Editor

February 2012 Four Wheeler
John Cappa | Writer
Posted May 1, 2012

Bumper Repair, Full Size Trucks, FWOTY, and More!

Best Issue Ever?
I just wanted to say that the Feb. ’12 issue of Four Wheeler is probably the best issue I’ve ever held in my hands. In the past several years I have subscribed to multiple 4x4 publications and in all that time I’ve never spent as much time with a monthly issue as I have this one. It’s simply awesome. There are great articles that are actually useful to the average guy, great old-school photos that show where we have come from, great info on previous trends in the 4x4 world, just everything is awesome. I like the new format and I love the concentration on projects that the average guy in this economy can really afford to build. Keep up the good work. I could spend hours with my nose in this issue.
Shawn Crowe
Lawrenceburg, KY

Worst Issue Ever?
“Filter Fodder” in the Feb. ’12 issue was absolutely useless. The cover blurb read “Are You Killing Your Engine With a Crappy Filter?” Then the entire article is an absolute dud to support anything regarding the blurb.

Taking filters apart and identifying all of their parts may seem stimulating to all of you, but without any evaluation of how construction specifics affect operation and filtering efficiency, it’s an academic parts-identification process that is worthless. Your magazine evaluates and judges many other products (tires, shocks, brakes, and so on)—why should this be the exception?

I read this article, and wondered why I continue to get your magazine. The issues are getting thinner and thinner with less informative topics. If this latest article on oil filters is an example of your prime reporting, I’m outta here.
Pete Sajdak
Via email

“Of the Year” Complaint
As I was reading the Feb. ’12 issue, I came to “2012 Four Wheeler of the Year” and I was so disappointed. Comparing two off-road SUV’s to a luxury SUV? That’s like comparing a Duramax and a Power Stroke to a Nissan Frontier. All three are trucks and can “do” some similar stuff, but they are in completely different classes. I didn’t need to turn to the last page to see who won because I knew the Infiniti didn’t have a chance. There should have been a few more ratings, like what vehicle would be most suited to take a family of five on long road trip? Or what vehicle would be best to tow a 6,000-pound travel trailer? Maybe the Infiniti would have a chance then. Here’s a thought: Redo this biased comparison and compare one of the Jeeps to a Toyota FJ and a Nissan Xterra. To me, that’s more comparable than what you have here.
Daniel Calvey
Rock Springs, WY

Double Dubs vs. Jeep
You have to be kidding, a 22-inch-wheeled luxury techno turd versus two tired old Jeeps. You should compare the QX56 to the Toyota Land Cruiser! A new V-6 motor and tranny out of another Jeep are not some kind of ground-breaking feat. Big deal. It was about time Jeep did something with this gutless motor and tranny combo. The QX56 is only good for some gang-banging, dark out-windowed thug. Two tired re-hashed Jeeps and now one is Four Wheeler of the Year? Are all you editors on the medical pot program out there? How much does Jeep pay you?
Don Rhodes
Via email

More OTY Hate
I eagerly flipped to page 34 to see who won the Four Wheeler of the Year competition (Feb. ’12). I knew that things were not going to be pretty when I saw that you pitted two Rubicons against a $76,000 Japanese luxury grocery getter. What a cliffhanger!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Infiniti didn’t win. Is this really the best that you can do? If there was ever a case for you to abandon your arbitrary and ridiculous criteria for consideration in this contest, it has to be the absurd field of vehicles for 2012.

You know, one of the reasons why I read this and other magazines, is to get some supposedly expert opinions on the different new 4WD vehicles on the market. When I plunk down my money, I don’t care if the vehicle is a carryover from last year or not. I want to know how it performs off-road and how it stacks up against the competition—all the competition! Before you take a shot at my comments, please seriously consider making this contest mean something.
Dave Kupfer
Los Angeles, CA

Ultimately, not every SUV is eligible to compete. As the story mentions in the second paragraph, each competing vehicle needs to have had some significant mechanical change made for that model year to be considered. In this case a five-speed automatic transmission and an additional 83hp from the new Pentastar V-6 make the Jeeps eligible. We decided to test the two- and the four-door Jeeps separately, since they cater to two different buyers. It also gave us a chance to experience and compare the five-speed auto to the six-speed manual behind the new V-6 engine.

Sure, the Infiniti shined in other areas and those can be seen in the graph on page 42. Using that graph you can select what capability is most important to you and make your own vehicle selection. You can also compare towing capacity and other specs on page 44.

But most importantly, few people seem to know that thanks to our judging and points system you can rate many of the past competing vehicles with the current competing vehicles. For example, want to know if last year’s winner (Grand Cherokee) would beat out this year’s winner (Wrangler Rubicon)? You can! Compare the scores! That’s why we don’t see a need to test every 4x4 every year. We’ve essentially already done it. You just have to have the back issue with the vehicle in question or you can find the OTY stories at

So how would the ’12 Infiniti matchup against last year’s competitors, the ’11 Grand Cherokee, ’11 Land Rover LR4, and the ’11 Lexus GX 460? Interestingly enough, our 2011 winner, the Grand Cherokee, still would have stepped into the winner’s circle and the Infiniti would only have mustered a Third Place finish. However, the ’12 Wrangler Rubicon would have still walked away with the win by a long ways had you put all six vehicles from 2011 and 2012 in the mix. Four Wheeler is and always has been an off-road specific magazine, so that’s what our evaluation focuses on—off-road capability. If you want a watered down road test of these 4x4s, try a car magazine that knows nothing about off-road capability.

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