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Four Wheeler Of The Year 2018: Day 4 Hill Climb And Snow Drift Recap #FWOTY18

Posted in Features on December 7, 2017
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Contributors: Shaun Ochsner
Photographers: Ken Brubaker

Day Four of our annual new 4x4 testing, the 2018 Four Wheeler of the Year, started with a short road tip to our secret hillclimb testing venue. This steep hill with loose sand and gravel is a test of suspension articulation, gearing, and traction control, or other traction adding devices. The hill is nothing to sneeze at, with a decent grade and alternating holes from the right side of the trail to the left. The holes have been dug by differential action of past vehicles that have climbed up the hill. It’s a perfect place to test 4x4s as just about any vehicle with an open differential will lose traction and fail to climb the hill. First up were the contenders for the 2018 SUV of the Year; two Land Rover Discoveries, one with a supercharged V-6 engine, and another with a turbocharged diesel six-cylinder; and an all new Jeep Compass Trailhawk. Next on the hill, the contenders for the 2018 Pickup Truck of the Year; a Ram 1500 Harvest Edition, a Ram 3500 Mega Cab with a 6.7L Cummins turbodiesel, and Chevrolet’s new Colorado ZR2.

After the hillclimb we headed down the highway and then took a couple backroads to the area around Mammoth Lakes, California, where we are almost always certain to find snow. The trails in the mountains are interwoven with tons of beautiful pine trees and amazing vistas. Driving these snow-covered trails allowed us to further test the traction control systems and braking systems of all the new 4x4s on the trip. All of the esteemed judges got a chance to test out each of the vehicles in the slippery white stuff and get a sense for what owning these rigs for a winter might be like.

Want to know how all the vehicles on our test did in the snow and on the hillclimb? You’ll have to hold out for the final article (due soon on fourwheeler.com and in Four Wheeler magazine) to know who won, but for now enjoy this gallery of photos as well as a video from today’s testing.

PhotosView Slideshow

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