• JP Magazine
  • Dirt Sports + Off-Road
  • 4-Wheel & Off-Road
  • Four Wheeler

2007 10 Best Buys In Four-Wheel Drive

Posted in Project Vehicles on September 1, 2007 Comment (0)
Share this
2007 10 Best Buys In Four-Wheel Drive
Photographers: The Four Wheeler Staff

Welcome to our annual 10 Best Buys in Four-Wheel Drive list, where we rate the best-equipped factory 4x4s available in the US. We take such things into consideration as price, equipment, and out-of-the-box off-highway capability, and compare each vehicle against its class, determining how they stack up against each other when value, equipment, versatility, and overall attributes are considered.

Unlike our Four Wheeler of the Year competition, which only includes those vehicles that are all-new or significantly revised, the eligibility for this list includes every 2007 model-year four-wheel-drive vehicle. We have selected the vehicles in each class that we feel will get you on the trail quicker and best lend themselves to aftermarket upgrades and daily usability.

129 0709 02 z+2007 jeep wrangler rubicon+rear view

Base price: $28,300
Year on the list: 3rd
The Jeep Wrangler is our perennial favorite in this category, and the excellent all-new-for-2007 JK carries on this tradition with a level of refinement never before seen in the Wrangler, yet it still comes out the factory doors with solid axles, 32-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain tires, front and rear lockers, monotube shocks, a configurable top system, and even adds new luxuries such as available navigation system and electronic disconnecting sway bar-which means no more pins to pull in the mud. Even the Wrangler faithful have certified this unqualified success as a real Jeep, probably because it doesn't lose any of the charm, adds capability, and hey, the windshield still folds down and the doors still come off. Our 2007 Four Wheeler of the Year is also a three-time winner on our 10 Best Buys list.
Others Considered: None

129 0709 03 z+2007 hummer h2+drivers side view

Base price: $54,850
Year on the list: 3rd
We have said it for years now-the Hummer H2 is the best fullsize SUV on the market, especially if you have a need for fullsize capability and a want to hit the trails. Sure, it is on the GMT800 chassis, most closely based on the Tahoe, but there are enough important differences that make the H2 unique. Sure, there are those out there who only see the H2 as a status symbol-something to put 24-inch chrome spinners on-but you can't fault Hummer for the buyer. We have proven that Hummer has given the H2 the goods to tackle a two-track with many long test miles, hard race miles, and plenty of everyday miles under our belts. Still need convincing? What other fullsize SUV offers a rear locker, ledge-climbing approach and departure angles, available factory rocker protection, and 35-inch BFG All-Terrains? You can also get a bumper-mounted swing-out tire carrier, and don't forget the giant military-grade recovery shackles. The H2 is no slouch in the dirt and has earned its place on our list.
Others Considered: None

129 0709 04 z+2007 nissan zterra off road+front view

Base price: $26,850
Year on the list: 3rd
Another three-time winner is the Nissan Xterra with its rugged good looks, reasonable dimensions, comfortable accommodations, affordable price and, of course, dirt trail capability. The Xterra, built on Nissan's stout F-Alpha architecture that's shared with the fullsize Titan, comes with 32-inch BFGoodrich tires, Bilstein monotube shocks, full skidplating, and a rear locker. And with relatively strong aftermarket support, it doesn't take much to create a really good trail machine. And unlike the Toyota FJ Cruiser, it has a real back seat and better sightlines. We also considered the Hummer H3, but the Xterra has 95 percent of the capability for several thousand dollars less.
Others Considered: Hummer H3, Toyota FJ Cruiser

129 0709 06 z+2007 nissan frontier nismo+front view water

Base price: $24,900
Year on the list: 3rd
sharing a version of nissan's excellent F-Alpha platform with the Xterra, the Frontier boasts the same credentials that have made it a seemingly permanent fixture on this list: BFGoodrich 32-inch tires, full skidplates, Bilstein shocks, rear locker, and a willing engine that not only work together to create a functional pickup, but one that is a heck of a lot of fun to drive, both on and off the beaten path. The Frontier also offers the Utili-track cargo storage/tie-down system and a factory sprayed-on bedliner. While the Toyota Tacoma has grown in size and feels big, the Nissan still offers the reflexes and sportiness of a smaller vehicle, making it our choice for hitting the dirt.
Others Considered: Toyota Tacoma TRD

129 0709 07 z+2007 lexus gx470+passenger side view

Base price: $46,635
Year on the list: 1st
It won Four Wheeler of the Year twice, and even at the end of its product life cycle, the Lexus GX470 is among the best wheelers you can find, especially in the Luxury segment. With a super-smooth 4.7 SOHC V-8, a solid axle out back, Torsen limited-slip center differential, air suspension, and the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, the GX470 is a competent performer in the dirt, offering a supple ride and a first-class interior. While we may be anxious to see how Lexus improves upon this current generation, the 2007 model is still so good that we are not in any hurry for change.
Others Considered: Land Rover LR3

129 0709 08 z+2007 dodge ram 1500 trx4+rear view

Base price: $30,410
Year on the list: 2nd
Dodge has impressed us with the current generation of Dodge Ram trucks, so much so that we crowned the Ram 1500 TRX4 our Four Wheeler Pickup Truck of the Year for 2006 and the Dodge Power Wagon PTOTY for 2005. The Ram has a tight and competent chassis, available Hemi power, solid aftermarket support, and a high fun-to-drive factor. Add to that the TRX4 package and you get 32-inch Goodyear tires, unique shocks, functional tow hooks, skidplates, and an excellent rear limited-slip differential. The Multi-Displacement System-equipped Hemi also achieves remarkable fuel economy and range for a fullsize truck. Lastly, the Ram is cheaper than a similarly equipped Silverado and has an almost 2-degree better approach angle. Yep, for this one, we'll take the Ram.
Others Considered: Chevrolet Silverado Z71

129 0709 10 z+2007 dodge ram power wagon+drivers side view

Base price: $38,335
Year on the list: 3rd
Another favorite makes our list this year-the Dodge Power Wagon. This truck is so good, we're pretty sure the good folks at Dodge only put this truck into production after we slipped something in to their drinks and made them pinky-swear a promise to build it. How else can you explain a factory 3/4-ton truck that has everything we have ever wished for (and more), such as solid axles, Bilstein shocks, supple suspension, 33-inch BFGoodrich tires on forged wheels, front and rear lockers, 4.56:1 gearing, electronically disconnecting front sway bar, factory Warn winch and rocker protection? Pure pickup perfection, and until you have 'wheeled one, you won't quite understand how good this truck is-so trust us when we tell you it is pickup perfection.
Others Considered: None

129 0709 11 z+2007 ford f350 fx4+front view mud

Base price: $35,880
Year on the list: 3rd
The Super Duty is king when it comes to option choices, payloads, and configurations, and with a newly tooled exterior and class-leading interior, it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that the F-350 is back on the list. Order it from a selection of gas or diesel V-8s, a gas V-10, manual or automatic transmission, three cab choices, two bed lengths, and single or dual rear wheels. Add to your order the FX4 trim level, and you get respectable wheeling equipment that includes Rancho shocks, rear limited-slip, skidplates, 33-inch all-terrain tires and all-weather floor mats. But let's face it-this truck will be used to haul your rig to the trail, and in that mission it excels.
Others Considered: Dodge Ram 3500, Chevrolet Silverado 3500

129 0709 12 z+2007 jeep wrangler unlimited rubicon+front view

Base price: $29,500
Year on the list: 1st
If most of us on staff had to choose a vehicle to do it all during the week, as in commuting to work, picking up the kids, and visiting the local big box store to complete our honey-dos, but needed the same vehicle to fulfill our need for a little unwinding in the backcountry, without hesitation we'd pick the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. We'd sell the wife on its oh-so-practical four doors, fold-flat second row seats, and convertible top-and we wouldn't even mention to her how good it is on the trail. We'd leave that as our own guilty pleasure when we can sneak off to the desert with the boys. For the money, the size, and the capability, there just isn't a vehicle that comes close to our one-vehicle-does-it-all mission, and for that the Wrangler Unlimited gets the nod from the staff.
Others Considered: Hummer H3

129 0709 13 z+2007 dodge cummins+engine

Base price: $6,100
Year on the list: 1st
We have to choose the new 6.7L Cummins I-6 as the best diesel engine available in a four-wheel drive. How can you argue with 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque, clean 50-state emissions, a 350,000-mile overhaul interval, and a factory-installed exhaust brake? By the way, you get all that and it is the lowest-priced diesel option in its class. This latest incarnation of the Cummins engine makes the solid Dodge product lineup an even stronger choice, and with the number of 5.9L Cummins-powered Ram tow vehicles we've noticed infiltrating shows and events in the past couple of years, we can tell you that the engine has been the compelling reason to choose Dodge over Ford or the General and will continue to be with the awesome 6.7L.
Others Considered: 6.6L Duramax V-8, 6.4L Power Stroke V-8

Related Articles

Comments

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Sponsored Content