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2001 Four Wheeler of the Year

4 Car View
Craig Perronne
| Brand Manager, Dirt Sports & Off Road
Posted February 1, 2001
Contributors: Jon Thompson
Photographers: Michael Rudd

Picking the Best From This Year’s Crop of SUVs

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You can’t help but notice that in the last few years SUVs have become so popular that they’ve all but eclipsed vehicles such as minivans and station wagons. This surprises us not at all. Four Wheeler has always been a believer in the utility, convenience, and ruggedness of these vehicles, has been evaluating them for nearly 40 years, and has been handing out its Four Wheeler of the Year award, or its predecessor, for 27 years.

The idea behind this award isn’t at all complicated: Round up the latest crop of new SUVs (and by new we mean just that—either all new, or significantly changed) and compare them against each other during a grueling four-day test session. We don’t expect these vehicles to be miracle workers, so we don’t take them into places that stock vehicles shouldn’t be taken. But we do expect them to live up to the promises, explicit and implicit, that their manufacturers make to intended consumers. And we rate the performances of those vehicles against those promises in an elaborate judge’s book that covers a long list of categories.

When we’re done, what we’ve got is a winner, one that’s chosen strictly on the basis of its value, quality, and usefulness as an SUV. That’s not to imply that the rest are losers, however. That all these vehicles went as far as they did, and scored as well as they did, is a testament to their real-truck toughness. Some simply are better than others. And one of them is enough better to be acclaimed the 2001 Four Wheeler of the Year. To find out which one, read on.

–Jon Thompson

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