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2001 Four Wheeler of the Year

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on February 1, 2001 Comment (0)
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2001 Four Wheeler of the Year
Contributors: Jon Thompson
Photographers: Michael Rudd
59450 large+2001 SUV group+4 car view
59530 large+2001 Nissan Pathfinder+driver rear side view
59531 large+2001 Mitsubishi Montero+driver front side view
59532 large+2001 Chevrolet Tracker+driver front side view
59533 large+2001 Toyota Sequoia+passenger rear side view
59534 large+2001 Nissan Pathfinder+passenger front side view
59535 large+2001 SUV group+3 car view
59536 small+2001 SUV group+2 car view0
59537 large+2001 SUV group+3 car view

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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