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

The Ultimate 4x4

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on May 1, 2001 Comment (0)
Share this
Photographers: The Four Wheeler Staff
Click on the filmstrip icon below for behind-the-scenes video! Click on the filmstrip icon below for behind-the-scenes video!
63907 large+Hummer+passenger front side view
63908 large+Jeep TJ+driver front side view
63909 large+Toyota Tacoma TRD+passenger front side view
81509 large+4by4 group+4 car view

Let’s face it folks, stock new 4WD vehicles are becoming less and less capable off-road. There was a day when your dad’s F-150 could get you into plenty of low-range trouble with no modifications at all. Trucks like that seemed unstoppable for a stock rig. Yep, they just don’t build them like they used too.

Nowadays, magazines that used to test primarily cars (or even worse, appliances) are testing 4x4s. And of course all they do is bitch about how these things ain’t cars. Well, duh! Unfortunately, vehicle manufacturers seem to be listening to these complaints, and to consumers who want 4x4 rigs that feel and drive like cars. They’re worried about such hideous things as step-in height, and they’re equipping their vehicles with single-speed transfer cases. As a result, the off-road capability of new vehicles is near an all-time low. Well, we aren’t going to take it anymore. We decided that one way to fight back was to come up with a test that takes into account only the off-road performance of completely stock vehicles. If a rig has an interior consisting of angel-hair carpeting and a sofa (actually that might be cool), handled like a school bus with flat tires on the highway, and was powered by squirrels—hey, we could care less. How’s it work on the trail? That’s what counts and that’s what we want to know.

So how did we pick the vehicles? Simple: With lots of time testing new vehicles, we’ve gotten a pretty good handle on which ones work off-road and which ones don’t. So after a quick meeting that featured some creative shouting and yelling (you don’t think that we all agree on everything, do you?), we narrowed down our list to four: the Jeep TJ, the Land Rover Discovery Series II, the Hummer, and the Toyota Tacoma TRD. You can start writing your letters now, screaming, “What about the Kia Sportage (or whatever your favorite 4x4 is),” but whatever it is, if we haven’t already called its name, it isn’t in here. So we suggest you deal with it.

What does the winner get? Well, maybe we’ll send them a case of beer, some pretzels, and a cheesy plaque. Or maybe not. Most importantly, what they do get is major bragging rights. The winner can now drive by the other manufacturers playing Queen’s rock-and-roll anthem, “We Are the Champions,” as loudly as possible. They also get lots of respect from us for still caring about a 4x4’s off-road performance, even when it doesn’t seem to be cool anymore—well, at least to those car guys.

So here’s how it all turned out.

Comments

Connect With Us

Newsletter Sign Up

Subscribe to the Magazine

Sponsored Links