Our goal was simple: find out who makes the best four-wheel drive truck in the U.S. We asked each of the truck makers to send us its best off-road package available on a pickup truck — one pickup per manufacturer. What we heard back might surprise some. In fact, GM (meaning Chevy and GMC), decided not to send either a midsize or full-size competitor, mainly because it has brand-new trucks on the way. That means we had four pickup trucks ready to shift into low range and compete in our decathlon of dirt — 10 different events, almost half of which are biased to off-road prowess.
We tested the Ford SVT Raptor, Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, Ram Power Wagon ST and Toyota Tacoma TRD Baja in 10 challenges over a wide variety of terrain. We pushed them all to their limits, yet also graded them on their tough "truckness" as well.Overview
We tested the trucks' acceleration and braking, looked at their hauling capabilities. (Even a rugged off-roader needs to be able to haul a good load.) We also believe a value-conscious truck maker should be rewarded, as should good real-world gas mileage.
Even the most modified or customized pickup truck still must be able to do more than just one or two things, so we included challenges that reinforce priorities such as value and hauling ability. In addition, we included a score for on-road feel.
With the emphesis of this test biased to four-wheel-drive capability, We tortured these trucks in deep sand, up steep hill climbs and through a brutal rock garden. We looked at all the trucks' specialty 4x4 parts, pieces and technology and awarded each a score as well.
Four rough gladiators entered the field of battle, and only one rose above the others to win the Ultimate 4x4 Shootout. You'll be surprised how evenly split the final scores were, with the winner doing well in some categories and not so well in others.Results