2012 Ultimate 4x4 Shootout Preview No. 3

Ultimate 4x4 Group 2 II

By now, you have a pretty good idea what's going on here. For those who may not have seen them here's a quick review.

This all started when we heard from you — our readers and fellow bloggers — after we published the controversial Duel in the Desert (Raptor vs. Ram Runner). More than a few readers noted that particular Shootout could be considered unfair because the Raptor was a factory-built supermodel and the Ram Runner was basically an aftermarket Frankenstein.

Fine, we said, so we've set out to test our way to the champion of all factory-offered four-wheel-drive packages. We asked the manufacturers to send us their best 4x4s so we could compete them in 10 head-to-head contests, culminating in our first-ever Ultimate 4x4 Shootout champion.

The four trucks we have for this contest, in alphabetical order by brand, are the Ford SVT Raptor, Nissan Frontier PRO-4X, Ram Power Wagon ST (highlighted below) and Toyota Tacoma TRD Baja. We should note, with a new truck on the horizon, GM declined to participate in our Shootout.

You've seen the first (SVT Raptor) and second (Frontier PRO-4X) videos from our Ultimate 4x4 Shootout, and here's the third, with our fourth and final truck video coming tomorrow.



I was just poking around on Ram's website and saw that they have a Laramie Power Wagon. Who'd have known? It seems funny putting luxury trim items on a power wagon. Are there any stats broken out how many power wagons, or even 2500's Ram actually sells?

RAM sells a fair amount of the POWER WAGONS. Now that they have answered the call of customers to offer the base ST trim and the Laramie trim the sales have gone up. These are really a special order truck now with all of the color options and trim levels available. The new 6-SPD Heavy Duty transmission is a major plus with the revised HEMI in this platform. These trucks are BEASTS! Not a go fast dune runner, but a WORKING MACHINE that will go just about anywhere and can haul/tow what 90% need to get from point A to B.


There was a website I came across a few days ago that had production #'s through 2008 and it was a hair over 5000. A good guess is maybe 10000 produced total in the 8 years? Awesome truck though, I bet more truck people would make use of this rather then a Raptor as a everyday get you where you need to go and do/haul/tow what you need to truck. Most guys give the truck a few inches of lift, some more aggressive all terrain rubber since a majority of the time is on the street but strong enough to tow or haul a heavier load, a winch hidden to keep the aerodynamics down incase they get stuck at their favorite hunting spot and some lockers all around to get them over and through the tuff stuff. Only thing missing is some lights and a tonneau/topper. I have heard it rides pretty rough, points towards the raptor there but I don't know anyone that jumps their trucks or goes a 100 in the desert, I bet the percentage of people who use their truck as it was designed for is a lot higher in the powerwagon.

Ford and Ram will have nothing for the new devil lurching in GM Proveing Grounds still, yet to be seen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJKU-w4pK1M&feature=related

I keep hearing how grreat these are for work in tough conditions and general off road work but I rarely see them and I've only seen 1 used for work. Police, SAR, Conservation Officers, Forest Service etc in my region of BC do not use these trucks. Police, CO service use plain jane 4x4 trucks with police prep packages. Forest Service use lowest bid lease. I saw a FS Initial Attack Fire crew a while back and they had 3 F350's and 1 Dodge 3500 Diesel crewcabs with custom service caps. They all had winch/bumpers on them. Search and Rescue don't have them either.
A "loaded" PowerWagon goes for close to $60,000 off the dealer lot so that probably has alot to do with it. Since I bought my truck 3 years ago and took a look at a PW, I've only seen 3 on the dealer lot. They even admit no-one wants them.

It's the BIG DAWG!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLDJcK6Fn84 GM DARK BEAST WILL BE MEN AS HELL


correction "since I bought my truck 2 years ago".

For those of you people Keeping score the Power Wagon is the most expensive vehicle its base price is 2k more than a base raptor and loaded price is the sam as a loaded Raptor crew cab with $2k worth of stickers and $750 worth of blue thread To look more appealing RAM sent a base model i wish PUTC asked for either all luxuary features or none b/c the PW and Raptor are competativly priced, when comparably equiped. my 2010 Raptor with luxary pkg stickered for 42k.

I have seen PW as work vehicles owned buy US forest service Maracopa County Sheriffs Office and BLM (with BLM being the only current one ive seen) I wish Ford would follow rams lead and offer customers the same options on their raptors as they offer boarder patorl and several sheriffs departments .

@Carilloskis - I'd like to see Raptor's with a XLT trim as the base level. Ford is just boosting return on investment by selling the truck with higher level trims.
Canadian price:
Raptors = 53,999 - 73,359 (no discounts)
PW = 47,040 - 61,155 (- 5,000 factory discount)
You can't get a Laramie PW in Canada.
I'd have to say that as you have pointed out, if one stays more with a base Raptor the price is within reach of each other.

I just configured a loaded powerwagon with truecar pricing and it came in right around $45,500. That seems pretty decent to me for a well equipped 3/4 ton pickup, with the extras that are added into the powerwagon. Next step is to load up a raptor with truecar and see what that comes out to.

@Lou- we see plent of them in SE MI.
@phillyguy- just so you know- you can do tha right here on PUTC.
The Raptor really does only cost a few grand more than an FX4 F150. That makes it a good value, as long as it meets your needs. The PW seems to have fewer special parts on it that raise the cost- Lockers, swaybar disconnect, winch/mount, tires. The rest are just slightly different parts from whats on regular 2500.
I'm with carilloskis, but I think Ford needs all that content to cover the price of the hardware.

@ MRknowitall

Thanks, I didn't realize you could do that from PUTc, thanks for the tip. On a very rough and quick comparison through truecar pricing, it looks like a tricked out raptor would run about $5K more than a tricked out ram runner. I did not sit and try to scientifically match each option though, and it is possible that a lot more comes standard with the raptor than ram runner. As usual though it looks like Ram has more incentives than Ford. Makes sense though since Ford is way out in the lead of the truck world and ram is doing its best to try and close the gap.


I am from the Fraser Valley...I see a few Power Wagons on the roads here only have seen 1 Raptor when they first came out..Also,the Police trucks are GM trucks...no Fords or Mopar I have seen in the Fraser Valley/Lowermainland,just GM trucks and Yukon/Tahoe's.

The only Power Wagons in B.C I have seen are loaded up,looks like a upscale SLT ,carpet,chrome 2 tone paint ..those go for mid $50,000 range..didnt see a $61,000 one,must be the Laramie then..I didnt see a ST Power Wagon with rubber floors,probably have to order a ST in Canada.....

There is more to a Power Wagon then you think..Its a different truck then the Raptor,the Power Wagon is better for B.C as its a real bush truck,the Furd Raptor is not a bush truck ,heck the Raptor doesnt have a winch lol !! And is wider then the RAM its just useless here in B.C Ford failed us British Columbian's !

As for your anecdotal evidence that the dealer says no one wants one..well sales people dont even know the product they sell...A salemen at a Ford dealer years ago said they would put a automaic in a GT Mustang.yes IN the standard tranny car we test drove.....we laughed,the clown went in to talk to the boss,he came out with a odd look on his face and said they cant do that (We were laughing at him and then went to buy a Challenger SRT so I have little faith in what any salesperson told you )

Furthermore,you cant say you dont see them used in forestry,Police,Fire just because they dont use them here,they do use them in other places around Canada/U.S.A..They sure dont use a ugly Raptor !!

Finishing order will be as follows

4) Raptor (LAST PLACE)
3) Frontier Pro X
2) Tacoma Baja

Here is a quote from 4 wheel magazine. the Power Wagon can simply go places, and do things, that no other fullsize truck on the planet can. Locking differentials, a disconnecting front swaybar, and a 12,000-pound winch---delivered straight from the factory---will do that for you. All in all, the Power Wagon is a very worthy winner of our Pickup Truck of the Year competition.”

We have a fair going on by the John Deere foundry plants right now until the end of Sunday. I walked down there over the lunch hour today to see what was going on. Dodge had a massive display of brand new Ram's in all trims by the rancher's cattle tent. Pure luxury to pure work. They had a Power Wagon out there and I got to have a good look at it and man is that thing impressive. All I could think the whole time is how sad it was for this town that Chevy was nowhere in sight. Had all of those trucks been Chevrolets of equal status, looks, quality, capability and trims, this would have been the best Thursday lunch hour I've ever had. Most of Deere Country has switched from Chevrolet trucks and cars to Ford trucks and cars since the late 90's. I can tell you this though, Ford might have a fight on their hands with Dodge now. C'mon Chevy, pull your head out of your ass.

Here is a quote from Four Wheeler, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious four-wheel drive publication...

Four Wheeler Magazine's Pickup Truck of the Year is the 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor

“The SVT Raptor is every four-wheel-drive enthusiast’s dream of what a factory pickup truck should be,” said Four Wheeler Editor Douglas McColloch. “Straight off the showroom floor, the Raptor comes already equipped with all manner of premium performance parts that are designed for extreme off-pavement forays—be it rock crawling, mud bogging or desert racing. The Raptor undertakes these tasks without compromising the F-150 platform’s class-leading ride and handling characteristic on pavement. It inspires confidence in the dirt and delivers serenity on the street. All told, the Raptor 6.2 is a joy to drive, and a very deserving winner of our Pickup Truck of the Year competition."

Four Wheeler will publish the full results of the its PUTOTY competition in the March 2011 issue of Four Wheeler, on sale January21, 2011.


source:4wheeler via pickuptrucks.com

And that award was before Ford put the extra rock crawling equipment on for 2012.

Ford Unveils Changes for 2012 F-150 SVT Raptor

By Mark Williams

Ford is making a few changes to make the new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor an even more capable high-speed performance truck. Among the most significant pieces of engineering in the new Raptor is that a locking differential will be available for the independent front suspension.

Last year’s Raptor had an open front differential and locking rear. For 2012, Raptors will continue to be offered with the electrically actuated rear locking differential, but now a traction-tuned front Torsen differential will be offered, too. A Torsen differential is a set of cams (as opposed to plates) that will ramp up on one another, causing full differential lockup when the truck senses a certain amount of slip between the right and left tires. The system increases grip significantly for the front end of the truck and allows the vehicle to pull itself over obstacles and up steep grades even when the traction is split between the front tires.

Read more: http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/09/ford-unveils-changes-for-2012-f-150-svt-raptor.html

lou states You can't get a Laramie PW in Canada.

sorry but that is not correct.... derrick dodge in edmonton,alberta has them and yes that is canada. $60 and change,both are black

A Canadian member of the Rambo Motard Goat Herder's Association.
Looks like you are towing the party line.
90% of the BC's revenue comes from the 90% of the province you do not live in.
I'm not sure what you or your friends do for a living but I know municipal and wildfire firefighters, police officers, CO's, loggers, foresters etc as well as avid hunters and fisherman, you name it and not one owns a PowerWagon. To be honest, none of them own a Raptor either.
I've seen the rare Expedition as a PC, most are Chevy Suburbans or Tahoe's. I see mostly F250/350's and some Chevy trucks as well. I've never seen a Dodge truck as a PC. Most of the ambulances are Ford with a few Chevy's sprinkled in. BCAS used to be exclusively Dodge Tradesmen. Currently, all of the CO trucks are Chevy. For a while they were Dodge, and a while Ford. Same can be said for most companies. Hydro, BCFS, Canfor and all of the big crown or public companies buy lowest bid fleet. I do know guys working at the "tar sands" and non of them drive Power Wagons on the job.

Please note, I did write on my post " In my region of BC".
I wasn't talking about the USA, or the rest of Canada. Unlike your Tribe of GoatHerders, I not arrogant enough to believe that I speak for every truck owner or owner of the brands that currently sit in my driveway.

You hate Fords - fine.
Why don't you be honest and come out and say it.
Did you have one catch on fire too without insurance coverage?
What is your excuse?
I don't really hate any brand but since the Rambo Motard Goat Herder's association has taken over PUTC, I'm loosing all of my fondness for any vehicle with a goats head on it.
Since Bob has for the most part gone away - I'm starting to like Chevy again.

Losing fondness? Starting to like Chevy AGAIN? Can't you think for yourself?


@R3NxSTONEx - I saw 2 at the Dealer lot in my town listed for around 61,000. I do not recall seeing a Laramie badge on them. The Ram web site and the dealer website did not call it a Laramie trim either. I'll have to double check just in case I misread something.
I thought that the Laramie package had a leather interior.
Thanks for the clarification.
I stand corrected!


From Mike Levine.

PickupTrucks.com takes the new 2010 Ram Power Wagon to Johnson Valley in Southern California for a rock crawling and wheeling adventure in this very capable off-road rig.

2010 Ram Power Wagon Off-Road Review



Lou, Raptor is a toy, and costs 55k not 45.

power wagon is the better truck and the better deal!

The 2012 Ram Power Wagon ST starts at $42,620, including a $995 destination charge.

The 2012 Ram Power Wagon Laramie starts at $51,995, including shipping.

The 2012 Ram Power Wagon SLT starts at $46,560, including shipping.

That's the difference between Ford guy's and MOPAR guy's. We don't drive the most popular truck so everyone will accept us. We like to be different. I can and did get a better truck for less then a Ford.

P.S. Lou, Who cares what you like. Keep driving those Ford's.
Buy a new Chevy. Who gives a $#!^ You think I am on this site to get you to buy a Ram. You are silly. I love to stick out in a Crowed. My next truck is going to be the one and only of it's kind for 66 years. The DODGE Power Wagon. I don't care what you think PUTC thinks, tyler thinks none of you. Because it's not your money it's mine.

Leader of the Rambo Motard Goat Herder's Association - I don't care what you buy, as you said - it's your money.
It is all of the blind fanboi waste of bandwidth, low intellect, cut and paste crap that gets posted on here that I do not like. I do not want to be associated with a mind numb pneumocephalic group like that.

There was a conversation about advertising and how it implants messages and feelings in one's brain.
What do you thing your mindless drivel does to the rest of us?
Your oppressive love of Ram makes the rest of us dislike Ram.

You love to stick out in a "crowed"?
Is that a murder of crow's?
You mean crowd?
I agree that you and the goatherder's club do stand out from the crowd.
Those who ride the short bus always do!

Yeah he sticks out in the crowed. Just got done watching married with children and Al Bundy said he was a life long dodge fan. Now we know where all these spam TROLLS come from. They are all the same guy named AL Bundy. From now on shemi v8 will be called Al Bundy. He talks too himself and wishes his trucks could satisfy him as his wife does not. Finally we know the truth. NO GUTS NO GLORY SPAM!!!!!!

@HEMI V8 - You'll stop at nothing... When you're not skewing the facts you leaving out pertinent info. Pickup Truck of the Year? Absolutely. The SVT Raptor was left out of the comp due to 4 wheel magazine's contentious rules.

Guess which truck was 2011's Pickup Truck of the Year? Yeah, that's right, the SVT Raptor. Shocking? No not really, the Power Wagon wasn't there that time. When have they ever gone head 2 head?

Here's what 4 wheeler mag said:

"The Raptor is so cool it hurts. Plus, it's fun to drive. But it hasn't forgotten how to work, and that's a key ingredient. As a bonus, the base MSRP is only a smidge over $40,000, so the price of admission for this incredible thrill ride isn't out of line. Yep, I desperately need a Raptor"

"Terrain that most vehicles have difficulty with at 35 mph, the Raptor easily trounces at highway speeds. Kudos to Ford for building such a stellar dirt machine with street manners to boot.

The Power Wagon's winch and auto sway bar release are extremely handy if you get stuck or hate getting out of the truck with a 15mm ratchet. When it comes to rock crawling, it's the clear winner, but if oxy was here, he'd remind you how that much mass, wheel base and turning radius work against you on the trail and especially rock crawling.

It should be a close points battle if there's equal amounts of rock crawling and high speed desert running.

Loaded up Raptors are all dealers are stocking and getting full MSRP. Why do think that is? Why do you think Power Wagons have cash incentives on the hood.? Think long and hard...

I think that Ram is the benchmark and direction all of the automakers will head towards.

Posted by: Lou | Apr 13, 2012 3:14:19 PM

How about this quote - anyone who is a Ram fan that doesn't use their real name is a motard idiot!

Ram is not the benchmark. Stop reading Fiat-Ram press releases.

So far I'm for the Frontier simply because it costs $22K less than the Raptor and more than $10K less than the Power Wagon.

The Raptor, simply put, is a purpose built off-road racer for those who simply want to go fast with no speed limits. The terrain itself sets the speed limit for you. However, because of all the things that let it go fast, it's little more than an SUV with an open bed--not really a truck at all. Remember, this is only an opinion.

The Power Wagon is more of a work truck and that shows by the fact that it's less tricked out with go-fast gimmicks and at least appears better equipped to handle slow-going rough terrain. After all, not everybody lives next to a desert. Still, I believe the Power Wagon is grossly overpowered for the purpose. I know a lot of people think that more power will get you out of any situation, but honestly more power will put you into that situation in the first place--to where you need help to get out.

Smart driving is much more important than simply driving fast. A good 4x4 needs a legitimate ability to perform marginal rock-crawling; the range to cover long trails on internal fuel and the agility to maneuver between obstacles you can't go over. These features are best served by a comparatively short frame, relatively light weight and somewhat smaller engine so you don't put too much torque down to the ground.

Yes, professional rock crawlers love to use huge engines, as do professional desert racers. The rock crawlers need the power because they're riding on tractor tires--much larger in diameter than typical street tires and as such need more torque just to get enough power to the ground. Racers--well, they're racers. Speed is king.

I don't see why the moderator of this site hasn't cut Hemi off. Can you please remove him and his IP Address. Penalise him for one month. He contributes nothing but crap.

@hemi - What are you like in real life????

I do agree with DWFields on a couple of relavant issues. My most significant one is payload in off road conditions. I do know it is recommended to halve your payload when off roading. Also fuel economy, which is significant unless you guys off road around 4x4 parks in major cities.

How much camping gear can be carried to take your families out. If you only have a little over 480kg payload "on road" then they will not endure a camping trip of more than a couple of days. I hope these aren't your best off roads as it apears they are limited for duration. So at most 250-300kg payload isn't sufficient to be considered a serious off roader.

Remember, load you family's into one of these and you are just about overloaded. Maybe the test should include 300lbs of family ballast in the cabin.

It's not about the biggest and fastest and off road racing. It's about off roading.

I do hope this is about genuine everyday off roading. Most who buy these pickups probably don't off road.

I don't know if its good or bad but we don't have these style of utes in Australia.

I miss Oxi. We need the Ox to counter the Ram Spammers. Toyota and Nissan are looking better and better.

Oh What a feeling

How about this quote - anyone who is a Ram fan that doesn't use their real name is a motard idiot!

Posted by: Lou | Sep 14, 2012 1:03:39 AM


@DenverMike: "Loaded up Raptors are all dealers are stocking and getting full MSRP. Why do think that is? Why do you think Power Wagons have cash incentives on the hood.? Think long and hard..."

Ok, I have thought long and hard, and guess what? The biggest reason that the Raptor is selling that way is because of marketing and , simply put, the brand. We have already seen that the Raptor is a purpose-built sport truck; not intended for work but merely for show. It is the Mustang of Ford's truck line. In fact, with the exception of cab sheet metal and certain interior appointments, there is nothing in the Raptor that is on the F-150 it supposedly comes from. The frame is different, the suspension is different and even the grill is different, offering a slightly lower and sleeker look than the "Big Rig Wannabe" grills on most other F-series models. At least the Toyota, Nissan and RAM are real trucks.

That said, I'm not saying it's the worst or the best off-road truck; only that it is too specialized and as such is almost strictly a "status" vehicle and not one a real DIYer, farmer or contractor would want.

"That's the difference between Ford guy's and MOPAR guy's. We don't drive the most popular truck so everyone will accept us. We like to be different."

So then what is with all the bragging about Ram's increasing sales and how it's going to take over the market from Ford and Chevy? Shouldn't you Mopar guys want Rams to stay in third place so all of you can be "different" from the crowd?

@DWFields - I wouldn't trade-in a half ton pickup spec'd to haul heavy loads for a Raptor and it also wouldn't make much sense to use a Raptor commercially, racking up the miles and wear & tear.

Any business or DIY'er that can afford a $55K Raptor can probably afford to keep a beater 1/2 ton around or borrow/rent one for occasional heavy lifting. At least I would think.

I've learned from this site that Dodge trucks are built out of the same stuff that made superman. They are indestructible and the HEMI any HEMI is the absolute best engine that ever was created.
Have I missed anything?

Posted by: Lou | Sep 8, 2012 12:03:28 AM

What do you thing your mindless drivel does to the rest of us?
Posted by: Lou | Sep 13, 2012 10:47:49 PM

The word is THINK. Something you should start doing before posting your false facts about Ram Trucks.

Any serious truck user is not going to waste their money on a Raptor or a Power Wagon. Nothing wrong with these trucks they are just expensive toys. Would you want to scratch up one of these doing any serious work. Maybe some of you have lots of money but these are expensive toys which like old muscle cars might be collectors items but nothing more.

The Rambo Motard Goat Herder's Association is up to its usual cut and paste, moronic, completely out of context commentary.

Please point out where I have made "false" posts aimed at Ram?

Yes, thank you for pointing out the biggest falsehood, and media supported lie off all:

"I've learned from this site that Dodge trucks are built out of the same stuff that made superman. They are indestructible and the HEMI any HEMI is the absolute best engine that ever was created.
Have I missed anything?"

Thanks for pointing that out.
I feel real bad for making false posts about Ram.
I have to admit that I lied the biggest lie ever lied with that lie.

That lie made me feel like a member of the Rambo motard goat herder's association. I even felt my IQ drop to the level of primordial protoplasm when I acted like a goat herder.

What a relief.

Rambo Motard Goat Herder's Association:
(All) Nuts
(No) Story
(All) Spam

lou states You can't get a Laramie PW in Canada.

sorry but that is not correct.... derrick dodge in edmonton,alberta has them and yes that is canada. $60 and change,both are black

Posted by: R3NxSTONEx | Sep 13, 2012 9:30:52 PM

@Lou-Here is the truth so help me Ram Spam

"I've learned from this site that Ram trucks are built out of the same stuff that they make Spaghetti O's out of. They are destructible and the HEMI any HEMI is the absolute best engine Tony ever made just add some tomato sauce. Bon Appetite!!"

Have I missed anything?

PS: Oxi builds a better truck in his basement. At least he uses genuine Toyota parts and not Fiat parts.

Stay tuned for the Chinese Ram called the Power Wang made from recycled Fiats.

why did they not use the Nissan Titan Pro 4X? would have been a better match for the 2 big V8's! well the frontier is gonna put up some good numbers anyway!

@R3NxSTONEx - I saw 2 at the Dealer lot in my town listed for around 61,000. I do not recall seeing a Laramie badge on them. The Ram web site and the dealer website did not call it a Laramie trim either. I'll have to double check just in case I misread something.
I thought that the Laramie package had a leather interior.
Thanks for the clarification.
I stand corrected!

Posted by: Lou | Sep 13, 2012 9:55:40 PM

I went back and looked at Ram Canada's web site and the local dealer's website.
It may be the Laramie package but it isn't called that in Canada. If You go to Ram.ca and click build and price, you will get the following 2500 models:
ST/SXT/SLT/Outdoorsman/Laramie/PowerWagon/Laramie Longhorn.
If you click on PowerWagon:
You can sellect "Luxury Group", "Premium cloth 40/20/40 seat" but no where does it mention Laramie as a PW option.
The dealer site does not mention Laramie as a PW option either.

Canadian products are sometimes labelled or marketed slightly different than USA products. Maybe the Canadian version does not come with a Laramie package or it may be a Laramie package but not called that. Laramie like Power Wagon is considered a trim level according to the Ram Canada web site.
Anyone know? or care to ask a Canadian dealer?

A prime example of different marketing is my F150 XLT SuperCrew. In Canada the STX trim package is an upgrade trim package for the XLT. My F150 is an XLT with STX package. In the USA STX and XLT are different packages with the STX being a lower level trim. My truck would be the USA equivalent of the XLT with Chrome package.

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