The Ultimate 4x4 Shootout Is Live!

Group on Hill II

Our mission was simple: find out who makes the best four-wheel-drive off-road package in the industry. Our only requirement was that it needed to be offered from the factory, through the dealership. To get that done, we contacted each manufacturer and asked them to send us their best 4x4 pickup truck.

Watch the video below to get a taste of what we put these trucks through--we highlight each truck, giving you a brief overview of how well it did. If you want all the bloody details, you'll have to read the full test by clicking here.



You can't do any work with three of the trucks in this contest, and the one that won is the most expensive but lacks passenger room. Simply a contest of toys. Toys that are selling though.


Everyone here knows the real winner.....


Just about what I expected even though I am a Mopar fan. Old school 4x4's had to have stiff suspension, which I could never figured out why, new school is suspension with easy travel

Easy/soft travel allows the suspension/truck to flex and make better contact with the ground.

Guts? Glory? From FIAT?

My only regret is that Obama Motors was too gutless to show up. Henry Ford could have given them the same spanking those pretend-my-engine-is-a-hemi fanboys.

Thanks Mark...Nice work!

Ford wins again and has the most diverse line of trucks. Starting to get boring being #1 at almost everything truck related.

Oh well, maybe this kind of shootout will push Ram into building the Ram Runner as a production vehicle so the Ford crowd won't be so cocky. Why not? Then people that just want to play would have a choice. The Raptor sells, and Ram can slip in the 6.4 Hemi as an option, and throw in the 8 speed, then it will out power it as well.


As I posted in the scoring section. The #1 truck brand Ford comes in at #1 and for good reason. The #2 truck brand Dodge comes in at #2 and for good reason. These results don't surprise me one bit. Too bad Chevy was a no show as usual anymore. That's what you get when you're affiliated with Government Motors Corp. though.


Were you watching the same video as everyone else????? The Ram placed 3rd with the Tacoma coming in 2nd and only 31 points behind the Raptor.

Kudo's to Ford, the Raptor is nice and even though I'm not a big Tacoma fan I gotta give credit where credit is due. Good job Toyota.

Ford- Number One as always.

Ford wins again and has the most diverse line of trucks. Starting to get boring being #1 at almost everything truck related.

@MikeFX4, ain't that the truth. I'll give a shout out to Dodge for trying. Screw Toyota and Nissan though.

ford is building a new ecoboost 1.0l 3 banger with 123hp and 170lbstq it not on the market yet but in next year it will be.

just take 3.5 X 123hp = 430hp and take 3.5 X 170lbstq= 595lbstq

what if ford made a ecoboost 3.5l v6 with 430hp 600lbstq
that would be a nice engine for the raptor it would make it lighter in the front end also
1-2 inch more lift
2 inch more suspension travel
37 inch and 335 tires
that would be killer

I am a Ford man, but as I said before, The Power Wagon is the truck I would get.

The reason the Power Wagon did not place higher is because this was not much of an offroad test. The only part that seemed like it would have been much of a challenge at all was that sandy hill climb. They did not go anywhere challenging enough to realize the benefit of the front locker or the winch.

How about taking the trucks down a REAL 4x4 trail. You know, the kind of trails guys with Jeeps head to on the weekends. At least hit some mud that is deep enough and slick enough to get one of the trucks stuck. There are lots of great trails in California, and I am stunned how lame this test was considering you had some staffers from Fourwheeler on hand. I had a feeling this was going to be a disappointment after watching the previews.

The only truck in this test that is actually comparable to the Power Wagon is the Raptor. The Raptor has the advantage of 35" tires versus the Power Wagon's 33" tires, a little more power, and the Raptor has some better shocks (Although the Bilsteins on the Power Wagon are nice shocks too), but the Power Wagon has a front locker (superior to any limited slip), a winch, and disconnecting sway bars. Not to mention the Power Wagon in significantly narrower and has much better payload and towing ratings.

Don't get me wrong though, the Raptor is a nice piece of factory engineering. It is definitely better than the Power Wagon in the high speed stuff, but for general four wheeling and truck duties, the Power Wagon has got it beat. Unlike many people on this website, I have driven a Raptor and I drove it the way it was intended to be driven, and I was impressed. It is an awesome truck and I would consider owning one, but in my eyes the Power Wagon is the better truck., please do better in the future with your "Ultimate 4x4 Shootouts." This is under par, even considering that most of your readers have no concept of what offroad capability is.

If you want to read a real offroad test for new pick ups, read Fourwheeler's pick up truck of the year test. They actually know what a trail is.

ford has the most in govt loans right now not gm or dodge
the loans are in the form of build greener car and trucks
the reinvestment act.

not just that but when ford went under the restructuring plan before the great recession. ford got very larger loans that it never planed on using but just encase of a rainy day. all the banks took ford to court bec they did not want to loan the billions in money now. the courts ruled in favor of ford bec of the guaranteed loans. bank had no money to loan out. gov't printed more money to loan out to banks which went to ford.
so yes ford got bailout money to

@dsklfjja, dropping out in 6th grade might not have been the best course of action for you.

Very impressive showing by Ford. I really don't think this is a surprise to anyone though. The Raptor was built for this and Ford has a serious focus on trucks. The Dodge, Toyota and Nissan were also all impressive to me. I have a newfound respect for Dodge trucks. I likewise was not surprised by the Tacoma winning second place. If forced into a small-midsize truck, I'd have to go with a Toyota. Ford offers nothing now and the new Chevrolet Colorado is less than impressive to me.

Good to see the RAPTOR win this shootout, then again its a FORD so enough said I'll close by saying they all are good trucks, well maybe not that dodge spam. NO GUTS, NO GLORY, JUST TURD PLACE AGAIN!!!!

$17,000 is worth 31 points?

Good job Toyota for not only WINNING its class but for being the best ALL-AROUND pickup, decatholon style!

Toyota's have always done well all-around and with a pricetag $17,000 lower than the Raptor, you bet you have some room to outperform the Raptor and easily get that 31 points back!

Good job Toyota!

$17,000 is worth 31 points?

Good job Toyota for not only WINNING its class but for being the best ALL-AROUND pickup, decatholon style!

Toyota's have always done well all-around and with a pricetag $17,000 lower than the Raptor, you bet you have some room to outperform the Raptor and easily get that 31 points back!

Good job Toyota!

Just checked US Ford site and starting MSRP is $43340. Point is you can buy a Raptor priced a lot closer to the price of Baja then the one tested which was optioned and costs $17000 more.

Did anyone check the Raptor for frame bending or damage? I like the Raptor, but could not buy until the frame issue is addressed in a way that creates confidence for me. I just wouldn't feel comfortable taking it off road. The Tacoma looks nice, but the safety ratings - particularly the roof strength - are a complete failure IMO. I guess I would take the Power Wagon or the Frontier.

Where's Chevrolet? Ridiculous. How has Ford gotten ahead of Chevy? And Dodge?? Is the end of the world really here or what?

Truck Fan, there is no frame issue with the Raptor. Just a story that got blown way out of proportion. There was a small group of modified Raptors that were running well above their limits and five or six of them mildly bent their frames. Any other truck being run that hard would have yielded in the same, or more probably a more severe manner. Those Raptors were thrashed, and it is very likely that the damage was exacerbated by the removal of the bump stop pads in the rear of several of those trucks.

Saying that Raptors have a frame bending problem is like saying Jeeps have axle breaking problems because some people who modify them with larger tires, lockers, and lower gears, commonly break the stock axles.

Please do some more reading in the future before you make uneducated comments like that.

Did anyone else notice the Ford was the only one that didn't have a full four doors? I'm sure that played a roll in the outcome.

The last of the dinosaurs enjoy while they last. The new fuel standards will eventually make these relics as the big gas hog cars of the 60s and 70s are. These will be collectors items that will be garaged and warehoused just like the old muscle cars.

Well done Ford, Toyota and Dodge. I suppose Nissan as well but I'm not a Nissan kind of guy. These companies deserve all of the credit they have coming to them though.

@LS - If you take any of these 4 trucks on a "Jeep" trail the only 2 that will make it through are the Tacoma and Frontier. The only place the PW had any real advantage was the flat ground boulder field and hauling and towing. A winch is a good option but any serious offroader will have extrication gear and a winch. There is an old saying, "The more offroad capable your truck is, the worse you will get stuck". Having a winch means you'll get yourself into deeper trouble.
As TRXTom pointed out, these are toys. He said 3 out of 4 can't do work. That depends on the definition of work as I've only seen 1 PW as a work truck and only 1 Raptor used as a work truck (SuperCrew not SuperCab). I've seen quite a few Tacoma 4x4's used for work. Never seen a 4x4 Frontier used as a work truck but in the Nissan's defence, there only has been an established dealership in my area for a few years..
The PW has at best, 1/2 ton capacity in an expensive offroad package.
The Raptor SuperCab has no capacity in an expensive offroad package. The Tacoma has ok capacity and a good offroad package.
The Frontier is the cheepest and that is reflected in its performance. You get what you pay for.
These are toys and I am refering to all 4 (no disrepect meant to TRXTom).
I'd rather keep my 1/2 ton and buy a new KTM EXC or a quad since we are talking toys.

ted, Obama Motors doesn't have a truck in the game. You can't take a Denali blingy bling ride out to do any work with the real men's trucks. That's good ol GovtMoCo for ya. They need to be buried in their grave along with their pile of dung sissy girl Sierra. I can't believe Bush let Chevrolet remain a part of that hodgepodge, ragtag company. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Great piece, well put together I enjoyed it!

wy you did take a ford 250,,or 150,,the real truck for everyday like the dodge,Toyota,nissan.. the a play truck time get the baja dodge ..anyway ford have nothing to be proud about the whit apple.....y question my self about your test...

I agree padfoo, great article. As a Toyota owner, I'm glad to at least come close to the Ford. I have lot's of respect for Ford trucks.

For my hard earned money the Power Wagon is my first choice.
I don't have 54,000 for a one trick pony. I need a truck first. Off roader second. If I did want a one trick pony it would be a jeep Rubicon or Ram Runner. I didn't see any off roading that my lifted 35"BFG 4.56 gear auburn rear end Ram couldn't handle.
Again I have a 7,400lbs trailer empty. With 1,000lbs for water 400lbs for each of my quads. Gas, Food, Fire wood etc... Adds
up pretty quick. I could use the extra capability in the Power Wagon for piece of mind when towing through the sand at Pismo Dunes and imperial Dunes. Plus I could make some gas money pulling Chevy and Fords out stuck in the sand.

@HemiV8 - did you read the test?
That would make too much sense.
The PW didn't do too well with the sand hill or the rock steps.
How do you figure you are going to make gas money by pulling people out?
Troll comment, for sure.
The PW is a pig on gas so you'll need the extra income to run the thing.
Funny - your beloved Mopar finished 3rd behind the 2 companies you hate the most:
Fire Ford
Tokyo Toyota

That must hurt the ol' Hemi ego?

That must hurt the ol' Hemi ego?

Posted by: Lou | Sep 18, 2012 8:48:36 PM

Doesn't hurt anything. I just consider the source. I am getting a 6.4L Hemi in my new silver crew cab Power Wagon.

Did I miss something or did that just happen to work out by price--highest price winning, lowest taking 4th? I am surprised the Nissan did that poorly--I expected at least a 3rd--but I honestly expected the Raptor to do worse considering its desert-racing setup.

Color me surprised, but still not willing to pay that much for a truck of any type I can legally drive.

Id love to own a raptor if gas was a buck a gallon. Proud Tacoma owner. The video was nerve racking to watch! Thanks!

Reposting from a subsection.
Spot on. These tests have no relevance here. I wonder how many of these will be entered in the Dakar Rally at the end of the year? So far we have had the Sue Meads slightly modified Raptor finishing 40th in 2010 and a equally slightly modified . PowerWagon finishing 53rd last year. There was a Tacoma entered as well last year.

@HemiV8 - Considering all the bragging you've done about the Power Wagon on most of the threads, all of the bragging you did about the 68,000 dollar RamRunner (on the subject of one trick ponies), and all the bragging you've done about Ram, and the 5.7 engine, and the Hemi engines, even bringing up all sorts of irrelevant Chrysler news - you have been very quiet.

That says more than all of the other posts you have made.

Yup. Go buy your one of a kind 66 year history Power Wagon with 6.4.
If and when it see's the light of day.

We'll see a decent Chevy truck before that happens.

Fire sale Ford, and Taco Tokyo Toyota beats the mighty Power Wagon powered by the mighty 5.7 in an ultimate 4x4 shootout where the main critera was "send us your best 4x4".

You hate both brands - that has to hurt!

Kinda sucks - like fuel through a Power Wagon gas line.

I would have to say the Raptor took this test out convincingly. Most every person with a 4x4 has done this type of driving and the quickest isn't necessarily the best.

The biggest downfall for the Nissan is that is sits to low to the ground. The Taco is very capable off road judging by this test, but it has been modified to achieve the result.

The biggest downfall for all of the trucks is their ability to move a load. When off roading and camping you will load and drag a lot of equipment.

I have to agree with Lou that the full size trucks are to large for going down tracks and probably are best in open areas.

But they were all capable off road. Over here in Australia $1 000 would improve the Nissan and make it much more capable off road, this would make it much more attrative. Our Navaras also sit to low.

Hemi V8 you should seriously look at trading in your truck and buy a Raptor for the sand dunes. I do think Ford has built a very attractive toy.

Maybe a comparison between the base model 4x4 pickups with V6s would give a better example of their chassis and suspension performance. Also this would give people a choice on which is the better one to modify for off roading.

Most any manufacturer can improve off road performance with a few mods. This doesn't mean that particular line of pickups are overall better at off roading.

you guys realize the subject title was ultimate 4x4 and not 4 wheel drive truck with good tow/hauling capacity right???
Mark tested for off roading, which was well done in my opinion, when you are 4 wheelin your not worried about what payload the truck has, your worried about the cabability of the truck, maybe Mark can do another shoot out down the road for the most payload ultimate 4x4, but why the crap about oh i wouldnt buy the ford i want the dodge so it hauls stuff, that isnt what the tests were about....

Whoooopteee FRICKIN DOO! The CRAPTOR wins another comparison. This truck is just a LOOK AT ME SHOW PONY. What type of truck related work are you going to do with this overpriced thing??? I am willing to bet that 95% or more of these silly things end up being DRIVEWAY QUEENS AND BOULEVARD CRUISERS.
Whoever previously said that the Power Wagon was a better overall and more versatile truck than the CRAPTOR hit the nail on the head. At least there are a few smart people in here. It is too bad that the FORD KOOL AID CREW is so blind that they can't see straight.

Then are they a truck?

That's why I suggested to use base model V6 (normally aspirated) for a comparison as an alternative. Compare all of your base model pickups, that would be great.

A lot of people would want to use their pickups off road for camping and fishing. Where I live we will load 1 500lbs in the back plus a family of four and tow a 20' boat for up to 6 hours at a time down tracks.

Buy a Renegade or quad which would be cheaper and better off road if it is just about 4x4ing.

These trucks are more about image. As good as they are off road the most off road a lot of these will see is driving down their grandparents dirt driveway in the country.

Its horses for courses.

Well the Power Wagon is the best offroad HD you can buy pretty much aside from ex military vehicles, but its size and weight limited it as I predicted. I'm actually surprised that the Raptor won though, I thought it would be too wide for its own good. IMO the Tacoma was the real winner, it did very well at everything and didnt really have a weakness. The Nissan did well too considering its not a super special offroad package.

Now if Ford made a Raptor Ranger.....

Fait should just shut Ram production down the truck is garbage cant even beat a Tacoma in this 4X4 shoot out!! The Raptor is a really nice truck there is alot of these trucks here in Alberta but the crazy thing most will never see any 4x4ing they just sit in the driveway and just see the road only to go get grocerys like my neighbors Raptor! Sad to see a truck like a Raptor just not used what its made for!!

@ Al

this isnt for average person, they were extreme factory 4x4's for off road - the best the factory has to offer if i recall, thats what the test was about, if you want to go hunting and fishing then buy a reg4x4 truck, that will work for 99% of that kind of stuff. As to buying a quad as you and i think Lou said, have you ever wheeled offroad? I have for many years and i'd take an extreme 4x4 over a quad any day, and yes thats personal preference and every person is different. I dont 4x4 hardcore anymore but when i did i had taken a factory F250 dropped a big block 460 into it, lifted it and threw a 12000 lb warn winch on it, lockers front and rear and some 40 inch super swampers with dana 70 axles, i have quadded and it is fun, now that im a bit older and gotten a bit milder i am looking at buying a quad, but when i was younger id take the 4x4 anyday

Frank should be here anytime now to sing the praises of Ford and it's wonderful Raptor.

Hey Mark you keep this up buddy you may get a job at Ford like Mike levine did. Keep drinking that Kool aid. You aren't fooling me. The Raptor is less truck then it's jap counter parts LOL.

Lou, that is simply not true. You can take full size trucks down trails. Yes, it can be a tight fit, but it is far from impossible; people do it all the time. Full width axles, and sometimes even Rockwells are frequently put on Jeeps and other trail rigs. The Raptor is considerably wider than the Power Wagon by the way.

This test as I mentioned previously, was not a very difficult offroad test. The Power Wagon had many advantages over the others. It has the more ground clearance than any of the other trucks, it was the only truck with a front locker, the only truck with a solid front axle, the only truck with a winch, it was the only truck with a disconnecting sway bar, it thad the second biggest tires, the second lowest crawl ratio, the second most powerful engine, and to top it off, the only truck with a manual transfer case. These are features that make for a capable vehicle. The Power Wagon had the advantage in a lot more areas than just towing and payload, and the baby rock garden, wether to not said so. I reccoment reading Fourwheeler's pick up truck of the year competition if you want to see a serious test.

By your logic that somehow having a more capable truck will cause more problems offroad, everyone should be driving Geo Metros offroad. A winch adds no capability at all offroad, but allows you to extract yourself in the event you get into a sticky situation. Not to mention that the winch in the Power Wagon in a Warn unit, which is a nice winch. By the way, I have used the winch on my Bronco more for work around the farm than offroad!

It does not seem like you have done much fourwheeling in your days Lou, so you may want to refrain from being so vocal.

Thank you L.S. Sounds like you know your stuff. Welcome to Ford trucks .com oops i mean pick up trucks .com LOL. They go to work for Ford after this job.





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