Four Wheeler Names Most Significant 4x4 Pickups From Last Ten Years

2009 Ram 1500 1

The editors of Four Wheeler magazine, one of the world's biggest authorities on four-wheel drive, recently published an article listing the most significant 4x4 pickup trucks produced in the last decade. The parameters were fairly wide open and included some interesting choices. We thought our readers might find this noteworthy, so we're sharing it — along with our own comments and suggestions.

The only glaring omission in Four Wheeler's original list (incorporated below) was the Toyota Tacoma Baja Package that included an entirely unique suspension (with remote-reservior Bilstein rear shock absorbers), big tires and cool graphics.

Although Four Wheeler's story named the pickups in no particular order, we thought we'd list them in order of importance.


1. 2011 Ford SVT Raptor

From the day it was discussed, then introduced, this entry from Ford's Special Vehicle Team is like no other pickup in the four-wheel-drive universe. The truck exploded onto the pickup scene in 2010 with a price tag less than $40,000 and has steadily climbed in total sales numbers every year. The truck was offered with the powerful 6.2-liter V-8 and is likely to get the EcoBoost engine if Ford announces its continued production beyond 2014 (which it hasn't done yet).


2. 2005 Dodge (Ram) Power Wagon

When this truck debuted, there was absolutely nothing else like it on the market. Some had tried to make a bullet-proof rock crawler, but Ram engineers deserve a lot of credit for fighting for this one. It doesn't sell in huge numbers, but the execution and capability of the truck (based on a 2500 chassis with front and rear locking differentials and sway bar disconnects) is without equal.


3. 2009, 2013, 2014 Ram 1500

No one can accuse the Ram 1500 of not taking some big risks. With the rear-coil-spring debut in 2009 that sent shockwaves through the half-ton segment and the hugely improved 2013 model that is a big reason for Ram's growing success, this newly envisioned half-ton is a home run by almost any standard. Toss in the attention-getting 2014 EcoDiesel on top of it all, and this is a strong top-three player.


4. 2013 Toyota Tacoma Baja T/X

Although it missed the Four Wheeler list, this was Toyota's first step into serious off-road territory. It made honest efforts with the Toyota Racing Development and Rock Warrior packages but the Baja setup is by far Toyota's best to date. We're told it will get better with the new Pro Series packages that debuted at the 2014 Chicago Auto Show on the 2015 Tacoma, Tundra and 4Runner SUV.


5. 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 Z71

_MG_1490 II

Much of the thinking here is centered on the engine improvements in which GM found a way to stick with the traditional overhead valve system but squeeze out more power and fuel efficiency than ever before, from the entry-level V-6 to both V-8 options. All have cylinder deactivation, direct injection and variable valve timing. And we're guessing stop-start technology, weight reduction, hybrid options and even a light-duty diesel could be on the way.


6. 2011 Ford F-150 EcoBoost

Although it was seen as a big risk for Ford at the time, the EcoBoost reputation is now sky high. With more than 40 percent of all F-150 sales using the smaller twin-turbo V-6 under the hood, the powertrain has pushed both GM and Ram to take powertrain risks with their new pickups as well. Another new, smaller EcoBoost V-6 will debut in the 2015 Ford F-150.


7. 2005 Nissan Frontier NISMO

The NISMO Package was Nissan's first legitimate attempt at offering a solid off-road package where nothing had seriously existed before. The package became popular enough to get its own dedicated Pro-4X branding and is now quite popular with serious off-roaders. Since its introduction, sales have steadily climbed to its highest levels ever.


8. 2005 Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra With QuadraSteer

A quirky piece of technology, the QuadraSteer essentially used a Dana 60 steering axle in the rear of a half-ton chassis that was supposed to make it the ultimate safety tow vehicle, basically eliminating nasty trailer sway from cornering and lane changing. Unfortunately, the option was too pricey and the benefits too difficult to explain to tow-centric buyers.


9. 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab

This was the first of the behemoth cab experiments (Toyota still offers the CrewMax), which effectively used the crew cab with an 8-foot-bed wheelbase but installed a 6.25-foot bed to create room for a larger cab. Specifically, this meant you could load a large-screen TV inside the cab and offer rear-seat passengers yards of legroom. Even today, about 15 percent of Ram HDs are Mega Cabs.


10. 2009 H3T Hummer

A nice, little truck but the market was not ready for a parts-bin heavy-duty midsize pickup with a premium price tag. The entire Hummer lineup was eventually killed because no one in the global marketplace thought it was worth buying. A year after this V-8-equipped H3T debuted, GM killed the brand and with it an H2T full-size pickup truck and Wrangler-sized HX. This truck went extinct.

Images from the manufacturers


Hummer H3T



Not sure how the Ram 1500 made it. Its not even available with a rear locker.

@Mark Williams
"Four Wheeler magazine, one of the WORLD's biggest authorities on four-wheel drive"

No ,there are vastly more 4 x4 's out there Globally than this magazine has ever tested. Very good at reporting the NA scene though.

I would disagree with more than a few on that list, but then again who cares. It's just four wheeler magazine and it is not like they really know anything to the point that I care about what they think.

Raptor would be my #1 as well. Ford really caught the other manufactures with their pant down and they still have no answer for it from the factory. This truck is in every car video game I see... great marketing tool. I hope the Raptor lives on in the next gen truck with a Ecoboost 5.0? I know Ford is working on a super charger for the 5.0 maybe it can make its way to the truck

It seems to me that all of the pickups made in the US got a mention here over the past 10 years.

All the trucks mentioned are variants all based on the one design for a manufacturer.

I think if a pickup is that significant the basic design should be the basis for the decision, not how a vehicle is optioned and blinged.

Except for the Raptor all of the other trucks are not really much different from the basic trucks they are based on.

I chose the Raptor because of the more extensive changes to the suspension geometry and chassis. Even then the Raptor is an extension of an existing vehicle, but is a worthy mention.

best ten pickup of the past ten years? theirs hardly even ten pickups to name. Should be the top one or two 4x4 pickups of the past ten years.

A PUTC story like this one is the journalistic equivalent of throwing red meat to the wolves. Counting clicks...

@Robert Ryan
I do think the global Ranger/BT50 would have to be the greatest leap of any pickup globally. It was even mentioned as the world's best pickup.

Even the Ranger/BT50 have a better safety rating than most of the Euro prestige cars. The safest vehicle globally for pedestrian protection.

Even the Amarok was quite a leap, but when the Ranger/BT50 came out it changed the scene even more.

But, you can't have a full size out done can you? ;)

This will rattle the chain! But the truth is the truth. This is sort of like World Series US sports. Sort of only in the US not really the world.

When the first Dodge Power Wagon came out in 1946. Their was no equal. Dodge started the 4x4 truck market. All full size 4x4 trucks used Chrysler transfer cases. Today's Power Wagon's have no equal. For 68 years Dodge has had the most capable 4x4. Can't wait to get mine.

@papa jim - click bate for sure.

The discussion will not be on the individual merits of each vehicle or how significant it is as an advancement of pickups or even how good an off-roader it is but will degenerate into one more bashfest surrounding badge.

A war of knuckle dragging mouth-breathing cavemen defending their clan (read brand badge).

If one looks at off-road prowess or versatility off-road I've have to go with listing smaller trucks first BUT....
The problem is that these option packages on the small trucks aren't at a level of superiority that give a definite edge over the aftermarket. A "do it yourself" Tacoma Baja would give more bang for your buck at the same cost.

The Raptor and Power Wagon both provide an advantage over the aftermarket if one spent the same as what these truck packages cost over the base model.


If one looks at advancing pickup technology as a ratings metric, I'd rate the Ecoboost TTDI 3.5 V6 very high on the list.
No one, including myself would of expected it to deliver the performance it does under the hood and on the salesroom floor.

The Ram 1500 coil suspension is a step forward when it comes to ride but not capacity. Ram took a gamble by being the only company to admit that most 1/2 ton truck buyers don't need a ton (literally or figuratively) of capacity to sell well.

I think that the Ecodiesel will pave the way for more light duty diesel pickups.

Trucks that should NOT be listed:

- Ram Mega cab???
If it was significant we would see copycats all over and a huge volume of them sold. Truth be told, they don't sell well and the Tundra CrewMax is a weak seller as well.
- 2014 Silverado?
Is this mention to give post-bankruptcy GMC a gold star for effort??
All they did was milk an existing engine platform for every last drop of cream.
They did not advance or influence the market at all. Sales indicate that to be true. Silverado has taken a 15% sales drop in Canada. The Sierra 5% drop.
- Quadrasteer
Okay but it never caught on.......... unless it influences what everyone is doing, it isn't worth mentioning.
Kudos to GMC for trying something new.
- H3T Hummer pickup?
GMC was too inept to see the writing on the wall.
The H2 and H3 platforms were based on existing GMC platforms. They were designed to milk positive public sentiments post Gulf War #1 that they had of the H1 which wasn't even a GMC product.


Powerwagon? first?

what about the venerable GMC CCKW?


In fairness to GM, particularly with regard to Silverado sales:

The economic environment has turned sour during the last six months. The central banks are trying to raise interest rates.

Consumer interest in borrowing is so bleeping weak right now that the top banks (US) are loaning each other money at 0.25 percent, only ten basis points higher than what it costs direct from the Fed.

We are in a very stagnant economy, with only a few industries showing signs of life. I'm afraid to look at the March retail numbers.

@papa jim - that may be true but Ford and Ram are moving trucks.


"Dodge started the 4x4 truck market."

I am not sure where you are getting you info but this statement is far from incorrect. Companies like OshKosh and Marmon-Herrington were making 4x4 trucks in the US long before the power wagon came out.

@Hemi V8

I am not sure where you are getting you info but this statement is far from *CORRECT.

Sorry, my phones auto-correct is a PITA at times.



Was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago and have not paid as much attention to buying a new truck lately--in six months I'll know more.

Treatment concludes next month; if they haven't killed me by then I'll start looking at trucks again.

CPO trucks are still my top choice but if Ram is still offering the same lease terms they had after Christmas on 2014 Ram Express dbl cab Hemi's I may need to park one nearer my house. :)

@Papa Jim

Sorry to hear that. I pray your doctors will find you cancer free after your treatments. You have a hard road ahead of you, but you can make it.

The Tacoma Baja package does not have "big tires" The are the standard size that is already on the TRD option package. It does have a lot longer wheel travel front and back then the TRD does though.

@papa jim
"We are in a very stagnant economy, with only a few industries showing signs of life. I'm afraid to look at the March retail numbers" Hope you get better. I wondered why the Australian Dollar was climbing up again.US is pretty moribund at the moment.

" Companies like OshKosh and Marmon-Herrington were making 4x4 trucks in the US long before the power wagon came out."

Goes back to 1898. Even in Australia in 1907 we had the Caldwell-Vale, 4WD Four wheel steer Trucks.

"In 1945 Dodge introduced the Power Wagon which stayed in production until 1968. During its production life span, it received very few changes. The design and idea was inspired from World War II, where large and capable four-wheel drive trucks had proven their worth on the battle field. This was the first civilian, mass produced 4X4 truck ever created. Shortly after its introduction, the Willys 4T was introduced.

"This was the first civilian, mass produced 4X4 truck ever created."


"Pioneering the four-wheel-drive scene in America, the Dodge Power Wagon and the Willys Jeep were the only two factory-complete general-use 4x4's available in the U.S. Introduced in January of 1946 the Power Wagon was advertised as a one-ton general purpose truck for use on normally unmanageable terrain. Surely Dodge executives could not imagine that market that exists today for this type of vehicle. The Power Wagon remained on the domestic scene through 1968, despite 'War surplus' looks and L-head powerplants. Under a U.S. government program the vehicle would continue another ten years in production."

"Many GI's fell in love with the capability of multi-axle drive during their service time when they had the opportunity to get behind the wheel of four and six-wheel-drive vehicles. Many GI's wrote to Dodge and requested such a vehicle. Dodge introduced their military truck accompanied by a sales brochure reading 'The Army truck the boys wrote home about… now redesigned for peacetime use.'

Even before the introduction of the Power Wagon, Dodge's military 4x4 roots ran deep. Beginning in 1934 Dodge had built a ½ ton cargo truck for the Army that featured the world's first drive system that could be controlled by a lever in the cab conveniently shifted in and out of four-wheel drive mode. Using numerous commercial truck parts Dodge designed and built ½-ton 4x4 military trucks in a variety of styles in 1940 while fulfilling an Army contract. Named the T202 series, these trucks had a 'civilian' look thanks to the stock front-end sheet metal. Riding on a 116-inch wheelbase, these ½-ton trucks with 201-cubic-inch 79 horsepower six-cylinder engine looked very similar to current trucks driving around on U.S. roads. Optional on general-market trucks was a four-speed transmission that was included on the military models."

"The first motor vehicles used in actual combat by the U.S. Army were the 1916 Dodge touring cars in which forces under the command of General John T. Pershing pursued and engaged Pancho Villa following Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico, March 6, 1916. A young Army Lieutenant, George S. Patton, saw his first motorized combat as a member of this "punitive expedition." The success of these Dodge cars in cross country operations gained them a high priority on the Army's procurement list for World War I."


The Duplex Power Car company was making 4x4 3/4 ton trucks as early as 1906. The Oshkosh Motor Truck ,who now makes heavy duty military vehicles only, introduced their first 4x4 after their first design named "Old Betsy" in 1918. In the 1930s, the Marmon-Herrington Company converted Ford half ton trucks into 4x4 production vehicles. In the early 1940s they began converting 1-1/2ton Ford trucks into 4x4.

Your facts are distorted to fit what you want as the outcome. I am not disputing how good of an off roader the Power Wagon is because I would buy one and still considering it, but it was not the first 4x4 truck nor was dodge the first to produce a 4x4 truck.



"Pioneering the four-wheel-drive scene in America, the Dodge Power Wagon and the Willys Jeep were the only two factory-complete general-use 4x4's available in the U.S.

Before this 4x4 was military ONLY!

"This was the first civilian, mass produced 4X4 truck ever created."



@Hemi V8

The Oshkosh model A(1918), model B(1919), and later model H(1925) where not "military only" vehicles. It wasn't until their W-Series in 1939 that was only made for military use.

The 1930s and 40s Marmon-Herrington Fords were majorly for military use also had a few models sold for civilian and industrial use.

LOL I think my Ram 4x4 is sufficient for my needs, I have been more than happy with it. I don't see any reason to spend crazy $$$ on something specifically designed with the off-roader in mind. I do hope that HEMI V8 enjoys his Power Wagon when he finally gets it. As for myself I'm saving up for a 'Cuda SRT8 when that comes out. After I get that, then I will think about replacing my current truck.

@papa jim
Sorry to hear about your cancer. I hope you can recover well and it all turns out okay.

1934 – DODGE GOES 4X4:

Dodge built its first 4x4 truck in the form of the K39x4USA This 1-½-ton truck used the standard '34 Dodge truck line.

All1, "The Marmon-Herrington Company, Inc. is an American-based manufacturer of axles and transfer cases for trucks and other vehicles.[1] Earlier, the company built military vehicles and some tanks during World War II, and until the late 1950s or early 1960s was a manufacturer of trucks and trolley buses. Marmon-Herrington had a partnership with Ford Motor Company, producing trucks and other commercial vehicles, such as buses. The company may be best known for its all-wheel-drive conversions to other truck maker's units, especially to Ford ones"

"the company built MILITARY vehicles "

"The company may be best known for its all-wheel-drive conversions "

All wheel drive NOT 4 wheel drive.


You seriously need to get off the Wikipedia and Allpar kool-aide man.



Bahahahaha. You take fanboy to a whole other level. More of a kindergarten level.

The point is, that Dodge made civilian 4x4 truck very long time before Ford.
This is only what counts.
WGaS about some bankrupt Duplex Power Car company or some aftermarket ford conversions.

It's nice to see rear-coil-spring in this Glory article.
That's one of the reasons I drive RAM 1500.

@BAF0 - To make the list, a truck has to bring something innovative, game changing or takes off roading to another level. There's nothing about global pickups that would get them honorable mention.

Except 2 on the list are not made in the US. The Power Wagon and Silverado Crew are Mexico builds. Not mentioned were the Tundra and Titan which are US builds.


"The point is, that Dodge made civilian 4x4 truck very long time before Ford.
This is only what counts."

Yes, this is what only counts to fanboys like the both of you. I really don't care if Dodge's had civilian 4x4s before Ford so it doesn't matter to someone like me. It is not like it will sway any truck buying decision I have or makes one better than the other at things I look for in a truck now.

I was however correcting HEMI's "Dodge was the first" misinformation.

Two vehicles made Civilian 4x4 vehicles viable,: The Civilian Jeep and the LandRover. The Powerwagon was associated with military vehicles during and just after WW2.

@Robert Ryen
We are talking about trucks in here. Stay on topic.

I don't care, that you don't care.

The current Powerwagon is not a truck., but a Pickup.
The first civilian 4x4's were the Jeep and LandRover
4x4 MDT and even HDT 4x4's were in the 1930's

Technically, a moving dolly is a truck. On this site when people talking about trucks, they are referring to pickups.

@zvirus and HemiV7
Here are some links to a fantastic truck, that will tow more than you beloved Powerwagoon and probably has more traction.

Check how how the 'tyres' work, incredible idea for off roading.

This truck even had a hut on the top of it. I do think Fiat Ram got some of their design from this vehicle.

That's what 4x4 ATV's are for. When I want to go off-road I use my pickup to haul my ATV. The off road trails are too narrow for a full size 4x4 pickup around my parts. Don't feel bad cause you are afraid to take your 4x4 pickup off-road, you'll get mud packed under the frame that you'll never get out, the tree branches will scratch the paint, the tires will get sidewall cuts from sharp stones, and in deep water the engine air intake will suck water into the engine and ruin it.
(why is it when guys go off roading that they are always attracted to deep water?)

The Ram 1500.. would you wanta take a pickup with rear coil springs off-road? Don't you think that type of suspension would bottom out and maybe cause some type of damage to the truck?

@hemi monster

Thank you!

As I tell the nurses, "I've been married 3 times--nothing you guys do can hurt me."

I have top notch specialists and techs. High hopes for a win.

@Robert Ryan

The utterly irresponsible behavior of the G8 central banks has placed the leadership in Australia in the odd position of seeing their currency's relative strength risking the manufacturing sectors there.

Your strong (Aussie) dollar is lifting the middle class in your region but it's hard on those who have (or will soon) lose their jobs over exports.

@TOM#3.. Well, considering that the Jeep Wrangler, the most capable factory 4x4 ever built in the entire world, uses coil springs at all four corners... YES I'd take a Ram 1500 anywhere I wanted to.

The Power Wagon should have been #1 on this list. Factory winch, larger tires, 4.56 gears, lockers, and 3/4 ton towing and is THE Swiss army knife of pickup trucks and therefore is the best all-around pickup truck in the world, ever.

The ONLY thing that could make the Power Wagon any better is a more fuel efficient engine option.

ALLL1: both of you are correct, however the trucks you mentioned are bigger commercial types, and are not pickups! while the Dodge Power Wagon has been built since the early 40's by Dodge! all the other p/u at the time that were 4x4 were either built by Chevy/GMC or Ford, and then converted by Marmon-Harrington Co. for the dealers thru the factory ordering process. So the Dodge PW was factory built long before any other factory built pickup truck! All the others were aftermarket conversions as far as the p/u market is concerned, and all the other truck built? were of a heavier commercial type with more than not a flat bed, or dump bed instead of a pickup bed like the type used today, as even the older PW had a heavy duty step side bed, of a military design.

You mention of the Z71 hell even the Ram 1500 in general; yet not Tundra TRD Off-road. The Tundra has more ground clearance STOCK than any of the other half-tons (10.1 inches, yes more than the beloved Raptor at 9.6). I see more Jeeps and Toyotas in general on off-road trails and courses than any other brand.

You know, we call it pickup truck, shortly truck in here. But you know that.
To make it clear even for you, yes I was talking about pickups .
Everybody got it , but you. What an absurd world we are living in. I call it pickups for 33 years and needed to learn to call it truck, then somebody tells me it's a pickup.
I use metric system for over 45 years and learn to use imperial , then somebody tells me:
", yes us educated people understand the metric system, sadly you do not".
Another guy is questioning my truck research criteria in every topic I post in , then tells me:
" as I said before I took a chance on a new engine "

Congratulations to RAM . Best current truck worldwide.

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