• Nov 15, 2012
Nearly every automaker doing business in the SUV or pickup truck segments offers a package designed to improve the off-road capabilities of its wares. But, of course, not all such factory kits are created equal. How, then, to separate the wheat from the chaff? Gather each of them up and put them through their paces, naturally.

The folks from Four Wheeler and PickupTrucks.com joined forces to run just such a comparison test, with the winner named the Ultimate Factory 4x4. A total of seven vehicles showed up to the fight: the 2012 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon, 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X and Xterra PRO-4X, 2012 Ram Power Wagon, and 2012 Toyota 4Runner Trail and Tacoma TRD T|X Baja Series.

With the contestants in place, the whole crew put each vehicle through a battery of tests that included skidpad and acceleration measurements, a hillclimb, a rocky stairstep course and a rock garden. Considering the nature of the beasts, on-road ride and comfort were not part of the routine.

So, which four-wheeler ended up on top? Click here to read the results, and don't act like you're surprised by the victor.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 60 Comments
      Brian Barajas
      • 2 Years Ago
      no fj?
        amie704
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian Barajas
        Yeah and no Tundra or Titan?
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Brian Barajas
        I thought the same at first. But they already had 2 Toyotas and the FJ doesn't have a specific off road package really. You pretty much get the same hardware regardless, where these are specific off road packages that offer for the most part stuff not available on other trim levels.
      IBx27
      • 2 Years Ago
      At least they didn't try to make the new pathfinder an excuse.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        Fodder
        • 2 Years Ago
        The article says that GM was invited but chose not to participate.
          erjhe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Fodder
          I agree with JTA. I don't think GM really has an off-road package that would be comparable. The Z71 package is a decent upgrade, but not near as much as what was witnessed here.
      luigi.tony
      • 2 Years Ago
      Amazing, Ford was the only American based company in the competition.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @luigi.tony
        Hmm, yet the Jeep is a throwback to Nazi-ass kicking AMERICAN military vehicles. Also, just a hint: car companies don't really think of themselves as "American" or "Japanese", etc. They are proud, self-proclaimed "GLOBAL" companies. Go put that in your pipe and smoke it.
      Sean Victorine
      • 2 Years Ago
      No FJ Cruiser?? Lame.
        John Cappa
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sean Victorine
        Toyota chose to enter the 4Runner Trail instead. They are essentially on the same chassis anyway, except the 4Runner has better visibility than the FJ.
        jclaxton78
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sean Victorine
        FJ would have smoked all these trucks.
          Basil Exposition
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jclaxton78
          HAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! LOL!!! That is hilarious, good one jclaxton78!
          mbukukanyau
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jclaxton78
          You are kidding right?
          Sean Victorine
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jclaxton78
          Here we go, all the fanboys got together again to down-vote anything that isn't their favorite for no apparent reason. Typical autolblog trolls.
          amie704
          • 2 Years Ago
          @jclaxton78
          I like the Fj also but The Wrangler and Raptor are better vehicles. They cost way more though. But the Fj is the best value.
        jtav2002
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sean Victorine
        They're testing specific off road packages. The FJ doesn't have one you pretty much get the same hardware on any FJ you buy. I think they were going for packages that added off road equipment compared to lower spec trim levels.
      Esher127
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm really surprised the Wrangler Rubicon won!! ....said no one ever.
      GR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Holy bojangles!! The Wrangler Rubicon is an amazing factory offroader!? You mean with its locking diffs, skid plates, rock rails, etc. it STILL was an awesome offroader!? Realistically, in terms of long term ownership and day to day living with the car, the rank is probably in reverse order.
        srheckel
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GR
        Sheesh, whining about highway driving in refinement in an article about a shootout from Four Wheeler is the height of irrelevance. The article straight out tells you what they are basing the comparison on. "This test would focus primarily on wheeling, with none of the scoring taking in to account how smooth of a highway ride these rigs offer, whether they have heated seats, or which truck has the best stereo. No sir, this shootout is solely about function on the trail."
          GR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @srheckel
          And hence, I wrote, "Realistically, in terms of long term ownership and day to day living with the car, the rank is probably in reverse order." I actually support the #1 crown of the Rubicon offroad. It's obvious to me just as it is to most people. But... What I am highlighting is that there is just more to a vehicle than offroad prowess, especially given that A) it's a $30,000 plus investment, and B) even among hardcore offroaders, the vast majority of the time, it will be driven on paved roads. Don't know about you all, but I see a lot of Wranglers, including Rubicons, that sit around in rush around traffic without a speck of dirt on them, even in the wheel well and underbody. Some people seem to buy them for show, more than for offroad go.
        Andre Neves
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GR
        Not really. The new Wrangler, even in Rubicon trim, is quite refined and great for every day use. Whether you have rain or shine, it dominates every weather scenario you can throw at it.
          DanB
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Andre Neves
          Rubicon has pretty bad visibility for dominating on paved roads. That is where XTerra would probably win.
          Andre Neves
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Andre Neves
          DanB, Bad visibility!? LoL, no.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GR
        Andre, Is it refined compared to before? Most likely. Is it refined compared to the others on the list? I think not. It's rather noisy, rough-riding, poor handling, and compromised on the paved road and can be tiring for everyday use, not to mention the fuel economy is rather poor for its size. None of the other are excellent in these ways, but are probably better than the Wrangler. I'm not saying it's bad car, but the Wrangler is rather traditional and purpose-built. Off the trail, I think I would prefer a 4Runner or Xterra.
          sirjaysmith
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          what's funny about your post is that the wrangler is refined to such a point, its more comfy then cars were 10~15 years ago, cars we called perfect for day to day use. The idea that the Jeep is still uncomfortable onroad, would ONLY come from someone who is nothing but spoiled.
          GR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          Or from someone who actually thinks a car should be comfortable. Not acceptable, but actually comfortable. Day in and day out, comfort is what matters a lot. Sit in rush hour traffic on the commute in and out of work and tell me comfort doesn't matter. Look, I understand the Rubicon is awesome offroad. No doubt, but I am not really convinced it's also as comfortable as the others tested. That's my point. I have not been in a Wrangler enough to judge, but from the countless reviews, articles, and conversations with people who drive/ride in them, the sense is that they are not exactly comfortable vehicles. Also the Wrangler is one of the few vehicles out there that remains rather unchanged and traditional. Perhaps it's refined compared to before, but it's not really refined overall. I don't have much padding on my hindside so comfort probably matters more to me than most.
          CEC
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          I stopped reading after, "I have not been in a Wrangler."
          GR
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          CEC, Seems like you value one's personal experience too much rather than statistics, trends, or what generally MANY people say. It's the same position as arguing that a psychologist knows nothing about mental disorders because he does not have one himself. There is a HUGE flaw in that argument much like in yours.
          Andre Neves
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          Most of those traits that you described are mere opinions and could be differentiated depending on the person you are asking. Not it's[Wrangler] fault that people have been so accustomed to further "refinement" with every generation of automobiles. Years from now, people will look back and say, "I can't believe you actually had to manually DRIVE those things without computer-aid." Not kidding. I had a new Dodge Caravan as a rental several weeks ago. It had seating for 7 people. It had 13 cup holders. And the worst part is, everyone that I jokingly told this to, looked at me as if I just found out that we have put men on the moon. Refinement can go stick it where the sun don't shine. If the current Wrangler isn't refined enough, then those concerned should look elsewhere when buying a car because it's the ONE iconic American automobile that doesn't need to be messed with by idiots.
      mbukukanyau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Too bad a companies with the Engineering Muscle of Honda, Volkswagen, GM are MIA
        John Cappa
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mbukukanyau
        Honda and VW do not offer true 4x4 vehicles. They do not have transfer cases with a low range. GM was invited but declined to enter.
      sparrk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why no G-Class or Land Rover Defender or Discovery ?
      VIPER94
      • 2 Years Ago
      Go Wrangler!
      Xedicon
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Rubicon as the winner was a no brainier. I just scrolled down to the end with 100% confidence it would win, and it did. It's so far ahead of any other off-road package the only point to this was to determine 2nd on down. This isn't to say other auto makers couldn't build something to rival the Rubicon... they just don't.
      Andre Neves
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not surprised at all. Pleasure owning one.
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