What’s the Best 4×4 Truck? Top 10 Revealed

Most of us are familiar with the vehicle designations four-wheel drive, 4WD, and 4x4. They all have the same essential meaning: power from the transmission in a 4x4-equipped truck, car, SUV or crossover moves to the transfer case, enabling all four wheels to turn simultaneously and at the same speed. Driving a 4x4 can pose special challenges when cornering or turning sharply, but the benefits of driving one of the best 4x4 trucks available are undeniable in tough weather conditions or on rugged terrain.

You may well be wondering: What is the very best 4x4 truck out there? Don't worry. We'll get to that soon, after covering a bit more background we believe you will find extremely useful when you set out to do some serious vehicle shopping.

Modern vehicles often have a button or switch that activates the four-wheel drive to overcome difficult driving surface conditions like mud or large rocks. When you no longer need the four-wheel-drive setting, you can switch it off to return to the normal driving mode and to increase fuel efficiency. The difference between all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (which are confused easily) is that AWD systems are always on and active, using electronic sensors to determine which wheels should get how much power. Four-wheel drive, however, can be activated or disengaged by the driver.

In this article, we will discuss ten 4WD drive trucks to help you decide which of them is the best 4x4 truck for you and your needs.

1

What Are the Best Rated Four-Wheel-Drive Trucks Available to Consumers Today?

We took a broad look at this category and selected ten current, well-respected trucks to cover. The ten best four-wheel-drive trucks we will discuss and evaluate here are the following:

  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • GMC Sierra
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Dodge Ram 2500
  • Ford Ranger
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat
  • Honda Ridgeline

Each of the aforementioned trucks has its own specs and unique features and options. In order to help you decide which truck is the best match for your needs, we strived to collect balanced, objective information on each one.

2

What Are Some Things to Consider When Shopping for the Best 4x4 Truck?

There is no mistaking a pickup truck, especially when your car or SUV is dwarfed by a full-sized, heavy-duty version as it roars by you on the highway. These are clearly big, bold, and highly capable vehicles. One major caveat is needed here, though.

 

The appeal of these characteristics can easily entice you into buying "too much" truck and realizing this only after the deal is done.

The optimum starting point when selecting a pickup truck is with a realistic, practical assessment of your needs.

 

If you do not regularly carry multi-ton loads or pull heavy trailers, you most likely do not need a full-sized, heavy-duty pickup truck. You probably should consider a lighter-duty, full-sized truck or maybe even a compact or mid-sized pickup.


Similarly, if you are not hauling dirty cargo like construction debris, landscaping equipment, mulch or manure, another vehicle type may be a better choice. If you only plan to be a part-time pickup driver and use your truck only for very occasional heavy-duty tasks, you might be better off just renting a truck rather than investing in one.


Still, the convenience of having a pickup of your own to haul gear and navigate heavy weather, to cite just two key applications, is tremendous. Even if you use your pickup primarily for recreation and sporadic off-road outings, it's essential to choose wisely based on accurate information.

3

In What Conditions Should the Best 4x4 Truck Operate Effectively?

The best 4x4 truck will let you navigate snowy roads in winter, off-roading excursions, and other tough driving challenges like muddy roads and rocky conditions with a high degree of confidence.

It is important to remember that, for all its benefits, a four-wheel-drive system adds weight, maintenance complexity, and cost to a truck.


It also reduces fuel efficiency, so you'll want to think through all financial repercussions as you make your choice of the best 4x4 truck for you... or decide to opt for a vehicle without this capability.

4

Are There Different Types of Four-Wheel-Drive Systems?

Four-wheel-drive systems come in part-time and full-time versions, and they are usually built into trucks and SUVs that are designed for both on-road and off-road use. Part-time systems operate in two-wheel-drive mode until either the driver or an onboard computer that monitors traction activates 4WD mode. Full-time four-wheel drive is exactly that: all four wheels are driving at the same time and speed while being governed by electronic controls.


Most four-wheel-drive systems have low and high ranges. This means the driver can select the range, usually with an electronic switch but sometimes with a floor-mounted mechanical lever. Whether activated electronically or mechanically, the four-wheel drive's "Low" mode provides more torque for pulling or climbing in an off-road setting.


This mode's low gearing makes it easier for the driver to descend steep slopes on unstable surfaces without putting extra stress on the brakes, for example. The default four-wheel-drive high setting is useful for conditions like compacted snow or ice and/or loose sand or gravel.

5

Things to Remember before Purchasing the Best 4x4 Truck Out There for You

Let's recap just a bit and add a few more considerations to your buying perspective. As a serious seeker of the best 4x4 truck, you should:

  • Prepare to spend more for a four-wheel-drive system than you would for a truck without one
  • Know how you will use your 4WD pickup truck, including the towing capacity you are likely to require
  • Choose the right engine and axle ratio for fuel efficiency that meets your standards
  • Know the optimal bed and cab sizes for your specific needs, or at least establish an acceptable range before shopping
  • Carefully evaluate and select trim, options, and packages for your truck
  • Always check special fees and regulations that may apply in your state or region

How We Reviewed the Best 4x4 Trucks

We reviewed 2019's top ten pickups equipped with 4WD systems to help you make your choice from among the best 4x4 trucks available at dealerships now.  To provide you with the best 4x4 truck overview and guide possible, we conducted extensive industry research and applied the following parameters: features, pros and cons, price, where to buy and warranty.

Overall Price Range

best price

Image Source : pixabay

In the following sections, we delve into the price range for each pickup truck and compare each one to a competitive model, striving to offer you the comprehensive knowledge needed to make an accurate decision when at the dealership.

What We Reviewed

  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • GMC Sierra
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Dodge Ram 2500
  • Ford Ranger
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat
  • Honda Ridgeline

Chevrolet Silverado

Features & Options

The 2019 Silverado 1500 is a redesigned model that has a more brash exterior than its predecessor. Chevy boats that the 2019 Silverado 1500 weighs 450 pounds less, on average, than this truck's previous-generation models. You can choose from two engine options: a turbo-four and a turbo diesel I-6. The latter is the most efficient option, and like earlier models, the 2019 Silverado 1500 is available in a work truck version as well as a luxury-oriented High Country edition and a specific off-road variant called the Trail Boss.

Closely comparable pickup trucks include the GMC Sierra 1500 and Ram 1500. Although the GMC Sierra 1500 falls within the same price range as Chevy's 2019 Silverado, it does not include a four-wheel-drive system and also gets fewer miles per gallon (mpg) during both city and highway driving than the Silverado. The Ram 1500 has a higher base starting price than the Chevrolet Silverado, but it does deliver competitive gas mileage.

Pros

  • Lighter/more attention-grabbing than predecessors in the line
  • Four-wheel drive is available
  • Solid gas mileage for the category (both city and highway)

Cons

  • Offers less horsepower than some competitors
  • Modest 0-60mph start time
  • Not as comfortable as some competitors, according to a broad spectrum of reviewers

GMC Sierra

Features & Options

GMC redesigned their 2019 Sierra, and it now offers the same engine options as last years models plus a 3.0-liter turbo diesel I-6 and a 2.7-liter turbo-four option. This 2019 pickup truck has some innovations and features never before offered by GMC, including the Multi-Pro tailgate, a carbon-fiber bed, a trailering system with an app to control it, a multicolor head-up display, and a backup camera viewable via the rearview mirror. Attractive, cutting-edge options available include a driver-assist package and a surround-view camera system.

Pros

  • New, turbo-charged four-cylinder engine is a great option
  • Improved driving dynamics and integrated 4WD
  • Excellent array of safety features

Cons

  • Some models and options are pricey for the category
  • No diesel engine option
  • Interior design could be improved in terms of comfort and utility

Toyota Tundra

Features & Options

Toyota's 2019 Tundra line includes an upgraded TRD Pro model with a suspension featuring two inches of extra lift; Fox internal bypass shocks with 46mm pistons; LED headlights and fog lights; black chrome dual exhaust tips; 18-inch BBS forged aluminum wheels; a front skid plate; a black hood scoop insert, and TRD Pro-badged seats.

The most commonly cited direct competitors for the Tundra are the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

Pros

  • 4WD system is highly off-road-capable
  • Excellent towing capacity
  • Great steering and handling

Cons

  • Below-average fuel economy by some measures
  • Not equipped with as many exterior options as competitors' models in this class
  • Stiffer ride and large body may not please all drivers

Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT

Features & Options

The 2019 Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT is a heavy-duty truck that emphasizes power and utility in equal measure. It has a massive towing capacity rating, a lot of available high-tech gear, and a comfortable cabin.

This entry in our list of the best 4x4 trucks also offers available driver-assist features that are impressive (e.g., blind-spot monitoring with the capability to have your trailer length programmed in, and also a rearview camera that can be mounted to the back of your trailer and connected to the dash-seated "infotainment" screen). The cabin is spacious and comfortable, too.

The Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT rivals Chevy's Silverado 2500HD. However, the Ford Super Duty F-250 XLT has been updated more recently and has an improved, more modern look. The Silverado 2500HD's maximum tow rating is a bit lower as well, and the Ford truck has the higher payload capacity of these two options.

Pros

  • Respectable standard feature list
  • Many options from which to choose
  • Wide variety of bed and cab configurations

Cons

  • Price soars with added on options
  • Built more for work than play?
  • Rear privacy glass is only available in extended and crew cab models

Nissan Frontier

Features & Options

The Nissan Frontier has not benefited from a major redesign in the last ten years or so, but the 2019 version does have some minor updates. The 2019 Nissan Frontier, however, still offers excellent value for those wanting an affordable mid-sized pickup truck, as well as for off-roaders who will enjoy its Pro-4X's rugged capabilities.

Although the Frontier is up against some steep competition (most directly, the Toyota Tacoma and Ford Ranger) it has those competitors beat hands down when it comes to base pricing.

Pros

  • Pro-4X model is a good off-road truck option
  • Available with either an automatic or manual transmission
  • Large 7-inch touchscreen display included with the S and SV trim packages

Cons

  • Steering and handling on pavement are not optimal
  • Average fuel economy for the category
  • Crew-cab's rear seats have limited legroom

Dodge Ram 2500

Features & Options

This 2019 Dodge Ram 2500 is a diesel-powered pickup truck equipped with four doors. The Ram 2500 has a towing capacity of up to 18,000 lbs—when equipped for that capability, that is. The 2019 version has been completely redesigned with a new body style, a high-tech user interface, and the most advanced driver safety equipment. The new Ram 2500 performs well when towing and hauling, even with its luxury trimmings.

Direct Ram 2500 competitors include the Chevrolet Silverado 2500 and the Ford Super Duty F-250. The F-250 seats five people comfortably, but the 2019 Ram 2500 has ample room for six if you need that. Both the Ram 2500 and Ford F-250 are equipped with highly advanced cruise-control systems, but it is a standard feature on all Ram models and will cost you extra if you opt for an F-250. The Ram 2500 pumps out 383-horsepower, which is substantially superior to the Chevrolet Silverado 2500's 360HP.

Pros

  • Best-in-class towing capacity
  • Powerful capabilities for off-road excursions
  • Full-LED headlamps and class-exclusive, adaptive, forward-lighting system

Cons

  • Pricey options
  • Has a stiff ride quality that some notice
  • Some reviewers found rear visibility slightly lacking

Ford Ranger

Features & Options

The Ford Ranger mid-size pickup truck has been redesigned slightly for the 2019 model year. The truck is available in both SuperCab and SuperCrew versions. The 2019 Ford Ranger has user-friendly features and a mighty, robust power train that produce a high payload rating and solid towing capacity.

Pros

  • Style-conscious, tech-loaded new model
  • Potent engine
  • Easy-to-use features

Cons

  • Interior quality and comfort may fall short on exterior appeal
  • Cramped second row in the SuperCab models
  • Seats four to five people, depending on those individuals' reasonable space requirements

Toyota Tacoma

Features & Options

The 2019 Toyota Tacoma features changes such as an upgraded TRD Pro model with an optional TRD desert air intake. This type of air intake moves the inlet away from the wheel wells. There are new standard features including 16-inch TRD Pro black alloy wheels equipped with Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar all-terrain tires, a JBL audio system, and a built-in navigation system.

Its prominent rivals include the Chevrolet Colorado, Ford Ranger and GMC Canyon. The Tacoma features a tough-looking, yet practical interior that our reviewers enjoyed greatly.

Pros

  • Reliable and terrific resale value
  • Rugged-looking interior
  • Good performance and towing capabilities

Cons

  • Not so great fuel efficiency
  • Not too spacious
  • Four-cylinder; lacks horsepower

Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat

Features & Options

The new 2019 Ford Super Duty F-350 has a Lariat Sport Package available featuring 20-inch wheels, a spray-in bed liner, black trim, and other appealing features. It also has a B&O Play stereo that replaces the premium Sony stereo. It is a successor in Ford's third Super Duty generation, which launched for the 2017 model year. This pick offers a roomy cab and a wealth of high-technology options.

Although its competitors (such as the Ram 3500 and Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD) are worthy in all respects, the 2019 Ford Super Duty F-350 Lariat is a powerful, genuinely heavy-duty pickup truck that is effective either as a work truck or family vehicle in all respects.

Pros

  • Diesel V8 for substantial power and torque
  • A great deal of payload and tow capacity
  • Aluminum body for reduced overall weight and heightened fuel efficiency

Cons

  • Can get expensive with multiple options or packages added
  • Not too spacious
  • The 2019 Ford F-350 has been subject to a few recalls

Honda Ridgeline

Features & Options

The Ridgeline is the largest vehicle currently marketed by Honda. You may even consider it more of a sport utility truck than a typical pickup because of its unibody construction said to enable superior, more "car-like" handling than other trucks in its class. The 2019 Ridgeline has a few new feature additions but, overall, it remains relatively unchanged from previous models. For 2019, lower-trim Ridgelines now have a second USB port while the mid-level RTL and RTL-T have standard power-sliding rear windows and moon roofs. We liked the tailgate design that can open downward or swing to the side.

Those shopping for a Honda Ridgeline also may be interested in the Chevy Colorado and Toyota Tacoma, but the Ridgeline beats its competitors on acceleration and a few other performance measures. Honda's ridgeline reaches 0-60mph within anywhere from 6.4 to 7.6 seconds, whereas a Colorado, for example, takes between 7.1 and 9.7 seconds.

Pros

  • Superior ride and handling due to independent rear suspension
  • Unique two-way tailgate and large, lockable, in-bed trunk
  • Comfortable and spacious crew cab

Cons

  • Touchscreen audio/navigation interface can be challenging to learn and operate
  • Lacks low-range gearing and has less-than-ideal underbody clearance

The Verdict

Based on detailed research, we concluded that the overall best 4x4 truck on our list is the 2019 Dodge Ram 2500. We feel it is the best purchase you can make, provided it fits your realistic need profile, primarily because of its massive power and industry-leading towing and hauling capabilities. Dodge also equips these trucks with luxurious interiors and strong safety features for all trim lines. These include a forward-collision warning system, automatic emergency braking, and blind spot alerts built into all versions.

You can opt for a Dodge Ram 2500 with a two-door regular cab, four-door crew and four-door “mega” cab, in either two- or four-wheel drive—suitable for whatever your needs may be. It has a Power Wagon trim featuring a unique suspension, factory lift kit, locking front and rear differentials, and a 12,000-pound winch. The Ram's huge interior features the Uconnect infotainment system with an optional 12-inch fully configurable screen. Additionally, it has an abundance of both storage cubbies and storage bins.

Now that we have most likely sent your head spinning with these unbelievable details (and these features are just the tip of the iceberg!), it is high time you get yourself into whatever vehicle you currently own and drive yourself to the nearest dealership to find the best 4x4 truck out there today for you.

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