Four Wheeler

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The June 2012 issue of Four Wheeler magazine

Four Wheeler is the oldest magazine for 4x4 and off-road truck and SUV enthusiasts. The first issue was published in February 1962, and in 2012, the internationally read magazine celebrated its 50th anniversary. Four Wheeler focuses on new-vehicle evaluations, project vehicles, the technical aspects of building a vehicle (such as how to install aftermarket accessories and do complete engine swaps), product tests, outdoor equipment and machines, 4x4 shows and competitions, and travel and adventure.

Four Wheeler is published monthly by Motor Trend Group and headquartered in El Segundo, California.[1]

Top Truck Challenge[edit]

The first Four Wheeler Top Truck Challenge took place in 1993, and the event, also called TTC, was held annually at the Hollister Hills State Vehicular Recreation Area near Hollister, California. The last Top Truck Challenge was held in June, 2015. The original concept was to test the engineering capabilities of 4x4 vehicles, and it remained that way through its 23-year history, inviting readers "who own ‘the world’s best four wheeler’ to put up or shut up: Take us up on our Top Truck Challenge—the search for the best truck—and send in an entry," as the February 1994 issue stated.

Although competitors were selected by Four Wheeler readers, that process didn’t actually begin until 1995. Competition vehicles no longer needed to also be street legal starting with the 2004 Top Truck Challenge. Over the years, the challenges have included an obstacle course, a mini Rubicon trail, and the Tank Trap. In 2012, Four Wheeler held the first-ever Top Truck Champions’ Challenge, pitting past Top Truck Challenge Grand Champions against one another for ultimate bragging rights. Segments from Top Truck Challenge have been broadcast on the Outdoor Channel.

Granville King[edit]

One of the most popular Four Wheeler writers was Granville King. He was Four Wheeler’s Baja correspondent from 1984 until the time of his death in 1989. He wrote a variety of stories for Four Wheeler, including his "From the Backcountry" series, which was an account of a life devoid of many modern trappings, but filled with backcountry adventures and mechanical tips.

Four Wheeler of the Year and Pickup Truck of the Year[edit]

Annually, Four Wheeler hands out two prestigious awards to automakers of new 4x4s, Four Wheeler of the Year[2] and Pickup Truck of the Year. As voted on by the editors, it is a rigorous competition that began in 1974 with the Four Wheeler Achievement Award, given to the 1974 Jeep Cherokee. In 1989, pickup trucks were separated into the own contest. Vehicles are evaluated in categories such as off-road performance, highway performance, mechanical and empirical data, interior, and exterior. The 2016 competitions took place over five days and 1,000 miles, and had a panel of eight experienced judges.

Over the past competitions, including both Four Wheeler of the Year and Pickup Truck of the Year, the title has been awarded to 13 different manufacturers, with Jeep and Dodge/Ram tied with 11 trophies each. No manufacturer has won both Four Wheeler of the Year and Pickup Truck of the Year in the same year. In 2012, Motor Trend included a behind the scenes look at the Four Wheeler of the Year and Pickup Truck of the Year competitions in an episode of "The Downshift" on the Motor Trend channel.

Recipients of the awards are:

Four Wheeler of the Year

  • 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk
  • 2016 Land Rover Range Rover Sport SVR
  • 2015 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk
  • 2014 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • 2013 Jeep Wrangler Moab JK
  • 2012 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK
  • 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland WK2
  • 2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail
  • 2009 Nissan Xterra Off-Road
  • 2008 Hummer H3 Alpha
  • 2007 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon JK
  • 2006 Toyota Land Cruiser
  • 2005 Volkswagen Touareg V-10 TDI
  • 2004 Lexus GX470 (w/Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System)
  • 2003 Lexus GX470
  • 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland WJ
  • 2001 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 2000 Chevrolet Tahoe Z71
  • 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ
  • 1998 Dodge Durango
  • 1997 Jeep Cherokee XJ
  • 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ
  • 1995 Land Rover Discovery
  • 1994 Land Rover Defender 90
  • 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ
  • 1992 Chevrolet K1500 Blazer
  • 1991 Ford Explorer two-door
  • 1990 Ford Explorer
  • 1989 Range Rover
  • 1988 Chevrolet K1500
  • 1987 Nissan Pathfinder
  • 1986 Jeep Comanche
  • 1985 Toyota SR5
  • 1984 Jeep Cherokee XJ
  • 1983 Chevrolet S-Blazer
  • 1982 Dodge Power Ram 50
  • 1981 Toyota SR5
  • 1980 Ford Bronco
  • 1979 Chevrolet LUV
  • 1978 Ford Bronco
  • 1977 Dodge Macho Power Wagon
  • 1976 International Harvester Traveler
  • 1975 Chevrolet Blazer
  • 1974 Jeep Cherokee

Pickup Truck of the Year

  • 2017 Ford F-150 Raptor
  • 2016 Ram 1500 Rebel
  • 2015 Ram Power Wagon
  • 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71
  • 2013 Ram 1500 Outdoorsman
  • 2012 Ram Power Wagon
  • 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor 6.2L
  • 2010 Ram Power Wagon
  • 2009 Hummer H3T
  • 2008 Ford Super Duty FX4
  • 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71
  • 2006 Dodge Ram TRX4
  • 2005 Dodge Ram Power Wagon
  • 2004 Nissan Titan
  • 2003 GMC Sierra Quadrasteer
  • 2002 Dodge Ram Quad Cab
  • 2001 Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD
  • 2000 Dodge Dakota Quad Cab
  • 1999 Chevrolet Silverado Z71
  • 1998 Toyota Tacoma XtraCab TRD
  • 1997 Dodge Dakota Club Cab
  • 1996 Toyota Tacoma XtraCab
  • 1995 Ford F-250 SuperCab Power Stroke
  • 1994 Chevrolet S-10 ZR2
  • 1993 Ford Ranger SuperCab
  • 1992 Dodge Dakota Club Cab
  • 1991 GMC K2500 HD
  • 1990 Mitsubishi Mighty Max


  • Ken Brubaker: 2016-present
  • Christian Hazel: 2014-2016
  • John Cappa: 2011–2014
  • Douglas McColloch: 2005-2011
  • Jon Thompson: 2000-2005
  • Mark Williams: 1999-2000
  • John Stewart: 1986-1999
  • David M. Cohen: 1986
  • Rich Johnson (Senior Editor): 1984-1985
  • Dianne Jacob (Executive Editor): 1983-1984
  • Julian G. Schmidt: 1982
  • Dennis Adler: 1980-1981
  • Bill Sanders: 1971-1979 and 1981–1982
  • Lou Kjose: 1971
  • Robert Leif: 1969
  • Robert Ames: 1963-1971


  • Four Wheeler Chassis & Suspension Handbook (2004) (ISBN 9780760318157)

External links[edit]


  1. ^ "Audit Bureau of Circulations". Audit Bureau of Circulations. Archived from the original on 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2011-12-31.
  2. ^ Arellano. "Jeep Wrangler Rubicon wins Four Wheeler's 4×4 of the Decade Award". Retrieved January 7, 2010.