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Opinion: Choosing the best 4x4 is subjective

By Matt Raudonikis, 05 Feb 2018 Opinion

Picking the Best of the Best

Judging for 4x4OTY is based on a set criteria, but only you can pick the best fit for you.

The question we get asked the most here at 4X4 Australia HQ is, “What’s the best 4x4?” That question is closely followed by, “What’s the best tyre for my 4x4?”

With our annual 4X4 Of The Year and tyre test, we’d like to have answered both those important questions. But we can’t. Why not? Let’s start with 4X4 Of The Year.

4X4OTY is to choose the best 4x4 vehicle of a particular year, this year being 2017. To be in the running, the vehicle needed to have been launched between December 1, 2016 and November 30, 2017. It is only open to vehicles that are new or significantly revised during that year. It is not the best 4x4 of all time nor is it the best 4x4 currently available. None of the 4x4s eligible for 2017 would win either of those titles, so we can’t say any of them are ‘the best 4x4’.

Of course, the best 4x4 is going to be different for different people. A large, single-cab, heavy-duty 4x4 ute might be the best 4x4 for a farmer in the bush or a young fella who likes to go off-road, but it would be totally useless for the family of five who like to go camping on the holidays.

It is horses for courses, and that’s why 4X4OTY is scored against criteria and not personal preference or taste. We might score a vehicle ahead of the others, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’d own and drive it ourselves; it just means it was the best of the nominated vehicles when scored against the criteria.

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As for the best tyre, we had hoped to conduct a shootout of all the big tyre bands, but when it came to the crunch, the big tyre brands didn’t want to play by supplying the necessary tyres.

Not that it means all that much anyway, as I believe there are only two types of tyres in this world: those that hold air pressure and those that don’t, and, for my money, the ones that hold pressure will always be the right choice. They’re all black and round and do the same job and, like the vehicles they’re fitted to, most buyers make their tyre choice on price and appearance.

So read the facts, take a test drive, and make your own choices to get what you want.

To read all about 4X4OTY and the 4x4 Tyre Test, pick up a copy of the February issue of 4X4 Australia.