To qualify for contention, a contender must be new or significantly revised for 2018. Some in the line-up this year are new from the ground up, while others are a revision of an existing model. That’s the reason why there are no Toyotas in the mix.
The 4X4OTY finalists, in no particular order, were the Mahindra Pik-Up, SsangYong Rexton, Volkswagen Amarok V6 Core, Ford Ranger 2.0L, Ford Everest 2.0L, HSV Colorado SportsCat+, Mercedes-Benz X250d and Ford Ranger Raptor.
The vehicles were tested over a full week of driving on a variety of sealed and unsealed roads, outback tracks and off-road trails on private properties. The judges also looked at cabin seating, luggage areas and peaked underneath the bonnet. It’s an exhaustive process, with each car intensely scrutinised with a fine-tooth comb.
The vehicles were then scored against the established 4x4 of the Year criteria: Value for money, breaking new ground, how well it’s built, how suitable it is for 4x4 touring, and how well the vehicle does the job it was designed to do.
The judges then send in their individual scores for each vehicle, and the one with the highest overall score wins the acclaimed 4x4OTY title.
There have been plenty of worthy winners throughout the years, ever since the inaugural award in 1984. Here are the past winners of the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
Ride along with us for a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into testing the best 4x4 vehicles of 2018.