September 19th, 2012 by Steve Cypher

Hot pickup from the high performance SVT division of the Blue Oval comes away with top honors in a head to head competition

Who’s the baddest of them all

Bring together any number of off-road truck guys and you’ll end up with anywhere from two to five different opinions (depending on the mix) about which manufacturer makes the best 4X4 pick-em-up.

Even in a mano-a-mano test, the results can be, and are, debated. admitted as much after it published the results of a head-to-head competition: “When we published the Duel in the Desert, Ram and Ford fans alike had very passionate opinions. One consistent opinion was that the Shootout was not a good all-around test of the each 4×4’s strengths and weaknesses. That point will be debated for millennia, but it did make us think about our next Shootout.”

Ultimate 4×4 Shootout

That “next Shootout” turned out to be what calls, with more than a hint of hyperbole, the “Ultimate 4×4 Shootout.”

The UFBFS pitted a 2012 Ford SVT Raptor V-8 (MSRP $53,625), 2012 Nissan Frontier PRO-4X V-6 (MSRP $31,274), 2012 Ram Power Wagon ST V-8 (MSRP $44,780) and a 2012 Toyota Tacoma TRD Baja V-6 (MSRP $36,430) against each other in a series of tests in order to determine which one is the top dog in today’s 4×4 pickup market (GM, with a new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra coming to market shortly, declined to participate in the shootout).

Shootout tests

0-60 acceleration

SVT Raptor, 7.71 seconds
Tacoma Baja, 8.40 seconds
Frontier, 8.46 seconds
Power Wagon, 8.73 seconds

(Quarter-mile acceleration – not part of the test)

SVT Raptor, 16.07 seconds at 88.96 mph
Tacoma Baja, 16.60 seconds at 83.87 mph
Frontier, 16.69 seconds at 84.86 mph
Power Wagon, 16.89 seconds at 83.85 mph

Scoring: Raptor 100, Tacoma Baja 92, Frontier 9, Power Wagon 88

60-0 Braking

Frontier, 141.1 feet
Tacoma Baja, 149.7 feet
SVT Raptor, 151.6 feet
Power Wagon, 157.5 feet

Scoring: Frontier 100, Tacoma Baja 94, Raptor 93, Power Wagon 90

Fuel Economy

Tacoma Baja, 20.7 mpg
Frontier, 20.2 mpg
SVT Raptor, 16.4 mpg
Power Wagon, 11.6 mpg

Scoring: Tacoma Baja 100, Frontier 98, Raptor 79, Power Wagon 58

Value Equation (bang for the buck)

Scoring: Frontier 100, Tacoma Baja 86, Power Wagon 70, SVT Raptor 58


Scoring: Power Wagon 100, Tacoma Baja 61, Frontier 61, Raptor 43

Road Performance

Scoring: Raptor 100, Tacoma Baja 80, Power Wagon 70, Frontier 57

Sand Hill Climb

Scoring: Raptor 100, Tacoma Baja 73, Frontier 67, Power Wagon 47

Stair-Step Navigation

Scoring: Raptor 100, Power Wagon 93, Tacoma Baja 76, Frontier 66

Rock Garden Ballet

Scoring: Power Wagon 100, Raptor 88, Tacoma Baja 80, Frontier 68

4WD Parts & Pieces

Scoring: Raptor 100, Power Wagon 98, Tacoma Baja 88, Frontier 69

UFBFS final results

1. Ford Raptor 861 points
2. Tacoma Baja 830 points
3. Ram Power Wagon 814 points
4. Nissan Frontier 777 points

“There was a lot to like about Ford’s SVT Raptor, whether for just driving around town or navigating a nasty stretch of remote terrain,” said Mark Williams, editor. “We searched for some of the toughest terrain we could find and were most impressed with how well the electronic controls meshed perfectly with the suspension and four-wheel drive system – all of it worked seamlessly together to help make the Raptor the clear winner.”

Gentlemen, start your arguments!


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