Today, April 4, is 4×4 Day in Japan because, you know, 4/4. The “holiday” was started by Mercedes-Benz of Japan as a marketing exercise in 2016 to promote the G-Wagen. Funnily enough, it doesn’t appear to be a thing even in Germany, which clearly doesn’t love number puns as much as Japan (the Japanese word for “four” is shi, and so it is also officially C.C. Lemon Day). In any case, today seemed like the perfect time to ask:
What’s your favorite 4×4 vehicle?
The best comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “Can Mitsubishi Motors be saved?“.
The answers this week were as well-written as they were varied. If the powers that be at Mitsubishi Motors are reading, here’s some advice, free of charge.
CycoPablo suggested they lean into their WRC and electrification know-how, which is probably the best way to build a brand people care about. If it’s just about numbers, Jeremy A. believes the key is small cars, which may not be a bad idea if gas prices stay the way they are. Similarly, Mark Newton-John wrote that as long as they stay the cheaper alternative they will manage to tread water. Saii says what we all want, a new Evo.
Meanwhile, BlitzPig flipped the question on its head by asking not can it be saved, but should it be. Legacy-san offered a unique comparison to Chrysler and its similar fall from grace. Shaun wants to rally the JNC community, which would be great. If we all pool our money we could probably afford it.
Out of all the pitches we think Natedog‘s is the best. Mitsubishi was known for small pickups and the world seemingly can’t get enough of them right now. With Hyundai Santa Cruzes, Ford Mavericks, and a new Nissan Frontier reinvigorating the market and the evergreen Toyota Tacoma hot as ever, Mitsubishi could re-instate the Mighty Max. They even have the product for it already elsewhere in the world. Mitsubishi, take this man’s advice!
I believe that they could save themselves, if they would look more at the recipe of the late 80s to early 90’s. There is still a market for an affordable 2 door hatch, from a base model up to a small turbo’d performance model. I was hopeful when the Mirage was reintroduced that they would go down that path, but instead all 4 door, and the build quality was not there in the one I drove.
Another overlooked possibility is a small two door pickup (yes I’m harping on 2 door vehicles today). Many people could use a small truck still, and don’t need room for 4+ people all the time.
I always inspect the new vehicles they are churning out when purchasing parts from the dealership. It seems they have lost the way, just take a look at that abomination the Eclipse Cross…
Omedetou, your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop!
My favorite 4×4 vehicle has to be my two 4×4 Mazda 323GTX’s. It says 4 wheel drive right there on the front fender, and has a locking center diff with drive axles to all four wheels. It is faster on gravel roads, and especially snow covered roads, than any 4X4 “truck”, is lighter and is a hell of a lot more fun to drive fast than any truck ever could be!
I relly like the Subaru Justy J10. My father had a 1990 Justy and he said you could drive it everywhere. He literally drove it on an unused rally stage in the snow, because the road was blocked. also the Japanese commerical was great: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tg0bUU-IOGw
My favorite would be one that actually drives all four wheels not just a wheel on each axle. So Toyota Land Cruisers have had that option available but not all Land Cruisers have locking rear ends. I am fairly fond of my 2010 Supercharged Tundra with ARB Lockers on the front and rear axles but my favorite is neither of the two mentioned. My favorite for on road travel especially in snow country was my wife’s 2004 Toyota Sienna 4×4 Limited Mini Van. With a set of stud-less snow tires that was by far the best vehicle I have driven in snow.
Once we were heading home In the mini van from the valley up CA 32 E to CA 36 E. We had been in un plowed snow of approximately 6 inches for about 45 miles and we had not seen a vehicle in that entire time. As we waited at the intersection for the only vehicle we had seen while turning onto CA 36 a Land Rover with chains on all four wheels goes by. I pulled out behind him. Drove behind him until the first straight away and stepped on the go peddle and passed him. I always hoped that driver had his best friend sitting in the passenger seat next to him so he could always be there to remind the driver of the time they were in the Land Rover with all four wheels chained up and a mini van passed them. Good Times. My family was laughing.
My current 2007 FJ Cruiser with a correct 4WD shift lever, no buttons or switches. This vehicle is bullet proof, except for the potential rusty frame!
My favorite 4×4 is the first generation 4runner. I owned one. An ’87.
My friend needed a vehicle to daily and I had a ’79 Toyota pickup that wasn’t being used. He had an ’87 4runner that had a new high flow head sitting in the passenger seat and no transportation for work. I offered my truck for his project. A 1st gen 4runner was on my car bucket list.
Once I finished the head install and other minor missing parts I put it on the road. That real-SUV was rattle can white with a black top and blue interior. It was riding on 31inch swampers and had the acceleration of a brick in sand. But due to its gutless 22re and oversized tires, it could crawl up inclines allowing me to “ghost ride the whip”. I really did get out and walk next to it…in Mexico of course. Anyway, after I installed the CB radio and 12ish foot antenna on the rear bumper it definitely gave off domestic-terrorist-cosplay vibes. My NRA and Equality decals didn’t help the crazy appearance cause much.
I had to sell the 4runner to another owner because it was unsafe to use as a daily driver with my kids in the back as I tried to merge onto the interstates. And my gas mileage was worse than my ’74 Sedan deVille with a 7.7L v8.
Yes, I would own it again. Yes, there are plenty in my FB marketplace saved list. I miss my 4runner. (Boyz 2 Men playing in the background as I type)
My Suzuki Samurai Hardtop is hands down the best 4×4 I’ve ever owned. It’s a lot more practical than people may think. You can load 8′ lumber inside & parallel park in the city in some ridiculous spots.
There are a lot awesome 4×4.
But one of my favorite ones overall, Isuzu Vehicross.
While I have never owned one, the stories that I have heard, the fact that served in varying roles, from ambulances, to tow trucks, to supply trucks (and pretty much about any other role you stuck it in), was copied/manufactured in different countries, and I believe it was the kick-off car to the modern off-road scene, the Willys Jeep take the spot for me.
I considered Toyota Tercel, Lite-ace or early Stout, but then I realised 4×4 apparently peaked in 1989 – we had Nissan Bluebird, Mitsubishi Galant VR4 thing or whatever, Pajero 2-dr, Hi-Lux Surf and Subaru Leone – all on my list – I even like the Mazda Scrum from that era!
I was almost going to say any late 70’s Mitsubishi Jeep hard-top but will stick with my favourite – the very earnest-looking and confusingly-named 82 Isuzu Bighorn.
It definitely has to be the Suzuki Samurai.
What other car has a manual to deal with entry and exit angles? If any car was intentionally created to be 4×4, that was the samurai, sj 410 sj 413, santana.
The Andes mountain range here in South America should have a Suzuki flag.
The good guy’s car in the movie was a Samurai, the Bolivian police (trying to make up a lawsuit for bribery) had an 80 series Land Cruiser.
What is the 4×4 car that was valued the most these years? there you have the answer.
I also love Toyota Carib 4wd.