Off-Road Traction Tech
Dodge Ram Power Wagon: Old-fashioned 4x4, with manual-shift 2.72:1 low range and no super-sensored, computer-controlled traction strategy. But there are electronic switches for locking the front and rear lockers, and, to keep you out of the dirt at both ends of the trail, an electronically disconnectable anti-roll bar. That means no more unhooking and reconnecting the bar yourself, while providing maximum articulation for the front end. In addition, the anti-lock brakes switch to a different algorithm for off-road braking when in low range. And finally, if all else fails, a 12,000-pound Warn winch is standard with the Power Wagon package.

Jeep Grand Cherokee: Jeep's Quadra-Drive II features an electronic paddle-shifted 2.72:1 low range with a variable center differential that can go from completely open to completely locked through an electronically controlled clutch pack. Front and rear diffs are similarly controlled, continuously providing the maximum traction to each axle shaft without crow-hopping during tight turns. The result is more traction than a four-wheeler with tires this small (the smallest of the bunch) has a right to enjoy. Electronic stability control is available.

Hummer H3: The H3's primary feature of interest is an available tractorlike 4.03:1 low-range gear in the transfer case for incredible control during low-speed rockcrawling. A more conventional 2.64:1 low range is standard equipment. The full-time four-wheel-drive system can be manually shifted between high and low ranges, with a neutral setting for towing. Locking center and rear differentials help put all the H3's power to the large 33-inch BFGs. Electronic traction control will adjust throttle and braking, depending on gear and speed.

Land Rover LR3: Purists imagine that solid axles and locking diffs are all a good driver needs for off-roading, but Terrain Response has made a quantum leap the world of four-wheel-drive technology. Adjustable ride heights, sophisticated traction control, hill descent, automatic locking differentials, and a screen that keeps you informed on all the technology you paid for, are just a few of the impressive pieces of the LR3.

Almost too many variables to list are automatically controlled and adjusted with a twist of a console-mounted knob--not to mention it has one of the best crawl ratios around.