Buy it or Build it?

- Business · Cars · Consumer Goods · Jeep Wrangler · General Purpose · Renault 4 · Ford Motor Company · Ford F-Series

It’s a war be­tween the fac­tory op­tions vs cus­tom builds.

In re­cent years we’ve seen the rise of trucks and the de­cline of sedans. As trucks and SUVs con­tinue to be­come more pop­u­lar, and man­u­fac­tur­ers seek to im­prove sales and mar­gins, we see more off-road trims with ac­com­pa­ny­ing per­for­mance prom­ises. The man­u­fac­tur­ers want a larger share of the after­mar­ket parts and ac­ces­sory pie for them­selves and their deal­ers.

For the most part though, they have only de­liv­ered mun­dane off-road trim lev­els, with­out a sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance im­prove­ment. A new paint colour here and a new badge there. The most no­table ex­cep­tion is the re­cently re­leased Jeep Wran­gler Ru­bi­con 392, which added some se­ri­ous per­for­mance by shoe horn­ing in a 6.4L Hemi V8 to re­place the 3.6L Pen­tas­tar V6. We also ap­plaud Ford for the Bronco’s ini­tial trans­mis­sion and sus­pen­sion of­fer­ings; Ram for in­tro­duc­ing the TRX ver­sion of the Ram 1500; and most re­cently Ford de­liv­er­ing the F-150 Tre­mor.

The ad­van­tages of buy­ing the fac­tory op­tioned trims in­clude the op­por­tu­nity to get all the truck you want in one pay­ment with usu­ally a low fac­tory-fi­nanced in­ter­est rate, plus a fac­tory-war­ranty for all the up­grades (with­out con­cern for negat­ing your fac­tory war­ranty with mod­i­fi­ca­tions) while get­ting all this in a brand new 4x4, in­stead of in­her­it­ing some­one else’s prob­lems.

On the other foot, mod­i­fy­ing a used ve­hi­cle lets you build to your spe­cific dreams and de­sires. You only put your money into the mods that you want, to the ex­tent you want – 2-inch or 6-inch lift, 33-inch or 44-inch tires. And you build as you have the cash – in­ter­est free (my favourite four-let­ter word). It can of­ten be a lit­tle like a home ren­o­va­tion. You start with a plan, which then typ­i­cally veers off course and bud­get as you and your bud­dies say to your­selves, “We’ve come this far al­ready, so we may as well add …”. Nev­er­the­less, the re­sult is a unique-to-you, cus­tom built 4WD that has a greater pride of own­er­ship than an off-the-lot pur­chase.

Let’s take a look at the top fac­tory Jeep Ru­bi­con 392 and the Ford F-150 Tre­mor and see how they stack up against cus­tom builds. We’ve thrown ‘af­ford­able’ out the prover­bial win­dow, since new top-of-line 4x4s are not cheap, but nei­ther are our cus­tom builds. See­ing what can be bought or built may help you choose or plan your next 4WD.

 ??  ?? The au­thor’s third op­tion. Buy new and then mod­ify it. Def­i­nitely not ‘af­ford­able.’
The au­thor’s third op­tion. Buy new and then mod­ify it. Def­i­nitely not ‘af­ford­able.’

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