Buy it or Build it?


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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