1. It's based on a rear-wheel-drive platform.

If you want to separate the poseur 4x4s from the credible ones, the first thing to investigate is which end of the vehicle handles the power. Any 4x4 that's based on a rear-wheel-drive setup will be solid – when you don't have to cram the whole transmission and engine under the front end, everything can be more robust. At its price range, the Dodge Durango is one of the last badasses that ride on a rear-drive platform. We happened to be driving a Hemi Durango during a winter storm that flooded our road; the Durango plunged into and plowed through the water without hesitation. The same could not be said of a few other so-called utility vehicles being pulled from the drink by a tow truck.