4-Wheel & Off-Road was published by Petersen Publishing. It was dedicated to 4x4s and off-road trucks and sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Like its competitors, content included 4x4 performance modifications and technical "how-to's", off-road event coverage such as the Baja 500 and 1000, new vehicle evaluations, product evaluations, and travel and lifestyle stories.
This was a full format monthly magazine that competed against other similar titles such as Four Wheeler, Off-Road and Pickup Van and 4WD. Editorial staff were real innovators and kept content fresh with new ideas and features. These included:
- The Nuts and Bolts Q&A technical column started in July, 1978
- The 4x4 of the Year award starting in 1983
- Industry news column Drivelines started in November, 1987
- Use of "themed" issues such as "Ugly is In", "Jeep Thrills" and "Dare to be Different" in the 1980s
- Covering the emerging trend of beater trucks with "Ugly Reader Rides" starting in August, 1992
- De-emphasizing show trucks and focusing on real world trucks starting in 1994
- Introduced rock buggies in January, 2000, and,
- The annual "Ultimate Adventure" series that began in February, 2000.
The editors and staff rode a wave of changes as the title moved through various new owners. In 1998, the Petersen companies were sold to EMAP PLC to form EMAP-Petersen. Two years later, EMAP sold the Petersen titles to Primedia for $515 million. And then in 2007, Primedia sold its Enthusiast Media division to Source Interlink Media for $1.2 billion. Source Interlink evolved to The Enthusiast Network (2014) and then become the Motor Trend Group in 2018. The title ended in print form in 2019.
Petersen provided net paid circulation data to Oxbridge Communication's compendium from 1991 to 2005 (the last year for which we have data). Annual print volume ranged from 550,000 to 900,000.
The magazine was printed from March, 1978 to December, 2019, but only images through 2000 are complete.