Originally Posted by prairie tuber
Real 4x4s have solid front axles.
Generally I would agree for most off road roles. As always it is horses for courses. There is no perfect setup all round. For general use a solid axle setup is tough to beat, however there are exceptions. None of the Rallye raide overall winners are using solid axles and they are certainly doing some severe 4x4 stuff. The Humvee has independent suspension all round and manages to clamber about off road pretty well (providing it isn't operating in a confined space).
Most of the top range SUV's have independent suspension all round and with the advances in technology with traction and suspension control, can be surprisingly capable off road. Usually the tyres become the limiting factor with the trend towards huge rims and low profile tyres.
When I prepare expedition vehicles I usually use the Toyota 80 series Land Cruiser as the base. They are the best platform if you want a comfortable, capable, reliable vehicle that will do the business all day long and is big enough to lug some equipment or sleep in the back of. The next generation went independent on the front and it is not as good off road in my opinion.