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The best V8 four-wheel drives on sale

There are plenty of options when looking for a 4WD, but only some four-wheel drives offer up V8 power.

With the launch party for Toyota’s new LandCruiser 300 Series approaching, we’ve been pondering what the smaller engine replacement will be like. Not that we can fully confirm, but it seems that the best we’ll get is a turbo diesel V6 substituting the current V8 diesel turbo.

This also has us celebrating how great some of the current crop of V8 four-wheel drives on the market is, but that also – and unfortunately – a long-lasting future for such beasts is in trouble. Indeed, sales of the 200 Series are booming as buyers grab the last of the V8 ‘Cruiser before it’s gone, but also sales of rivals like the facelifted Nissan Patrol are healthy.

So what are the best V8 4WDs you can buy on the market today?

Off-road capable, family-friendly V8 4WDs

Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series

Engine: 4.5-litre turbo V8 diesel

Power/torque: 200kW/650Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 9.5L/100km

Needn’t much be said about the car that hasn’t been said before. An icon on the road whether you’re parked up in Balmain or towing a caravan to Birdsville, the Toyota LandCruiser is the only V8 diesel on this list except for its cousin, the 70 Series. Both are great, and both serve very different purposes.

Nissan Patrol

Engine: 5.6-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol

Power/torque: 298kW/560Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 14.4L/100km

Not one to let the LandCruiser enjoy all of the glory, the Patrol is also ubiquitous in four-wheel drive circles around our great land, though the new Patrol eschews any form of diesel drivetrain, offering only the one, big, thumping V8 petrol engine. It still remains popular for touring, towing and off-roading (though we have an inkling that a potential Warrior version will be the real off-road king).

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Engine: 5.7-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol

Power/torque: 259kW/520Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 13L/100km

It’s getting long in the tooth now (and the incoming new Grand Cherokee will fix that), but Jeep’s Grand Cherokee is one of the four-wheel drives that has offered V8 power the longest. While the specs above are for the S-Limited, there’s also the wild child Grand Cherokee Trackhawk above even the SRT, which uses a 6.2-litre supercharged V8 petrol producing a mind-melding 522kW and 868Nm in the large SUV with four-wheel drive capability – more power and torque than even Mercedes-AMG’s G 63.

Big V8 utes

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Engine: 6.2-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol

Power/torque: 313kW/624Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 12.3L/100km

The newcomer in Australia on the American pickup scene (there’s also the RAM 1500 which is a bit older, though cheaper, and the next-gen replacement is coming), the Silverado 1500 is packed full of new tech and a wonderfully creamy V8 engine. It’s huge inside too, and a great workhorse that proved capable when off-roading, though it will benefit from better tyres if you do want to get it dirty.

LandCruiser 70 Series

Engine: 4.5-litre turbo V8 diesel

Power/torque: 151kW/430Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 10.7L/100km

The Aussie mining industry’s workhorse of choice for decades (and the Snowy Hydro Scheme’s choice over fifty years ago – though it was the FJ25, the grandfather of the 70 Series), this is the cockroach of V8 4WD utes and wagons, capable of resurrecting itself from just about any dire situation and driving back across the country again. This gets a detuned version of the 4.5L engine in the 200 Series.

Luxury V8 four-wheel drives

Mercedes-AMG G-Class

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 petrol

Power/torque: 430kW/850Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 13.1L/100km

Mercedes-Benz’s Gelandenwagen (terrain vehicle), or simply G-Wagen, enjoys a history dating back to 1979. But unlike the original which included a modest 2.0-litre petrol motor up front, the latest generation G 63 is impregnated with AMG’s bonkers 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 that’s the reserve for flagship performance cars. This gives it terrifyingly-fun power and torque while it still remains one of the most capable off-roaders.

Range Rover

Engine: 5.0-litre supercharged V8 petrol

Power/torque: 386kW/625Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 12.8L/100km

The choice of many posh estate owners, the Ranger Rover is filled with opulence and luxury yet designed to perform off-road, just like it has done for decades. The supercharged V8 is particularly boisterous yet suits it well, and as we understand that same engine could make its way underneath the bonnet of the new Land Rover Defender, which would certainly be on this list.

Lexus LX

Engine: 5.7-litre naturally-aspirated V8 petrol

Power/torque: 270kW/530Nm

Fuel consumption combined: 14.4L/100km

The Japanese rival to the Nissan Patrol, the Lexus is endowed with a little more plush luxury and refinement, though it is still quite capable off the beaten track.

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Alex Rae

Alex Rae