Top 10 Best 4x4s Four Wheel Drives
Australia is a big country and a great one to explore. However, it takes a great vehicle to reach all corners. Ideally, you need a dedicated 4x4. Here are the top 10 best 4x4s currently available in Australia.
Mitsubishi Challenger - from $42,490-$49,990
The Challenger is one of the very best off-road vehicles money can buy. Its heavy-duty drivetrain with lockable front, centre and rear differentials means it can pull through and over just about anything. Wading depth is 600mm, with an impressive ground clearance of 220mm. It's also quite family-friendly inside, with a clutter-free interior layout, ample legroom front and rear, and a big cargo area which is perfect for packing away the tent and sleeping bags. To top it off, Mitsubishi offers a five-year/130,000km warranty, which is unrivalled in this class.
Isuzu MU-X - from $40,500-$53,500
Based on the Holden Colorado 7, or, more accurately, based on a GM-developed chassis and made in Thailand, like the Holden, the MU-X is virtually a robust 4x4 ute that's been transformed into a practical seven-seat off-road wagon. It misses out on some of the more serious components that the rivals get, such as locking diffs and sophisticated all-wheel drive systems, but it makes up for that with a great entry price, interior practicality and space, and a decent array of standard features. With a single engine option - a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel - the lineup is easy to fathom. You can opt for manual or auto transmissions. The MU-X starting price is around $7000 lower than the almost identical Holden Colorado 7 entry price.
Jeep Wrangler - from $33,000-$50,000
Everyone knows what a Wrangler is. The shape has been around for over 50 years, originating from the classic general purpose - GP, nicknamed Jeep - vehicle which was used in the army. Nowadays, it's much more modern inside, and available with a touch-screen interface, sat-nav, and even a plush leather upholstery with heated seats if so desires. Two engine variants are on offer in Australia, including a powerful 3.6-litre petrol V6 and a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel. Underneath, it features a robust ladder-type chassis with live axle suspension. The approach angle is an impressive 35 degrees, with a 28-degree departure angle.
Toyota Prado - from $55,990-$92,120
Often the best-selling vehicle in the large, below $70,000 segment, the Prado is perfect for families and perfect for mild to semi-serious off-road journeys. In traditional Toyota fashion, the cabin is all about user-friendliness and practicality. Whether you go for the up-market Kakadu or the base model GX, you get a lot of standard features and a great mechanical package.
Range Rover - from $168,130-$261,600
Even though the Range Rover Sport is the more popular vehicle in Australia, partly due to its cheaper price point and more appealing lower profile design, the proper Range Rover, which is a little bit bigger, is a real off-road vehicle that's been engineered to conquer very rugged terrain. It's got over 40 years of heritage backing it. Some variants come with electronic height adjustable air suspension, while all come with an advanced Terrain Response all-wheel drive system which is capable of adapting to various off-road conditions. On top of this, it is one of the finest vehicles on the market in terms of luxury. When you first drive one off road it can be quite a surreal experience conquering demanding terrain while being seated in such a comfortable and pampering in-car environment. You do have to pay for such a combination though. Prices are steep.
Toyota FJ Cruiser - $47,990
Styled to look like a modern interpretation of the old FJ40 LandCruiser, the FJ Cruiser is a cracking off-road vehicle. It has a funky exterior design while inside it's packaged together as a modern yet rugged vehicle. All of the controls are big and chunky in a semi-comical way, yet everything you want is there. In the back is a massive 790 litres of cargo capacity, with two 12V sockets, and in the cabin the passengers get a touch-screen interface with sat-nav as standard. If you're planning on going off road, chances are, the FJ is better prepared than you are. It offers 224mm of ground clearance, a 36-degree approach angle and 31-degree departure angle. Power is plentiful thanks to the 200kW V6 petrol engine up front. For really tough conditions there is a driving mode called A-Trac, which is essentially a locking centre differential.
Ford Kuga - from $27,990-$47,740
Most proper 4x4 vehicles are quite large, however, the Ford Kuga is small to medium in size yet it is quite capable when the going gets rough. It can be had in front-wheel drive but full-time all-wheel drive is available too. The Kuga AWD loves clambering over rocks and forging through muddy tracks, with a very smart all-wheel drive system directing power to the wheels with the most traction. There's also chunky 235mm tyres, and a 192.9mm ground clearance which is actually better than the bigger Ford Territory (175mm). Buyers can select between an economical 1.6-litre EcoBoost turbo four-cylinder petrol or a 2.0-litre TDCi turbo-diesel.
Volkswagen Touareg - from $63,990-$114,990
Based on Volkswagen Group's large 'PL71' SUV platform - also shared with the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q7 - the Touareg is fitted with an almost overwhelming array of off-road technologies and bits and pieces. The mid-spec V6 TDI comes with electronic height adjustable suspension which can lift the body from 160mm to a whopping 300mm. This, as you will appreciate, is an enormous amount of ground clearance. The driver can also select between various driving modes, including a centre diff lock mode. Unfortunately, the mid-spec model comes with 20-inch alloy wheels and low profile tyres. This combination isn't ideal for off-roading - ask to option for smaller wheels with bigger tyres at the dealer for ultimate 4x4 readiness.
Toyota LandCruiser - from $58,790-$119,165
It's impossible and downright disrespectful to talk about 4x4s without mentioned the LandCruiser. It's a nameplate that's been around now for over 60 years. In Australia, the LandCruiser is the biggest and most serious off-road vehicle Toyota offers. It can be had with either a twin-turbo-diesel V8 or a 227kW 4.6-litre petrol V8. Top-spec models come with everything from a limited-slip centre differential with locking functions, a 700mm water wading depth, and up to four external cameras so you can see exactly where you are going and what rock you are driving over. It's also huge inside, but it is pricey.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland - from $67,000-$72,000
Jeep has come a long way in Australia. In fact, it has come so far that it now overtakes our own Aussie-made Ford Territory in terms of sales. Yes, that's right, the Grand Cherokee is currently the best-selling vehicle in its segment. It boasts strong, muscular looks on the outside, and, if you go for the Overland variant, you get a very comprehensive 4x4 package. The Overland comes with a Quadra-Drive II four-wheel drive system as well as Quadra-Lift air suspension to raise the body to clear the harshest of conditions. It's available with either a 3.0-litre turbo-diesel, a 3.6-litre petrol V6, or a 5.7-litre V8. Prices are quite respectable for the amount of car you're getting.