Perfect for the school run, but equally at home pulling a caravan on gnarly terrain. Few cars offer the practicality and versatility of a big off-road SUV. So it’s no wonder Aussies are buying them in record numbers.

Anyone familiar with this market will be aware that sales are dominated by Toyota and its various LandCruiser models. But 2022 sees the launch of some pretty exciting cars that should give the mighty Toyota a run for its money.

So what are the 7 best 4WDs available in 2022? Here we’ll provide you with a quick rundown of the most exciting models available.

1. Nissan Patrol Ti-L

Nissan’s top-spec model Ti-L has been given an exterior facelift and aims to steal a piece of the LandCruiser market with a starting price of $95,000. Aussie road trippers tend to swear by the LandCruiser, but it might be worth taking a closer look at the enormous Nissan SUV this time around.

Boasting a 5.6 litre V8 powertrain accompanied by a seven-speed automatic transmission, it lets out a satisfying roar when putting the foot down. And even though some concerns were raised regarding petrol consumption, you are likely to average around 14 litres per 100 km, which drops further if only driving on flat roads.

To prove its contender position, the Nissan Ti-L is lifted to a massive 272 mm of clearance and is fitted with plentiful off-road functions to ensure a smooth and confident ride on all terrains. You are also able to tow up to 3.5 tonnes of trailer weight.

Moving to the interior, the front seats are incredibly soft and cushioned, with the leather continuing to most surfaces that are not decked with a dark wood grain. The centre dashboard is functionally focused with tactile buttons that are a preference to some, but the inside looks generally dated, however not displeasing. Flicking the rear-view mirror switch reveals a practical digital camera, but your parking awareness is slightly hindered by low quality parking cameras.


Terrain versatility

Towing capacity

Comfortable seating position


Dated interior

Varying tech quality

Limited third row space

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2. Toyota LandCruiser Prado VX

It’s clear Toyota has paid attention to the driver’s comfort in the Prado VX model, with solid insulation from vibration, crunching of rocks and branches, and engine noise. The Prado’s fuel economy has also visibly improved thanks to the new 4-cylinder engine, which packs a serious punch when you mash the throttle.

Although still carrying the mommy’s school bus label, it is a capable piece of machinery with great traction and ground clearance ready to take you through most heavy terrain roads. The 19” alloy wheels combined with two-speed transfer case and locking rear and centre differentials makes the Prado VX an off-roader you can put your trust in.

Especially since all four Prado variations come equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission powered by a 2.8-litre turbo diesel engine. With this kind of force you can tow up to 3,000kg with confidence.

Inside the cabin you pretty much get what you expect of a higher-end Toyota, however it is not up to the Lexus standard of premium quality. It offers tri-zone climate control, leather throughout, 9.0” infotainment screen, and a 14-speaker audio setup from JBL. The leather-accented front seats are fitted with heating and cooling systems, and the interior is generally very spacious and comfortable.

The LandCruiser Prado is available in four variants, here listed in increasing spec order, starting with the only five-seater GX, followed by strictly seven-seat versions, GXL, VX, and the top model Kakadu. The VX is available at $77,157 (plus on-roads).



Off-road capability

Elegant styling


Fuel economy

High centre of gravity increases body roll


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3. Land Rover Defender

The reboot of the Land Rover Defender finally landed on Australian shores in February 2021. With its cool retro styling, the new model takes inspiration from the 1960s original. But can it cut it as a daily driver in the 21st century?

Well, yes it can. The handling, both on and off-road, is nothing short of a revelation. The chassis remains composed on all road surfaces and the air suspension rides over bumps like they’re not there.

Power is delivered by a choice of petrol and diesel engines. The 3.0 litre in-line six diesel engine is available in three outputs ranging from 147kW to 220kW. The petrol engines include a 221kW four-cylinder P300 and the 294 kW six-cylinder P400.

Inside the Defender has been designed with practicality in mind. The plastics are tough and durable. While the dashboard and doors are covered in a durable fabric. While it's certainly functional, it doesn't feel like a car costing nearly $80,000.


Excellent ride

Great off-road

Powerful engines

Retro design


The third row of seats is tiny

Some interior plastics feel cheap

Build quality not up to Japanese standards

4. Ford Ranger XLT

After a much anticipated release, the Ford Ranger is freshly updated and confidently delivers on the 4WD expectations of a 2022 model. The old version is still far from counted out having retained the massively popular spot as the number two most sold vehicle.

The XLT variant boasts a 2.0L bi-turbo diesel V6 engine running through a 10-speed auto transmission, with the option to upgrade to the big banger 3.0L powertrain. The ride quality has clearly improved, moving smoother, quieter and stronger than before.

Knowing perfectly well how Aussies use the Ranger, Ford has made sure to include multiple off-road features for varying terrain and does not compromise on the towing capacity either – 3.5 tonnes at your disposal. All complimented by rear disc brakes and capable 17-inch alloy wheels.

Stepping inside the cabin unveils a technologically revamped interior, and it definitely shows. The 10.1-inch infotainment system touch sensitive and compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. In addition, your gauge cluster is now fully digital giving off a severely upgraded feel compared to the not-so-modern previous model. It even feels roomier in the back thanks to a smart utilisation of materials and a 50mm expansion in both directions.


Towing capacity

Clever off-road features

Tray fits a euro pallet


No manual variant

Some infotainment glitches have been reported

Discover Ford Ranger Listings From $33.12 Per Week

5. Toyota Hilux SR5

The national best-seller is an undeniable workhorse that satisfies in most arenas, but in true spirit rides better when it’s put to work, either with a bit of weight on the back-axle, employing the 3.5 tonne towing capacity, or rolling through rough terrain.

The powertrain is a 2.8L turbo diesel 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, which will fascinate some enthusiasts as most competitors are phasing out the stick shift option. Decked out with 18-inch alloy wheels and rear differential locks, the SR5 screams confidence when commanding it through mud or rugged rocks.

Jam-packed with driving safety systems such as pedestrian detection, pre-collision safety system, and road sign assist, the top-spec HiLux is determined to keep you protected. A dent in its glory is the complicated dashboard and infotainment system, which somehow already looks a tad old. Compared to rival utes like the Ranger, this SR5 feels slightly cramped, which adds to the negatives of the cabin.


Off-road confidence

Powerful workhorse

Toyota reliability


Complex infotainment system

Not as roomy as its category rivals

Slightly expensive

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6. Isuzu MU-X LS-T

The Isuzu MU-X has become a popular choice for towing, off-roading, and value for money over the years. The sticker price has crept up noticeably with the latest model, but it is still an option to consider for the adventuring family.

Sporting a reliable 3.0L turbo diesel 6-speed transmission with a capable 3.5 tonne towing capacity, it just about compares with other top-spec models in the category. Clamping the throttle will not generate shocking G-force, but it runs smooth, quiet, and handles comfortable both on- and off-road.

Ample 4WD modes combined with a 235mm of ground clearance and differential locks set the stage for an adequate off-roading feel, and the MU-X definitely delivers in this department. With a careful tyre selection, you can direct this machine at almost any terrain surface and come out unscathed on the other side.

Isuzu has really paid attention to detail when it comes to interior, providing abundant soft touch surfaces unlike most competitors. The incorporation of digital and analogue functions is perfectly intuitive, and it seems like they got this mix just right. Other than a strange amount of blank buttons by the gear console, the MU-X interior is surprisingly nice.



Comfortable interior

Genuine off-roader


Engine lacks the “umph” expected in top range models

Not as affordable as before

Browse Isuzu MU-X Listings On Cartopia

7. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

The Pajero Sport sits above the midsize Outlander but below the recently discontinued Pajero in Mitsubishi’s lineup. That makes it a kind of super mid-size SUV. But despite being smaller than some rivals it can still seat seven comfortably in three rows of seats.

The Pajero Sport is built on the same platform as the Triton Ute. This means it’s powered by a 2.4-litre four-cylinder diesel engine. But unlike the Triton, it is connected to a new 8-speed automatic gearbox.

On the road, the engine provides smooth power delivery. But performance is not a match for other V6-powered SUVs. The compensation for this is an extremely frugal 8L/100km fuel consumption.

But the real reason for buying the Pajero Sport is the car's excellent off-road ability. The high ground clearance, long suspension travel and short overhangs. All work to make this one of the most accomplished SUVs off-road.


Excellent off-road ability

Fuel-efficient engines

Value for money

Easy to drive


Noisy engine

Small boot

Check Out The Best 4WDs For The Outback

Final thoughts

You can see from the 7 cars listed here that anyone in the market for a 4WD has plenty of options. But which one is right for you? Well, your budget will play a big part in the decision. After that, you need to think about how and where you intend to use the car.

A big 4WD is not the best option for driving in the city. So a smaller car like the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport makes a lot of sense here. The Pajero is small enough to drive around town but can still be driven off-road when you need to.

For buyers in the country, the new Toyota LandCruiser remains the king of the hill. This car is built to survive in the toughest environments. So should have no problem dealing with rough roads, dry heat and dirt of the outback.

But what if you are based in the country but are close to town? Well, the new Land Rover Defender is worth considering. The new Defender is a very capable car both on and off-road. The only thing that lets it down is the rather limited dealer network compared to Toyota.

For a great deal on financing your new purchase, contact Australia's best reviewed finance broker on 1300 Credit (1300 273 348) today or visit

Jordan Ballard

Jordan Ballard

Automotive Content Editor

Jordan is a car finance and automotive industry specialist at Only Cars. With over 20 years of experience with frontline and management roles in sales, finance and other areas, Jordan has an incredible understanding of the automotive industry. As Automotive Content Editor, Jordan loves sharing his passion for cars with the Only Cars audience.