These all pack eight cylinders and a bit of luxury.
We were already impressed by the mild-hybrid inline-six, but the 2022 Land Rover Defender ups the ante with a newly available 5.0-liter turbocharged V8. This latest Defender variant produces a whopping 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque, which can rocket the two-door 90 model to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. There is only one major issue with the V8 Land Rover Defender; it's not cheap.
Pricing for the Defender 90 V8 starts at $97,200, and the Defender 110 V8 is even more expensive at $100,400. There are many more affordable ways to buy a V8 off-roader, including the new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392, but we wanted to look at some much cheaper used options. In honor of the V8, we've chosen eight affordable off-road vehicles for less than half the Defender's price.
Our first choice keeps with the Land Rover badge while keeping the practicality. The 2010 to 2016 LR4 (also known as the Discovery 4) is a substantial off-roader in its own right. Land Rover stopped offering the 5.0-liter V8 model after the 2013 model year, so you will need to find an early example unless you want to settle for the 3.0-liter supercharged V6. With 375 hp, the LR4 won't keep up with the Defender in a straight line, but it offers similar comfort, luxury, off-road ability, and seven seats.
High-mileage LR4 examples can be found under $10,000, but we recommend finding a well-sorted one in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. These vehicles are now outside their warranty period though, so be ready for expensive maintenance.
As we mentioned, Jeep will finally offer the Wrangler will a V8 engine option. But since that model is still brand-new, we stuck with the more conventional Grand Cherokee, specifically the Trailhawk. Jeep introduced the Trailhawk in the 2017 model year as the most rugged, trail-rated version of the Grand Cherokee. We could have opted for the sportier SRT8 model on this budget, but that Grand Cherokee isn't as well-suited for off-roading.
Jeep offers the Trailhawk with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, but for this list, we recommend getting the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 360 hp. It would be possible to buy two new Trailhawks for the price of one Defender V8, but on the used market, they are even more affordable. We found used Hemi examples starting in the mid-$20,000 range, topping at around $45,000 for a basically new model.
Few off-road vehicles match the Defender's iconic status, but the Toyota Land Cruiser gets pretty close. Famed for its reliability and off-road capability, the Toyota Land Cruiser and its Lexus LX counterpart are among the best SUVs money can buy. Both come powered by a 5.7-liter V8 producing around 380 hp. While going older is always an option, we like the 2008-2015 models before Lexus went too crazy with the spindle grilles. The LX has a slightly nicer interior than the Land Cruiser, but neither is considered spartan. High-mileage examples start in the mid-$20,000 range, and nicer ones can reach over $50,000.
Often overshadowed by the LX, the Lexus GX is a pretty capable luxury off-roader as well. Aside from styling tweaks, the second-generation GX 460 has been mostly unchanged since it arrived on the market in 2010. As with the LX, we believe the GX became progressively uglier as Lexus added its spindle grille, which is why we'd opt for a 2013 model or older here. No matter what, the GX 460 uses a 4.6-liter V8 producing 301 hp. Prices begin around $15,000 for a high-mileage GX, and the nicest pre-spindle grille models we found top out at around $35,000.
Toyota doesn't currently offer its 4Runner SUV with a V8 engine, but it did back in the model's fourth-generation from 2003 to 2009. The 4.6-liter V8 engine produces 235 hp originally but was increased to 268 hp from the 2005 model with variable valve timing. This is the only generation of 4Runner to offer a V8 option, making them quite interesting in the used market despite not being from the most sought-after generation. We found high-mileage beaters for less than $5,000, but a clean example can command over $20,000.
The Ford F-150 Raptor is the only dedicated pickup truck on our list because we believe it transcends its body style with a legendary status that will yield collectibility someday. Ford promises it will bring back the V8 option with a Raptor R model in the future, but the first-generation Raptor will always be collectible because the second- and third-generation models use a less throaty twin-turbo V6. The original Raptor shipped with a 5.4-liter V8 producing 310 hp, but it's the 411-hp 6.2-liter, which became standard as of 2011, that will be collectible.
Prices for these trucks range dramatically based on mileage from around $20,000 to over $60,000. A really nice but not pristine one should command around $40,000.
It doesn't get much more iconic than a Hummer, which is why the H2 makes our list. This was the symbol of American excess in the mid-2000s, and so long as gas prices remain low relative to the rest of the world, used values on these have remained surprisingly high. Aftermarket companies love decking these cars out with expensive options, with some charging well over $70,000 for low-mileage examples.
Relatively well-kept examples start around $15,000, but we highly suggest opting for one of the later ones from 2008 or 2009. The early models used a sluggish 6.0-liter V8 with 325 hp mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, while the later models received a 6.2-liter V8 with 392 hp and a six-speed transmission.
We wrap up our list with one of the most iconic off-roaders of them all, the Mercedes-Benz G-Class. Mercedes officially started selling G-Wagens here in the United States starting in 2002, and many are now very affordable. The G-Class is iconic because it looked the same for decades, just like the Land Rover Defender. This is perhaps the most off-road capable model on our list, with three locking differentials.
We found early G500 models with the 292 hp 5.0-liter V8 starting around $30,000. For less than $50,000, we also found several examples of the G55 AMG model with a 5.4-liter supercharged V8 shelling out 493 hp. While the G55 is the most fun, we'd suggest going for a later G550 with the 5.5-liter V8 producing 382 hp.