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Here’s exactly how capable your luxury SUV is off-road

By Cameron Kirby, 10 Oct 2020 Car Advice

Luxury SUVs off road

Spoiler alert: a Toorak tractor or Rose Bay rooster doesn’t make a great off-roader

While many SUV buyers in Australia convince themselves that they would prefer a high-riding vehicle for its rugged off-road ability, the reality is that most spend their time burbling around suburban streets.

Luxury SUVs are often marketed off the back of their ability to take you anywhere, wrapped in leather and comfort. But can they actually do that in the real world?

Well, have we got a video for you, with a group of expensive SUVs thrown at a dirt hill to see if their off-road ability is based in reality, or mere marketing guff.

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The hill in question isn’t a rugged car-killer by any stretch, but it has enough ruts and bumps to challenge a selection of popular all-wheel-drive luxury rides.

In Australia, most of these SUVs will never see a dirt road, let alone an actual off-road trial like in the video, but it is fascinating watching them rock, roll, and claw their way up the embankment.

This Royal Rumble of high riders was organised by the people at the SUV Battle YouTube channel.

Luxury SUV off-road battle

All up, nine contenders attempted the course, to varying degrees of success.

Contestants included the Audi Q7, Audi Q8, BMW X5, BMW X6, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Lexus RX350, Mercedes-Benz GLE, Range Rover Sport, and Volvo XC90.

Some of the SUVs impress, while others fail to meet the challenge almost immediately.

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While we enjoy watching these six-figure SUVs struggle to tame the challenge, there is some serious consumer advice to be gleaned from the video.

By using a range of different driver modes and aids, the SUV Battle team have shown that not every all-wheel-drive system is created equal.

Certain systems work well, grabbing hanging wheels and controlling the power to make their way relentlessly forward, while others find themselves stuck, spinning their wheels and flinging dust into the air in frustration.

Want to know how your SUV performs? Watch the full video below: