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All the best 4x4s have six-cylinder engines

By Matt Raudonikis, 22 Sep 2016 Opinion

All the best 4x4s have six-cylinder engines

Might straight sixes with plenty of grunt - those were the days!

REMEMBER when all the best 4x4s had six-cylinder engines? Mighty straight-sixes with oodles of grunt, be they diesel- or petrol-fuelled – those were the days!

However, the old six-pack has made way for high-tech turbo-fours that buzz out the mega-Newtons in spite of their limited capacity.

Volkswagen is bucking the trend by introducing the 3.0-litre V6 TDI engine to its Amarok range, and we’re sure it will put a smile on our faces when it gets here later this year. What’s more amusing is that it comes to the Amarok thanks to ever-tightening emission regulations and VW’s emissions figure-fudging.

Think about that for a moment: When was the last time emission regulations ever gave us a bigger and better engine? For once they are working in favour of a better-performing mill.

The only other non-four-cylinder diesel engine in the one-tonne 4x4 ute class is Ford’s 3.2-litre five-cylinder, as used in the Ranger and Mazda BT-50, and there are already hints Ford will be downsizing this mill in the near future to meet emissions standards.

Chances are it will go to a four-pot, but Ford already has in its armoury a sweet turbo-diesel V6 in either 2.7- or 3.0-litre capacity, which would be so good in the Ranger and Everest. Yes, we’re talking about the ‘Lion’ V6 diesel as used in the Territory and Land Rover vehicles, but unfortunately this engine is aging and is also on its way out. It sure would have been nice, though.

Land Rover is working on inline six-cylinder diesel engines to replace the Lion V6, so there’s a return to form for that favoured layout. Land Rover has no links to Ford anymore, so we wouldn’t expect the brands to be sharing engines again. However, stranger things have happened.

Meanwhile BMW has never strayed from its sublime inline sixes and still builds the best in the business, yet more of the Bavarian models are turning to high-performance fours that make as much power and torque as the sixes of just a few years ago. What a world we live in!