How Expensive Is It to Run Australia’s Most Popular 4WD Vehicles?

Ever wondered how much it costs to run a 4-wheel drive vehicle in Australia? Running Australia’s most popular 4WD vehicles costs more than you probably think. On top of the amount you need to fuel it up and keep it running, there’s the rest of the costs, which include registration, insurance, accessories, etc.

In this article, you will discover the true annual cost of five of the most popular 4WD vehicles in Australia: The Toyota Landcruiser Prado, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mitsubishi Pajero, Land Rover Discovery, And Volkswagen Amarok.

But before we do the math, let’s take a quick look at the advantages of running a 4WD:

The Benefits of 4WD

Have you ever seen those advertisements where the off roader is climbing over boulders? That’s a 4WD in action.

A four-wheel drive is a purpose-built vehicle especially designed for off-road applications. It comes with either a permanent 4WD system or a non-permanent 4WD system. When the axles are locked and all its wheels are engaged in 4H traction, expect to drive out of any road situation, no matter how tricky.

If you are putting off buying a 4WD because you are horrified by the expenses, consider the following benefits of running this vehicle:

  •         It offers superior traction even in the most challenging on-road and off-road conditions. Mud, ice, rocks, sand, steep hills, and tough surfaces—name it.
  •         It utilizes power better since all its four wheels are propelled, which also offers a more confident feel when driving it.
  •         The extra weight that the body on its frame chassis brings superior grip when going off-road.

Whether you frequently drive in conditions with low traction or enjoy off-roading, you will definitely benefit from running a four-wheel drive. In fact, many Australians have the 4WD as their vehicle of choice because it is versatile enough to handle city traffic with ease and venture off the track on weekends. It’s also great for family holidays since this vehicle offers a comfortable family transport, regardless of your destination.

Now that you already know the benefits of a 4WD, it’s time to do the math.

The average cost of running Australia’s most popular 4WDs

For this article, we have compiled the average car servicing cost per annum of five of the most popular 4WDs in Australia based on a 10-year logbook service schedule, as well as their annual fuel cost, based on the average distance that Australians drive every year.

  •          Toyota Landcruiser Prado

The Land Cruiser Prado is one of the smallest vehicles in the range but costs an average of $77,990 on the market and typically requires engine servicing at a 10,000km interval or every 6 months. Its average service cost per year is around $946, while its average fuel cost per year is $1,964. All things considered, running this 4WD for a year will cost you around $2,910.

  •          Jeep Grand Cherokee

The $78,000-Jeep Grand Cherokee costs less than the Toyota Landcruiser Prado but the cost of running it for a year is significantly less. It also recommends engine service at 10,000km or every two months but its service cost per year is only $1,272. Overall, the cost of running this car is around $2,553.

  •          Mitsubishi Pajero

This full-sized sports utility vehicle costs the least on the market, but not when its running costs are considered. While you can buy it for only $50,990, its total running cost per year is about $2,171. This covers the average service cost per year of $737 and average fuel cost per year of $1,434. The Mitsubishi Pajero also recommends engine service at a 15,000km interval or every 12 months.

  •          Land Rover Discovery

Positioned as a family car, the Land Rover Discovery is fully off-road capable and suitable as a daily driver for any family. It also comes with more luggage space and more seats than the Range Rove. You can buy this 4WD for $69,330, but you will need a total of $2,077 to run it for a year. Its average service cost per year is $745 while its average fuel cost per year is $1,332. It also has a service interval of 26,000km or every 9 months.

  •          Volkswagen Amarok

And last but not the least, the Volkswagen Amarok. This five-seater pickup truck is powered by turbocharged gasoline or turbocharged direct injection diesel engines. You can purchase it for $52,000 and have it serviced at a 15,000km interval or every 12 months. Of all the 4WDs on this list, this one requires the least running cost of $1,940 per year. Its average service cost per year is $523 while its average fuel cost per year is $1,417.

You may have noticed that the two 4WDs with the costliest service schedules are the Toyota Landcruiser Prado and the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This is because these vehicles require servicing at 10,000km or 6-month intervals, with servicing costs ranging from $400 to $1,200. If you are buying a Landcruiser, you may also have to have budget for a timing belt change at 150,000km.

The 4WD with the third most expensive service outlay on our list is the Mitsubishi Pajero, which necessitates a major service every 30,000km that costs around $850. The most expensive service for this vehicle occurs at 90,000km and averages $1,100.


Running a 4WD not only gives you a sense of adventure; it also lets you drive with confidence anywhere, regardless of the season. But while there are countless ways a 4WD can benefit you and your family, running Australia’s most expensive 4WDs comes with a hefty price tag. Aside from the initial purchase price is way costlier than a 2WD of the same make, maintenance costs are also expensive.

So if you’re planning to buy a 4WD, it is best to assess your situation first and determine if it’s the right option for your application. Add up the costs involved in running it and see if it’s one you can afford. Otherwise, go for a smaller SUV that can also give you a nice family trip, just not where there’s heavy snow or difficult mountain tracks.