Are V8 SUVs and Crossovers Still Relevant?

V8 SUVs and Crossovers

The automotive industry is becoming more sophisticated and woke as it moves with the times, especially when it comes to cleaner propulsion technology. Many drivers still cling to high-displacement gasoline or diesel engines, not just for their impressive horsepower and torque outputs, but also for the visceral feel and soundtrack that accompanies the application of the throttle. However, with many automakers leaning more towards hybridization and electrification, secondhand cars like the 2nd-gen Toyota Tacoma are quickly becoming the only affordable way to get behind the wheel of a naturally aspirated gas engine with any real degree of power.

The New Normal

Already, sedans, coupes, and crossovers have embraced PHEV or fully electric powertrains, and even luxury automakers are making the move as seen by the Mercedes-Benz EQ models and the Audi e-tron SUV. However, it has been a slower transition for sports cars and pickup trucks. Buyers in these segments have not been as quick to embrace electrification as a substitute for a thrumming, turbocharged engine with six to eight cylinders.

That being said, we have seen that EVs don’t lack when it comes to performance, as the Tesla Model S Plaid can dispatch with the 0-60 mph sprint in around two seconds and continue on to top speeds of 175 mph. The Porsche Taycan, in its various guises, adds true sports car flair to the recipe, while the e-tron proves that larger vehicles can be sportier than ever thanks to all that instantaneous torque. Nowadays, finding a sedan or coupe EV is not all that difficult.

At this point, it’s only pickup trucks that are still lagging behind when it comes to updating their powertrains, but that is set to change as many automakers have announced their upcoming EV lineups. The Ford F-150 Lightning is among the first to enter the fray, building on the top-selling name for trucks in the USA. However, there are many other models on the way in a variety of configurations, including the quirky Tesla Cybertruck, which boasts 800 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. 

EV Alternatives

Despite the obvious direction the industry is taking, many still question whether or not EVs are the best path to take. After all, much of the electricity around the world is still produced using unsustainable methods, so electric cars don’t necessarily ease the strain on the environment by as much as they claim. There’s no denying that they have excellent fuel economy in comparison to the mpg of even the best modern gas cars. But is that really enough?

Driving enthusiasts will argue that nothing can replace the feeling of a V8 thrumming at your fingertips. And even with an expanding recharging network, the limited range of EVs and the refueling restrictions mean that they aren’t suitable for all activities. For example, you’d much rather go off-roading with a Jeep Wrangler JK with a spare can of gas in case of emergencies, rather than risk being left out in the wild hundreds of miles from the nearest power outlet.

Aside from this, there are also a few other technologies being developed alongside EVs. The most promising of which is probably hydrogen power. It has been proven to be even more efficient than standard electricity in terms of how much travel you get out of a single fuel cell. Unfortunately, the infrastructure required to adopt the widespread use of hydrogen cars is not in place, and nobody seems to be willing to invest in it. 

Still Time Left

Shoppers who aren’t quite sure about EVs don’t need to fret just yet, as most automakers only plan to phase out their gasoline and diesel powertrains over the next few decades, and that will timeframe will likely be pushed back further as time goes on. And, even if the number of new fossil fuel-powered cars decreases, there is always the used market, which is saturated with options. You may have to sacrifice some of the high-tech features that come part and parcel with most EVs, but many are still willing to part with them in favor of that old-school feeling of driving a V6-powered muscle car or V8 pickup truck that can tow small houses with ease.

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