In one of the biggest drag races with SUVs we’ve ever seen, literally a dozen models fought to show which is the fastest in a straight line. Raining on the winner’s parade was an “unexpected” 13th contender who arrived at the end to prove it was the fastest of the bunch. The event was orchestrated by the Australian magazine CarExpert in their quest to find out which three-row SUV with a low-range mode available locally is the sportiest.

15 models qualified to take part in the drag race, but the Land Rover Range Rover and Discovery Sport were unavailable whilst SAIC didn't want to participate with its Maxus D90 sold Down Under as the LDV D90. The 12 SUVs that did show up were the Ford Everest (four- and six-cylinder models), Lexus LX 600, Toyota Land Cruiser 300 Series Sahara, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Land Cruiser Prado Kakadu, Toyota Fortuner Crusade, Isuzu MU-X LS-T, Jeep Grand Cherokee L Summit Reserve, SsangYong Rexton, and a diesel Land Rover Defender 110.

CarExpert received help from artificial intelligence by asking ChatGPT how to group the SUVs into three series of four models since it couldn’t race all 12 vehicles at the same time. The Defender won its group against the Everest V6, Land Cruiser 300, and Grand Cherokee. The LX 600 triumphed against Fortuner, Land Cruiser Prado, and the Patrol. In the third drag race, the MU-X beat the Rexton, Pajero Sport, and the diesel Everest.

The three winners then fought each other, and the Lexus triumphed ahead of the Land Rover and Isuzu. However, the V8-powered Defender then showed up to steal its thunder. With a supercharged 5.0-litre engine making 518 bhp and 461 pound-feet (625 Newton-metres) of torque, the Defender P525 was much faster than the LX even though the latter had the edge in the beginning.

The V8 Defender did 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.43 seconds and completed the quarter mile in 13.63 seconds at a trap speed of 105.02 mph (169.02 km/h). These are amazing numbers for such a heavy SUV, and bear in mind Land Rover is believed to be working on an even more powerful version with around 600 bhp