We’ve shortlisted one model each from five different brands, and each one seems better than the otherby Sidd Dhimaan, on LISTEN 09:21
There is no dearth of 6x6 trucks in the market. Many aftermarket companies have cracked the code to creating fantastic six-wheel-drive pickup trucks. Not a lot of automakers make them, unless they are for military or non-civilian use, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of choices available for folks interested in these big brutes. While most of the 6x6 builds you see are generally based on the Jeep Gladiator, we’ve created a list of five impressive conversions from different automakers.
This is the only factory-made 6x6 truck on this list. This beast is based on the G63 but comes with six wheels. Even the non-enthusiasts are more or less familiar with this truck or at least know about a ‘Mercedes truck with six wheels’. The six-wheel-drive configuration makes this one tough truck that can be taken absolutely anywhere. It comes powered by a 5.5-liter, V-8 engine that churns out 536 horses and 560 pound-feet of power torque. Power is routed to the ground via a seven-speed automatic gearbox.
|Engine||5.5-liter, V-8 engine|
It’s not just a show vehicle. It comes with insane tech features like off-road reduction gear in the transfer case, portal axles, five differentials that can be locked while on the move, and a tire pressure control system that takes less than 20 seconds to fill up, etc. You must have seen Richard Hammond drive this beast on the sand dunes and see the air fill up in the massive tires.
Some salient features include:
- Independent axle suspension instead of the independent wheel suspension
- All three axles operate autonomously, thus making it a pure six-wheel-drive truck
- LED lights above the windscreen
- Stainless steel roll bar
- Ridiculously plush interior
Back in 2013, it was priced at around half a million dollars. It was never sold in the U.S., but in 2019, Doug DeMuro found a U.S.-legal model that was priced at $1.5 million. Phew!
Read our full review on the Mercedes-AMG G63 6x6
Mammoth 6x6 by Hennessey – Based on the Ram 1500 TRX
On one hand, you have tuners that pick up low-power output vehicles and pump the figures. On the other hand, you have Hennessey that takes the most powerful models and converts them into mightier beasts. So, it was only a matter of time before the aftermarket company laid its hands on the “Quickest, Fastest and Most Powerful Mass-produced Truck in the World”, the 2021 Ram 1500 TRX.
The stock Ram 1500 TRX makes 702 horses and 650 pound-feet of torque from its 6.2-liter, V-8 supercharged HEMI engine. Hennessey threw it out and plonked in a 7.0-liter, V-8 Hellephant engine. In the stock form, it is paired to a 3.0-liter supercharged that makes 15 pounds of boost. The result of this is 1,000 horses and 950 pound-feet of torque. But, Hennessey even took these figures up a notch for the engine to produce 1,200 horses! There are no specifics given about the extra pair of wheels, but the truck will feature a six-wheel-drive system and a fully upgraded off-road suspension setup.
Other notable features include:
- Upgraded front and rear bumpers
- New truck bed
- LED lights
- Bespoke interior
Hennessey will only make three examples of the Mammoth 6x6 and each one is priced at $500,000! That’s almost seven times the price of a stock Ram 1500 TRX.
Read our full review on the Mammoth 6x6 by Hennessey
Black Mamba 6x6 by Classic Overland – Based on the Land Rover Defender
Classic Overlands came up with a 6x6 version of the Land Rover Defender and called it Project Black Mamba. The retro-styled Defender truck is powered by a 3.5-liter, V-8 engine that makes 430 horses and 425 pound-feet of torque. The truck features a six-wheel-drive system, which means power is sent to all the wheels.
This was a one-off model and was based on a yesteryear Defender retrieved from a firehouse in South Africa. The company did a full off-chassis restoration with new undercarriage infrastructure, soundproofing, and upgraded suspension setup. It may not be like the other 6x6 trucks on this list, but it certainly deserves a spot here.
Some other specifics of this 6x6 Defender include:
- Snorkel on the A-pillar
- Spare tire in the truck bed
- Old classic Defender looks despite the heavy mods
Classic Overlands had priced this truck at $315,000. Nothing can get more exclusive than a one-off 6x6 Defender.
Read our full review on the Black Mamba 6x6 by Classic Overland
VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey – Based on the Ford F-150 Raptor
This was Hennessey’s first-ever 6x6 conversion and there’s no looking back since then. The truck comes with an extended cargo bed and major changes to the drive system and the other mechanicals. The truck comes with a fully functional second axle at the rear. This makes it a true six-wheel-drive system truck. It features a special leaf-spring setup at the rear with larger Fox Racing shocks. The independent front suspension was lifted, too, to achieve a longer travel range.
The truck’s frame was stretched and the actual axle was moved slightly behind. A custom axle was placed in front of it with a pass-through differential. This differential allows rotational power to turn its ring gear and the driveshaft that connects to the second rear differential.
Hennessey retained the same 3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost, but gave it a slight power bump. Instead of making 450 horses and 510 pound-feet of torque, it now made 600 ponies and 622 pound-feet of twist. Most of the extra power was negated by the extra weight added because of the custom axle and upgraded suspension system – which was 700 pounds, by the way – but, it still made it slightly more agile than the stock model. The truck now took 4.9 seconds to 60 mph as opposed to 5.1 seconds of the standard second-gen Raptor. Some other changes here include:
- High-flow intake system
- Air-to-air intercooler upgrade
- Cat-back exhaust system
- Hennessey front and rear bumpers
- Bed-mounted roll bar
- 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires
|Engine||3.5-liter, V-6 EcoBoost|
|0 to 60 mph||4.9 seconds|
The truck was priced at $349,000, making it nearly seven times more expensive than the standard F-150 Raptor.
Read our full review on the VelociRaptor 6x6 by Hennessey
SF 6x6G by So-Flo Jeeps – Based on the Jeep Gladiator
This was a tough pick since there are a ton of Gladiator 6x6 builds out there. I was torn between this or the Rezvani Hercules for this, but picked the So Flo truck in the end. At its heart, the truck comes with the stock Gladiator’s mill, which is a 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine that produces 285 ponies and 260 pound-feet of twist. But, you can also have it with the Corvette’s 6.2-liter, LS3 V-8 engine that churns out 430 horses and 425 pound-feet of torque.
It features a full-time six-wheel-drive system that is created by re-gearing and re-assembling the 5.13:1 axle. The middle axle is equipped with a nine-inch differential sourced from Detroit True Track Locker. It rides on a five-inch lift kit with Falcon shocks that allows up to 14 inches of suspension travel on each axle. Courtesy of this, So Flo was able to install 38-inch Patagonia tires on it. A Falcon Steering Stabilizer is also equipped to improve the handling dynamics with the extra set of wheels.
The SF 6x6G also comes with:
- Steel bumper with a 9,500-pound winch
- Towing capacity of 12,000 pounds
- LED headlights with color-changing red halo lights
- Fiberglass “Predator Hood” with air vents
- Power running steps
- Custom Roll Cage
The So Flo SF 6x6G is priced at $140,000. If you want the V-8, add another $30,000 to the price.
How Do Six-Wheel-Drive Systems Work?
A six-wheel-drive system basically adds a third axle to the rear. In very rare cases, you see three axles sit equidistance apart, but generally, two axles are placed closed to each other at the rear. The custom third axle is connected with a through-drive differential. This power turns the driveshaft and the ring gear that’s connected to the other differential placed at the rear.
There are many different arrangements in such cases, too.
Mercedes’ system comes with a drive-through diff connected to the two rear axles wherein an extra shaft with an integrated lock situated on the side above the differential takes the drive torque to the rear axle. A chain provides the necessary power take-off for the differential of the first rear axle.
Is There Any Advantage Of 6x6 Vehicles?
Other than the fact that you’d be the center of attraction on the road or when you park it and walk into a Starbucks, we don’t really see the need. Most four-wheel-drive off-roaders and trucks can do fulfill the majority of your off-road escapades. So, unless you want to go absolutely extreme, there’s no use of these vehicles. But, that said, they are surely more capable as they offer better angles since they ride high, more floatation, better suspension travel range, etc.
Would you ever consider buying a six-wheel-drive vehicle? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.