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A guide to 4x4 cars

Before you read any further we should say right off the bat that 4x4 cars are more expensive that the traditional alternatives. So if you are on a tight budget you should consider other types of vehicle. People buy 4x4 cars because they are safer, especially in conditions where grip is limited, for example on wet or poor road surfaces. Others buy them because they simply like the styling. Perhaps the smallest group of people buy a 4x4 because they actually need the ability to go off-road.

The top 5 reasons why people like 4x4 cars:

1. They offer more internal, boot and storage space that a traditional car

2. The higher driving position

3. Their ‘in fashion’ styling portrays a positive cool image

4. Many 4x4’s have 7 seats

5. Both men and women like driving them

The interesting thing about the list above is that very few people actually buy a 4x4 for their off road ability. The truth is that if you want a four wheel drive car to go off road your choice is quite limited.

The main disadvantages of a four wheel drive car is that the drive system coupled with the additional weight associated with a larger vehicle they almost always have lower fuel economy than traditional cars. If fuel economy or environmental emissions are near the top of your requirements then we recommend that you look at a different type of vehicle. However, if you truly want a 4x4 then you should consider the two notable hybrids that we recommend. Firstly, the Porsche Cayenne Hybrid that has a remarkable 83mpg and a very low 79g CO2 emissions. Secondly, we like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. A plug in hybrid, simlar to the Cayenne, it has an amazing 148mpg and emissions slightly lower.

What 4x4 should you buy?
CategoryOur Pick
Small/Compact

Fiat Panda 4x4

Family

Nissan Qashqai
Honda CRV
LandRover Discover Sport

Sports

Porsche Cayenne
Porsche Macan

Off-road

Range Rover Sport
Range Rover
Toyota Land Cruiser

Luxury

Range Rover

Car

Audi A4

Buying a 4x4 second hand

If the 4x4 you are buying has been used off-road (or you suspect it has), then our advice is to not buy it. When used off-road the underside of the car can easily get damaged and the overall superstructure of the vehicle comes under extreme stress. Such damage is very hard to detect. A car retailer would not buy a 4x4 from you if they thought it had ever been used off-road. Be smart do the same.

Looking for new tyres for your 4x4 - take a look here

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