MD: Looking for a new 4-wheel-drive to take you through the winter? Here are 5 4x4s that won’t break the bank
With colder weather setting in, you might be thinking about getting a 4×4 to help you in the trickier winter conditions.
If you do decide that you need a 4×4, you might be shocked by how expensive they are to buy new. The most affordable Land Rovers today will cost you more than £35,000, so new 4x4s certainly aren’t cheap.
However, there are plenty of used 4x4s out there that bring extra ability at an affordable price. Here are 5 great choices that won’t break the bank.
Although you’ll struggle to find a Land Cruiser or Hilux at an affordable rate, Toyota’s cheaper RAV4 can provide everything you need.
For less than £5,000 you could pick up any of the first 3 generations of RAV4, all of which are known for their reliability and robustness. This car isn’t meant for extreme off-roading, but should prove useful in wintery conditions – providing you choose a four-wheel-drive option, as some for sale will be the front-wheel-drive version. Three-door models were offered on the first two generations of RAV4, but the five-door models are a much more practical option, and don’t cost much extra to buy either.
Land Rover Freelander
Land Rover is a name that means a lot in 4×4 circles – it’s what this brand’s reputation is built on, after all. But new models are quite expensive, so if you want one on a budget, the used market is a much better bet.
For those on a budget, we’d recommend the Freelander. For just £5,000, you can pick up a great Freelander 2 that offers modern styling and great off-roading ability.
As used Land Rovers don’t have the best reliability reputation, it’s worth having any example mechanically inspected before buying. Don’t be afraid to view a few before settling on the right example.
Skoda’s chunky Yeti could be a surprisingly useful tool to keep you mobile over the winter months.
The Yeti was Skoda’s first SUV built to impress with its surprisingly spacious interior, good build quality and funky styling. It’s a very popular family car too.
Not all versions come with four-wheel-drive, so it’s worth rooting out a ‘4×4’-badged example if you want that extra capability. Yetis hold their value well, having a small budget may limit you to high-mileage examples. However, the 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is known for being very dependable. It’s also a lot more efficient than other models on this list – returning around 47mpg.
If you want an affordable and seriously capable off-roader for a low price, the Suzuki Jimny should be high on your list.
Thanks to its small 1.3-litre petrol engines, it’s not too too expensive to run and insure. And the Jimny can give much larger 4x4s a run for their money when it comes to ability – proving that lightness goes a long way.
Just be aware that the Jimny isn’t always great on tarmac, so if you do a lot of miles each year, it’s worth avoiding – or potentially just keeping as a second car to use over winter.
While Nissan might be best known for its EVs and crossovers, the firm has produced some very accomplished 4x4s over the years – including the X-Trail. While this model has evolved to become a more ‘lifestyle’ choice, its first 2 generations, which debuted in 2001 and 2007 respectively, are surprisingly rugged.
Its chunky styling means it’s aged really well, while it’s also comfortable and well-equipped – high-spec versions even come with a full-length panoramic roof. If you’re looking for a family 4×4, the X-Trail is ideal thanks to its roomy and versatile interior.
All first- and second-generation X-Trails of this age (up until 2014) come with all-wheel-drive, too, so you’re guaranteed that they’ll be useful over winter.