Chelsea tractors, off roaders, 4x4s, 4WDs. Whatever you call them they’re one of the most versatile and reliable types of vehicle you can buy, no matter the time of year. And their popularity isn’t slowing down – 4x4s made up a third of all cars sold in the UK last year.
So what is it about these vehicles that makes them so popular? Here we take a closer look at 5 benefits you can get from buying and owning a new or used 4×4.
1/ Better, more reliable traction
4×4 means ‘4 wheel drive’, so that rather than engine power going only to the front wheels or only to the rear wheels, on a 4×4 power goes to all 4 wheels.
Also, depending on the manufacturer and model, you might be able to switch between 2 and 4-wheel drive, you might get permanent 4 wheel drive, or you might get an ‘on demand’ system that switches automatically between 2- and 4-wheel drive depending on road conditions.
4-wheel drive works to maximise traction and stability, particularly in wet or slippery conditions. And, ultimately, can give drivers more control and peace of mind that they’re more secure out on the roads.
2/ An elevated driving position
Many 4x4s have an elevated driving position which can award drivers a number of benefits, including: better visibility of the road and of other vehicles, better accessibility and, for some, an increased feeling of safety and security.
3/ Flexibility with space and storage
While you can get extra leg room, head room and boot space in some conventional saloons and estate cars, many 4x4s also offer increased flexibility for drivers and passengers with individually adjustable seats, and even removable rear seats. As well as making them easier to get in and out of, this also means it’s often easier to install or remove child seats – thanks to the elevated seat heights – making them perfect for anyone with a young family.
4/ Towing capacity
If you’re a fan of camping or caravanning, or need to tow a horsebox, there are a range of 4x4s, like the Skoda Kodiaq, that have a large towing capacity. The Kodiaq has a maximum towing capacity of 2,000kg.
With towing you should always make sure that your caravan doesn’t weigh more than 85% of your vehicle’s kerb weight – it’s a legal requirement that you don’t exceed your maximum towing limit. Before you set off make sure you know how to safely tow a caravan.
5 Off-road capability
Although they’re designed for any situation, not many drivers take their 4x4s off-roading. But it’s nice to know that if you do need to drive on tricky terrain, you’ll be safe. Whether you’re a weekend adventurer packing up your mountain bikes, or a festival fan who needs to access muddy fields all summer long, a 4×4 will handle it. Popular 4x4s, from manufactures like Land Rover, are also often considered among the best cars for driving in snow and difficult weather conditions.
Affording your 4×4
It’s fair to say that a lot of new or used 4x4s can be more expensive than your average car. But not all 4x4s have high running costs. Some plug-in hybrid vehicles models, like the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, can be extremely economical. And for those that are a bit more costly, using AA Car Finance can help make buying one of them more affordable.
Image courtesy of iStock.