4x4 Cars

Looking to choose from a range of great 4x4 cars? Here, our experts bring together a selection of the best 4x4s on the market. Looking to carry lots of equipment or luggage across country? No problem - we’ve selected the best large 4x4s you can buy. Want to know which cars have four wheel drive? We’ve got that covered too - click on the ‘Discover more 4x4 cars’ link below. And if you have a question about 4x4s or four-wheel-drive cars, remember to have a look at our 4x4 FAQ section at the bottom of this page.

The best 4x4 cars are in fact fantastic all-round cars. Sitting high up, you get a great view out driving through city streets which is why you see so many 4x4 cars in towns and cities. Head away off the beaten track and their go-anywhere capability can be astounding, and when nasty weather hits they really come into their own. Throw in their spacious interiors, practical storage and big boots and you get great family cars.

1
Land Rover

The Land Rover Discovery 4x4 features some of the most advanced off-road technology on the market. The sophisticated Terrain Response 2 system is standard across the range and optimises the car’s setup for a variety of tricky conditions while the All Terrain Progress Control acts as an off-road cruise control, leaving you to focus on steering while it keeps the car moving at a steady pace. The Discovery’s lofty 283mm of ground clearance means it’ll keep calm and carry on through up to three feet of water. What’s more, it has a luxurious interior that can comfortably seat seven adults and a decent boot.

2
Skoda

The Skoda Kodiaq is a very practical family 4x4 that's available with seven seats. It comes with a selection of petrol and diesel engines, all with capacities of either 1.4 or 2.0 litres. With the exception of the basic 125hp 1.4-litre petrol engine, every one’s available with four-wheel drive. If you’re after an even more focused 4x4, keep an eye out for the upcoming Skoda Kodiaq Scout.

3
Land Rover

The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a great all-round family car, offering immense practicality and amazing 4x4 ability. Its short overhangs and advanced four-wheel-drive system make it very capable off-road, while the same Terrain Response system used across Land Rover’s range helps the car set itself up optimally for whatever surface you’re driving on.

4
Dacia

The Dacia Duster is a back-to-basics car that offers a no-frills a 4x4 experience. The Duster’s sub-£10,000 price is reflected in its simple interior and chunky but basic exterior styling but, considering the space on offer and its off-road prowess, it represents good value for money. Entry-level models come with barely any equipment, but the 1.5-litre diesel engine is a sensible choice if you need a low-cost 4x4.

5
Suzuki

The Suzuki Vitara is a cheap, rugged small 4x4 offering great value for money and surprisingly good off-road abilities. The Vitara comes fairly well equipped as standard with Bluetooth, air-conditioning and cruise control. The Vitara’s optional off-road system has selectable driving modes including a dedicated off-road mode that helps the car pull itself out of the stickiest of predicaments.

Large 4x4 cars have it all. The ability to take your 4x4 just about anywhere is a given, but large 4x4 cars have the high-seating position and great view out that they make secure cars for driving around in towns and cities too. Throw in great practicality - big boots and space for five to seven people - and you have an all-round great car. Here, our experts pick out the best large 4x4 cars.

1
Land Rover

The Land Rover Discovery is a large 4x4 that’s comfortable, spacious and almost unstoppable off-road. Not many large 4x4 cars can carry seven people as comfortably as the Discovery. The standard kit list is not that generous - entry-level models miss out on leather seats and sat-nav. You get a great view out and front and rear parking sensors come as standard, which is why the Discovery is also good at navigating through cities as well as the wilds. Head off into the wilderness and the Land Rover Discovery 4x4 has a suite of technology to keep you moving whatever the terrain.

2
Audi
Q7

The Audi Q7 is the best all-round large 4x4 on sale. Although it won’t get you quite as far off-road as a Land Rover Discovery will, it’ll go as go far as you’re likely to need it unless you’re particularly brave. It gets all-wheel-drive as standard, a decent amount of ground clearance with its optional air suspension fitted and hill descent control that makes it easy to descend terrifyingly steep slopes. Yet, on-road, it’s supremely comfy and quiet. Happily, it also has a superbly luxurious interior, a great infotainment system and space for seven people and lots of luggage onboard.

3
Land Rover

Like the Land Rover Discovery, the Range Rover Sport trades on a reputation of being superb off-road. It has a myriad of advanced off-road systems that’ll help inch you down tricky hills and automatically crawl you along rocky terrain with minimum fuss. That’s in addition to its clever four-wheel drive system and impressive ground clearance. Of course, being a Range Rover means that luxury is also high on the agenda, and there are seats for seven available if you want them.

4
Volvo

The Volvo XC90 doesn’t market itself as a serious off-roader, but it’ll be more than adequate for the majority of large 4x4 buyers. Most importantly it can drive all for wheels for better traction off-road, plus it comes with hill descent control for navigating tricky downhill sections without without having to touch the pedals. Being a large 4x4, it gets a generous ground clearance too. Importantly, it also have genuine space for seven adults and a high-quality interior to back up it price.

5
Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Touareg comes with four-wheel-drive as standard, as well as an electric differential on all four wheels for greater control off-road. It also comes with off-road, off-road individual and snow driving modes for greater control as you cross tough terrain. That’s on top of offering one of the best touchscreen infotainment systems in the business and level of luxury befitting its price.

If you live in a rural area or frequently face tricky weather conditions, a 4x4 will give you the peace of mind you need to get home without issue. Some big, plush 4x4s are very expensive but there’s also a range of cheap 4x4 cars on sale that you won't mind getting muddy. Here’s a selection of the cheapest 4x4 cars our experts recommend.

1
Dacia

The Dacia Duster is an exceptionally cheap 4x4 when you consider the amount of space you get for your money. Sure, entry-level cars come with barely any equipment at all, but pair your Duster with the 1.6 petrol engine and you'll have a decent, cheap 4x4 with reasonable off-roading abilities.

2
Suzuki

OK, the Suzuki Swift doesn’t look like a traditional 4x4 car. There’s no high-seating position or chunky looks, but you can specify your Swift with four-wheel drive when you opt for the 1.2-litre petrol engine. You may not be able to cross rivers in this cheap 4x4 but it will provide secure grip in slippery conditions and is a decent small car for not much cash.

3
Suzuki

Like the Swift above, you can opt to get the Suzuki Ignis fitted with four-wheel-drive making it a funky but cheap 4x4. Unlike the Swift, though, it looks more like a traditional 4x4. With striking styling and decent passenger space, the Suzuki Ignis is worthy of our consideration if you’re after a fun but affordable 4x4.

4
Fiat

Similar in size to the Suzuki Ignis, the Fiat Panda 4x4 is a little more rugged and chunky looking than its standard Panda sibling while still offering city-friendly dimensions and enough interior space if you have a young family. For slippery road conditions, the car’s electronic brain can distribute power to either the front, the rear or all four wheels depending on grip and its mud and snow tyres can find purchase even in the worst of conditions.

5
SsangYong

The Ssangyong Tivoli is the company’s best car to date. Pick the 1.6-litre diesel and you get the option for four-wheel-drive, making this a cheap 4x4 alternative to the likes of the Nissan Juke and Vauxhall Mokka. It has space for a small family, comes with a decent amount of equipment if you steer clear of the basis models and has an excellent five-year, unlimited mileage warranty.

You might think that buying a 4x4 car will result in high running costs but that’s not necessarily the case. Thanks to advancements in hybrid, gearbox and 4x4 technology, you can have all-weather grip without a massive fuel or road tax bill. Here’s a selection of the most economical 4x4 cars our experts recommend.

1
Mitsubishi

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is a roomy 4x4 with a hybrid engine and an impressive claimed fuel economy figure – 157mpg. The Outlander PHEV feels fairly robust inside and there are a few shiny touches inside but the focus is on durability. It’s spacious inside but the limited steering wheel adjustment and tall seat means it’s not the best for tall drivers.

2
MINI

The Mini Countryman ALL4 PHEV, unlike the Outlander PHEV’s petrol engine, uses a small diesel to help out its electric motors resulting in eyebrow-raising claimed fuel economy – 135mpg. The Countryman PHEV’s interior has a funky look and if you spend enough on options it’ll feel posher than most small 4x4s. Despite the Mini name, the Countryman is spacious and practical making it a great family car.

3
Suzuki

The Suzuki Ignis Allgrip is the third hybrid 4x4 in this list, however it uses a much smaller electrical motor to help out its 1.2-litre petrol making for a still very decent claimed fuel economy - 60mpg. Yes, interior quality isn’t anything to write home about, but the quirky design and remarkable space inside more than compensate. The Ignis Allgrip is predictably easy to drive for something so compact and thanks to its low weight it strikes a nice balance between being comfy over bumps and sporty around corners.

4
Nissan

The Nissan Qashqai is a comfy, easy-to-drive family 4x4 with space for four adults at a decent price – all that, plus an economical four-wheel-drive 1.6-litre diesel model with a claimed fuel economy of 57mpg, makes it a great choice for many purposes and needs. Yes, the interior design is not the freshest around and the boot is smaller than in similarly priced alternatives. However, the Qashqai is great at smothering bumps in the road and you’ll love its multi-functionality.

5

You might be wondering what is an A3 Sportback doing here, but it can come with quattro four-wheel drive, which is one of the best four-wheel drive systems in the business and gives great grip in slippery situations. The A3 Sportback, equipped with a 184hp 2.0-litre diesel and quattro, has a claimed fuel economy of 56mpg – really good considering how rapid the A3 Sportback feels with that engine.

FAQs

The most common layout for modern road cars is to have an engine fixed in the front of the car powering just the front wheels. In a four-wheel drive car (sometimes called all-wheel drive), power is delivered to both the front and the rear wheels, hence ‘four-wheel drive’. The major use for four-wheel drive is to provide grip - especially off road. Vehicles like the original Jeep and Land Rover were ideal in rugged terrain. If one wheel became stuck in snow, mud or sand, rather than just the other wheel moving things along, all three could help out. Some sports cars come with four-wheel-drive too, where all four wheels providing grip and traction, helping power the car off the line from standing starts, and being able to drive faster around corners.
In a permanent four-wheel-drive car, power is sent through the gearbox to a centre differential. This splits the power to the front and back axles where it meets differentials at the front and rear. These distribute power between the rear wheels as well as the fronts, hence ‘four-wheel drive’. You do get other types of four-wheel drive, however, for example the Fiat Panda’s engine powers the front wheels only, but if they slip power is sent to the back wheels via a viscous coupling.
Essentially yes. A 4x4 car is a 4-wheel drive car. However, these days some cars can look like a 4x4 - high ground clearance and chunky styling - but they aren’t actually 4x4s. They are commonly known as SUVs and they can come with either four- or two-wheel drive.
The Suzuki Jimny is generally regarded as the smallest 4x4. This is a small 4x4 that has been around since 1998. It is one of the more basic 4x4 cars on sale today. Alongside this is the Fiat Panda 4x4, another of the smallest 4x4 cars. It is probably less capable off-road than the Jimny but it is more comfortable on road, better equipped and more spacious.
4wd is shorthand for four-wheel-drive. This means the engine drives all four wheels. In most cars, the engine drives just two wheels (usually the front two). A 4wd drive car is also known as a 4x4 car.