Buyers after a 4×4 are spoilt for choice – from seven-seater luxury off-roaders, to back-to-basics small SUVs with an array of city-friendly crossovers in between – there’s something for everyone. With so many options available, we’ve picked the 10 best models across a range of budgets and needs but all choices have plenty of off-road gusto.
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Dacia Duster
- Suzuki Vitara
- Volvo XC90
- Kia Sorento
- Mercedes GLC
- SEAT Ateca
- Jeep Renegade
1. Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery features some of the most sophisticated off-road tech available on the market. All models come with Land Rover’s sophisticated Terrain Response 2 system that optimises the car for any given terrain conditions while standard All Terrain Progress Control acts as an off-road cruise control, allowing you to focus on steering inputs while the car manages the throttle and brakes. The Discovery offers truly lofty ground clearance of 283mm – allowing it to trek through up to three feet of water. What’s more, it offers a luxurious interior that can seat seven adults comfortably and a vast 1,137-litre boot.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq offers a selection of strong engines, a dedicated off-road mode on four-wheel drive models and, above all, great value for money. Low to medium mileage buyers could consider the smooth 1.4-litre turbo petrol engines while those covering very high mileages are better off with the popular 2.0-litre diesel – the 148hp variant of which claims up to 58mpg. The Skoda offers great value of money – basic models are priced from £21,495 and come well-equipped as standard. If you’re after an even more focused off-roader, check out the upcoming Skoda Kodiaq Scout.
3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport is a great all-round family car, offering immense practicality thanks to a large 981-litre boot, cubby holes scattered around the cabin and up to seven seats – all with enough space for adult passengers. 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. The Discovery Sport is also fairly cheap to run – the frugal 2.0-litre diesel can achieve up to 57.7mpg and emits 129g/km of CO2.
4. Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster is a back-to-basics small SUV that offers a no-frills 4×4 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 simply incredible value for money. Anyone looking to take their Duster off road should consider the optional 4×4 system while the torquey-yet-frugal 1.5-litre diesel provides plenty of low-down grunt to pull the Duster up steep slopes.
5. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is a cheap, rugged compact SUV offering great value for money, an engaging on-road driving experience and surprisingly good off-road abilities. The Vitara is priced from a reasonable £14,999 and comes fairly well equipped as standard with Bluetooth, air-con and cruise control. On the road, the Vitara doesn’t roll much and its light, accurate steering makes it easy to manoeuvre around town. 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 off-road predicaments.
6. Volvo XC90
The Volvo XC90 boasts smart styling and a luxurious interior with a large portrait-orientated touchscreen infotainment system as its centrepiece. You get seven plush leather seats that can fit full-size adults and a 451-litre boot even with all seats up. All engines do a great job of balancing economy and performance – the 235hp 2.0-litre diesel ‘D5’ engine is a popular choice that returns up to 50mpg. The Volvo offers comfortable on-road performance and its four-wheel drive system and suspension have been designed with the treacherous Swedish countryside in mind.
7. Kia Sorento
The Kia Sorento offers handsome styling, a well-built interior with seven seats as standard and leather upholstery on KX-2 models and up. It makes a practical family car thanks to its sheer commodiousness, easy-to-load 660-litre boot and comfortable suspension setup. Although its off-roading ability can’t quite rival the Discovery, it comes as standard with locking differentials, allowing it to distribute power to all four wheels from the torquey 2.2-litre diesel engine. For added peace of mind, the Kia also offers an industry-leading seven-year transferrable warranty.
8. Mercedes GLC
The Mercedes GLC is an attractive premium SUV with a spacious, posh-feeling interior and impressive off-road performance. The GLC has lifted its interior from the C-Class saloon meaning it features high-quality materials, the firm’s COMAND infotainment system and great build quality. There’s plenty of passenger room and a sizeable 550-litre boot – the same as its closest rival, the BMW X3. The optional Off-Road Engineering package offers five selectable off-road driving modes and, when equipped with the 2.1-litre diesel engine, the GLC’s off-road capability is on par with some more traditionally rugged brands.
9. SEAT Ateca
The SEAT Ateca offers Spanish design flair, rock-solid build quality and a spacious interior with lots of kit as standard. The Ateca features a tech-laden cabin with an eight-inch infotainment system, wireless smartphone charging and screen mirroring. There’s plenty of passenger headroom and a handy 510-litre boot. While four-wheel drive is only available on diesel engines, this isn’t a bad thing because these units have plenty of pulling power with excellent fuel efficiency. Short overhangs and two selectable off-road modes help the Ateca handle trickier terrain than you might think.
10. Jeep Renegade
The Jeep Renegade is a small SUV with proud off-road credentials. It also benefits from good interior room for its size thanks to its boxy shape, a spacious 351-litre boot and some smooth engine options. The cabin is somewhat sparse but feels robustly built. The popular 2.0-litre diesel comes with four-wheel drive while the off-road orientated Trail Hawk trim adds rugged bumpers and a nine-speed automatic gearbox with a special low-range setting and high ground clearance – perfect should you find yourself venturing beyond the end of the trail.
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