Many SUVS and crossovers are available with four-wheel drive but not all are capable of soldiering on when the asphalt runs out. To help you pick the perfect car, we’ve rounded up the 10 best 4×4 off-roaders that’ll all make great countryside companions.
If you’ve picked your favourite from our top 10, check out our car deals page to view the latest carwow offers currently available and use our handy PCP calculator to get a better idea how much your new car will cost per month.
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- VW Tiguan
- Dacia Duster
- Suzuki Vitara
- Range Rover
- Jeep Renegade
- Skoda Yeti Outdoor
- Toyota Land Cruiser
1. Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover has replaced its aging Discovery with an all-new model that boasts an impressive blend of seven-seat practicality, stylish looks and excellent off-road ability. Not only does this new model feature a fresh new design but an updated selection of engines and a significant diet – shaving 480kg from the old Discovery’s kerb weight – should help the new car be significantly more fuel efficient, too.
This factory fresh 4×4 boast both a futuristic array of autonomous driving features and a shapely SUV body that can swallow a class-leading 2,406-litres of luggage with the rearmost seats folded. Add to this already impressive resume a cabin packed with kit and enough clever cubby holes to lock away five iPads and the new Discovery takes the top spot on our list.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The Kodiaq is Skoda’s first large 4×4 that it hopes will build on the success of its smaller Yeti crossover. Pick a model with four-wheel drive and you’ll find the Kodiaq’s short overhangs, plenty of ground clearance and special off-road driving modes should make it particularly capable off the beaten track.
Inside, the Kodiaq serves up a tempting combination of a spacious seven-seat cabin, plenty of upmarket materials and excellent build quality. High-spec models come with bags of kit as standard but, thanks to an entry-level £21,495 price tag, it manages to significantly undercut key rivals in terms of price. As a result, we expect to see many examples of this Czech SUV on UK roads when it goes on sale in 2017.
Read our Skoda Kodiaq price, specs and release date article for full details.
3. Land Rover Discovery Sport
Land Rover’s Discovery Sport might be one of the brand’s smallest models but it’s just as happy as its bigger brothers to get stuck into some serious off-roading. Numerous electronic aids, including a Terrain Response system, hill descent control and wade-sensing technology, will help prevent you getting stuck if you decide to take your shiny new SUV through a river – or a big puddle in the supermarket car park.
Seven seats have been squeezed into the Discovery Sport’s compact body but you can still carry 981 litres of luggage with ease by folding the rearmost seats. Its practical cabin comes fitted with plenty of handy features such as numerous USB charging points and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. Practical and rugged, it’s not hard to see why this is one of Land Rover’s most popular models.
4. VW Tiguan
The latest VW Tiguan is based on the humble Golf hatchback but it’s surprisingly capable off-road if you choose a model fitted with four-wheel drive. The optional £350 ‘Outdoor’ pack gives you revised bumpers and underbody protection to toughen the Tiguan’s appearance and gives it better approach angles.
Once you’re inside, the Golf influence becomes clear – soft-touch plastics and a large infotainment screen give it a classy germanic feel. There’s lots of head and legroom for all five occupants but you can slide the rear seat bench backwards to treat tall passengers to limo-like legroom. Slide it forward and you’ll have access to a class-leading 720-litre boot, too.
5. Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster may be the cheapest 4×4 on sale in the UK but that doesn’t mean it’s the least capable. It doesn’t feature the same fancy electronic systems as upmarket rivals but its decent ground clearence and lightweight body means the Duster can easily negotiate the odd dirt track and slippery field. Not only is it cheap to buy but, thanks to a reasonably efficient 1.5-litre diesel engine, some models should prove cheap to run, too.
The Dacia’s back-to-basics approach means its interior isn’t quite as posh as some other small crossovers but it does score highly in the practicality stakes. Its cabin is fairly roomy and the Duster serves up an impressive 475-litre boot – more than you’d find in the bigger – and pricier – Nissan Qashqai.
6. Suzuki Vitara
The Suzuki Vitara is the latest in a long line of 4x4s from the Japanese brand that boast genuine off-road ability for an affordable price. Its small size and good ground clearance mean it can hold its own in the rough stuff. If you’re serious about taking your Vitara into the wild, however, you’ll need to pick a top-spec car with all-wheel drive.
For a car that’s no bigger than some hatchbacks, there’s loads of space for a growing family – the 375-litre boot is well shaped and can easily hold a week’s worth of holiday luggage. It’s also cheap to run – pick a model with a frugal 1.6-litre diesel engine and a new Vitara can return more than 65mpg.
7. Range Rover
The Range Rover is often regarded the king of luxury 4x4s – challengers such as the new Bentley Bentayga may offer more power and, arguably, more style, but in terms of raw off-road ability, it’s the Range Rover that comes out on top. Not only does it come with terrain response, hill descent and air suspension systems as standard but, for extreme off-road adventures, you can choose to fit a supercharged 5.0-litre V8 engine with 510hp.
Inside, there are plenty of luxury features to keep you entertained on long journeys and everything is finished in high-quality leather, wood or metal. Not only does the Range Rover boast a huge 909-litre boot but, in long-wheelbase versions, you can swap out the rear bench seat for a pair of ultra-luxurious reclining chairs, too.
8. Jeep Renegade
It might look like more like an overblown children’s toy than a serious 4×4 but the Jeep Renegade is a hugely capable off-roader. Steer clear of entry-level two-wheel drive versions and this tough-looking family car can happily keep up with the larger Grand Cherokee on a tricky off-road trail.
There’s little to complain about inside either – there’s ample room for five people and their luggage and a wealth of rugged design touches and chunky details to keep your passengers interested. Those after something a little less butch would do well to check out the similar Fiat 500X but, if it’s off-road abilities you’re after, the Jeep is your best choice.
9. Skoda Yeti Outdoor
The standard Skoda Yeti is a capable crossover with lots of appeal for busy families. If you need something with a bit more off-road ability, or just fancy a tougher looking 4×4, Skoda also offers an Outdoor variant. This model boasts increased ground clearance and an electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system to give you extra grip in less-than-perfect conditions.
The Yeti’s cabin is starting to show its age, however, and it can’t quite match the design or materials of some plusher rivals. It does, however, offer a huge amount of headroom and a decent 416-litre boot. It might not be class-leading but the load bay is well shaped and more than big enough for the weekly shop.
10. Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota’s Land Cruiser certainly isn’t high-tech but its rough-and-ready chassis and low range gearbox are perfectly suited to hardcore off-roading. It might not feature the same trick air-suspension as there some rivals but it boasts ground clearance and suspension travel few competitors can match – at the expense of ride quality, however.
Its basic cabin isn’t what you’d call luxurious but there’s enough head and legroom to carry as many as seven adults in relative comfort. The optional third row of seats does, however, rob you of a noticeable amount of boot space.
Save money on your new 4×4
Our new car deals page will find you a great offer on a brand new car. If you’re not sure what to buy, check out our car chooser tool or, if you’ve already picked your perfect 4×4, use our PCP calculator to get a better idea how much it could cost per month.