Gang of four by four’s for the winter

The bad weather is upon us, albeit a little earlier than normal, and already the predicted enquiries for 4×4’s have begun in earnest. Dealers are reporting values rising at auction and are stocking up expecting a severe winter ahead of us.

As we said in our recent Tiguan feature the rise of the soft 4×4 is ensuring that whilst 2 years ago this sector was in the doldrums it has made a quite spectacular comeback and all the major car makers now have one in their stable.

We thought it would be interesting to compile our top 10 list of 4×4’s and have some fun with our favourites which is probably sure to provoke some comment.

So here it is, our winter beating top 10 four wheel drives:

land rover discovery 4

Land Rover Discovery 4
The Discovery is generally considered to be an exceptional performer both on as well as off-road. The refined cabin has space for 7 passengers and offers outstanding flexibility and exceptional levels of refinement. On the down side people have complained about the wind noise and, of course, it can be costly to run.

Example: Land Rover Discovery 4×4 2.7 TDV6 SE Auto 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £28-29k

land rover defender

Land Rover Defender
There is no doubting the Defender’s pedigree and this old workhorse’s ability on challenging terrain is the stuff of legend. The 2.4-litre diesel engine is determinedly powerful. Sadly it won’t always be driven off-road and driving it down the high street the Defender’s handling is certainly questionable and you’ll certainly be in for a bouncy ride in the noisy cabin.

Example: Land Rover Defender 130 2.4D County Dbl Cab 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £16-17k

bmw x5

The X5 is well known for its excellent drive and agility. Add to that its powerful performance, good economy and strong residuals and you are on to a winner. If we are going to be picky it is expensive!

Example: BMW X5 4×4 3.0d SE 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £30-31K

toyota landcruiser

Toyota Landcruiser
A great off-roader with a massive cabin and bullet-proof engine. This behemoth come packed to the gills with equipment and is extraordinarily well built. However its sheer enormity can make it difficult to manoeuvre on normal roads.

Example: Toyota Landcruiser Amazon 4×4 4.7 V8 5dr 2007 (57) 20,000 miles £24-26k

isuzu trooper

Isuzu Trooper
The Trooper is generally considered to be a well built and competent off-roader and will offer excellent value for money however the ride on normal roads can be uncomfortable and the cabin has a cheapo feel to it.

Example: Isuzu Trooper 4×4 3.0 DT LWB Insignia 5dr 2004 (04) 60,000 miles £4-5k

sunaru imprezza

Subaru Imprezza
Strong rally heritage with excellent four-wheel drive capabilities. It’s reasonably priced, has a good spec and handles well. However it does suffer with high running costs and the plastic cabin is not to everyone’s taste.

Example: Subaru Impreza Hatchback 2.5 WRX STI 330S 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £21-22k

mitsubishi shogun

Mitsubishi Shogun
The Shogun (or Pajero as it’s known in other markets) is a superb off-road performer and a robustly built and well specified seven seater. The Shogun has been accused of lacking refinement and although the diesel engine has plenty of pulling power, it can still struggle with its sheer weight.

Example: Mitsubishi Shogun 4×4 3.2 Di-D Elegance Auto 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £20-21k

volvo xc90

Volvo XC90
The XC90 is comfortable with a smooth ride, has a refined and practical cabin and looks the part. The engine does suffer from being a tad underpowered which is not really what you want in a big 4×4 but the overall package is a pleasing one.

Example: Volvo XC90 4×4 2.4 D5 SE 5dr 2008 (58) 20,000 miles £20-22k

lexus rx450h

Lexus RX 450h
The RX450h is extremely environmentally friendly for a full-size 4×4, with similarly low running costs and, as you’d expect with Lexus has a very generous spec. It’s lovely to drive and has plenty of space for five people plus their luggage (as long as one of them isn’t Victoria Beckham or Cheryl Cole). Some people complain about a lack of response from the steering and the CVT gearbox can take a bit of getting used to.

Example: Lexus RX 4×4 450h SE 5dr 2009 (09) 20,000 miles £30-31k

bowler nemisis

Bowler nemesis
OK this one’s a bit extreme but it has everything and if you’ve seen the new Top Gear Apocalypse DVD you’ll want one too! About £80k with a 4.2 litre supercharged V8 with over 500BHP, perfect for the school run down a country lane lightly dusted with snow.

Example: Good luck finding one and if you have to ask how much you probably can’t afford it!


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