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Best 4x4s to buy

07 Sep 2011 Road Tests

Best 4WDs to buy

Our guide to the best off-road cars, SUVs and 4x4s.

Our guide to the best off-road cars, SUVs and 4x4s.

Budget buy: Skoda Yeti

Skoda enters the SUV-crossover fray with the roomy, likeable Yeti. We like: interior quality, punchy diesel, wide choice of versions. We don't like: high sills at boot and doors, engine noise, pricing is optimistic.

Affordable buy: Range Rover Evoque

The Range Rover Evoque is almost as good in action as it is to look at. A genuine groundbreaker that deserves the iconic status it may soon command. We like: promise of incredible looks is realised on the road, interior finish, practicality, cohesiveness. We don't like: steering and auto gearbox so-so compared to the rest of it, quickly becomes expensive.

Premium buy: BMW X5

BMW has been hard at work making the BMW X5 drive better than ever. Its body stylists have had a much easier time: will this mean its impressive new driving talents will pass unnoticed? We like: excellent performance, fuel economy, improved steering, agile handling. We don't like: familiar looks may not turn heads, interior lacks sparkle of rivals.

Used: Suzuki Jimny

Jimny is an able on- and off-road performer with strong residual values: 66% after three years. We like: sturdy build quality, useful 4x4, good economy given the drivetrain, nippy in town, compact dimensions, good all-round visibility, snappy design. We don't like: overblown stories of scary handling when driven beyond its limits (don't drive like an idiot, then), high resale prices and low numbers of private sellers.

Used: Mitsubishi Outlander

Comfortable family 4x4 that is capable off road and quiet and civilised on. Sharp exterior marks a discerning choice: vets seem to like them. We like: recent facelift, respectable 4x4 motorway economy with sensible 165 g/km emissions for a surprisingly affordable price. We don't like: sporty ride may be too much for some, cramped third row of seats, entry-level models short on spec.

Used: Range Rover TDV8

Range Rover has always had the chassis for a decent turbodiesel engine. In 2007, it finally got one: 3.6 litres of twin-turbo zeitgeist, with 200kW and 640Nm of torque. We like: owners report 6.5l/100km over thousands of reliable kms: great all-round average for this whacking great dollop of bi-turbo oil burner. The best brand in 4x4dom: Landcruisers lust after that luscious badge. We don't like: not yet old enough to fit journalists' meagre car buying budgets, no seven seat version.