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Best 4x4s to buy
Budget buy - Skoda Yeti (£14,945-£24,210)
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 looks optimistic
Affordable buy - Range Rover Evoque (£28,695-£40,995)
The Range Rover Evoque is almost as good in action as it is to look at. A genuine British 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 - New Range Rover (£71,295-£98,395)
Lighter, faster and greener than ever, the new Range Rover boasts an unrivalled combination of luxury and go-anywhere capability
We like: High-class interior, good economy from new diesel, peerless off-road ability.
We don’t like: Instrument and sat-nav screens, luggage capacity doesn’t match luxury saloons’, waiting for the height to adjust when jumping in and out.
Read our Range Rover review
Buy a Range Rover on Auto Trader
Audi Q3 - a treasure chest of options for this premium offering
BMW X5 - excellent performance and fuel economy
Volkswagen Tiguan - efficient and quietly competent rather than invigorating
Hyundai Santa Fe - does everything a growing family could need at decent prices
Mazda CX-5 - great engines and intelligent design, an interesting choice
0-£5K: Suzuki Grand Vitara five-door
It won't win prizes for ride quality, but the venerable Vitara is wicked off road. Five-door bodies are a useful size (not the long wheelbase barges) and, with prices for '03s starting just beyond two grand, if you've a horse, allotment or boat to tend to, get yourself a Vitara.
We like: airy cabins with no-nonsense trim. Simple, workhorse mechanicals. Excellent reliability. Fit some decent tyres and it'll drive up Nelson's Column.
We don't like: people who expect it to be a half-price Rav4: it is not. The word is workhorse! Ride is stiff, diesel engines are noisy and not that economical but as a go-anywhere slogger, it's excellent value for money.
£5k-£12k: 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, which is always a good sign. These cars can safely be sold to family members.
We like: recent facelift and current manufacturer money-off offers on the new model will impact used values: great for buyers of the previous model. Bargain hard, and you could get respectable 4x4 motorway MPG 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. Still well worth a test drive.
£12k+: 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 270 horsepower and 470 lb/ft of torque. Roughly translates as 4 seconds off the 0-60, 50% more power and over 60% more torque.
We like: owners report 36 mpg over thousands of reliable miles: 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. Don't forget the joy of warranty.
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