SUVs and 4x4s have grown to dominate our roads. They were once rugged workhorses used for off-roading and manual labour. Now, every manufacturer makes an exclusive SUV model. Even Porsche have a 4x4 in their range! The traditional SUV has well and truly crossed over into the mainstream. It means that buying a new model is a little trickier than before.
In the past, you were looking for pulling power and off-road response. Now, SUVs are all about keeping the family safe and packing in extra boot space. If you’re thinking about buying a 4x4 for your family, here are the crucial things you need to look for.
Size and Practicality
Most buyers look to the SUVs for their size. They’re ideal for transporting larger families. However, some ‘compact’ models are quite tight for space. Look for the five-door options, and let the children sit in the back while you’re testing it out. You can also seek out cars with ‘stadium seating’. It means the back seats are raised higher than the front, allowing easier access and better driving experience for passengers.
Many began turning to the SUVs for their perceived safety credentials. Most people generally assume that bigger is safer! It’s a reasonable assumption, and in many cases it’s true. However, you can never be sure. Every model is awarded a star rating (out of five) from independent testing company Euro NCAP. Before you buy your next 4x4, look for their safety rating.
Of course, 4x4s should never forget their roots! Buying an SUV means you still get the chance to hit the rough terrain at the weekends. You can explore the countryside and take the family on an adventure. Some are better than others here. The Land Rover models are the original, and still among the best off-road. The Toyota Land Cruiser is another powerful off-roader (they tested it by driving to the summit of Mount Fuji!)
4x4s are notorious gas guzzlers. They are often blamed for the acceleration of global warming and climate change. So, is it worth even considering fuel economy? Well, yes. Many manufacturers have addressed this issue, and have begun to produce very economical cars. The hybrid Mitsubishi Outlander is one of the most economical cars on the road. Period!. The myth no longer represents the truth here.
Many buyers still associate 4x4s with premium prices. You’ll be pleased to know that it’s not entirely true. Yes, the most expensive Land Rovers will set you back nearly £100,000. However, a quick look at harratts.co.uk, and you’ll see plenty of reasonably priced SUVs. The Kia Sorento and the Nissan Qashqai are both very affordable models, and have excellent credentials. There are budget and compact cars available here if budget is a priority.
The 4x4 market has expanded immensely in the last decade. The choice can be overwhelming, so narrow it down to these factors and start hunting!