The five best 4×4’s on the road today

Posted on 15 February 2011 by Tony Santos

Land Rover Discovery

Given the freezing weather and wintery snow flurries, we have all now painfully aware of the disruption that can be caused by a bit of bad weather. It appears that the human race can put a man on the moon but it struggles to get someone to work when a bit of snow hits.

When we were last hit by snow, in the early part of 2010,Moneysupermarket suggested that there would be a surge in the number of people buying 4×4 vehicles given that they are the vehicles best equipped to cope with the wintery conditions. Therefore, here is a guide to five of the best 4x4s for anyone who is sick of the snow.

Honda CR-V

Honda CR-V

It was recently reported that the AA received over 3000 calls per hour at the height of the winter conditions, as car reliability was compromised. It is unlikely that many of these were from CR-V owners, with the 4×4 benefitting from Honda legendary reliability record. The diesel model is also one of the most environmentally friendly 4×4’s around; emitting just 173g/km of carbon dioxide and being relatively fuel efficient consuming just 43.5 mpg. This means that road tax will cost £250 annually. The car is also relatively cheap to buy compared to others, available from £22,880.

However, the CR-V isn’t exactly the best vehicle if you are into off-road driving in fields, but this is okay as it easily outclasses normal cars in snowy conditions. The CR-V is therefore good value for money, fuel efficient, environmentally friendly (sort of), reliable and overall a very good car.

Toyota Rav4

Toyota Rav4

This is the direct competition to the CR-V, coming from Honda’s arch nemesis Toyota. The Rav4 is therefore priced similarly at £23,093 and is therefore only differentiated on performance. As you would expect from Toyota, the car is very impressive technologically. The clever 4 wheel drive system allocates drive to the wheel which needs it most, and handling is generally just as good as the Honda. It also is in a much cheaper tax band due to its lower co2 emissions, costing its owner just £155 annually.

However, this doesn’t mean that the Rav4 is as fuel efficient as the Honda, with fuel economy of 38mpg. The more fuel efficient Diesel engine is also rather noisy and the ride a bit firm. Reliability of Toyota models has also been in question since the now infamous recalls.

Mitsubishi Shogun

Mitsubishi Shogun

The Mitsubishi Shogun is far more expensive than either the Rav4 or the CR-V, being available from £34,000. Fuel economy and C02 emissions are also not so good, with a combined fuel economy of 34.4mpg and it emitting 216 g/km of C02. However, the Shogun unlike the other two is predominantly built for off road driving which perhaps explains the extra consumption. This is obvious in the handling and performance of the car, with the car feeling slightly out of place on a conventional road due to the need for some creative thinking when manoeuvring in tight spaces. However, the addition of a reversing camera does make life slightly easier.

In conclusion, the Shogun is a car built for people with bulging wallets who are off-road driving enthusiasts. If you don’t fit this description, the Shogun defiantly isn’t the right car for you.

Suzuki SX4

Suzuki SX4

This is by far the cheapest 4×4 of the five, available from £11,750. It is also quite fuel efficient (combined mpg of 43.5) and C02 emissions are generally low (149g/km) which will mean cheaper road tax. All of this means that the Suzuki SX4 is not only the cheapest 4×4 to buy, but also the cheapest to run.

However, there are compromises which must be made for the cost savings. The engine is both sluggish and noisy, and the space available inside is limited. The lack of stability control also puts it as a severe disadvantage when compared with the other 4x4s. However, if you are looking for a 4×4 on a budget, the SX4 is an excellent option.

Land Rover Discovery

Land Rover Discovery

There is no doubt that Land Rover used to be the bench mark manufacturer of 4×4 models. There reputation was hampered during the early part of the new millennium as a result of rival manufacturers such as Honda catching up, as well as poor reliability. However, the latest Land Rover Discovery is a welcome return to form. The Discovery has achieved something which none of the other 4x4s on the list could, as it is great both on and off the road, thanks to its strong engine, good ride and fine handling. Seat positioning is also superb and there is more than enough room for all the family.

However, as the saying goes you get what you pay for. Prices start from £36,745 and your fuel bill will be astronomical with fuel efficiency of just 27.2 mpg. The car also isn’t exactly environmentally friendly, and is in the highest tax band thanks to emitting over 250g/km of C02. Just like the Mitsubishi then, this car isn’t the right one for you if you haven’t got a rather healthy bank balance.

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