Best cheap 4×4 cars

In need of a cheap 4×4 or SUV? Help is at hand with this list of practical AWD cars from the second hand market

The popularity of 4x4s and SUVs continues to grow year on year, with almost every manufacturer now trying to get a piece of the action. Modern 4x4s combine rugged styling, all-terrain ability and great practicality with comfort and polished road manners, ensuring near universal appeal. However, they can also be expensive, leaving premium models out of reach for some customers. So to help out we’ve rounded up some of the best cheap 4x4s and SUVs on the second hand market.

Buying a used 4×4 or SUV is the best way to make your money go further, with plenty of older models offering the same current-generation qualities at a much cheaper price.

There are a whole host of reasons why this might be the right path for you. With more space and versatility than hatchbacks, SUVs also have a style advantage over traditionally boxy MPVs. Four-wheel-drive can be a handy tool as well, helping you stay one step ahead of the unpredictable British weather and generally giving you more confidence on rough surfaces.

• Best new 4x4s and SUVs

While some will use a 4×4 for the intended purpose of serious off-roading, at the premium end of the spectrum high-end SUVs are replacing luxury limos as the transport option of choice for celebrities and heads of state. The 4×4 has gone from utility vehicle to style statement in the space of a couple of decades.

Whatever your budget, there’s a 4×4 or SUV out there for you, offering many of the above qualities without compromising on reliability or running costs. That is, of course, if you buy well – and the following list should help you do just that…

Best cheap 4x4sNissan Qashqai

Model: Nissan Qashqai 1.5 dCi Acenta (09/09-reg, 89,000 miles)
Price new: £20,795
Now: £3,500
Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 108bhp
Economy: 54.3mpg
CO2/tax: 139g/km/£140
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2007) 

The Qashqai is largely credited with kickstarting the crossover craze, but its huge success (more than three million were sold in its first 10 years) isn’t solely down to it being first on the scene.

It’s also because it’s a very good car, offering lots of space for families and the raised driving position you’d expect of an SUV, yet costing the same to run as a conventional hatchback. 

Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross

Model: Suzuki SX-4 S-Cross 1.6 SZ4 (14/14-reg, 42,000 miles)
Price new: £16,249
Now: £6,599
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl, 118bhp
Economy: 51.4mpg
CO2/tax: 127g/km/£120
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2013) 

When new, the SX-4 S-Cross was a Qashqai-sized crossover for Juke prices, and that trend continues on the second-hand market. It’s not the most stylish vehicle in its class, but it has a big boot, room for a couple of adults to sit comfortably in the back, is decent to drive and most versions come well equipped.

Watch out for models with the panoramic sunroof because this eats into headroom, and bear in mind that only cars badged as Alldrive come with four-wheel drive.

Kia Sorento

Model: Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi KX-2 (11/60-reg, 90,000 miles)
Price new: £27,295
Now: £8,750
Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 194bhp
Economy: 42.2mpg
CO2/tax: 177g/km/£250
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2009)

The Kia Sorento is a solid SUV for those wanting the maximum amount of space and specification for their money. While it might lack the refined driving experience of, say, a BMW X5, what you do get are seven seats, a gutsy 2.2-litre diesel engine and, in KX-2 trim, an equipment list that includes leather seats, dual-zone climate control and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

It’s a good tow car, too, although bear in mind that the auto’s towing limit is 2,000kg whereas the manual can handle more, at up to 2,500kg.

Jeep Renegade

 

Model: Jeep Renegade 1.4T MultiAir Longitude (15/15-reg, 51,000 miles)
Price new: £19,795
Now: £9,250
Engine: 1.4-litre 4cyl, 138bhp
Economy: 47.0mpg
CO2/tax: 140g/km/£140
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2014) 

It might be smaller than Jeep’s usual fare, and heavily based on Fiat running gear (underneath it’s basically a 500X), but there is something about the Renegade that captures the imagination.

Perhaps it’s the quirky styling touches such as the numerous jerrycan references or mud-splattered dials, or maybe it’s the fact that four-wheel-drive versions are genuinely capable off road, as Jeep is known for. Whatever the case, by opting for one of these over the likes of a Nissan Juke, Suzuki Vitara or Skoda Yeti, you’re sure to stand out from the crowd. 

MINI Countryman

Model: MINI Countryman Cooper SD ALL4 Chili (15/15-reg, 22,000 miles)
Price new: £29,310
Now: £13,990
Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 143bhp
Economy: 58.9mpg
CO2/tax: 126g/km/£120
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2010) 

While BMW’s MINI relaunch was a resounding business success, the brand had issues retaining customers in need of more space. Its answer was the 2010 Countryman, which was the largest MINI to date and the first to have five doors and 4WD.

This crossover offers the winning formula of MINI style and quirkiness together with a healthy dose of family-friendly practicality. 

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Model: Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 CRD Overland (13/13-reg, 34,000 miles)
Price new: £44,995
Now: £19,995
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 246bhp
Economy: 37.7mpg
CO2/tax: 198g/km/£290
Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2011) 

The Grand Cherokee’s 782-litre boot is about twice as large as you’ll find in a conventional family hatch. That’s not to be sniffed at – even if the car doesn’t drive with the same dynamic polish, or feel as plush inside, as the best premium SUVs from Audi, BMW and Land Rover.

Generous kit and plenty of space add to its appeal, and that Jeep badge means the Grand Cherokee is seriously capable off road. It’s ideal for families who spend their weekends exploring the great outdoors. 

Land Rover Discovery

Model: Land Rover Discovery TDV6 HSE (10/10-reg, 55,000 miles)
Price new: £47,695
Now: £19,995
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 242bhp
Economy: 30.4mpg
CO2/tax: 244g/km/£540
Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2006)

The Land Rover Discovery 4 has always been the automotive world’s equivalent of the Swiss Army knife. It’s useful in so many ways that once you’ve experienced its abilities nothing else will really do. Needless to say, its skills off road are breathtaking – which makes how utterly refined the Discovery is on the tarmac all the more remarkable.

With the big V6 diesel powerplant up front (go for the 3.0-litre engine rather than the smaller 2.7 if you can afford it), a smooth automatic transmission and one of the most commanding driving positions on the market, it simply devours miles.

The other ace up the Discovery’s sleeve is that it’s a full seven-seater that doesn’t require you to apologise to whoever ends up sitting in the third row. The rearmost compartment really is that roomy.

On the downside, the Land Rover’s running costs are high and reliability can be patchy. But find a good used example and you’ll never look back.

Range Rover Evoque

Model: Range Rover Evoque 2.2 SD4 AWD Prestige Lux 5dr (12/12-reg, 69,000 miles)
Price new: £44,240
Now: £19,995
Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 190bhp
Economy: 43.5mpg
CO2/tax: 174g/km/£155
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2011) 

Our 2011 Car of the Year has been a runaway success, captivating buyers with its standout design and affordable pricing (by Range Rover standards).

There’s a choice of three or five-door models; the latter here adds welcome practicality without sacrificing styling that can be traced back to the 2008 LRX concept car. True, there are still more spacious premium SUVs available for the money, but none will turn heads quite like an Evoque. 

Audi Q7

Model: Audi Q7 3.0 TDI S line Plus (12/62-reg, 77,000 miles)
Price new: £47,013
Now: £20,500
Engine: 3.0-litre V6, 242bhp
Economy: 38.2mpg
CO2/tax: 195g/km/£290
Euro NCAP: 4 stars (2006)

The Q7 was Audi’s first SUV, which makes the fact it is so accomplished all the more impressive. In fact, other than its limited off-road ability, the model excels in virtually every area. For example, there’s more than enough space for up to seven people inside, the interior is beautifully finished and it makes a brilliant tow car, too.

The engine range includes a 6.0-litre V12 diesel with a ridiculous 1,000Nm of torque. However, for most people it’s the 3.0-litre V6 diesel that will provide the best balance of performance, refinement and economy. 

Range Rover

 

Model: Rage Rover 4.4 SDV8 Autobiography (14/14-reg, 80,000 miles)
Price new: £96,550
Now: £39,750
Engine: 4.4-litre V8, 339bhp
Economy: 32.5mpg
CO2/tax: 229g/km/£540
Euro NCAP: 5 stars (2010)

At this price level you don’t need to pick just any SUV you can find, because you can afford the greatest of them all: the Range Rover. You don’t even have to go for the most basic TDV6-powered model, either. Yes, for the price of a brand-new Evoque, you can get behind the wheel of a four-year-old Rangie with the smooth and unstressed SDV8 diesel under the bonnet.

In return you’ll be getting an SUV with a level of luxury that few other cars in any class can match, let alone rival 4x4s. Of course, running costs will be a little steeper for the V8, but there’s no arguing with the refinement and smooth pulling power that makes this a perfect long-distance cruiser, as well as a great tow car.

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