Land Rover Discovery Stunning looks, amazing off-road strength and decent on road performance. There’s space for up to seven in the plush cabin, plus a huge towing capability and capacity for effortless motorway cruising. The brilliant diesel-powered version was overall Car of the Year in 2005.
Nissan X-Trail Stick to the diesel-engined variety of X-Trail and it’s hard to go wrong. The 2.2dCi SE won our compact 4x4 laurels in 2005. An able chassis and clever four-wheel-drive system makes the Nissan good fun to drive and there’s a decent level of equipment in the practical cabin.
Mercedes ML The latest version of the ML is just what you’d want a Mercedes 4x4 to be – smooth, comfortable and quiet. The cheaper V6 petrol engine is so good it makes the V8 look rather pointless, while both 3.0-litre diesels provide excellent performance and very strong refinement.
See the February 2006 issue of What Car? magazine for a free 100 Secret Cars of 2006 and Beyond supplement.