Best used 4x4s 2021 (and the ones to avoid)
Tempted by the idea of a used 4x4? Then these are the models you should be considering – and the ones that are best avoided...
Buyers of SUVs expect a lot from their cars: comfort, practicality, a commanding driving position and, in many cases, the added security and off-road potential that comes with four-wheel drive.
All of the models we present here deliver these things, but to varying degrees. Some have seven seats, while others provide incredible ability when conditions get tough. But whatever you're after from your 4x4, you'll find something in this top 10 to meet your needs.
The Land Rover Discovery is an incredibly capable car. Not only can it seat seven adults in comfort, but it also comes with Land Rover's legendary go-anywhere ability. True, the Discovery costs more than rivals to keep on the road, but if you want practicality from your 4x4, it's certainly a good way to go.
Problems with the air suspension could be expensive to fix, so look out for warning lights on the dashboard. It's also worth checking the underside of the Discovery for any damage caused by off-road excursions. If water gets underneath the undercoating or if mud is allowed to sit on the chassis or suspension arms for an extended period of time, corrosion can occur.
Overall, though, the Disco 5 is an exceptional car: smooth, refined, comfortable, and hugely competent. Only its reliability reputation lets it down.
9. Dacia Duster
A nearly new Duster can be a capable on and off-road tool. The four-wheel-drive models are surprisingly competent if you decide to leave paved roads behind; you can lock them into four-wheel drive via a dial near the gearlever and let the traction control system prevent wheels from spinning, ensuring that power is sent to those wheels that have grip on the terrain. Four-wheel-drive cars also have more sophisticated rear suspension, which is more supple, meaning there's a decent ride, too.
Inside, space is excellent; four adults should have few complaints about longer journeys and you can even take five – at a pinch. Boot capacity is generous, and the depth of it means you’ll need to carry exceptionally long items without having to fold the rear seats down. At this money for a nearly new example, the Duster is exceptional value.
8. BMW X3
Pretty much every version of the second-generation BMW X3 is a great buy, and it's also remarkably good value at the moment. It’s nice to drive, spacious, well equipped and highly desirable.
The best things about it are probably its surefooted four-wheel-drive handling on the road and its great automatic gearbox. Inside, there's a smart interior and room for five adults and everything is well laid out. The infotainment system is still one of the best in the business, and it's even relatively economical in our favourite 20d diesel version, as well as impressively refined.
Just bear in mind that while the X3 is now available for remarkably little money, older diesel engines can develop problems with their fuel injection system, which is rather expensive to replace.
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