Reliability issues have dogged the Land Rover Freelander, but it’s old enough now that most of those left will be examples that have been well cared for, and anyway, that poor reputation has driven down prices. The 1.8-litre petrol is known for its head gasket issues, but the 2.0-litre diesel and V6 should be dependable, and that's on top of the benefits of the Freelander’s cosseting ride quality, proper off-road ability and roomy interior. Find a good one, in other words, and the Freelander has plenty going for it – and at these prices, that’s eminently possible.
We found: 2.0 TD4 Kalahari, 106,000 miles, service history, £1895
Behind the Nissan X-Trail’s butch looks lies an SUV that manages to be all things to all people: comfortable enough for long trips, yet also agile and entertaining to drive. It’s spacious inside, too, with plenty of room for the average family and all their luggage. True, the plastics aren’t the most high-quality and there are some question marks over the diesel version’s reliability, but stick with a petrol example and you’ll have a cracking SUV.
We found: 2.0i Sport, 108,000 miles, £1999
2. Toyota RAV4
This generation of Toyota RAV4 still looks smart and fresh even today. Being a Toyota, of course, it’s extremely well put together and has a superb reputation for reliability, and it’s even fun to drive, although a slightly firm ride is the payoff for that. Petrol versions make the most sense, with the diesels’ short cambelt interval and greater complexity making them pricey at the garage, if not at the pumps. Five-door versions have plenty of space for the whole family; avoid the cramped three-door.
We found: 2003 2.0 VVT-i GX 5dr, 79,000 miles, £2000
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