The Nissan X-Trail looks great – properly rugged, like an off-roader should. It’s appealing in other ways, too – for example, there’s plenty of space on offer, the ride is comfortable and it’s surprisingly good to drive for a car of this type. Downsides include a rather fragile interior with some brittle plastics and a less solid reputation for reliability than you might expect. Watch out for stalling problems that can be caused by fuel system issues.
We found 2005 2.2 dCi 136 SVE, 79,000 miles, £4,490
Don’t be put off by the 'cheap and cheerful' image; there's plenty to recommend for the Hyundai Santa Fe. Okay, so the interior’s a bit plasticky, especially if fitted with the nasty fake wood, and it isn’t the cheapest SUV out there to run. But there’s loads of room – there was even the option of seven seats when new – plus the Santa Fe is easy to drive, quiet and comfortable. Diesel models are the ones to go for and make great tow cars.
We found 2007 2.2 CRTD GSi, 64,000 miles, £4995
5. Peugeot 3008
The Peugeot 3008 isn't the finest car in the world to drive (unless, of course, you buy a top-of-the-range version fitted with Peugeot's active anti-roll bars). But it's comfortable enough and you get a whole heap of car for your cash. It comes with a big boot with a neat boot floor that can be moved around to optimise the space on offer, and with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, it's impressively efficient, too. Four-wheel drive isn't available, mind you, so if you need a heavy-duty off-roader, the 3008 won't be for you. Check all the electrics work as they should and listen out for rough running caused by faulty injectors.
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