4. 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 trick 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, it won't be for you. Check all the electrics work as they should, and listen out for rough running caused by faulty injectors.
We found: 2010 1.6 HDI Active, 69,000 miles, £4995
3. BMW X5
If ever there was a 4x4 that was fun to drive, it’s the BMW X5. Yet the big Bimmer is also big enough for five people and their luggage, comfortable enough for long distances, and smart enough to impress the neighbours. It’s also a great place to spend time, with quality fittings and upholstery. The 4.4-litre V8s are thirsty but, consequently, cheap to buy, while 3.0-litre diesels are efficient but mechanically complex. Keep in mind, that electrical glitches aren’t unknown, and can take time and money to sort out. Get a good one, though, and you’ll adore it.
We found: 2005 3.0i Sport, 99,000 miles, full service history, £4995
2. Honda CR-V
It isn’t the most capable off-roader, but if you’re after an SUV that’ll spend most of its time on the road, you can do little better for this price than the Honda CR-V. It’s great value, spacious, comfortable, smooth and easy to drive, and compact enough to be manageable by even the least confident driver. Higher-specification models also come with all the bells and whistles, and Honda’s reputation for reliability is fantastic. We’d stick with petrol models, though, as diesel versions have been known to wear their clutches prematurely.
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