Tuesday, 23 June 2009 12:00 AM
Confused.com finds the top five 4x4s for under £30k – be seen in one of the best new 4×4 models on the market.
Best for looks – Volvo XC60
The Volvo XC60 has the distinct advantage of being fresh out of the box, but that doesn't take anything away from this stylish 4×4. Like a concept car that's escaped its motorshow stand, the XC60 would look good in any manufacturer's portfolio, never mind one with a conservative reputation such as Volvo.
Add to the fact it's great to drive and there's a choice of a low-emission front-wheel drive version, it also cuts fuel costs and could cut car insurance premiums. Prices start at around £25,000.
Best for practicality – Citroen C-Crosser
Many people choose 4x4s for their interior size and space, and the Citroen C-Crosser makes the best use of its cabin. Sharp on the outside, it measures up with the mid-sized competition, but thanks to a clean, uncluttered interior and some clever ideas there's space to spare.
Under-floor storage and clever cubbies help, but the boot also has room for two fold-away seats, which means you can carry up to seven people. Expect to pay a little over £20,000 for the cheapest models, as well as low car insurance and affordable running costs.
Best for off-roading – Jeep Wrangler
They say practice makes perfect, in which case Jeep have been plugging mud for longer than anyone else. If ultimate off-road ability is your thing, look no further. The simple chassis means big ground clearance and excellent axle articulation.
Being relatively compact also ensures it can squeeze through tricky gaps that others can't. The downside – it's not as refined – or as comfortable – as many of its rivals. But if you're knee-deep in mud, there's not much else that will get you out again. Wranglers start at £18,000.
Best all-rounder – Land Rover Discovery 3
Land Rover also have a bit of history when it comes to the 4×4 game – and decades of experience in building nothing but off-roaders resulted in the superb Discovery 3. It has all the Land Rover touches you expect – clamshell bonnet, tough but stylish exterior and an air of class – it's practical and good to drive too.
The fiendishly-clever Terrain Response system means it can cope with almost anything you throw at it, yet it's smooth and refined on the road. The cheapest model is just £190 over our budget, but you should be able to haggle below the magic £30k barrier.
Best for value – Chevrolet Captiva
Don't think for one minute that 4x4s are the preserve of the rich. You can get the looks and practicality with the Chevrolet Captiva without emptying your bank account. This handsome beast, with optional large alloy wheels, has a decent specification and a choice of petrol or diesel engines. Prices start at a relatively cheap £16,980, even less if you scrap your old car at the same time (see Confused.com's Guide to Car Scrappage Schemes). The top version with all the bits and seven seats checks in at £24k.