Off-roaders are notorious for being expensive to buy and run, but with more 4x4s to choose from than ever before, it’s easy to find a number of models for increasingly affordable prices. Those with £12,500 to spend can find numerous appealing options within budget, from brand new back-to-basics Dacia Dusters to used examples of the upmarket VW Tiguan and the hardy Land Rover Freelander.
We’ve rounded up some of the most attractive new and used models available for less than £12,500 that prove that you don’t have to have deep pockets to buy and run a 4×4. With claimed fuel economy standing at up to 60mpg and emissions low enough to warrant £30 annual car tax, these off-roaders could cost less to live with than you might think.
The Tiguan blends the best of boxy 4×4 styling with the comfortable, high-quality interiors that VW is famous for. £12,000 is enough to get you the keys to a five-and-a-half-year-old 2.0-litre diesel model that has covered 57,000 miles and is capable of returning a reasonable 47.9mpg, with annual car tax weighing in at £180.
The Tiguan’s frugal engines mean that opting for a more refined petrol motor isn’t out of the question either. In 1.4 TSI 150 form – yours for £12,000 for a 2011 model with just over 30,000 miles on the clock –the Tiguan canters to 62mph in a brisk 9.3 seconds but still returns strong economy of 42.2mpg and car tax that matches the model above.
If you want an off-roader for its ability to cross tricky terrain as well as for the butch styling, the Freelander is a sound choice – no company knows more about how to create a tough 4×4 than Land Rover. Despit this, the Freelander is a practical and comfortable machine for families, with a large boot and more than enough interior room.
Thanks to its off-road credentials, the Freelander can’t get close to the Tiguan’s medium car-matching fuel economy, however, with official figures for the 2.2-litre diesel weighing in at 37.7mpg. Acceleration figures, though, are reasonable with the Freelander taking 10.9 seconds to hit 62mph. For £12,000 a 51,000 mile six-and-a-half-year-old model could be yours.
If you’re after something a little smaller, but don’t want to sacrifice off-road ability, the Panda 4×4 could be a wise choice. This tiny machine boasts a large amount of ground clearance, along with a four-wheel drive system and light weight, which should all help to make it much more capable off-road than you might imagine.
The Panda 4×4’s small size also means that economy figures are impressive, with both petrol and diesel versions returning around 60mpg, with car tax costing as little as £30 per year. Its diminutive dimensions mean that its perfect for nipping through traffic and parking in tight city spaces too.
Family-friendly medium 4×4 – Toyota RAV4
Toyota is renowned for creating sturdy, reliable machines and the RAV4 is no different, making it a competent family car for those who want four-wheel drive to deal with slippery surfaces – or at least off-roader-style design, if you opt for one of the two-wheel drive options.
A budget of £12,500 is enough for a four-year-old diesel model with two-wheel drive that has covered 55,000 miles. Without a fuel-guzzling four-wheel drive system, this 2.0-litre RAV4 is capable of 47.1mpg, and can sprint to 62mph in a reasonable 10.2 seconds. Meanwhile, annual car tax will set you back £180 per year.
Affordable brand new model – Dacia Duster
£12,500 might sound like too little to get you into a new off-roader, but the Dacia Duster is available from just £9,495 – provided you are happy with a petrol model or a two-wheel drive diesel – as diesel 4×4 models costing £13,995 upwards.
Cheapest of all is the 1.6-litre two-wheel drive petrol, which can make its way to 62mph in an acceptable 11.5 seconds. Economy, however is average, with this model returning 39.8mpg – which drops to a poor 35.3mpg in four-wheel drive form. This most basic Duster also does without much equipment that you may expect to find as standard – such as electric rear windows and split-folding rear seats.
If you up the budget to £11,995, however, you could secure yourself a two-wheel drive diesel model, which is capable of a much more appealing 56.5mpg and car tax bills of £110 compared to £180 for the petrol.