4x4s are rarely recommended to young drivers for two main reasons: they usually guzzle more fuel being larger, heavier, and four-wheel drive, and, they are typically more expensive to insure. That being said, if you have your heart set one and your budget can afford it, 4x4s can be a lot of fun, whether you want such a car for off-road adventures or for better control during adverse weather.   


There’s not much advice we can give on how to get cheaper fuel bills with a 4×4, other than pick a more frugal engine with good miles per gallon (MPG) and drive slower. However, when it comes to insurance there are a few practical pointers young drivers can use to bring the costs down, such as: 

  • Pay yearly – if you can afford it, you will pay less with one lump sum than you do with monthly instalments where you’ll be charged interest 
  • Add a more experienced named driver to the policy, just remember the main driver of the car must always be the person indicated as the main driver on the policy (the main policy holder is also the only one able to earn a no claims bonus) 
  • Add extra security features, like an alarm and an immobiliser  
  • Increase your voluntary excess (what you’ll pay) when it comes to making a claim – just make sure you can afford it 
  • Shop around and compare deal

Search used SUVs


Of course, one of the easiest ways for young drivers to save money with a 4×4 is to buy a cheap used model or an affordable new car. And here’s where we can help you even more, with our list of the top 10 best cheapest 4x4s for young drivers. Read on to see we’ve chose as our favourite, low cost cars with all-wheel drive. 


With an astonishingly low starting price, the Dacia Duster is an SUV that is very affordable and superb value for money. You certainly get a lot of car for your cash, from the Duster’s stylish, bulky looks, to the spacious and practical cabin. Of course, 4×4 versions of the Duster are a tad more expensive than the 4×2 models, but what you get for that extra cost is a car that is actually quite capable as an off-roader. And for those who like to go on camping and sporting adventures, it can also be used to tow a trailer up to a tonne and a half in weight. The Duster may be cheap, but it’s a much better car than it needed to be. 

Best features:

  • Superb value for money 
  • Very low starting price 
  • Capable off-roader 



The Nissan Qashqai was one of the early crossovers to achieve instant success, proving a big hit of the bat. Later iterations have tweaked and improved the formula, keeping the Qashqai up-to-date. And it’s still one of the best crossovers on the market despite fierce competition by rivals. It’s also still one of the bestselling cars in the UK. And no wonder, the Qashqai is affordable, it’s good to drive, and it has a comfortable cabin and useful levels of practicality, including a 430-litre boot. When it comes to running costs, there’s a decent selection of engines to choose from too, with the most frugal being a 1.5-litre diesel engine that’ll return a worthy 64.3mpg. As to being a 4×4, it’s not the car for off-road adventures, but the Qashqai will handle adverse weather and poor road conditions no problem. It’s also a 4×4 that is great value for money with some fantastic deals on both the new and used car market. 

Best features:

  • Good to drive 
  • Comfortable and practical
    Great value for money on the new and used market 



For a full-on off-road experience that is affordable for young drivers take a look at the Suzuki Jimny, which is a true mud monster built for going off the beaten track and into the wilds. The car features an Allgrip Pro four-wheel drive system that excels on the toughest terrain, whether over steep dirt hills or snow covered banks. It looks the part too, with a stylish, boxy design that exudes rough and ready confidence and definite off-road capability. Whilst the car is lacking in the practicality department, with a mere 83-litre boot, and its running costs are little more than others on this list, with fuel consumption around 32.1 to 35.8mpg, the Jimny makes up for it with a very low starting price, particularly for a solid 4×4 with genuine off-road skills. 

Best features:

  • Very low starting price 
  • Genuine off-road skills 
  • Stylish, boxy design 



Available with a range of economical engines and as a 4×2 or a 4×4, the Skoda Yeti is a practical car that’s also good to drive, particularly for a car of its size. Furthermore, whichever engine you choose, you should get fairly low running costs too, with most options offering good MPG. In addition, the Yeti is reasonably priced, with an average cost of just £10,392. When it comes to practicality, the car offers plenty of room for two adults in the back and a good-size boot as well. And when it comes to being a 4×4, the Skoda Yeti is surprisingly capable, whether in poor weather on the tarmac or off the tarmac altogether. In fact, the Yeti is quite a capable off-roader, providing an all-round 4×4 package for young drivers. 

Best features:

  • Good to drive 
  • Low running costs 
  • Capable 4×4 off-roader 



The Suzuki Ignis is another affordable option that comes with a good range of economical engines. It’s also available as a mild hybrid too, for even better miles per gallon. To enjoy the car as a 4×4, you will have to opt for the range topping SZ5 model, which comes with Suzuki’s AllGrip four-wheel drive system. However, the Ignis is not like Suzuki’s other offering on this list, the Jimny. The Ignis is much more of a city car, in size and design, offering low running costs and a vehicle for everyday use. It’s not really meant for off-road adventures, although it can withstand a bit of light off-roading. It’s more of a practical car for driving around town, and when those winter flurries sweep in, the Ignis can continue driving around town with confidence, tackling such weather with ease.  

Best features:

  • Low running costs 
  • Affordable starting price 
  • Good 4×4 city car for daily use 



Similarly, the Volkswagen Tiguan is not really designed for going off-road, but as a family crossover the 4×4 option comes in handy for extra grip and stability in bad weather. Where the Tiguan really excels is with its high levels of practicality and space, offering a huge boot and plenty of room for adults in the front and back, with the option to add a third row for seven seats. If you like going on trips with a lot of friends or you plan to start a family, the Tiguan is a great option to consider. Furthermore, it offers an excellent range of engines from the powerful to the frugal, for those wanting low running costs. The Tiguan also enjoys superb build quality, as you’d expect from a premium German manufacturer. 

Best features:

  • Space and practicality 
  • Seven-seater option 
  • Excellent range of engines 



Great value for money, the Kia Sportage has a competitive and affordable starting price with good deals in both the new and used sectors. It has a roomy cabin, excellent levels of comfort, and good practicality, with a sizeable boot. As standard, the Kia Sportage comes packed with a lot of equipment too, which only adds to the car’s value. As an option, 4×4 variants add decent off-road capabilities (including great ground clearance) to a car that already proves brilliant on the road, with plenty of grip, agile handling, and a smooth ride. All of these features add up to one fantastic all-round package, which is why it’s one of the bestselling cars in the UK. 

Best features:

  • Great value for money 
  • Comfortable and practical 
  • Good on and off road 



When it comes to a 4×4 with stylish looks, few compete with the snazzy Mini Countryman. You’ll have to opt for a four-wheel drive version and what you’ll get for that is a car suitable for tackling heavy rain or snow strictly on the tarmac. Whilst the Countryman won’t take you off-road, it will provide lots of practicality and a good driving experience. It also has a high-quality cabin and a premium finish. Additionally, it’s available as a plug-in hybrid for those who want to lower the running costs, which could be a very cheap option thanks to a good electric-only driving range of approximately 26 miles – and that should be plenty for city commuters. In short, the Mini Countryman offers an enticing and attractive package to young city drivers. 

Best features:

  • Good to drive 
  • Stylish looks 
  • Cheap to run 



Typically, most 4x4s are larger cars, but let’s say you want a smaller vehicle with four-wheel drive, where can you turn? Well, you could check out the Fiat Panda 4×4, which is more like a supermini in size. In fact, it’s one of the most compact five-seater off-roaders on the market, blending city car performance with a raised ride height to take you anywhere on the road and off the beaten track too. And surprisingly, the Panda is a competent little off-roader that can be quite good fun. There’s also something rather charming and endearing about the car, with its small, yet rugged and boxy looks. It offers fairly low running costs and decent levels of practicality, as well as an affordable starting price. 

Best features:

  • Compact off-roader 
  • Affordable starting price 
  • Fairly low running costs 



A 4×4 crossover SUV from a company that knows a thing or two about tackling the harshest terrain (as rally champions), the Subaru XV comes with four-wheel drive as standard and good ground clearance, providing a sturdy design for adventuring on and off the tarmac in equal measures. If you are a young driver looking for a car that offers true off-road fun, then the XV is well-worth checking out, as it definitely ticks that box. The car’s X-Mode system gives you more control when hitting the dirt and a top hill-descent assistance system will allow you to wander even further into the wilderness. On the road, the XV is known for being very safe and reliable too. For active and adventurous lifestyle, the Subaru XV is a car to consider. 

Best features:

  • 4×4 as standard 
  • Good fun off-road 
  • Very safe and reliable 


Ready to set out on adventure now that you’ve passed your driver’s test? A 4X4 will take to places you’ve never been before. 

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Back to articles February 4, 2021

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