With weather forecasts predicting heavy snow and high winds, it’s not a bad time of year to have a mud-plugger kitted out with four-wheel drive. As many of the smaller so-called off-roaders do without heavy four-wheel drive systems in the name of economy and cost saving, most of these will fare just as badly as the average hatchback when the snow starts to fall.
Therefore, if you’re after a car with SUV looks – and the ability to deal with any snow that we may get – we’ve rounded up some of the most appealing 4x4s which sneak under the £20,000 mark and shouldn’t break the bank with high running costs.
The Duster is famed for being the cheapest new off-roader on the market and if you’re after a sturdy but capable all-terrain machine – and are willing to sacrifice the level of refinement found in other models – the Duster is an inexpensive choice, with prices starting at under £12,000 for models with four-wheel drive.
The £11,495 petrol model will cost you more at the petrol pumps than most rivals, however, with a poor claimed fuel economy figure of 35.3mpg meaning that someone covering 10,000 miles per year would have to stump up around £1,550 per year in petrol costs, while car tax is also costly at £225 per year with the current rates.
The Swift is one of the smallest 4x4s you can get, being based on the normal Swift supermini, but with its light weight and proper four-wheel drive system it should still be more than grippy enough to deal with slippery winter roads. Thanks to its small size fuel economy is strong at 51.3mpg while car tax will set you back a reasonable £110 per year.
This nippy machine also does without the butch off-roader style of many other 4x4s, so if you’re after an inexpensive car that offers SUV ability without the in-your-face styling of many ‘Chelsea Tractors’, the Swift 4×4 could be for you.
Ssangyong may be a pretty unknown name in the UK, but the company has a history of producing tough 4x4s that offer strong off-road ability and good value – and this is exactly where the Korando comes in. While most 4×4 diesel off-roaders this size would set you back well over £20,000, the Korando is available with four-wheel drive from just £16,495.
This model includes electric windows front and rear, air conditioning, cruise control, a heated windscreen and hill start assist to make hill starts a doddle. The car also performs well, requiring just 9.9 seconds to accelerate to 62mph and returning 45.6mpg.
Skoda has transformed its reputation as a purveyor of affordable machines that were seen as cheap and nasty to being a great value alternative to brands including Volkswagen, Ford and Vauxhall. And the Yeti lives up to that mantra, while providing a hefty dose of its own unique style too.
If you’re after four-wheel drive on your Yeti you’ll need to stump up just under £20,000, though in return you get a practical and good-to-drive vehicle which should serve you well for years to come. Fuel economy is average at 47.9mpg, while annual car tax will set you back £180.
No doubt you’ve spotted that the S-Cross doesn’t fall under the £20,000 mark. However, the reason we’ve included this model is because it should be cheap to run with very impressive claimed fuel economy of 64.2mpg and a three years’ free servicing offer. Throw these into the mix and the overall cost of ownership should be similar to rival models that sneak under the £20,000 level.
As with Suzuki’s Swift 4×4 the S-Cross does without the butch off-roader styling of most SUVs, but what it does offer is an easy driving experience and includes plenty of equipment, so if you have around £20,000 to spend it could be worth stretching your budget a little for one of these.
December 9, 2014