With the increasingly unpredictable and severe weather in the UK, more and more people are choosing to buy a 4×4 to ensure they’re prepared. But buying a used 4×4 can be a big investment – so here’s a guide to help you make the right decisions, so you get the right 4×4 for you.
Do You Really Need One?
Even if you already have your heart set on a 4×4, the most important question to ask yourself is whether you really need one. It’s vital to be sure before making the investment, so you can truly enjoy your new car and avoid feeling buyer’s remorse further down the road.
To get an honest answer to this question you’ll need to examine your driving needs specifically, but as a general guide if your answers are usually yes to:
- you live on a farm, need to tow trailers or caravans regularly
- you regularly travel on un-surfaced tracks or roads
- you live in a rural area that would be difficult to reach in difficult weather.
However, if all you want to do is commute to the office or take the kids to school in town, there are other more cost-effective choices out there that you’d be better off considering.
For getting around safely in the winter, or for some extra traction and towing power without going for an all-out off-roader, you could also consider a 4×4 version of a conventional car, such as an Audi A4 All Road, a Subaru Legacy Outback, or a Skoda Octavia Scout. These models tread the line between normal car and 4×4, usually having a raised ground clearance and extra underbody protection – but they won’t be able to cope with the range of situations and conditions that a true 4×4 will.
Now you’ve decided that you do need a 4×4, you need to examine your budget. 4x4s have a reputation for being hugely expensive, both to buy and run. While it’s true that some luxury 4x4s and crossovers fit this stereotype, many these days are much more affordably to buy, run, and insure than you might think. Plus, depreciation tends to be less severe for 4x4s, and their lifespan can be significantly longer than a typical estate or saloon.
One of the first things people think when they hear 4×4 is ‘gas-guzzling’ but these days manufacturers are increasingly offering models with attention paid to economy, as well as to CO2 emissions. For example, the Skoda Yeti Greenline II offers claimed fuel economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km, meaning car tax will be just £30 a year.