If all you want from an SUV is a higher ride, better visibility and acres of interior space, you can get these from a two-wheel drive model. So why buy its four-wheel drive counterpart?
Not only will a 2WD model cost less to buy, but you can get a new front-wheel drive Range Rover Evoque for £29,200. The cheapest 4WD model is nearly £2,000 more. And the difference in fuel economy is also likely to mean savings of more than £150 a year.
So why would you choose to buy a 4×4 instead? Yes, I understand that during the few snowy days we may have each year, you’ll be the only one able to get to work. Or if you’re a good Samaritan, you could spend the day rescuing people stranded in the snow in their grip-less townie cars. But is that really worth the extra spend?
Why buy a 4×4?
Buying a 4×4 could be a sensible move, as I’m starting to discover, having just bought a house that’s at the end of a 10-mile long country lane.
Plus, if I buy a desirable 4×4 at the right age, it’s not actually likely to lose much value in a couple of years of ownership, so I’ll beat the usual new car scourge of depreciation. The difference in price between a 2003 Land Rover Defender with 120,000 miles under its belt and a 2005, 130,000-mile model, both advertised on autotrader.co.uk, is just £250 – that’s £125 a year in value loss.
Easier to repair 4x4s
In contrast with most modern cars, there are precious few complex electrical parts to go wrong with a 4×4. That’s something that definitely can’t be said for my very temperamental six-year-old Renault Modus, which at present decides for itself whether or not it will illuminate the central console and other switches in the dark.
If I did buy an older 4×4, it won’t have the engine and other major mechanical components tucked up in impenetrable casings. I should be able to get my hands on all the oily bits, and maybe even fix some of them myself if they go wrong.
And I could save a lot of money on parts too – Google ‘Land Rover Defender exhaust system’ and you’ll get plenty of results for under £50. Do the same for a new Range Rover Evoque and the prices shoot up past £500.
Do you own a 4×4? If so, what were your reasons for choosing it, and what features are most important to you?