4x4s have rocketed in popularity over the past decade, thanks in part to their practical interiors, high ride-height and car-like handling. We’ve rounded up the top five most popular 4x4s among Which? readers.
Venture into any city centre and you’ll see dozens of off-roaders scattered amongst the superminis and family cars. Don’t think this is just a fad, though; the best 4x4s manage to mix traditional off-road style, practicality and visibility with nimble handling.
Top models offer reasonable fuel economy and running costs, plus the option of four-wheel drive gives you added traction for dealing with slippery winter roads, gravel tracks and so on.
We’ve rounded up the top five models you have been searching for this year.
Nissan Qashqai – Trend-setting compact 4×4
The Nissan Qashqai was the first ‘crossover’ to combine chunky off-roader styling with medium-car dimensions and family-friendly features. It has been a huge sales success and it’s easy to see why, with its distinctive looks and spacious interior.
The second-generation Qashqai, launched in 2014, introduced sharper styling and brings the Qashqai right up to date, with a more upmarket cabin and lots of high-tech kit. Engines have also been updated, with buyers now able to opt for a punchy turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol engine.
Skoda Yeti – Quirky compact crossover
While Nissan has chosen handsome chiseled lines for the Qashqai, the Skoda Yeti looks like nothing else on the road. This chunky crossover may be an acquired taste in the style department, but the interior and boot offer up a good amount of space for its dimensions.
Yes, you can find more spacious rear seats in other models, but the Yeti is significantly shorter than any of the other top five 4x4s here, making it more suited to tight city streets.
Honda CR-V – Spacious and sturdy 4×4
The Honda CR-V has been on UK streets since 1997 and the fourth-generation model has a hugely practical interior and good on-road handling.
Older models have fared well for reliability in the Which? Car Survey too, so the CR-V should be a sensible purchase. It also comes packed with a long list of standard safety equipment. Prices are high, however, and other similarly-sized 4x4s can be bought for less.
Audi Q5 – Luxurious off-roader
If it’s an upmarket five-seat model you’re after, look no further than the Audi Q5. This grown-up 4×4 really feels like a high-quality product and drives well on tarmac, too. With comfortable seats and a quiet cabin, the Q5 is a good motorway cruiser.
You do have to pay for the privilege, though, as prices and running costs for the Q5 are on the high side. But the car should retain its value well when you come to sell it on.
Mazda CX-5 – Spacious and affordable 4×4
The Mazda CX-5 wades into battle with sharp styling and a very large cabin and boot. You also get a lot of car and equipment for the money, plus a choice of punchy petrol and diesel engines.
The CX-5 is packed with Mazda’s SkyActiv fuel-saving technology, which claims to offer a very strong combination of performance and fuel economy.