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Best Cars

Best Large SUVs and 4x4s for 2018

By Martin Pratt

Article 8 of 16

Our best 4x4 SUVs are refined and efficient, offering practicality and four-wheel drive security – and a used best 4x4 needn’t cost you a fortune.   

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Large SUVs and 4x4s are now one of the most popular types of car in the UK. Favoured for their rugged good looks and the confidence they inspire, thanks to their raised driving position and perceived safety.

4x4s are also pretty practical, with large, comfortable interiors. And – on most models at least – four-wheel-drive and the ability to venture off road. Few do, but those large tyres also do a good job of smoothing out rough roads and squashing speed bumps. 

The 4x4 class includes everything from luxury models, such as the Audi Q7, BMW X5 and Range Rover. To more affordable mainstream offerings, including the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander and Nissan X-Trail. 

But popularity is no guarantee that a large SUV will be good to drive or own. Our testing has found SUVs that are a nightmare to drive anywhere other than a muddy field. Long braking distances, wide turning circles and harsh suspension may be fine on a dirt track, but they become significant problems on a motorway or in town.

Below, you’ll find Best Buy 4x4s and large SUVs that have aced our rigorous tests, and some models that aren’t worth your money. 

Which? members can log in now to see the large SUVs we recommend. If you’re not already a member, join Which? to unlock our recommendations and all of our expert impartial reviews.

Best new large SUVs

Price from £50,890
Which? score 84%
Reviewed Nov 2013
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A full-fat SUV in every sense of the word. This upmarket model is a luxurious, high-performance large off-roader that serves up excellent roadholding and passenger comfort. If the running costs don't make you wince, you won't be disappointed.

Price from £46,277
Which? score 81%
Reviewed Apr 2016
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

The unusual design won't be to all tastes, but this SUV is a very impressive luxury 4x4. There’s plenty of space for passengers front and rear, plus a decent-sized boot. It's well made and comfortable, and has lots of advanced technology.

Price from £63,159
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Apr 2018
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A masterclass in luxury and technology. This upmarket SUV has the potential for very low running costs, provided you can live without seven seats.

Price from £21,312
Which? score 76%
Reviewed Aug 2017
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This enormous SUV is a masterclass in practicality. It boasts a huge cabin and boot, and is available with four-wheel drive. We'd avoid the smaller engine options, though.

Price from £26,816
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Jul 2016
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 0-3 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

A large SUV with hybrid tech is an appealing proposition for city dwellers. This five-seater is quiet, refined and frugal around town. However, it becomes a lot noisier and thirstier on the motorway, and poor emissions prevent it from being a Best Buy.

Best used large SUVs

Price from £13,348
Which? score 78%
Reviewed Jul 2009
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This hybrid wants to combine economy with space and comfort, and it succeeds. Its design is pleasingly different from the SUV norm, too.

Price from £24,651
Which? score 77%
Reviewed May 2010
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

As close as you'll get to sports car performance and handling in a full-size SUV. This model's agility really does belie its size and weight, but emissions issues prevent it earning Best Buy status.

Price from £11,319
Which? score 75%
Reviewed Nov 2010
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
5 out of 55 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's satisfying to drive, returns decent fuel economy and has a comfortable, high-quality interior. It's not cheap to buy, but if it's within budget, you won't feel short-changed with this premium mid-sized SUV.

Price from £4,822
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Mar 2007
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This Japanese SUV impresses with its solid feel, spacious cabin and actual off-road ability. The 2.0-litre diesel is unspectacular and it's cramped as a seven-seater. However, it's not enough to prevent it being a Best Buy.

Price from £10,724
Which? score 68%
Reviewed May 2012
Driving stability:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Ride quality:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Model reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
On sale date:
Member exclusive
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive

This mid-size five-seater ticks the crucial boxes as family car, being safe, practical and reliable. Don’t be fooled by the discreet styling - it's a deserved Best Buy though and through.

Not found the car for you? Browse all our large SUV and 4x4 reviews

Three large SUVs to avoid

4x4s and beefy SUVs have a certain image to uphold. They look strong and durable - surely a car that can barrel across frozen tundra and rutted fields won’t break down, right? 

Sadly not, our survey has found high-profile 4x4s that regularly suffer from brake and electrical faults leading to multiple breakdowns and garage visits – hardly expected of a rugged off-roader.

There’s also the matter of fuel consumption. No one is expecting a hulking SUV to be as efficient as a Toyota Prius, but people’s expectations aren’t an excuse to produce cars that do less than 20 miles to the gallon. We’ve tested non-hybrid SUVs that achieve over 40mpg, so it’s not as if it can’t be done.

We’ve rounded up three unreliable, gas guzzling 4x4s that you should avoid.

Which? members can log in now to see the cars you should avoid. If you’re not already a member, join Which? to reveal the SUVs you should avoid and to access all of our expert, independent reviews.

Large SUVs to avoid

Price from £17,495
Which? score 45%
Reviewed Apr 2017
Driving stability:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Brand reliability 0-3 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

It's easy to be tempted by this car's competitive pricing, but its below par in almost every respect. It's poor to drive and isn't available with the latest safety kit.

Price from £36,796
Which? score 44%
Reviewed Apr 2007
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Brand reliability 0-3 years:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Brand reliability 3-8 years:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

Off-road prowess at the expense of nearly all road manners. Unwieldy, crude and thirsty, this model is one for the farm track only.

Price from £28,591
Which? score 41%
Reviewed Jan 2017
Driving stability:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Ride quality:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Boot space:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Brand reliability 0-3 years:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Brand reliability 3-8 years:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Boot space with seats up (litres):
Member exclusive
Combined mpg (best measured):
Member exclusive
CO2 emissions (best measured):
Member exclusive

A comfy cabin, desirable image and real off-road ability holds plenty of appeal. However, this model's woeful reliability means you'll spend more time having it fixed than exploring the great outdoors. Steer clear.

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