Buying A 4×4: Things To Consider

4x4s have always enjoyed a certain degree of popularity. Even today sales figures are strong. You may be considering getting one of these tough, reliable cars, but have no idea where to begin. Although they all share certain traits, there’s a lot of variety within 4x4s. To ensure you don’t make a purchase you live to regret, I’ve put together a guide for buying your 4-wheel drive.


Image Credit: Commons Wikimedia

First of all, consider whether or not you need a 4×4. This hinges largely on the area you live in. Like any car, your 4×4 isn’t going to be cheap, and if you barely get any use from it then you’re going to end up regretting the whole decision. If you regularly have to cross bumpy fields or uneven road surfaces, then a 4×4 is a great idea. However, if you live in built-up urban areas, you’re probably much better off going with a smaller, nimbler vehicle. For some people, driving a Rover or Jeep simply feels great. If you’re dead set on your decision simply for the feel of the car, then go ahead. Think about it though; the novelty may wear off fairly quickly.


Image Credit: Nan Palmeroa

Next, decide on the fuel type you’ll be going for. Larger 4x4s are typically going to be diesel, mainly due to the cost. Modern diesel cars are pretty sophisticated. You’ll get plenty of torque from a diesel 4×4, which is especially important if you’re going to be using it for farm work. Depending on various factors, petrol may be the more cost-effective option. Here’s a handy calculator which will help you make a decision. These days, you might also come across a few hybrid 4x4s, with electric motors as well as regular engines. These could give you better fuel consumption and emission compared to diesels, but that all depends on the kind of driving you intend to do. Remember that not all hybrids are the best choice for environment!

After this, take some time to consider the style of 4×4 you want. At one time, most 4x4s were strictly off-roaders. You’d be able to cake them with mud, and simply hose them down at the end of the day. These days, they’re much more geared towards the urban driver. If you want a car which will be practical both as a family car and a tool, then the possibilities are endless. When you’re looking at various features, remember to take practicality into account. You’re going to have the option for roof rails, parking sensors, cameras and so on. Depending on the area you live, these things can be a big advantage or a waste of money. I’m sure you’re sensible enough not to blow your budget on ginormous alloy wheels and body styling kits!

I hope this has made your whole 4×4 question a lot more straightforward. My final little pointer is to avoid older models if you can. Used 4x4s will obviously be cheaper, but the more modern ones will be much more reliable both on and off road.

Wilko is a full-time motoring journalist with an obsessive interest in all things automotive.