BARGAIN HUNTER: CAR OF THE WEEK- V FOR OFF-ROAD VICTORY

WHOEVER THOUGHT that the four-by-four market was derivative, dying and out of date, has not seen an Isuzu V-cross - not surprising, because it has never been sold in the UK, although it was designed here by an Englishman, Simon Cox.

Whereas most off-roaders are ponderous, with breeze-block styling, the radical V-cross is lithe and sporty, the shape of off-roaders to come and much more sporty than a Toyota RAV4. Underpinning it are the utterly reliable mechanicals of an Isuzu Trooper V6, plus air conditioning, airbags and rear-mounted camera to help drivers reverse.

This may not be the only R-registered 1,000-km V-cross on offer by an importer, but at pounds 19,950 it is the cheapest by several thousand. It is on sale at Park Lane Limited (01420 544300).

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