Car Choice: Finding the right 4x4 can be an uphill struggle


Heather Read bought a Honda CRV last September, but apparently it all went horribly wrong and she ended up with a refund, but no vehicle. Heather and her family need four-wheel drive because they live on top of a hill in an area that is prone to flooding. They like the idea of seven seats – space is a priority for visits to family around the country – and they might get a dog! Heather is currently test driving various 4x4s, but which one should she buy?

A car for the head

As the owner of a fairly old seven seat Land Rover Discovery which copes brilliantly with adverse weather conditions, I would unhesitatingly recommend one of those. Indeed, Heather loves them too, but reckons it is far too thirsty on fuel. With around £20,000 to spend, there are many options. Heather probably needs a Land Rover, BMW or Mercedes off roader. For Japanese reliability I would suggest looking at the Nissan X-Trail. Here is a vehicle that will return around 38mpg. It is comfortable, well built, with a decently large interior and, more recently, an extended boot area. As an alternative to the CRV this would be the closest but it has a slightly tougher image. Heather can get a 2008 example, with less than 30,000 miles on the clock, from a dealer with a full warranty for £17,000.

A car for the heart

Seven seats in most vehicles apart from dedicated people carriers are always something of a compromise. Among the many options out there is a Korean-built model that is often overlooked and underrated – the Chevrolet Captiva (pictured). Designed by General Motors, but built in the Far East, it is a good combination of quality and value. The diesel 2.0 CDTi will deliver a reasonable 38mpg, which should please Heather. It is a good car to drive, and when the going gets slippery power is supplied to the rear wheels. Inside, there is bags of room for head and legs. The boot – especially if Heather is planning on getting a dog – is pretty big when five seats are being used. The top of the range LT model has seven seats, alloy wheels, and sat nav among many other luxuries. A 2009 example, with 20,000 miles on the clock, in LTX trim, from a Chevrolet dealer, would be great value at £17,495 and barely run in.

James Ruppert's new book The German Car Industry: My Part in Its Victory is out now (Foresight Publications) and is also available via jamesruppert.com at £12.99 including p&p.

Looking to buy?

Please write to Car Choice, Features, Independent on Sunday, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5HF or email James Ruppert at carchoice@independent.co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    JavaScript Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + 15% Bonus: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a l...

    Lead Application Developer

    £80000 - £90000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: I am current...

    Year 3 Welsh Teacher vacancy in Penarth

    £110 - £120 per day + Travel Scheme and Free training: Randstad Education Card...

    Senior Developer - HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, VBA, SQL

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: We are working with one o...

    Day In a Page

    Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

    The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

    A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

    Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

    How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
    Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

    He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

    Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
    Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Pop-up hotels filling a niche

    Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
    Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

    Feather dust-up

    A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    Boris Johnson's war on diesel

    11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
    5 best waterproof cameras

    Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

    Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
    Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

    Louis van Gaal interview

    Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
    Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

    Will Gore: Outside Edge

    The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz