With winter upon us in the northern hemisphere, those of us considering a new car may well have one eye on the 4×4 section in the classifieds. Unfortunately, these large, off-road capable vehicles are not always the cheapest to buy or run, so it can take a fair bit of research to bring things under budget. With this in mind, let’s take a look at which 4×4 makes the most sense new or used.
Buying a new car means you’ll get a brand new model, exactly the spec you want, and you won’t need to worry about reliability because the warranty is included. The problem is that you will be paying the highest price, and depreciation is going to be your biggest enemy. What we need here is a car that doesn’t cost a huge amount to buy in the first place, and won’t lose too much value. This immediately discounts cars like Range Rovers. While they’re as good as 4x4s get, and actually hold their value extremely well indeed, they have a very high purchase cost. The choice is the Hyundai Santa Fe. Sold in markets all over the world, it is a very capable 4×4 that is priced around most family cars, and doesn’t have a huge value to lose. They’re reasonably economical, and come with 5 year warranties too. A very sensible choice indeed.
Buying used will give you different options, as previous owners are likely to have been the ones to take the hit of depreciation. What you’re looking for here are low running costs, coupled with good reliability. Having to make too many repairs is what’s most likely to cost you significant money when you’re buying outside the manufacturer’s warranty. While a used Santa Fe would actually make a good choice here, there are a few better candidates. The standout choice is the Land Rover Freelander. It’s the baby of the Land Rover range, but is an excellent 4×4 in its own right, and comes with most of the luxuries you’d expect from the British marque. A quick look at Exchange & Mart shows that there are many available at quite a range of prices. It’s best to stick with the second generation however, as it is much more reliable than earlier models. Desirability of the larger cars in the Range Rover range ensure that the Freelander remains a good value prospect, and is somewhat of a hidden gem.