Cheap 4x4s and off-road cars 2024

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Cheap 4x4s and off-road cars 2024

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  • Find a cheap 4x4 car for sale

In the market for a budget-friendly four-wheel-drive car? Our guide highlights the best cheap 4x4s and off-road cars currenly available in the UK.

The team 'SUV' was once synonymous with four-wheel-drive cars, or 4x4s for short. Today, however, many manufacturers offer their SUVs with two-wheel drive for customers that love the rugged looks but don't need the go-anywhere capability.

For many, however, a four-wheel-drive vehicle remains essential. Whether you need to tackle icy rural roads or explore off the beaten track, the best 4x4 cars are not just desirable, they're a necessity. 

The good news is that owning a really good four-wheel-drive off-road car doesn't have to cost a fortune. We’ve scoured the price lists and come up with this shortlist of the 10 best cheap 4x4s on sale today, spanning the spectrum from reguylar SUVs with decent 4WD ability through to proper off-road capable machines.

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Cheap 4x4s and off-road cars 2024

  1. Honda CR-V
  2. Nissan Qashqai (8)
  3. Skoda Kodiaq (8)
  4. MINI Countryman (7)
  5. Suzuki Ignis (7)
  6. Dacia Duster (6)
  7. SsangYong Korando (6)
  8. Fiat Panda 4x4 (5)
  9. Mitsubishi ASX (5)
  10. Subaru XV (5)

1. Honda CR-V

Year launched: 2018

Honda CR-V (2018-2023) Review frontright exterior

The Honda CR-V sold new between 2018 and 2023 is an excellent choice for families, with bags of interior space and a quality finish that moves it upmarket compared to its predecessor. This version snubbed diesel power, which means it won’t suit everyone, but you can get versions with four-wheel drive and don’t have to pay over the odds for it.

It's super practical with up to seven seats, and hybrid versions are refined and efficient. Comfort levcels are high, too. With a new CR-V on the way for 2024, the outgoing version is a solid choice for those looking for a fairly typical SUV with 4WD capabilities. It won't cope with serious off-roading, but it should make things more dependable in tricky conditions.

Buying used, you'll be looking at around £15,000 upwards, which is pretty good for a car this well-rounded. 

2. Nissan Qashqai

Year launched: 2013

Used Nissan Qashqai (2013-2021) Review: exterior front three quarter photo of the Nissan Qashqai on the road

The Nissan Qashqai is one of the most popular small SUVs on the market and yes, you can buy one with four-wheel drive. You’ll pay upwards of £12,000 for a previous generation Qashqai in Tekna trim with the 1.6-litre DCI diesel engine, manual gearbox and all-wheel drive.

There's a reason why the Qashqai has been such a success for Nissan. It's an incredibly well-rounded and capable family SUV, and is perfect for British roads, with Nissan's UK engineers responsible for developing the Qashqai. 

The interior also has a premium feel, while the seats are incredibly comfy. Space is also good - a nice stop up from what you typically get with a family hatchback, with a boot capacity of 430 litres. The Qashqai is a solid buy if you're looking for a reasonably priced 4x4 family car.

3. Skoda Kodiaq

Year launched: 2016

3. Skoda Kodiaq

An all-new Skoda Kodiaq is due in 2024, but the original car, sold since 2016, remains one of the very best all-round family cars. It's got acres of space, it's crammed with clever, helpful features and it's also available with a decent all-wheel-drive system.

Look out for Scout models if you really need to tackle some rough stuff, as it sits higher than the others, but all models have lots of ground clearance to tackle trails and mud, and if you fit some all-terrain tyres then it'll venture surprisingly far into the wilderness with few problems.

Prices will be slightly higher than other cars on this list, but byou'll be able to hop into a seven-seater petrol version for around £15,000. That's not a lot of money for a great deal of car.

4. MINI Countryman

Year launched: 2017

MINI Countryman frontleft exterior

The MINI Countryman is a somewhat upmarket crossover SUV, so it’s surprising to see it appearing in this list alongside the likes of the Dacia Duster and Kia Sportage. Part of the reason it’s relatively affordable is that MINI offers All4 all-wheel-drive on the lower-spec trim levels, so you don’t have to pay extra for a high-spec model.

That means you can get an early MINI Countryman Cooper with four-wheel-drive for as little as £12,500. That comes with a petrol engine and automatic gearbox, although a diesel version is also available.

No matter which engine you choose, the MINI Countryman is great to drive. It’s just a really fun car, whether you’re exploring a city centre of the countryside. And the interior is superb – well-finished, with plenty of soft-touch materials and space for all the family. You’re not going to regret buying a MINI Countryman.

5. Dacia Duster

Year launched: 2018

Dacia Duster Review 2021: Front

Looking for a dirt cheap 4x4 that’ll get on with the job with little fuss? The Dacia Duster should be high on your shortlist.

It feels a bit like a car from at least 10 years ago, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You won’t find complex touchscreen media systems and all the latest technology here, but that makes the Duster an easy car to get along with from the moment you sit in it. There’s less to go wrong, too - making it an ideal car to hold onto for the long-term.

You can pick up a brand new Duster for a little more than £17,000, but at the time of writing you could no longer get a 4x4 model, so you'll need to go used if you want power to all wheels. You can pick up a five-year-old model with four-wheel drive for less than £10,000.

6. SsangYong Korando

Year launched: 2019

SsangYong Korando Review 2023: front static

The Korean-built SsangYong Korando is intended to be a more affordable alternative to cars like the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq. There’s a lot to like about it, not least its seven-year warranty, generous standard equipment levels and affordable price tag.

SsangYong changed its name to KGM in 2023, and you can still buy a new Korando with its new badge four just over £25,000, but once again there's no option for 4x4, so used is the way to go. You'll find relatively low mileage examples for less than £20,000, and often cpnsiderably less.

It’s a car that’s popular with caravanners and the Pioneer model is actually aimed specifically at the towing fraternity – as well as a two-tonne towing limit, you also get 17-inch alloy wheels with all-weather tyres and a full-sized spare wheel.

The most impressive thing about the SsangYong Korando is it doesn’t feel like a budget option. The interior is surprisingly classy, especially in top-spec Ultimate guise. This comes with things like a 10-inch digital instrument cluster and fancy mood lighting.

7. Fiat Panda 4x4

Year launched: 2012

7. Fiat Panda 4x4

Proving that you don’t necessarily need a big SUV to keep moving when the going gets tough, is this – the diminutive Fiat Panda 4x4. It’s a delightful little car with a smaller footprint than a Ford Fiesta and a price tag to match - a new one would set you back less than £16,000 before it went off sale in 2023.

Most Pandas sold were two-wheel drive, so you'll have to hunt for the four-wheel-drive model, but it'll be worth it, with plenty availabvle for less than £5000. With 150mm of ground clearance, it’s not going to keep up with a Land Rover Defender off-road, but its low kerb weight means it can happily skip over rutted tracks. There's a more rugged Cross version if you really need to venture further afield (or just want a Panda with a rear diff-lock and extra underbody protection… who wouldn’t?!).

8. Mitsubishi ASX

Year launched: 2010

Mitsubishi ASX (2010-2021) Review: front static

Car buyers often overlook the Mitsubishi ASX in their search for a small SUV but – while it’s not as popular as alternatives like the Nissan Qashqai or SEAT Ateca – it is a very dependable car that’s available with four-wheel drive.

The ASX has been on sale for some time, which means there are lots to choose from on the used market, and some 9older, higher mileage models are an absolute steal. A 4x4 ASX could be yours for as little as £5000 and often considerably lower.

Another perk of more recent Mitsubishi ASX models is that they came with a five-year, 62,500-mile warranty. Altogether, it makes a very tempting and cheap 4x4 package.

9. Subaru XV

Year launched: 2018

Subaru XV front

There’s a reason Subaru buyers are incredibly loyal to the brand. The Japanese manufacturer designs its cars to last well beyond the three-year finance agreement, and they’re capable of going anywhere without leaving you stranded.

If you actually need to venture off-road, the Subaru XV is a really good alternative to more stylish crossover SUVs like the Peugeot 3008. All XV models come with the same Active Torque Split AWD system, while you can choose between 1.6- or 2.0-litre petrol engines. Both are paired with CVT automatic gearboxes.

The interior feels incredibly hard-wearing, and there’s plenty of technology fitted as standard - including Subaru’s innovative EyeSight driver assist technology (which includes adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking). Prices for a new XV start in the region of £33,000, but you'll be looking to pay around half that for a used XV. 

Suzuki Jimny

Year launched: 1998

Suzuki Jimny Front View

Normally, a car that we've basically panned in our review wouldn't make it on the "Best..." list of anything. The previous-generation Suzuki Jimny felt as old as the hills, has questionable safety standard and is fairly rubbish.

But it has one thing going for it – it's absolutely brilliant off-road, which means we have to include it here. Older models are also cheap as chips – there are load around for less than £3000, although you'll probabluy want to spend more to get a better one.

If you do have a larger budget, consider the latest model, which was introduced in 2019. It's very much a spiritual successor to the model pictured here, but less terrible on road and still exceedingly good off it.

Cheap 4x4 FAQs

Phil Hall

Written by

Phil Hall

A 4x4 (or four-wheel-drive vehicle) is one that sends power to all four wheels. The way this works will depend on the individual model but you’ll find that most modern 4x4s generally send most of their power to the front wheels under normal driving. They can then shift power to the rear wheels when required, helping out in slippery conditions. This means 4x4s are popular with people who live in rural areas and regularly drive on muddy roads or need a capable car during wintery weather.

It really depends. For most of us, a 4x4 might be overkill, with a two-wheel-drive model fine for the daily demands. They're also cheaper to run as well. However, if you live somewhere where the road surfaces are pretty poor with limited grip, then a 4x4 can be a necessity. 

Generally, having power going to both axles makes for a capable vehicle with increased traction in slippery conditions – including snow and ice. There are other factors to take into consideration, too, like the tyres fitted and the weight of the car. Some two-wheel-drive vehicles even have special driving modes which tweak the traction control to make them more capable in cold weather.

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