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Four By Four Dinosaur?

The DriveWrite Archives

Four By Four Dinosaur?

Geoff Maxted
January 1, 2014

Range Rover Range Rover
When winter arrives and lays its icy fingers upon your world you wonder two things: why do I not live on the Mediterranean coast wearing shorts all year round and why don’t I drive a 4x4?

Thanks to our stalwart weather forecasters one thing you can always be sure of is that you will always be completely wrong about what the weather is going to do from one day to the next. Fortunately we don’t really suffer extremes of weather very often, but when the white stuff falls from the sky and the roads turn into skating rinks, four wheel drive makes more sense. This is always demonstrated by 4x4 owners who drive past with big cheesy grins on their silly faces whilst the rest of us slither about like a live fish on a marble slab.

Today we are encouraged - or should that be coerced - to drive small, frugal cars running on spindly little wheels as our contribution to saving the planet. Dinosaurs were eradicated from the Earth by the forces of nature and it’s highly possible that big off-roaders will be consigned to history by the very much man-made forces of the green lobby. SUV’s are acceptable but even the most versatile of them are not as effective as a real 4x4 when the going gets tough. So if you really must buy a do-it-all vehicle then what should you be considering as you make your plans?

For example - can you afford it? They cost more, consume more fuel and the associated costs of running any vehicle are likely to be greater than a regular car. Conversely they tend to hold their value well. Actually, the first question you should ask yourself is whether you really need one or not. Certainly, if you need a car for towing or you are likely to be spending time off road then the answer is probably yes. If, on the other hand, you just need something for the school run then a 4x4 is probably a bit over-the-top. Maybe an estate car with four wheel drive capability or something like the Subaru XV would be a better bet?

All makes come with the option of petrol or diesel but if there’s a serious need then diesel engines offer more torque for pulling loads, for example. Against that it’s probably necessary to balance the extra cost of diesel over petrol. Hybrids have now appeared amongst the ranks and this might be the way to go. If an SUV style car is all you need then Citroen’s beautiful DS5 Hybrid4 might fit the bill. With an output of just 91g/km of CO²it provides adequate four wheel drive options whilst bringing a smile to the face of the most wild-eyed green lobby advocate.

Poor reliability is something that has dogged 4x4’s in the past owing to their complexity. Things are much better now and the more car-like Hyundai ix35 or the Skoda Yeti are well regarded whilst being competitively priced. If you can’t be talked out of buying vehicles like these then do your research and weigh up all the options. If, at the end of the day, you want the very best 4x4 that money can buy then how about a brand new Range Rover?

Deep pockets essential.

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