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Luxury 4x4s on a budget

By raccars Published

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The forthcoming Bentley Bentayga is leading the charge for a new wave of luxury 4x4s. However if you don't have £160,000 to spend, what are your options?

If you're looking for a luxury 4x4 on a budget, realistically you're going to have to go for an older model. That's not necessarily a bad thing however, as many of these cars are so well made that they're practically bulletproof, plus with age comes a certain amount of retro charm.

Land Rover Range Rover

The original posh off roader, the Range Rover has been around since 1970. Regular updates aside, the basic formula hasn't changed very much: plenty of wood veneer and leather upholstery, a split / fold rear tailgate and lots of handy torque under the bonnet. The Range Rover is best appreciated when driven as a V8 but this is an expensive indulgence. You're looking at £60,000 or more for a new Range Rover but given its lifespan there are plenty of options around the £5,000 - £10,000 mark. This is, however, very much a case of getting what you pay for, so ensure that everything is working properly because repairs are not cheap.

Audi Q7

The 2005-2015 Q7 shares some familial connections with the Bentayga, as the second generation Q7 and the Bentley are based upon the same platform. However if budget is a concern, you'll be looking at older versions of the Q7. This is not a problem, as Audi of course had years of four wheel drive experience under its belt before applying it to an SUV and the Q7 is a solid piece of kit. The diesel 3.0 litre V6 is the best-selling variant, with a smart interior, respectable fuel economy and a useful seven seats. Beware electrical faults but otherwise you can get behind the wheel of a top notch used Q7 for less than £20,000.

Cadillac Escalade

This most American of SUVs won't appeal to everyone, but if you're looking for a break from the norm, from the anonymity of another big German SUV, the 1999-2014 Escalade may be exactly what you need. It's huge, packed with leather and wood and can carry seven in marvellous comfort. Mechanically it's rather old fashioned compared to its more sophisticated European counterparts and it's definitely designed for use on road rather than off. But if you're keen to look like an American rapper you can buy an Escalade and have change from £15,000 for a set of gold 'grillz'.

Mercedes Benz GL-Class

The GL is an enormous beast. It contains seven seats in spacious comfort or can carry 2,300 litres of cargo with the rear seats folded down. It's also got quite a thirst and struggles to make 30mpg even at its most economical. However if refinement and a bit of pace are your priorities, the GL is the answer. There's also a bonkers GL63 AMG twin turbo V8 if you have a bottomless wallet... £30,000 should get you a good, low mileage example from 2006-2012.

Infiniti FX

Another change from the usual suspects, the distinctive and slinky looking 2008-2013 FX is generously kitted out and hugely reliable. For fuel economy go for the 3.0 litre diesel V6 unit but there's more fun to be had with the thirstier 3.7 litre V6 or 5.0 litre V8. That unusual shape does reduce headroom and cargo space and the ride isn't the smoothest but the FX shows a bit of style on the corners. You're looking at about £22,000 to get behind the wheel.


The X6 certainly ticks the 'sports' part of the SUV box but its bold, swoopy looks are divisive. It's hard to complain about its performance however. The xDrive40d provides over 300bhp with fairly respectable fuel economy. It handles far better than your average SUV too, particularly in M50d and X6 M formats; awesomely powerful but rather coarse riding. Expect to pay from £25,000. M division models will cost more.

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