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When The Going Gets Tough...

By raccars Published

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The tough get into a Land Rover, apparently... however, the Land Rover is not the only workhorse on the market capable of tackling really dirty work. When what you need is a serious utility SUV that's made to work rather than look impressive on the road, here are the best options.

Land Rover Defender

It may be greying at the temples but there's really no equivalent to this iconic, shire horse of the auto world. It's as hard as nails but as agile as a mountain goat and famous for being able to get drivers out of pretty much any hole. It's also a favourite not only of farmers and emergency services worldwide, but of Queen Elizabeth II. The Defender will be discontinued next year so grab one while you can.

Land Rover Discovery

Designed as a slightly more refined alternative to the original Land Rover workhorse, the Defender, the Discovery is no less capable than its utilitarian counterpart but manages to combine its serious off road abilities with seven comfortable seats and a number of helpful driver assistance features. The Discovery seems to improve with each generation but any model would be a good buy.

Dacia Duster

Britain's cheapest four wheel drive actually has far more to offer than just its price tag - in fact to focus merely on its amazing affordability is to sell it somewhat short. It may be a bit light on luxury features but is equipped with the Nissan Terrano's all wheel drive system and has been lauded in the auto press for its stylish practicality. It would be a shame to let brand snobbery blind you to its virtues.

Subaru Forester

The Forester lost its way a bit in the late 1990s, taking on a mock hot hatch guise, but the current version is a very sensible affair, with a low centre of gravity that gives it excellent stability even when conditions get a bit hairy. It's good value for money and reliable, which is exactly what you need from a workhorse.

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

The rough and tough G-Class is a bit of an anomaly among the rest of the sleek Mercedes-Benz output but again, don't be fooled by the badge. The G-Class is as tough as the Land Rover Defender and handles difficult terrain with aplomb. On road it doesn't quite live up to the expectations of that iconic badge, but it's probably the best and safest car to own, should a meteor hit Earth or nuclear war break out.

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