Lifestyle Guides

10 bargain 4x4s for less than £7,500

​​​​​​​If you live in a region prone to weather extremes or out in the sticks, a four-wheel drive vehicle isn't so much a style statement as a necessity.

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A brand new all-terrain vehicle isn’t an option for many motorists because money is tight, so we thought we'd choose 10 second-hand 4x4s available for less than £7,500.

You'll have to look especially hard in the classifieds and car dealer lots if you prefer petrol power because most were built at a time when diesel was king, but it's certainly not impossible as you’ll see.

We've come up with a few left-field options, but broadly speaking, you'll probably have to opt for an SUV if you want all-wheel drive and decent ground clearance.

As ever with a used car, find one with the lowest mileage possible and a full service history, get a thorough inspection, an HPI check, and get a decent warranty if you're buying from a dealer for that extra peace of mind.

1. Nissan X-Trail

The second-generation Nissan X-Trail may look boxy compared to the current version, but it's a robust choice also available as a seven-seater.

Built from 2009-16, the X-Trail is well-equipped, practical and reliable. There was a choice of solid diesel engines and a petrol option, but most second-hand examples are likely to be diesels.

A favourite tow vehicle, make sure it has a good history, but you'll be lucky to find one with low miles.

2. Suzuki Jimny

Sadly our budget won’t buy you the ridiculously cute all-new Jimny unveiled in 2018, but you can snap up a still cheeky and very capable previous generation car (1998-2018).

It may not be a sophisticated drive, but this dinky 4x4 is remarkable off-road. It's also durable, reliable and cheap to run.

If you do take the plunge, get it thoroughly checked out for rust, and steer clear of the leaky convertibles.

3. Hyundai ix35

Produced from 2009-16, the Hyundai ix35 was a practical alternative to the Nissan Qashqai and Mazda CX-5. It's on the bland side to look at and can't match the Mazda for driving dynamics, but it'll do just fine as a good value, reliable and spacious SUV.

Expect to pay at least £6,000 for a decent ix35 with average miles. Petrol and diesel engines were available, but you'll have to go for the 2.0-litre diesel if you want four-wheel drive.

4. Honda CR-V

Now in its fifth generation, Honda's trusty SUV has been a popular choice for years and £7,500 will buy you a good Mk 3 (2007-12).

Spacious and blessed with the Japanese company's well-earned reputation for reliability, late, facelifted models (2010 onwards) still look fresh, but it's worth holding out for a low mileage example. There's a choice of a 2.2-litre diesel or 2.0-litre petrol and the range-topping EX spec is particularly plush.

5. Dacia Duster

Another bargain from Renault’s budget brand, the Dacia Duster's looks may divide opinion, but its combination of durability and off-road ability has proved to be a winner. Our budget won’t buy the latest model (launched in 2019), but it will get you a very similar looking Mk 1 (2013-19).

Pleasant to drive if basically equipped, it was available with a 1.6-litre petrol engine or 1.5-litre diesel unit. As ever, look for a low mileage car with a full service history, and have it fully inspected for rust.

6. Ford Kuga

Our £7,500 budget will comfortably buy you a Mk 1 Ford Kuga (2008-12) and if you scan the adverts hard enough, you find a tidy low mileage example among all the high milers.

Ford's response to the Nissan Qashqai was a success with a chunky design, though there are more spacious SUVs. There's a choice of petrol and diesel engines and it has a reasonable reputation for reliability.

A 2012 Kuga is within reach and go for a well-equipped Titanium or Titanium X trim level. 

7. Skoda Yeti

With quirky looks and bags of space inside, the Skoda Yeti is a surprisingly entertaining car to drive too. There's a generous 416 litres of boot space (1,580 litres with the back seats folded) and it won numerous awards.

Well made and practical, it also benefits from Skoda’s great reputation for reliability. If you'd rather avoid diesel, then go for the 1.8-litre petrol version. A £7,500 budget should buy you a decent example from around 2014.

8. Fiat Panda

A real mountain goat of a car, the Panda Cross is a revelation in tricky conditions. Powered by a thrummy little turbocharged 0.9-litre petrol engine or a 1.4-litre diesel, you'll have to look hard for a cherished car. If not, then the previously badged Panda 4x4 might suffice.

If the Panda wins you over, get it thoroughly checked out for rust and check those old MOTs online (free GOV.UK service) in case it's been troublesome.

9. Kia Sorento

The current Sorento is out of reach in this price bracket, but a second-generation car (2010-14) is within reach. Initially there was a choice between 2.4-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel engines – the latter coming with either a manual or auto gearbox and front or four-wheel drive.

Most used examples are likely to be diesels – powerful units with decent fuel economy, though not the most refined until they settle down. A seven-seater SUV with 4x4 for this kind of money has to be a bargain.

10. Subaru Forester

Subaru buyers are a loyal lot and the Japanese brand is one of the hidden secrets of the automotive world. These durable 4x4s are boxy and utilitarian, and owners keep running them for years longer than most other brands.

Apart from the rally bred Impreza, the Forester was one of the first Subaru models to go more mainstream. If you look hard, our £7,500 budget might just buy you a high-mileage early fourth generation Forester (2012-18). However, there will be more choice if you go for a Mk 3 (2009-14). There are 2.0-litre petrol and diesel engines on offer, but don't expect sporty motoring.

I'm an experienced journalist, digital editor and copywriter, now specialising in motoring. I’m editor of Automotive Blog and have worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online for household names including the BBC, GMTV, ITV and MSN. I’ve produced digital content in the financial sector for Lloyds Bank, Nationwide and the Money Advice Service. I'm married with two children and live near Bath in Somerset.

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