Where are 4x4s most popular in the UK and who’s driving them?

Admiral Car Insurance research shows clear trends in 4x4 usage and ownership


As the popularity of 4x4s continues to grow, there’s also been an increase year on year with the number of 4x4s insured by Admiral Car Insurance. With this growth, we set out to find out just where the most 4x4 owners live, and who they are.

We found two clear trends amongst four-wheel drive owners within the UK with regards to which parts of the country have the most 4x4 drivers.

North East Scotland has the most 4x4s by far

The top three hotspots for 4x4 vehicles are all in Aberdeenshire, with Insch, the AB52 postcode area, at number one. In this area, 29% of the vehicles insured by Admiral are four-wheel drive vehicles. This is closely followed by the areas of Alford and Keith.  

It’s not surprising to see more 4x4 vehicles in the rugged parts of Scotland where more drivers might need a practical four-wheel drive vehicle. This shows drivers in this area need these vehicles for their off-road capabilities and to get around the landscape.

It’s likely a different story for drivers in other areas on our list, such as Worcestershire and Devon. As the landscape isn’t as rugged or rough, it appears drivers who own 4x4s have them for reasons other than practicality purposes. Instead, these 4x4s are bought for space and luxury.

Previously, post code areas in south and west London made our top 10 list, but it seems preferences have changed. Our data now shows the top cars in W8, SW7 and SW13 postcode areas (which previously made the top 10) are compact hatchbacks such as the Mini Cooper and Volkswagen Golf – although the large SUV category still makes it into the top five for each area.

Here’s a list of the top 10 postcodes for the percentage of 4x4 cars*

  1. AB52 Insch, Aberdeenshire – 29.01%
  2. AB33 Alford, Aberdeenshire – 28.53%
  3. AB55 Keith, Aberdeenshire – 28.15%
  4. DL11 Richmond, Yorkshire – 27.95%
  5. EX21 Beaworthy, Devon – 26.91%
  6. AB53 Turriff, Aberdeenshire – 207%
  7. AB34 Aboyne, Aberdeenshire – 24.61%
  8. AB31 Banchory, Aberdeenshire – 24.51%
  9. DY14 Kidderminster, Worcestershire – 24.35%
  10. DL13 Bishop Auckland, County Durham – 23.30%

*Based on postcode areas with at least 250 cars on cover to prevent skewing

Who’s driving the 4x4s?

We also looked into which occupations are most likely to own four-wheel drive cars. The list mainly consists of well-paid financial jobs like stockbrokers, merchant bankers and investors, but at the top of the list are two occupations you’d expect to drive a 4x4.

Unsurprisingly, farmers are most likely to drive four-wheel drive cars, as their occupation generally requires the toughness and durability of a 4x4 vehicle. Tree surgeons are close behind in second place.

So who else is driving 4x4s? Research also suggests owners of four-wheel drive cars are more likely to have children, and owners are more likely to be men than women.

Commenting on the research, Admiral’s Head of Service, Alistair Hargreaves, said: “Our data shows 4x4s are unsurprisingly very popular in rural parts of northern Scotland. They’re also often driven by people with well-paid jobs, such as stockbrokers and merchant bankers.

“This suggests there are two types of drivers for whom they’re an essential drive: those who need them because the landscape they live in requires it and those who want to drive a 4x4 for its specifications, comfort and prestige. Many families choose a 4x4 for the space and comfort they offer, and they’re often seen as a safer form of transport.”

Percentage of 4x4 vehicles owned by occupation

  1. Farmers – 37.97%
  2. Tree surgeon – 29.82%
  3. Property developer – 24.86%
  4. Company director – 241%
  5. Merchant banker – 23.85%
  6. Investment manager – 23.83%
  7. Company secretary – 23.50%
  8. Property landlord – 23.44%
  9. Finance director – 22.53%
  10. Chartered surveyor – 21.85%

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