If youre considering buying a new vehicle, then your eyes may have strayed towards the section of the forecourt that plays host to every environmentalist and Tory MPs pet hate the notorious 4 x 4.
To say that 4 x 4s, off-roaders, or SUVs (as theyre also known) split opinion is a huge understatement these broad and bulky beasts are the automotive equivalent of marmite. For the average person, the size of the machine and the size of the price tag arent worth the investment, especially given that almost 85% of the UK population live in urban zones. If you live in a built up, inner-city area, yet ardently desire to lord it over the local community with the road-safe equivalent of a tank, then you may want to read this article first. Here are a few things to consider before you risk the wrath of infuriated safety campaigners!
Perhaps the most obvious question one needs to ask before buying a 4 x 4 is quite simply, Do I need it? For some, a 4 x 4 is a genuinely helpful utility if you live on a farm or in secluded rural town/village a 4 x 4 will out-perform most other vehicles in such terrain, and could help you out of many a tricky situation (adverse weather and subsequent driving conditions, for example). Similarly, if you are required to tow caravans, trailers, horseboxes or any other vehicle then a 4 x 4 is probably the most reliable vehicle for the job. However, if you only want one to impress the neighbours, and only plan on using it to drop the kids off at the school gates before you go shopping, then youre better off spending your money elsewhere. Think seriously about why it is you want a 4 x 4.
4 x 4s arent cheap. Theyre not cheap to buy, and theyre certainly not cheap to run. The cost will far exceed a conventional saloon or estate, and thats before youve even subscribed to any of the optional extras. Even though youre able to buy a new car with bad credit, car finance packages wont help you when it comes to the maintenance costs – fuel, insurance, tax, servicing, and parts; everything is more expensive for a 4 x 4. Can you afford it?
Reliability and Practicality
Many buyers assume that a 4 x 4 is a workhorse, a labourer, a fusion of metal and drive that will always plough on through the rough. The truth is, that due to the complexity of 4 x 4s, their track records for reliability really dont compare to smaller cars, such as hatchbacks or saloons. There are those that fair better in the survey results, but dont assume that your investment will work forever without needing a fair amount of maintenance. Similarly, these vehicles arent as practical as one may imagine they may look spacious from the outside, but often the large, heavy, expensive four-wheel drive kit can greatly reduce the amount of interior space available. Bear in mind that 4 x 4s exceed smaller cars in height, so if youre planning on using the car for transporting items/objects/goods/luggage or whatever, youre going to be exerting a great deal of effort.