Can you recommend a replacement for our Mercedes-Benz ML with a low tailgate for dogs?

My wife and I bought a Mercedes-Benz ML 270 diesel auto from new in April 2004. We are now considering replacing it with another four-wheel-drive car and would appreciate your suggestions. We have two dogs and we use our car in the winter when it is snowy. We also regularly take our car (and the dogs) on holiday in southern Spain. We do not want to have a tailgate too high, so the dogs can get in easily. The height of the existing tailgate off the ground is 72.1cm and this about right. We have been reasonably happy with our ML but would prefer a car that will give us better fuel economy and perhaps a little more acceleration. A friend has suggested a Toyota Land Cruiser. What do you think?

Asked on 14 January 2012 by PR, Beckenham

Answered by Honest John
Better a Hyundai Santa Fe or a KIA Sorento, both with the 2.2 T-Type chain cam diesel engine: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/hyundai/hyundai-sa.../ and www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/kia/kia-sorento-20.../

An F25 BMW X3 2.0 diesel is likely to prove more economical, but there is a long wait for one: /www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/bmw/bmw-x3-f25//

Lowest load height is probably the Toyota RAV4.
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