Top 10: Best SUVs for off-roading
These SUVs are equipped to deal with everything you can throw at them, with four-wheel drive and a rugged design that will easily cope with snow and icy roads. What’s more, they’re all family-friendly, packed with the latest tech and offering up to seven seats.
Land Rover Discovery
It's no surprise to see several Land Rover models appear here - the brand makes pretty much the best off-roaders around. And the latest Discovery Discovery is the best of the bunch. It's a perfect example of a great all-round family SUV. Practical, comfortable and yet capable off-road, it's also ideal for towing. It comes with some useful tech like a 360 degree camera system, which gives the driver a complete view round the car - helpful for off-roading.
Toyota Land Cruiser
The tough Land Cruiser has a long history and has built up a strong reputation for reliability - always a Toyota strength. It's not only refined and comfortable but also mightily impressive when it comes to taking on tough terrain. It may not be particularly agile on road - in fact it's quite a cumbersome beast, but for the money it's well equipped with a host of clever off-road systems.
If Land Rover has the Defender then the Mercedes-Benz equivalent is the G-Class - or G-Wagen as it was originally called. This big boxy Merc was first introduced in 1979 and the basic shape has remained unchanged. This latest model may not look especially different, but Mercedes-Benz is claims it will be even better off-road, in mud and snow, if such as thing was possible...
SsangYong may not be a name familiar to many, but the Korean firm which specialises in SUVs is on the up, with some impressive new models. The latest Rexton is a huge step up from its predecessor, particularly in terms of quality and refinement. It's also hugely capable with a 3500kg towing capacity and the option of seven seats. It uses a body on frame construction and has selectable four-wheel drive, plus, if things get really steep and slippery, there's a low-range mode, with hill descent control.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
It may be the smallest 4x4 in the Land Rover line-up but the Discovery Sport - like the Freelander it replaced - is every inch a Land Rover when it comes to off-road ability. Thanks to the excellent Terrain Response system, the Discovery Sport is more than capable off road. In fact, it's better than any similarly sized rivals when it comes to tackling mud or snow.
Based on a design going back to 1999, the Shogun is still going strong. Durable and robust this is certainly no 'soft roader' with a no nonsense approach to what a 4x4 should be. This means a centre differential lock and a low range transfer box for extreme conditions. True it's hardly the last word in refinement with a noisy engine and wayward on the road handling, but it's ideal for towing caravans and horseboxes.
The new Jimny stays true to its roots. It's a proper, old-school 4x4 vehicle based on a ladder frame chassis. Most people will hate how the Jimny drives but there's a charm to it. Just like some people choose to drive classic cars, some people appreciate an old-fashioned off roader.
The latest Range Rover represents a real leap forward over its predecessor, particularly when it comes to on tarmac performance and handling. But one thing hasn't changed and that's the Range Rover's ability to blend exceptional comfort with supreme off-road ability. It's essentially a luxury car that can also traverse pretty much any terrain.
The average Wrangler buyer is after a proper, hardcore, adventurous off-roader. And that's exactly what this latest model delivers. Anyone familiar with this legendary 4x4 and its military roots will expect nothing less. It’s wicked fun too, despite being hilariously cumbersome on road. The gritty, unashamedly utilitarian nature of it is precisely where its appeal lies.
Fiat Panda Cross
The little Panda 4x4 may not technically be an SUV but we couldn't leave it off this list. Fiat's humble hatchback may be small and far from powerful, but it is astonishingly good when it comes to taking on tough terrain. Alongside the Panda 4x4 is the slightly posher Panda Cross which gets a more rugged look along with an all-terrain selector switch. We've got a real soft spot for the plucky little Panda.