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THE SUV segment has continued to experience growth, and so does the range and quality of vehicles that qualify as 4x4s.
From large, proper off-roaders to ‘crossover’ saloons to compact SUVS (Sports Utility Vehicle), there is almost literally a car to suit everyone these days.
If you add together the new and used market, there are literally millions of vehicles to choose from.
It can seem strange, but it is often the very features that 4x4s evolved to help them out of muddy tracks that have endeared them to family buyers in our towns and cities.
Particularly appealing is the high driving position, loads of interior space and ingenious cubby holes, and other design features that make them very usable.
Then, for the ones with proper grunt, there’s also the added benefits of large towing capacities, and significant off-road abilities.
There has been significant evolution in the sophistication of this market. Once, for example, fuel economy was fairly far down the list of manufacturers’ priorities.
However, these days, mpg and emissions are never far from mind, and consequently 4x4s are much cheaper to run these days.
Back in the day, the 4x4 segment was dominated by lumbering giants – the Range Rovers, Toyota
Land Cruisers and Mitsubishi Shoguns of this world.
And while they are still standard bearers of the genre, the market has grown significantly more complex since. Not only has it headed downwards in terms of size – it even goes right down to smaller crossovers like the Fiat Panda Cross.
But there’s been an explosion in terms of the numbers of smaller cars – think the Audi Q2 and the new BMW X2 – and at the top end, too, since BMW’S X5 blazed its trail.
Even Bentley has piled in with the Bentayga, Lamborghini with the Urus and next year we’ll even see a Ferrari SUV as the Prancing Horse brigade waves the white flag and joins the 4x4 world.
There’s also been an explosion in the safety and sophistication of SUVS, and not just the in the luxiry class either.
For Subaru can you mention new XV and Impreza have been rated “Best in Class” for safety by Euro NCAP both scoring maximum ratings in the new tougher testing regime. Eyesight driver assist technology is being introduced across the Subaru range this year and in a 2017 Subaru Europe survey of Eyesight equipped Outbacks
As we said, SUVS come in a range of sizes, so we’ve picked 7 of our best, in roughly ascending size, in a range of categories.