The Bal­moral Show re­minds us of the need for ca­pa­ble, prac­ti­cal ve­hi­cles like 4x4s. But the best ones are com­fort­able as well. Here are some of the best.

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page -

IT’S that time of the year again when coun­try comes to town (well near town, any­way th­ese days) – the Bal­moral Show.

And along with the cham­pion live­stock, agri­cul­tural equip­ment and farm fam­i­lies, there’s another tra­di­tion you may have no­ticed.

Bal­moral is a bril­liant op­por­tu­nity to go 4x4 spot­ting. Be­cause many of the folk who make up most of the Bal­moral Show au­di­ence are likely to be the very folk who drive 4x4s.

And not in a ‘Chelsea Trac­tor’ kind of way ei­ther. Whether it’s for tow­ing trail­ers, or horse­boxes, or equip­ment, or nav­i­gat­ing coun­try lanes or head­ing off-road for farm­ing rea­sons, or to pur­sue life­style sports; the Bal­moral au­di­ence is the quin­tes­sen­tial 4x4/large SUV au­di­ence.

So we thought we’d serve up ten of the best of the larger SUVS around.

You’ll see in our list that the 4x4 mar­ket has ev­ery­thing from mon­ster mud-plug­gers big on con­quer­ing ter­rain to lux­ury premium SUVS with all the com­fort and driv­ing abil­ity of an ex­ec­u­tive sa­loon.

And it’s grown more so­phis­ti­cated too, be­cause even the ded­i­cated off-road­ers th­ese days come with in­creas­ingly plush and premium cab­ins.

The in­verse is also true: many of the more com­fort-

able ‘soft-road­ers’ now come with some gen­uine ter­rain abil­ity, too.

And in be­tween those two gen­res is all man­ner of 4x4s; it’s a seg­ment as di­verse and com­pet­i­tive as any other th­ese days.

Resid­ual val­ues hold up well, so 4x4s make a great sec­ond hand pur­chase as well.

Here’s a quick run­down of some of our favourites. The list is not ex­haus­tive as there is so much choice th­ese days and other man­u­fac­tur­ers also build great ve­hi­cles.

All prices are ap­prox­i­mate and do not in­clude spe­cial of­fers. As al­ways, the best ad­vice is to shop around for what suits you and your life­style.


Sub­aru’s doughty Forester has been around for a while, and is un­doubt­edly a proper off-roader. If you need some­thing roomy, rugged, re­li­able and for use as a good tower, look no fur­ther. The Forester has had a loyal band of fol­low­ers for many years now, not least due to the im­pres­sive all-ter­rain ca­pa­bil­ity of its stan­dard Sym­met­ri­cal All-wheel-drive sys­tem.

If you want some­thing smaller, the mid-sized Sub­aru XV has just been bril­liantly re­vamped; it’s bet­ter look­ing, roomier, and sharper than be­fore.

Sub­aru Forester is priced from £25,510.


Re­freshed less than two years ago, the Shogun is loaded with rugged, re­li­able tech­nol­ogy, an en­vi­able tow­ing ca­pac­ity and a diehard work ethic. Avail­able with a short or long wheel­base, it is great for load­ing, lug­ging and pulling heavy ob­jects and ab­so­lutely un­stop­pable in the wild.

With its enor­mous pulling power and ex­cel­lent ter­rain abil­ity, the Shogun is the ve­hi­cle of choice for many who need a re­li­able work­horse. If the Shogun is too big a beast for you, Mit­subishi also of­fers the smaller Shogun Sport, Out­lander, ASX, and Eclipse Cross mod­els.

The Shogun is priced from around £33,000.


The old X-trail’s rather boxy de­sign wasn’t very modern, but Nis­san has now re­paired this rather ob­vi­ous gap in its line-up with a stylish makeover of the X-tail.

The new model is a great leap for­ward, fea­tur­ing ex­cel­lent build qual­ity, great looks and a clean, modern de­sign.

For all its hand­some looks, it is very prac­ti­cal, for ex­am­ple it has a tow­ing ca­pac­ity of up to 2,000kg.

Priced from £28,000.


All Land Rovers are bril­liant off-road­ers, but the new Dis­cov­ery Sport has been mak­ing head­lines for both its us­abil­ity and its lux­ury. There’s a 5+2 seats op­tion as well.

Whilst not built as a farm ve­hi­cle – you wouldn’t want to ruin the premium in­te­rior – it may as well have been, with its ex­cel­lent all-ter­rain abil­ity and prac­ti­cal­ity. Bal­moral Show devo­tees will know there is a now a mouth-wa­ter­ing ar­ray of other Land Rovers/ Range Rovers for al­most any task.

The Dis­cov­ery Sport re­tails from around £28,400.


If your needs are very large or heavy duty, con­sider a pick-up. Pick-up trucks are rapidly be­com­ing as lux­u­ri­ous as 4x4s.

The Volk­swa­gen Amarok is a pick-up that drives like a 4x4, even though it con­sists of a load­ing bay and a dou­ble cab up front. It is by pow­ered by tur­bocharged petrol or tur­bocharged di­rect in­jec­tion (TDI) diesel en­gines and comes in rear-wheel drive or 4mo­tion four-wheel-drive op­tions.

From £30,455.


Jeep has a rep­u­ta­tion for build­ing tough ve­hi­cles that per­form very well off-road. The Chero­kee is no ex­cep­tion, giv­ing a smooth ride on road, and a very strong per­for­mance in all kinds of ter­rain.

There’s an all new 2018 re­vamped model go­ing on sale in the au­tumn, which looks very tasty in­deed.

From £31,730.


If you need space, big pulling power and in­cred­i­ble off-road abil­ity, the Toy­ota Land Cruiser might be what you need.

What it lacks in cabin re­fine­ments, it makes up with per­son­al­ity and abil­ity – and it’s ter­rain abil­ity is mas­sively helped by a big lad­der chas­sis that is tough and near in­de­struc­tible.

From £33,435.


Korean brands like Hyundai and Kia are light years away from where they were when they first en­tered the Eu­ro­pean mar­ket as value com­peti­tors. Now they build so­phis­ti­cated and stylish cars in­clud­ing the Santa Fe, a very well ap­pointed large 4x4 which is bet­ter styled and kit­ted out than its pre­de­ces­sor and fea­tures a very tasty 2.2-litre diesel en­gine choice.

It’s great for fam­i­lies, is a good tower, and there is a seven seat op­tion.

From £31,956.


Peu­geot’s 5008 model is a lux­u­ri­ous large SUV with a dis­tinc­tive and eye-catch­ing de­sign.

It’s had a com­plete over­haul from the pre­vi­ous model, which was more peo­ple car­rier in ori­en­ta­tion. Now it’s got full SUV looks, a seven-seat ver­sion, and an im­pres­sive and re­fined diesel en­gine that de­liv­ers ex­cel­lent fuel ef­fi­ciency.

From £26,389.

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