Shopping for a 4×4 at the height of summer might feel like trawling for a winter coat and scarf during a heatwave.
But it’s not as daft as it sounds – it can in fact be a very astute move. A 4×4’s ability to breeze through snow and ice means demand for them picks up sharply during the winter months.
Conversely, demand is lower during the summer months, meaning that anyone shopping for one now will be in a strong bargaining position – and much more likely to secure a great deal. So if you’d like to get ahead of the curve and buy tactically, now is a great time to do so.
Not all SUVs are created equal
One thing to remember in a market packed full of rugged-looking SUVs is that not all of them live up to their appearances.
Many smaller crossovers and some larger family SUVs have the chunky off-roader-style looks but are stuck with two-wheel-drive and limited ground clearance.
Plenty of others, however, do have four-wheel-drive and enough abilities to get you out of bother in wintry conditions.
To help you pick you way to the best summer SUV bargains, we spoke to James Fairclough, CEO of AA Cars, to select some of the best you should consider.
James cautions: “There is a huge number of SUVs on the used car market at the moment, but, as with any vehicle purchase, it is important to have a vehicle inspected before buying to help determine what condition it is in. Inspectors can make sure what you have seen online matches what you get in real life, and check there are no hidden faults.
New (most recent model): From £19,995
Price of used car (all models included): £2,490-26,995
The Qashqai, available in petrol and diesel, was somewhat of a trailblazer when it launched in 2007, starting a new trend for crossover family SUVs. Engine and design improvements have kept it feeling fresh over the years, and it means it is still holding its own against newer rivals. It is light and easy to manage, and the grip ensures it feels safe and secure to drive, making it a good introduction for someone new to SUVs. There is a big range of adjustment options for the driver’s seat, and the pedals are well-positioned. It has established itself as a good all-rounder, fitting nicely into the smaller SUV market.
New (most recent model): From £25,880
Price of used car (all models included): £19,850-43,000
Skoda’s first seven-seater SUV comes with a surprisingly attractive starting price. Its size makes it an ideal family car, but its extra seats do not come at the expense of the boot, which still has plenty of room for shopping or suitcases. Heading into the SUV market can be daunting if it is your first one, but the Kodiaq boasts light steering and it does not lean too much into corners. It has also earned a maximum five stars in Euro NCAP’s crash tests, providing added peace of mind about safety. You have your pick of diesel and petrol engines, too.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
New (most recent model): From £36,755
Price of used car (all models included): £10,780-39,995
Larger cars have not always been associated with green credentials, but this has started to change and this plug-in hybrid falls under a low tax bracket thanks to its minimal CO2 emissions. The Outlander has become so popular that it accounts for around 50 per cent of sales in the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle market in the UK. This is a handy car for small trips around town, and its batteries offer around 25 miles of cheap travel without a charge. However, as with any car, it is always worth doing a test drive and this is especially the case for very tall drivers who might find the front a little cramped. Nonetheless, it handles winding country roads aplomb, and its sensors and cameras make it easier to park – ideal when a driver is not used to a large vehicle.
Land Rover Discovery
New (most recent model): From £47,745
Price of used car (all models included): £2,490-72,000
The key thing to note about the Discovery is its size, providing space to even the tallest of drivers and passengers. However, the car has been designed to ensure the extra space and weight is not an inconvenience. Drivers who often go on long journeys will appreciate the Discovery’s large 77-litre fuel tank, for petrol or diesel, which can ensure hundreds of miles without needing to fill up. Its air-suspension promises a comfortable drive compared to some off-roaders and if you do plan to go off-road, this vehicle will cross various terrains without a problem. Its size can come with a downside however, as it can make it a little tricky to park and more challenging along country lanes.
New (most recent model): From £57,640
Price of used car (all models included): £2,495-69,995
The BMW badge implies luxury, and this has not been lost just because it is an SUV. The car has been fitted with high-quality materials and upholstery, while its elevated cabin and tall, wide windows guarantee excellent views over the road, thus ensuring a comfortable drive in every way. The X5 is an all-rounder, smooth and quiet on the motorway while the steering remains precise on country lanes. There is also a choice between petrol and diesel models. There are other established luxury SUVs out there, but the X5’s handling and interior makes this one hard to ignore.