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Finance representative example (PCP)

Total cash price £18,999. Borrowing £15,199 with a £3,800 deposit at a representative APR of 9.9%.

49 monthly payments
£192.06
Fixed interest rate
9.9%
Total amount payable
£24,122.07
Cost of credit
£5,123.07
Optional final payment
£11,103.00
Annual mileage limit
6000 miles

Why buy a 4x4?

Powerful cars often come with four-wheel drive so that one axle doesn’t get overwhelmed. This leads to better power distribution, more control for the driver and less chance of pitching the car into a hedge at the first prod of the throttle.

At the other end of the scale, off-roaders are almost always 4x4s to give maximum grip on rough terrain. The systems in these cars are a little different to the systems in road-focused cars, because traditional 4x4 systems usually make on-road driving worse. These days, many four-wheel-drive cars have systems that are road-focused, as that’s where the cars are meant for.

Common questions about 4x4s answered

Many carmakers have their own all-wheel-drive systems. BMW has xDrive, Mini has All4, Audi has quattro, Mercedes has 4Matic and VW has 4Motion, so look out for those if you live somewhere rural and need extra grip in winter weather. Other carmakers simply use AWD or 4WD to signify that their cars have four-wheel drive.

No, many SUVs are two-wheel drive. They’re often based on conventional hatchbacks or saloons, and many buyers simply don’t need four-wheel drive. Adding it often increases cost and complexity to a vehicle, so a two-wheel drive SUV makes sense if you want the higher driving position and big boot without the higher running costs of a 4x4.

Four-wheel-drive cars are usually a little less economical than two-wheel-drive equivalents, because sending the power to all four wheels adds weight and reduces efficiency.

If you live in the countryside and think you need the extra grip that four-wheel drive brings, or if you tow a large caravan or horsebox, buying a 4x4 may be a wise move. Some large SUVs are only available with four-wheel drive so, if you’re considering an Audi Q5 or BMW X5, you’ll get four driven wheels as standard.

Otherwise, a 4x4 might not be necessary. If you stick to main roads that are gritted in cold weather, you may never see the benefit of four-wheel drive and use extra fuel unnecessarily. A set of winter tyres will provide extra grip for two-wheel-drive cars in conditions below seven degrees.