Why Own A 4x4 In The City. What Makes One So Popular?
With car tax on the increase every year, the politicians and environmentalists are placing increasing pressure on urban families to buy more frugal, dual fuel alternatives to the 4WD's such as Mitsubishi Shogun with its rugged, off-road character and front end that looks almost as intimidating as a small Rhino.
The Mitsubishi Shogun - Urban 4WD
The Mitsubishi Shogun has actually proved its ruggedness no less than 12 Paris-Dakar rally wins under its belt. In excess of 2 million have been sold worldwide since 1982! You will see an endless stream of these vehicles on British roads every day. They sell for very low used prices as they are quite heavy on diesel, but they are very comfortable and when driving one you really do feel like you rule the A Roads. Yes, we certainly do love these brutes!
Land Rover & Range Rover - Urban 4WD
There are plenty of luxury options too. Just take a look at the Range Rover HSE, which was engineered by BMW to do battle in the luxury car market against the Mercedes S-class, the Lexus LS430 and Jaguar! When buying a Land Rover or Range Rover we advise that you buy from an approved Land Rover dealer. Only they have a range of well-prepared cars with a full history and 12 months' warranty. If you prefer buying privately then expect the motors condition to vary enormously and you should should check the following very carefully:
- Service history: insist on an original service book or don't buy.
- Ask for the original keys, a set of keys at least. Or knock off some money as they cost a lot to replace
- Check for main dealer service stamps in the history
- Test al the electrics
- Test the climate control heating and cooling systems - an expensive repair!
- Check for coolant leaks and head gaskets problems!
Don't be put off by a car that has had a replacement engine from Land Rover, but it is well documented that the 4 litre engine has less cylinder head issues that the 4.6!. These vehicles did come with very high levels of options, get as much as you can when you buy a used version.
Do You Always Get What You Paid For?
Land Rover is seen as the premium 4wd by the British public which means that they "Land Rover" see fit to charge more than the Japanese 4x4 manufacturers do. What this means is that you will most certainly find far higher specifications in a Toyota Land Cruiser, Mitsubishi Shogun or Nissan Patrol of the same price, like for like that is.
Andy Bendell, the Marketing Director at Click4Group recently stated the following "Our current economic climate has not been kind to current owners of 4WD vehicles, however for those looking to purchase now is a very good time to pick up a bargain. New or second hand you should be able to negotiate a favourable price however due to depreciation I would recommend looking at low mileage 1 year old vehicle. Depreciation will continue and this class of vehicle, especially the luxury end will suffer the most. Gap Insurance is an extremely affordable and sensible insurance especially when you consider a 3 year premium is likely to be less than 1 months cost in depreciation!"
As for reliability, well sadly the Land Rover is some way behind the likes of Toyota! Land Rover have targeted the Mercedes M-Class as the main competitor in its market and again this is because of image and Land Rover seeming to align itself with German build quality. The truth is that in terms of reliability the Mercedes has the advantage and is praised by many urban 4x4 drivers.
The tides have changed in recent years and more now than ever you will see these vehicles on our city roads, much to the dismay of Ken Livingston and his successor Boris Johnson. The government keep on trying though with forthcoming new taxation, which will see vehicle excise duty jump from around £400 to £900 per annum for the top tax band gas guzzlers. So why is this exactly? We don't really know what makes up the individuals mind, but we have a good idea.
The Benefits of Owning a 4WD in an Urban Area
A common trend that is developing in urban areas is the purchasing of 4WD vehicles as a family car. There are many reasons why individuals are purchasing these monstrously large vehicles, and use them as a replacement for almost as large cars and people carriers. If you take a look at the various benefits that can be had by driving a 4WD in an urban area, it is easy to understand why these vehicles are becoming an increasingly popular choice with families.
Better Navigation and a Smoother Ride
If you live in an urban area where there is often bad weather, including abundant snow and rainfall, then 4WD vehicles can go a long way in helping you navigate. They can manipulate better over bumpy or damaged roads as well, and greatly reduce the shock felt while going over speed bumps and other traffic calming objects.
With a 4WD you also have the option of going off road if you like. Maybe you like to vacation in a country setting, with a 4WD you would not need to rent a vehicle or take a chance with a small car. Larger 4WD vehicles are also good at eliminating the jostling of infants or small children that can be found when using other vehicles.
More Room and a Sophisticated Look
Another benefit to purchasing a 4WD vehicle is that it has a more sophisticated look than that of a station wagon or mini van. Mothers especially like the feeling that a sophisticated larger 4WD can give them versus a squatty grocery getting car.
It can boost ones confidence to be seen in a larger more beautiful vehicle, and 4WDs are a favorite among families with children due to the increased amount of room inside. Large 4WD vehicles have more space, which increases comfort and the ability to transport more people or items.
One of the main reasons that people choose to purchase a 4WD vehicle is to increase their safety on the road. A 4WD vehicle has a decreased chance of being in an accident, as they are larger and easier to see and sit higher up, allowing the driver to see more clearly around obstacles.
The crash test ratings of 4WD vehicles are also higher than smaller cars, and they provide added protection to their occupants. The risk of a fatality or severe injury is greatly reduced when driving a 4WD as well.
With all of the benefits that can be gained from driving a 4WD vehicle, it is easy to understand why so many individuals are choosing to purchase them. With increased safety, a more sophisticated look, and a smoother ride, a 4WD could be the perfect choice for a family living in an urban area.
The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily held by the Click4Group unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.