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Cheap Off-Roaders

Cheap Off-Roaders Published: 28th Dec 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
Cheap Off-Roaders
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Fancy a classic off-roader to see you through the winter and for not much cash? Here’s our pick of the best mud pluggers

Come winter don’t those folk in their 4x4s look ever so smug? Well, why not feel the same and get yourself a cheap all-wheel drive classic for when it cuts up rough? Not only are they great for arduous conditions but are also real fun to take off-road or use in specialist sports.

Starting with A, there’s the Asia Rocsta, which was a cheap Jeep lookalike from Korea, based upon a military vehicle – meaning it’s tough if hardly refined. It was marketed by Kia during the 1990s who may still be able to help with spare parts.

Daihatsu’s Sportrak and Fourtrak are similarly rugged. The Sportrak is a petrol only SUV while the latter is as tough and as capable as a Land Rover and were very popular with farmers so hold their value well.

Ford’s American-derived Explorer is cheap and hugely capable off road but it is a thirsty beast and spares can be dear. An easier, less bulky alternative is the Maverick, which was really a Nissan Terrano under another name, made since the early 1990s in three and larger five-door forms. Bear in mind that specialist Transits could be had in high ground clearance 4WD forms.

Isuzu’s Trooper is much like the Fourtrak insofar it’s a no-nonsense hardy off-roader, small wonder Vauxhall rebadged it to become the Monterey in the 90s. Spares are becoming pretty difficult to find on both however.

The name Jeep became popular in the UK once it started to offer UK, right-hand drive Wranglers and the estate-like Cherokee. Lusty performers and made for serious off-roading, the petrol models are very thirsty which is why it is not uncommon to see LPG conversions carried out on them. A 2.5-litre Cherokee TD was made during the 1990s and it’s the best choice, although be warned, old Jeeps can be dear to fix but there’s a good specialist base over here.

Kia’s Sportage was made in conjunction with Mazda during the 1990s and the design was so good that Mazda even considered marketing this SUV for itself. It is a fair all rounder that’s easy to drive and well made but it’s petrol only and not particularly economical with it.

Can’t leave out Land Rover of course although old Landies are collectable classics and values can be high – ditto original Range Rovers. So for value, look to a 1980’s/90’s Defender or a Series 1 Discovery – it’s just a shame both are so darn unreliable (transmission oil leaks, electrics, engines, etc). By the same token many people gave Range Rover P38s their P45s, yet a good one, with its BMW turbodiesel, is worth keeping the faith with.

Cheap jeeps don’t come cheekier than the Suzuki SJ410, which really started the SUV market. Only 1.3-litre powered, but they cope remarkably well off-road plus tow better than they ought, to. The posher Vitara has a 1.6-litre engine as well as a diesel and, sadly, a Cindy doll image.

Don’t forget the first 4x4 GTi, the Toyota RAV4 which is 20 years old now! Many have survived well and are car-like to drive. Want something bigger? Well they don’t come tougher than a late 1980’s Landcruiser and Amazon. Another good option is an old Hilux pick-up – so tough that even Top Gear could not destroy one!

Vauxhalls worth vetting include the Brava pick-up and the Frontera 4x4. Essentially these are the same vehicle, based upon an Isuzu desugn. The Frontera suffered terribly with reliability issues and the three-door Sports leaked badly, but again a good one will serve you through the winter in terms of grip and off-road ability, although the 2.3 Opel-sourced diesel is sluggish. Specially imported Isuzu alternatives used a 2.8TD from the Trooper which is much better while some versions were even badged Chevrolet. Talking of Chevy’s, don’t dismiss the unloved Blazer that Vauxhall imported during the 1990s. Not a great 4x4, but it has a classical name and look. And room!

All-wheel drive cars

If you don’t fancy a Chelsea Tractor there’s plenty of cars worth looking at. We said you don’t have to own a Quattro, but there are ‘quattro’ Audis in saloon, estate and coupé forms, petrol and diesel powered that can be strong value. Citroën produced 4x4 BX and CXs and in estate guise and with that famous height adjustable pneumatic suspension, it’s hard to think of better all year round workhorses. Renault produced similar like the now ultra rare 21 but aren’t so good.

How about an Alfa Romeo? It produced, albeit in very small numbers, a 4x4 33 which was a development of the super Sud. In estate form it’s a very handy holdall that’s definitely a classic worth owning if you can find one – try looking abroad for a LHD.

You don’t need a big car to go 4x4! Fiat made its petite Panda all-wheel drive in the mid 80’s although few were bought in the UK that’s kept prices high for they are.

Ignoring the RS range of Escorts and Sierras, Ford made a good range of 4x4s in Sierra, Mondeo, Scorpio and even Galaxy MPV guises. Our pick is the XR4x4 Sierra estate, again if you can find a good one.

Peugeot’s 405 4x4 used the same all-wheel drive set up as found in the Lancia Integrale – which says it all – while Vauxhall offered the Cavalier and Calibra as all-wheel drivers but check the system out thoroughly.


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