ssangyong rexton 3 copy

We were impressed beyond belief with the SsangYong Rexton this year, hence the fact that we awarded it THREE titles. The newcomer from South Korea earned the Best Value award as well as winning the Off-Roaders class – before going on to take the overall title of 4×4 Of The Year 2018.

We were hugely impressed by the Rexton’s all-round abilities. It’s a great vehicle – and its overwhelming value for money takes the verdict from great to astonishing.

The Rexton combines everything from a great interior to an impressive warranty. It’s a practical, comfortable truck that is also good to drive, at a price that knocks the wind out of its opposition. If money were no object, yes you would probably go elsewhere – but SsangYong’s new flagship gets 90% of the way to matching vehicles that cost two, even three times as much. It’s very nearly as good as some illustrious rivals, and positively better that others – and nothing gives you as much for your money. Make no mistake, the Rexton is a brilliant new option in the 4×4 market.

Read the full overview and reports from the 4×4 Of The Year Awards, in the 48-page supplement in the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

4x4 oty

In our 4×4 Of The Year Awards, we divided the array of 4x4s and SUVs available today into seven less broad classes. We’ve also named an overall winner and dished out three Special Awards.

The first of these is Best Value, which goes to the SsangYong Rexton. The truck itself is staggeringly impressive and marks a watershed in SsangYong’s transition from budget brand to part of the mainstream – but the price at which it’s performance comes is overwhelming.

The Off-Road Award (not to be confused with the class award for the Off-Roaders category) goes to the Jeep Wrangler. The JK model is in its last year, but it remains the definitive choice for off-road use.

Our final award goes to 4×4 Manufacturer of the Year. This year, Jeep has strengthened its hand with the new Renegade, and on top of that it has debuted the new Wrangler JL – which, though it’s yet to arrive in Europe, we now know will retain all the critical engineering features that made the JK such a superstar. Even among the soft-roaders in its range, the availability of Jeep’s enhanced Trailhawk models allows them to top the pile off-road. All in all, Jeep is nailing it.

List of Winners

 

Crossover Estate- Vauxhall Insignia Country TourerVauxhall Insignia CT copy

Crossover– Fiat Panda CrossFiat_Panda_Cross_077 copy

Small SUV– Jeep RenegadeJEEP RENEGADE 3 copy

Medium SUV– Skoda Kodiaqskoda Kodiaq 3 copy

Large SUV– Land Rover DiscoveryLR Disco 3 copy

Performance/Luxury SUV– Range RoverRR winner 1 copy

Off-RoaderBest Value & 4×4 Of The Year– Ssangyong Rextonssangyong rexton 3 copy

Off-Road Award– Jeep Wranglerjeep wrangler_recon_1 copy

4×4 Manufacturer Of The Year– Jeep4068-017 copy

Read the full overview and reports from the 4×4 Of The Year Awards, in the 48-page supplement in the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

 

RR winner 1 copy

Every vehicle in this class has an argument for why it should have been crowned the winner. For outright luxury, the Bentley Bentayga should surely win, and if it’s pure performance you crave then Porsche hasyou covered. The left-field choice – and one for sheer speed – would probably be the Tesla Model X, and then if you’re in the market for a performance SUV and like the sound of a Maserati, then there’s the exoticism of the Levante, too.

The Range Rover takes the bejewelled hat, though, by being the best off-roader but also by simply being the best car. Again, Land Rover has made a vehicle that’s very good at many things. The Rangey is capable whatever the terrain, and it’s also a fantastic luxury car on tarmac.

Everything we considered in this class has something about it, that much is undeniable. But the Range Rover has more things about it than anything else.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Performance and Luxury SUV class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

LR Disco 3 copy

Many vehicles in this class stake good claims as brilliant all-rounders, but none are as defined in their breadth of abilities as the Land Rover Discovery has been over the years. The fifth incarnation is a different beast to the one that debuted in 1989, but it shares the same all-round excellence that made its ancestor an instant hit.

It still offers the same go-anywhere ability that its forbearers always have, though this no longer feels centric to the Discovery’s DNA. It is, however, still top of the class in terms of off-road ability, only being challenged by a suitably optioned Merc GLE.

Other entrants in this class are good enough to make you ask questions, but each time the Discovery 5 has the answer. It’s superb to drive both on and off-road, is classy inside and scarily practical – as ever.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Large SUV class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

skoda Kodiaq 3 copy

The Medium SUV class is the biggest and most varied category in the 4×4 of the Year Awards, with plenty of all-rounders and precision tools worth a mention. Not to mention the impressive newcomer from Mazda – the CX-5. But the Skoda Kodiaq takes the crown, on merit, for being an exquisite multi-faceted option. Its build quality, interior styling and space and the gear combine to make a worthy winner.

The Kodiaq is competent in every way on the tarmac, and is available with off-road enhancements that make a real difference. It’s in touch with reality for vehicles in this class, whilst also being a fantastic family wagon.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Medium SUV class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

JEEP RENEGADE 3 copy

The Jeep Renegade has a lot of competition, with assaults mounted from both ends of the price range. But, it’s the American that offers the most in this class.

The Renegade looks good and has a cool cabin, even if it isn’t the most spacious. But if you want to go off-road, in Trailhawk guise nothing else in the class will come close.

If you want something purely for the road, there are better options. If you want something with a premium badge then Audi and BMW have solid entrants for you, in the shape of the Q3 and the X1. But with all aspects considered, the Renegade is by far the most versatile – and at a good price, too.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Small SUV class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

Fiat_Panda_Cross_077 copy

Now, this is a broad category. We’ve included everything from hatchback-based SUV’s to quasi-MPVs and even a van-based motorhome. We acknowledge that by choosing a singular winner from such a diverse field we’ve compared the incomparable, but we’re confident in the final verdict.

The Fiat Panda Cross is a long-time favourite in this category, with previous editions proving they’re capable of incurring joy and performing giant killings off-piste. The latest is no different.

Being so diddy, the Fiat is trumped in terms of practicality elsewhere in the field, and it can also be outperformed off-road. But this little machine embodies fun and is willing wherever you go. It’s the cheapest vehicle in this class, but it’s the most loveable.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Crossover class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

Vauxhall Insignia CT copy

In a year when the Crossover Estates market most notably grew at the top end of the price range, the new champion comes from the other end of the spectrum.

We were stunned by the Insignia Country Tourer. It looks sensational and its interior is befitting of something twice the price. It’s a remarkably capable all-rounder that’s as enjoyable to drive as it is refined and comfortable on longer journeys. It does the lot.

There are other options which match it in some areas, but the Vauxhall brings excitement to this part of the 4×4 market. It’s not the best off-roader, but it’s comfortably the best across the board. And at a crushingly good price.

Read the full verdict and the overview of the Crossover Estates class in the 48-page 4×4 of the Year supplement with the February 2018 issue of 4×4.

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