Best small economical 4x4s

  • Our pick of the best small and economical 4x4s
  • Up to 67mpg on offer with low VED tax bills too 
  • Diesel is still the king when it comes to fuel choice
  • Our pick of the best small and economical 4x4s
  • Up to 67mpg on offer with low VED tax bills too 
  • Diesel is still the king when it comes to fuel choice

While you’re unlikely to see a tall SUV with a heavy four-wheel drive system winning awards for fuel economy, 4x4s aren’t anywhere near as expensive to run as they used to be.

Pick wisely and you’ll find that small modern all-wheel drive cars can be nearly as efficient as their hatchback relatives.

To help you find a fuel-efficient small 4x4, we’ve done the leg work for you by selecting our ten favourites that work off-road but still promise at least 50mpg.

Make sure you check out our Cars for Sale section, plus get a free valuation of your car. Also, head on over to our Finance section for information on funding your purchase.

Scroll down for the best ten small economical 4x4s

 

1. Small 4x4s - Suzuki Vitara

Small economical 4x4s - Suzuki Vitara

Suzuki is synonymous with off-road prowess and the improved on-road manners of this new Vitara make it a tempting proposition as an economical small 4x4.

The Allgrip 4x4 is a capable off-road system with a choice of driving modes, including a differential lock and sport setting.

Safety is well taken care of with seven airbags, stability control, tyre-pressure monitoring, Isofix child seat mountings and hill hold control as standard. Choose SZ5 like we have and you add a radar braking system which will stop the car if it senses an imminent crash and hill descent control to that list too.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Price: £21,799
  • Our choice: Suzuki Vitara 1.6 DDiS SZ5 Allgrip 5d
  • Running costs: 67mpg and 111g/km of CO2

For our full Suzuki Vitara review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

2. Small 4x4s - Dacia Duster

Small economical 4x4s - Dacia Duster

As well as offering up to 60mpg, the Dacia Duster works out as seriously good value per mile thanks to a low asking price.

A mid-spec Ambiance Duster with the superior 1.5-litre diesel engine will only cost you £13,995 and this gains a few niceties like central locking and alloy wheels.

The four-wheel drive system is from Nissan and apportions grip between the two axles according to the road conditions. A great small 4x4. 

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
  • Our choice: 1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4 5d
  • Price: £13,995
  • Running costs: 60mpg and 123g/km of CO2

For our full Dacia Duster review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

3. Small 4x4s - Mazda CX-3

Small economical 4x4s - Mazda CX-3

Pick a Mazda CX-3 for its excellent on-road handling, grippy all-wheel drive system and generous kit levels.

All cars come with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control, push button start and a seven-inch colour multimedia screen, but you’ll need top-tier Sport Nav to unlock the all-wheel drive option. This also gets you sat-nav, LED headlights, Bose stereo, and a reversing camera.

Best of all, the 1.5-litre diesel engine offers impressive economy of up to 60mpg - a really economical small 4x4.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
  • Our choice: Mazda CX-3 1.5d Sport Nav AWD 5d
  • Price: £23,395
  • Economy: 60mpg and 123g/km of CO2

For our full Mazda CX-3 review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

4. Small 4x4s - MINI Countryman

Small economical 4x4s - MINI Countryman

Stylish and surprisingly economical, the MINI Countryman trades outright off-roading ability for on-road handling, but if you only plan on traversing the odd campsite it will be ideal.

Powering the ALL4 all-wheel drive version is an uprated 1.6-litre diesel engine, which provides 112bhp rather than the two-wheel drive’s 90bhp for more muscular performance.

There’s a bit of body-lean when driving fast but the hallmark MINI agility is still there with plenty of traction too thanks to the all-wheel drive.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Our choice: 1.6 D Cooper ALL4 5d
  • Price: £21,155
  • Economy: 60mpg and 123g/km of CO2

For our full MINI Countryman review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

5. Small 4x4s - BMW X1

Small economical 4x4s - BMW X1

You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who thought the original X1 was a good-looking car – yet BMW sold more than 40,000 of them in the UK.

It offered a raised ride-height with the ability to tackle rugged tracks and muddy campsites, plus decent on-road handling and this second-generation car looks to build on that solid foundation.

We'd recommend the four-wheel drive 18d model which claims fuel economy of 60mpg, and produces 124g/km of CO2.

All BMWs come with sat-nav now but pick xLine trim like we have and you’ll get LED headlights, heated front seats, 18-inch alloys and off-road styling additions to the bodywork.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
  • Our choice: BMW X1 SUV xDrive 18d xLine 5d
  • Price: £31,590
  • Economy: 60mpg and 124g/km of CO2

For our full BMW X1 review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

6. Small 4x4s - Fiat Panda Cross

Small economical 4x4s - Fiat Panda Cross

Unlike other cars on our list, the Panda Cross has four-wheel drive as standard across the range, whether you pick standard trim, Cross or Cross 4x4.

Cross cars gain chunkier bumpers, a differential lock and hill descent control, and that’s where we’d spend our money.

Obviously this is quite a small car so you only get a 225-litre boot, but the compact Panda makes up for it with surprising off-road capability.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4 stars
  • Our choice: Fiat Panda 0.9 TwinAir (90bhp) Cross 4x4 5d
  • Price: £16,225
  • Running costs: 57mpg and 114g/km of CO2

For our full Fiat Panda 4x4 review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

7. Small 4x4s - Mitsubishi ASX

Small economical 4x4s - Mitsubishi ASX

Mitsubishi made its name with tough 4x4s and off-road commercial vehicles so it’s no surprise that the ASX is pretty handy when things get muddy.

Flying under the radar a bit, the Mitsubishi ASX may not be the first car you think of when shopping for an SUV but it comes with a huge amount of kit for the money.

For a four-wheel drive version you’ll need to pick the more efficient diesel engine (the better unit on offer) and top-spec ZC-H trim, which comes with climate control, sat-nav and leather trim.

There's a facelifted version on the way (above) which we saw at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 3.5 stars
  • Our choice: Mitsubishi ASX 1.6 ZC-H 4WD 5d
  • Price: £23,684
  • Economy: 56mpg and 132g/km of CO2

For our full Mitsubishi ASX review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

8. Small 4x4s - Nissan Qashqai

Small economical 4x4s - Nissan Qashqai

The Nissan Qashqai has been the default answer to the family car question for nearly ten years now. A high ride-height makes installing child-seats a doddle and there’s plenty of interior space, plus a big boot to store bulky pushchairs in.

Pick one with four-wheel drive and you’ve also got a capable car for when things get slippery too, whether during bad weather or while trying to get across a muddy field.

N-Connecta trim get you alloy wheels, cruise control and an around-view camera, which gives you a bird’s eye view of the car when trying to negotiate a tricky parking manoeuvre.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 5 stars
  • Our choice: Nissan Qashqai 1.6 dCi N-Connecta 4WD 5d
  • Price: £26,810
  • Economy: 55mpg and 133g/km of CO2

For our full Nissan Qashqai review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

9. Small 4x4s - Skoda Yeti

Small economical 4x4s - Skoda Yeti

A long-term favourite here at Parkers thanks to its flexibility and practical 405-litre boot, the Skoda Yeti may be getting on a bit but still looks fresh and distinctive.

On top of this it offers user-friendliness and low running costs, even with the four-wheel drive model selected.

This uses the same system as the Octavia Scout and can send up to 90 percent of power to the rear wheels, plus you get a special off-road mode with hill descent control.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 5 stars
  • Price: £22,945
  • Our choice: Skoda Yeti 2.0 TDI CR (150bhp) SE 4x4 Outdoor 5d
  • Running costs: 55mpg and 134g/km of CO2

For our full Skoda Yeti review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

10. Small 4x4s - Kia Sportage

Small economical 4x4s - Kia Sportage

The new Kia Sportage looks set to improve the old car’s refinement and running costs with more economical engines, even for the all-wheel drive version.

Most eye-catching of all is the seven-year/100,000-mile warranty you get with a new Kia, plus impressive levels of equipment.

GT-Line gives you a sporty look without the associated costs, plus 19-inch wheels, front parking sensors, heated front and outer rear seats and LED headlights.

Vital statistics

  • Parkers rating: 4.5 stars
  • Our choice: Kia Sportage 2.0 CRDi GT-Line (AWD) 5d
  • Price: £25,850
  • Running costs: 54mpg and 139g/km of CO2

For our full Kia Sportage review click here and for Cars for Sale click here

 

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