The best premium off-roaders

  • We check out the best premium 4x4s on the market
  • They may be pricey but they’re impressive machines
  • Our picks offer high performance both off-road and on

If you like your 4x4s with a bit of luxury, what are the top picks on the market today? We’ve put together our list of top off-roaders that combine prestige, performance and practicality while also being able to cope with tough terrain.

We’ve kept our list around the £50,000 mark but the premium off-roader market is an expensive playground and it’s not difficult to see some high-end models’ pricing venture into six-figure territory.

Range Rover Sport

Range Rover Sport 2013

The new Range Rover Sport is a seriously impressive bit of kit. It’s slightly more compact than the 2013 Range Rover on which it’s based and is lighter, faster and better to drive than the previous-generation Sport.

It can handle tough off-road terrain with ease and is even better on the tarmac. There’s also a plethora of hi-tech kit available, including a Wi-Fi hotspot within the car, head-up display and a 360-degree camera setup to help negotiate tight spaces.

It’s available with a 5.0-litre V8 supercharged petrol engine or a choice of three diesels: two V6s and a V8. All engines are come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

You can read the full new Range Rover Sport review here.

New price range: £51k - £81k

 

Porsche Cayenne

Porsche Cayenne

Think Porsche and the 911 sports car is probably the first model that springs to mind, but the Cayenne is by far the firm’s biggest-selling model these days. When we reviewed it we were impressed by its excellent handling for such a large car and its comfortable, high-quality interior.

The styling is a bit gawky to some people’s eyes and the button-festooned cabin is arguably a little overcomplicated but it’s a classy place to be nonetheless.

There are both diesel and petrol models available. All are quick but the ultra-fast petrol Turbo S version is capable of 0-60mph in less than five seconds.

Find out more in the full Parkers Porsche Cayenne review here.

New price range: £47k - £108k

 

BMW X5

BMW X5 2013

There’s a brand new X5 on the horizon and it promises to be more efficient, more luxurious, safer and better to drive than ever. It’s a little bit pricier than the outgoing model, but not by much, and will be available in both four- and rear-wheel drive.

From launch the new X5 will be available in two trim levels: SE and M Sport. There’ll be a choice of four diesel engines and one petrol with fuel economy as good as 50.4mpg.

As with most new high-end models there’s plenty of new tech, including a self-parking system and new ‘Concierge Service’ which enables the driver to make hotel reservations while driving.

You can read more in our preview of the upcoming BMW X5 here.

New price range: £42k – £63k

 

Infiniti FX

Infiniti FX

We’re now on the second-generation FX model – the original was a success in North America and a few private imports made it to the UK.

It’s the largest car in Infiniti’s line-up and although it has no real off-road ability it certainly has the presence of a large 4x4. Interior quality is impressive but a firm ride and heavy steering are sticking points.

If petrol is your thing you'll go for the thirsty 3.7-litre V6 or 5.0-litre V8. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel is more UK-friendly, offering better fuel economy and lower emissions.

Check out the Parkers full Infiniti FX review here.

New price range: £46k - £58k

 

Audi Q7

Audi Q7

Although it’s four-wheel drive, the Audi Q7 is very much aimed at staying on the road rather than venturing into the wilderness.

It’s a huge car and has a very spacious interior as a result with seating for up to seven occupants. There’s loads of space for luggage too.

So portly are its exterior dimensions that you might struggle to fit the Q7 into a standard-sized single garage and it’s so tall that you’ll have to read car park height restrictions carefully.

If you like your 4x4s with plenty of presence though, it could be the car for you.

You can read our full Audi Q7 review here.

New price range: £43k - £60k

 

Mercedes ML

Mercedes M Class

Launched last year, this is the third generation of the big M Class off-roader. It’s quiet, comfortable and imposing and there’s even a nutty ML63 AMG performance version with enough poke to take on the Porsche Cayenne Turbo and the supercharged Range Rover Sport.

The range as a whole is more fuel-efficient than before, with the ML 250 BlueTec 2.2-litre diesel offering 47mpg and 158g/km of CO2.

Inside, it’s comfortable but things are a little cramped if you need to carry three adult rear passengers and there’s no seven-seat version on sale.

Find out more in the full Parkers Mercedes M-Class review here.

New price range: £44k - £51k

 

Volkswagen Touareg

VW Touareg

The second-generation  VW Touareg  may look similar to its predecessor but it’s an improved car in every way.

It offers a high-quality interior and a refined driving experience but it can still cut the mustard off-road and is surprisingly agile on the road for such a big car.

It’s available with a range of powerful diesel engines and there’s also a petrol-electric hybrid model, though this isn’t the version we’d choose.

Like the Mercedes M-Class there’s no seven-seat option but all cars come well equipped with leather seats, Bluetooth and sat-nav as standard.

You can read our full Volkswagen Touareg review here.

New price range: £41k - £61k

 

Worth waiting for? Jaguar SUV coming soon

Jaguar C-X17 4x4 off roader concept car

 

At the Frankfurt show this year Jaguar showed off the C-X17, an SUV concept based on its all-new aluminium platform.

A possibility of a Jaguar 4x4 has been mooted for many years and now it looks as if it’s likely to happen in the near future. It’ll likely be a smaller car than the models listed above as it’ll be based on the same architecture as the company’s upcoming compact saloon to rival the BMW 3 Series, due in 2015.

It might be a departure from the sleek sports cars and saloons the company is famous for, but the C-X17 concept has plenty of sporty design cues, including a nod to the F-Type sports car in the tail lights and muscular wheel arches.

A production version of the C-X17 is yet to be confirmed for definite, but the concept has certainly whetted our appetites.

We’ve got more info on the C-X17 in our Frankfurt show news here and in our concept car guide here.

 

Check out our list of top 4x4s for fleet buyers here.