Proper 4x4s: Market Watch

Remember when dinosaurs roamed the land? No, of course not. Silly question. But chances are you do remember when dinosaurs like these roamed the land; proper, body-on-frame 4x4s that genuinely did justice to the title of 'off-roader', rather than the namby-pamby crossovers that seem to have colonised our roads more recently.

This is what we're talking about!
This is what we're talking about!
And you might just be the kind of PHer who laments those days, when men were men and 4x4s were 4x4s. Or something. Well, if you are, we've got a treat for you.

Yes, we've given old-school off-roaders like these the Market Watch treatment. To this end, we've picked five classic 4x4s, each one representing a different part of the world, and we've combed the classifieds to work out exactly what's going on with each one: where values sit, what the market looks like, and indeed, whether you should buy one.

We had to have a British contender; after all, while we didn't invent the 4x4, we came up with the Land Rover, which in one way or another begat pretty much every modern SUV you'd care to mention. Indeed, it doesn't feel right to pick any other car as our UK representative than the trusty old Defender.

Of course, any 4x4 enthusiast will tell you that while a Defender will get you there, a Land Cruiser will get you there and back again. Toyota's workhorse has become the proper off-roader for those in the know, and the only one many survival experts - not to mention the UN's Blue Helmets - will trust to take them into the harshest of terrains. Which should probably tell you all you need to know.

And for a budget option...
And for a budget option...
From Europe, what else could we include but the fabulous G-Wagen, latterly G-Class? This box-on-wheels combined Teutonic efficiency with the strength of an ox, and has the added advantage of being a little less well-known than a Landie. Of course, in recent years, Merc's turned up the chintz, but a good, honest early G-Wagen is one of the most appealing utilitarian buys out there.

We're not the only ones with a claim to having invented the 4x4 as we know it, mind you. The land of bizarre phrases like 'down home' and 'rootin' tootin'' gave us the Willys Jeep, and in its modern form as the Wrangler, it's a tough old thing, and extremely useful off road thanks to its rather diminutive dimensions.

The same can be said of our last candidate, which hails from behind the Iron Curtain. Yes, you've guessed it - it's the Lada Niva. Fast becoming a cult classic, the Niva is renowned for its basic but rugged nature. In fact, you might say it's the spiritual predecessor to our very own Mighty Duster...

Land Rover Defender
Toyota Land Cruiser
Mercedes G-Wagen
Jeep Wrangler
Lada Niva



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Comments (63) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Pica-Pica 19 Apr 2017

    I am sorry, but 4x4 simply means 4 road wheels and 4 of them are driven, nothing more and nothing less. ( a 4x2 is 4 road wheels 2 of which are driven - usually on the same axle).

  • Richieboy3008 19 Apr 2017

    Pica-Pica said:
    I am sorry, but 4x4 simply means 4 road wheels and 4 of them are driven, nothing more and nothing less. ( a 4x2 is 4 road wheels 2 of which are driven - usually on the same axle).
    Oh really? How interesting.

  • Pica-Pica 19 Apr 2017

    Yes, it does not mean a SUV nor necessarily any off-road ability, even if the pictures indicate otherwise.

  • SlimJim16v 19 Apr 2017

    Maybe it's just me, but I always take it as -
    4x4 = off-road vehicle
    4wd = road car

  • DonkeyApple 19 Apr 2017

    Pica-Pica said:

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