Land Rover Defender

Best used 4x4s and off-roaders 2023

Are you after a car with tough looks, a commanding driving position and go-anywhere ability? Find the perfect fit in our guide to the best used 4x4s and off-roaders.

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By Cazoo editorial team

Updated: 8 March, 2023

If you want a car that looks ready for adventure and has the capability to get to places that the average family hatchback can’t, perhaps you need an off-roader. The terms ‘4x4’, ‘off-roader’ and ‘SUV’ are largely interchangeable these days but ‘4x4’ and ‘off-roader’ generally refer to a car that has four-wheel drive, lots of ground clearance and is as capable on tricky terrain as it is on the road. 

Some SUVs only have two-wheel drive and aren’t really designed to go far off-road, but all of the off-roaders and 4x4s in this list are available with four-wheel drive and are as well-suited to rugged adventures as they are to a trip to the shops. 

Here, in no particular order, are our top 8 used off-roaders. 

1. Land Rover Discovery

You could think of the Land Rover Discovery as a more affordable, outdoorsy version of the Range Rover, or as a very luxurious workhorse off-roader. Either way, it’s a fantastic all-round performer with brilliant on-road comfort and the ability to clamber over just about any kind of terrain, from rough country roads to muddy fields and icy fords. The Discovery is also one of the most comfortable and effortless large cars to drive, with high ground clearance and a clever off-road system called Terrain Response that does all the hard work for you at the twist of a dial.

The Discovery is very spacious, with the option of five or seven seats, and with up to 1,137 litres of boot space to hold everything you need for a long family holiday, plus loads of storage compartments and USB-C sockets for recharging your devices. The Discovery is packed with useful features, including adjustable second- and third-row seats, which make it a stylish and sensible off-roader.

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2. Suzuki Jimny

A small but mighty off-roader, the Suzuki Jimny is a fun, quirky and very affordable 4x4. It’s very light and agile and one of the most utilitarian off-roaders in this list, able to scamper over terrain that would scare away more-expensive rivals. With few frills or extras inside, it’s not what we’d call luxurious. There’s just one engine – a 1.5-litre petrol – and either a manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic one.  

But if you have tough ground to tackle, you’ll struggle to get better value for money. The Jimny has excellent ground clearance, and the flat, square bonnet means you have a great view over the road. It’s practical too, with cubby holes, trays, pockets and power sockets to plug in blow-up mattresses or cool boxes. The boot is tiny (only 85 litres in capacity) but the rear seats fold down flat, giving you a much more spacious 377 litres. The interior is made for muddy moments – it’s full of hard rubbers and plastics that are easy to wipe down.

3. Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is pretty synonymous with 4x4s and off-roading – think “quintessential country car” and you’ll likely picture a Defender. The latest version, sold new from 2020, is available in two sizes – the Defender 90 or the longer 110 version.

There are many petrol and diesel engines to choose from but there’s also a plug-in hybrid option – not something you find on many 4x4s. You can pick from numerous seating combinations depending on how many people you need to ferry around, including a six-seat option with an extra chair in the front.  There’s also a two-seater version called the Hard Top, which has a dedicated cargo hold if you want a more glamorous alternative to a pickup.

The Defender could be the 4x4 for you if you want some of the latest off-road tech, including dedicated grass, gravel, snow and rock driving modes, as well as off-road cameras to ensure you don’t accidentally clonk into a rock. While there are loads of luxury infotainment features inside, the Defender is also designed to get mucky, with rubber flooring and an easy-clean interior. 

4. Range Rover

When it comes to 4x4s there are few as glamorous as a Range Rover. A new model was launched in 2022, but the previous version featured here was so good that it had remained largely unchanged for 10 years.

The interior of that outgoing model is incredibly luxurious, with deep leather seats that adjust in 20 ways. Electrically reclining, heated back seats and three-zone climate control are included as standard. All models get state-of-the-art tech including a 13-inch touchscreen with Amazon Alexa, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless charging for your phone. The Range Rover is so relaxing to drive that it often doubles as a limousine, and it’s just as capable around town or on the motorway as it is in unpredictable countryside.

There’s a variety of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines to choose from, as well as many trims to suit different budgets. It’s hard to find another off-roader with such an opulent driver and passenger experience without splashing out on a Bentley or a Rolls-Royce.

5. Mitusbishi Outlander PHEV

The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV was a bit of trendsetter, being one of the first plug-in hybrid cars to go on sale in the UK (back in 2013). It was hugely popular until it was discontinued in 2021 and that means there are lots of used examples to choose from.

Mitsubishi is a brand known for making tough, no-nonsense 4x4s and while the Outlander is more road-focused and family-oriented than some of its models it's still an impressively solid and robust piece of kit. The interior is especially spacious, with a large boot and enough headroom and legroom for five adults to travel in comfort.

All versions use a combination of petrol engine and two electric motors. When fully charged the pure-electric range is 28 miles, which could be enough for you to do your daily commute with zero emissions.

6. Nissan X-Trail

The Nissan X-Trail could be the car for you if you want powerful off-roading without breaking the bank. The third-generation model (sold new between 2013 and 2022) comes with five seats as standard, with the option of two more in the back. All versions are very comfy with loads of headroom, even on models with a panoramic glass roof. At 565 litres in capacity, the boot is big enough for a folding bike and some overnight bags, although the space is smaller if you use all seven seats.

Visibility is excellent in front thanks to the high driving position and wide windscreen, and you get front and rear parking sensors and cameras to help with parking or driving around rocks. The infotainment system comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Power comes from either a 1.3-litre petrol engine or a 1.7-litre diesel, which is more fuel-efficient for long journeys.

7. Mercedes-Benz GLE

The Mercedes-Benz GLE is proof that the Range Rover doesn’t have a monopoly on off-road luxury. 

Unlike the previous generation of Range Rover, you can get seven seats in the Mercedes. There’s loads of legroom and headroom for adults in the second row of seats, and it’s really quiet when cruising. The interior is glitzy, with two big 12.3-inch touchscreens that come with Bluetooth and an impressive voice-control function. You also get wireless phone charging as standard.

You can choose between multiple diesel and petrol engines, and an efficient plug-in hybrid, all of which come with a nine-speed automatic gearbox. It’s fast, smooth and quiet and all models have a lot of power and tech for off-roading.

Fancy some serious power under the bonnet? The GLE AMG models come from Mercedes’ special tuning department and have huge amounts of oomph from very large engines. Oh, and if you want sleeker styling, look at the GLE Coupe, which sacrifices a small amount of space in the back for a more streamlined silhouette.

8. Toyota Hilux

Once the preserve of farms and construction sites, pickups are increasingly popular as everyday cars, and the Toyota Hilux is a great truck to have on your list. It’s big and commanding on the road and will tackle pretty much anything the great outdoors can throw at it. 

You can choose between several diesel engines, but the newer 2.8-litre version is better for motorway driving because it has more oomph. You can also opt for either a manual or an automatic gearbox. The Hilux has more than 27cm of ground clearance and can wade through water up to 70cm deep, so it can easily cope with rocky tracks or flooded roads. The load bed is big, and able to carry 1,000kg of stuff, so you can easily fit in a load of logs or cement bags and a mixer.

Four people will happily fit inside, but five is quite tight, even on the more spacious Double Cab model. Still, they’ll be entertained by an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system that comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Overall, the Hilux is a solid workhorse that’s also a great alternative to an SUV, especially if you’re looking for a low-tax company car.

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