Sales of 4x4s and SUVs are growing rapidly - the chunky styling and high driving position they offer is proving increasingly popular, along with the tough looks and practicality. This expanding customer demand means more and more SUVs are emerging onto the market and car buyers are having a harder time than ever finding the best 4x4 or SUV to go for. Luckily our handy guide is here to help.
Despite being refered to as 4x4s, modern SUVs sometimes don't even have front-wheel drive. Instead they're designed to be used in towns and cities - a world away from the tough terrain that the first 4x4s were invented for.
Some models - like the excellent Range Rover Sport - are still fantastic off-roaders, though. Something like a Land Rover Discovery is a good choice if you really need to go off-road, but poor fuel economy and a high price mean it's not the best idea if you're planning to stick to tarmac.
The Dacia Duster is one of the UK's cheapest new cars - and it happens to be an SUV, so it's great for anyone who can't afford a Land Rover model. The 4x4 version isn't too bad off-road, though it's suited more to rough tracks than anything too challenging.
Having a car with four-wheel drive is useful when you need to get going on a slippery surface - you have twice as much grip, after all. Winter tyres are a still must, though - you might be able to speed up faster, but only winter tyres can help you stop faster (thanks to the increased traction they provide).
In the models that like going off-road the most, there is often a computer-controlled driving mode that improves grip on certain surfaces, and sets up the suspension to work better in adverse conditions. This can be turned off when you get back on the road.
If you're looking for a 7-seater car then a large 4x4 might be something you'll be interested in: they tend to be more desirable than MPVs and can offer a great deal of practicality. With their huge boot space, roof racks and towing capacity they make great cars for going on holiday, too.
Towing a caravan or trailer is a common use for these cars as well - and if that's your plan, the high torque of a large diesel engine is the best choice for load-lugging. Check out our review of the best tow cars in Britain to find out more.
To help you choose which 4x4 is right for you, we've rounded up 10 of the best. Click the links on the left or the next page link below to find out more.