Posts Tagged ‘family cars’

Why 4x4s make great family cars

family carsFour-wheel drive cars, which are also referred to as Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs), are becoming increasingly popular as family cars. So, what are the advantages of SUVs compared to two-wheel drive vehicles?

Better Performance Overall
In general, SUVs perform significantly better off-road than two-wheel drive vehicles. Since all four wheels receive torque (turning force) 4x4s are more stable and are able to produce more traction which all goes to improve off-road performance. In addition, four-wheel drive improves safety and stability on the road, particularly during extreme weather conditions.

Value for Money

In addition to the many advantages they hold, 4x4s aren’t massively more costly than two-wheel drive vehicles. Opting for a four-wheel drive is likely to cost between £500 and £3000 more than a two-wheel drive equivalent.


Many modern 4×4 vehicles are fitted with a switch that will quickly change from two to four-wheel drive mode or vice versa. In addition, an intelligent sensor can detect any front wheel slippage and send more power to the rear wheels. This also happens in the other direction should the rear wheels slip and this feature significantly increases the stability of the car in all conditions. With the car controlling the handling, the driver is free to focus on driving.

A 4×4 makes life much easier for those of us living in areas prone to extreme weather conditions such as snow and ice. Although 4x4s are often seen as bulky cars that are not suited to the city, many are actually only slightly bigger than standard family cars.

As 4×4 vehicles tend to be elevated, it is much easier to put the kids in the back seats without all the back-breaking bending involved with normal cars. They also tend to boast plenty of boot and cabin space.

More substantial 4×4 cars are ideally suited to towing caravans and trailers and are also very useful for carrying canoes, bikes and other equipment used by modern families.

SUVs fare better during collisions than two-wheel drive cars, which is mainly down to the higher seat position. They are also more stable on the road which reduces the number of collisions they are involved in.

Fuel Economy
The first family 4x4s really were gas guzzlers and only the wealthiest could afford to run them. However, due in part to EU laws on carbon emissions and the resultant increases in car tax in the UK and the ever increasing price of petrol and diesel, modern 4x4s are much more economical to run. Due to their extra size and weight, they will never be the most efficient vehicles around but when driven economically, they can compete with an average family estate. To check the tax band (and cost) of a car, click here.

Generally speaking, 4x4s make great family cars. They are safe, not overly expensive and they are very well-suited to family adventures. They cost a little extra to buy initially but they also hold their value well on the used car market.