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Is there any "mini crossover SUV" on the market worth looking at as a family car that you could also use a dozen times a year to drive around a shoot? Or would the extra cost of purchase and running mean you'd be better off hiring a decent off roader half a dozen times a year? No dogs to consider and nothing to tow so does that make it fall into the category of unnecessary luxury? 

 

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26 minutes ago, London Best said:

Fiat Panda 4x4?

All down to how large the family.   Cracking little motor as Top Gear displayed against a Range Rover but there is not a lot of room in one.

AND  second hand they fetch a premium price.

Subaru would be my choice.  It's medium rather than Mini but far better as a family car/estate

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Mazda CX30 (or MX30 if electric's your thing). If the Panda 4x4 floats your boat there's always the Jeep Renegade which is a rebodied Panda. Reliability is still a bit of an issue with Fiats though.

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2 hours ago, Walker570 said:

All down to how large the family.   Cracking little motor as Top Gear displayed against a Range Rover but there is not a lot of room in one.

AND  second hand they fetch a premium price.

Subaru would be my choice.  It's medium rather than Mini but far better as a family car/estate

Subaru xv. About the size of a focus. Good ground clearance and excellent grip. 

Or a suzuki sx4. 

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2 hours ago, Walker570 said:

All down to how large the family.   

Small, one sprog, but I am a terrible packer and I do like to be able to drive four adults at the same time. 

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7 minutes ago, London Best said:

Anything ‘mini’ sounds a terrible idea then.

A mini SUV is bigger than my current car - I have a very old Fusion, which is just boxy and good with space. It's shorter than the Mini Countryman or the new Ford Fiesta. 

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2 hours ago, billytheghillie said:

Suzuki Vitara Allgrip crackin motor, i have one in Auto flavour.

This I haven't heard of. The advert looks like they wrote it for me! 

 

I hadn't considered a Suzuki so these are top tips, thanks.  I know about the Dacia Duster, not considered the Mazda, never heard of the Panda and I've been reading articles on the subject. Well, lists anyway. The jeep alternative is also excellent info, thanks. Much more useful than the aforementioned "guides". 

Plan is to investigate and buy at the end of 2021/early 2022. I think my little MX5 will give out next year and so I can justify swapping two old cars for one new. Hopefully I can pick up something a year or two old by then. I had a new car once when my other half worked for Ford and although it was lovely, I'm not sure I get so much thrill over the newness I want to pay the VAT. Depends on the deals I suppose. I'm a bit slow on car buying, I like cars to be right and then last. 

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8 hours ago, London Best said:

Fiat Panda 4x4?

You really do not want a crash in this car. Its about as sturdy as a rizal paper. The crash reports are not pretty reading. 

 

I'll save the reading. 0 stars. Only 2 cars have scored zero before. Both fiats. 

Edited by GingerCat
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My first car was a 1980s Fiat Panda 4x4 - it was brilliant. So light it would go anywhere as instead of sinking into mud it sort of skipped across the top of mud and snow.

I have to agree though, 25ish years later, I now drive my children around in the safest car on the road (Volvo XC60) and there is no way I would let them near anything like that old Panda - it was like driving around in a biscuit tin an it seems the crash safety hasn’t really improved!

It was much more capable off road than my Volvo is though, despite its clever air suspension and computer controls, put 22” drug dealer wheels and a smear of rubber on a 4x4 and it is pretty useless! (Not my choice, company car!).

Edited by oscarsdad
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13 hours ago, ehb102 said:

 I like cars to be right and then last. 

Me too which is why I always buy Japanese. Whilst not a fan of SUVs and not needing a full on 4x4, I typically run past 100K miles and out of the last 3 cars prior to the present, the only one that needed unscheduled new parts was a Mazda 3, based on the Focus platform. The 3 different types of suspension failure and a couple of engine problems were all with the Focus bits. 

Fortunately Mazda divorced Ford 10 years ago and every vehicle in their range is now 100% Mazda. This is reflected in them returning to the top end of the reliability surveys.

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We find the Panda 4x4 is OK for 3 adults, with the front passenger seat fairly well forward.    I am only 5'9", but I need the driving seat a long way back, leaving very litle leg room behind me.   That might be a problem for the OP, who wants to carry 4 adults.   Narrow body is handy for parking, but won't take my shotgun sideways across the boot.

Our other car is a Duster 4x4, 67reg, trouble-free to date, 30k miles.   Suits us very well.   We just need cheap, practical transport for rough roads, with good ground clearance, small wheels and fat tyres, and don't care about being fashionable, or gadgets, or 0-60 times, or high speed cornering.   Latest models have better seats, and better layout of minor controls.

The Panda 4x4 came with winter tyres as standard, and is therefore better on icy roads than the Duster which has ordinary summer tyres.

Both cars are diesels, and have quite good fuel consumption (two old dodderers driving gently on rural roads).   Panda actual 52mpg over 13k miles from new (computer says 55mpg).  Duster actual 50mpg over 14k miles in our ownership (computer says 54mpg).

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I knew you guys were the right people to ask! Loads of good ideas. Thank you everyone. This is admittedly a slow burn project for me, but I reckon by the time I am ready to pay for something I shall be in the position to find a bargain of exactly what I want. 

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