2018 SUVs: the best 4x4s this year
Looking for a rugged new off-roader? These are some of the best on the market in 2018!
The demand for smart new SUVs and 4x4s is showing no signs of tailing off this year as there’s a growing crop of new off-road models that are or soon will be available
We’ve lined up some of the best set to make their debut, boasting the newest car technologies – however, with electric cars and the future of motorization a big topic, these vehicles will broaden the 4×4 market, offering and incredible level of ability and tech.
Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio
Performance SUVs are big business, with all the practicality you’d expect from a family 4×4 combined with an incredible level of pace that wouldn’t be out of place in a super saloon.
The standard Alfa Stelvio is acceptable off-road thanks to its Q4 all-wheel-drive system and clever driving modes, but the hot Quadrifoglio version uses this setup to maximise traction and put the 2.9-litre tubocharged V6’s 503bhp to the road. The advanced double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension system means it should have handling to match to help you become a better driver.
Aston Martin DBX
It seems the British brand can’t resist the lure of a profit-making 4×4 either – only the Aston DBX will be all-electric, so it has the future of motorization in mind.
While it will likely make a fair fist of off-road work, don’t expect it to rival your ute on a loose track or trail. Still, it should boast some of the newest car technologies around.
Something a little more affordable, the Ford Edge will replace the Blue Oval’s homegrown Territory SUV, which is now getting long in the tooth.
The Endura will arrive late this year with a 209bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel and automatic transmission, and while four-wheel drive will be standard, it’ll do without the low-range option of the larger Everest. It’ll be five-seat only, too, but should be fairly affordable.
US-designed, with an all-new monocoque chassis tuned in Australia, the Holden Acadia is a big improvement.
There are front-wheel drive models, but forget them. All-wheel-drive Acadias should offer good off-road ability, while safety kit looks to be strong. V6 engine won’t be that efficient, though.
Like the Land Rover Defender, the Jeep Wrangler is a 4×4 icon. The new model hitting showrooms this year doesn’t deviate too far from the tried and tested recipe, either.
The design remains the same, while the panels will be alloy instead of steel to help save weight, improve efficiency and actually boost performance off-road, too.
What you need to know: the doors will remain removable, you’ll be able to fold the windshield forward, it’ll get an updated 3.6 petrol V6 or a new 2.2 diesel, while the Selec-Trac 4×4 system will be the only four-wheel drive option. This gets low range and can decouple the front axle for better economy.
Even Mercedes is entering into the ute class. Workhorses like these are now more like luxury SUVs than ever, and the X-Class will take this a step further when it launches in April, with a smart cabin loaded with upmarket features.
However, underneath the X-Class is based on the Nissan Navara, so it’s steering system, 4×4 setup, suspension layout and even details such as the front and rear wheel geometry (suspension toe, camber etc.) should be similar, giving great off-road performance. You can opt for either six-speed manual or seven-speed auto boxes.
The Swedish brand’s SUV blitz continues with the new compact XC40 off-roader. The 187bhp D4 engine gets all-wheel drive as standard and an eight-speed automatic gearbox. There are only a few small concessions to serious off-roading – such as hill descent control – but it’ll offer surprising capability if you need to turn off the tarmac as ground clearance is good for such a small 4×4.
Giles Kirkland is an experienced car expert with passion for all wheeled vehicles. He enjoys writing reviews, commenting on various aspects of the automotive business, and giving practical advice on driving, choosing and maintaining cars. You can find him at Oponeo and on Twitter.