Most economical 4x4s on sale in UK 2022

Hybrid technology means that big can be green: these are the most economical 4x4s on sale now

Simon Ostler
Dec 10, 2021

Big four-wheel-drive cars have traditionally been regarded as wasteful and inefficient, but the arrival of hybrid technology has meant in some cases they have the potential to be much kinder to the environment - in theory.

The most efficient of this new breed of 4x4s are plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), which use electric motors powered by a battery in addition to a conventional petrol or diesel engine. They are referred to as plug-in cars because you have to plug the car into an electricity source in order to charge the battery, which is then able to power the car on its own for a limited period - typically between 20 and 30 miles in real-world conditions.

So it's possible to end up with some very impressive fuel economy figures, as well as extremely low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions if you make the most of all that electricity. However, this does rely on consistent use of the car's electric power, over-reliance on a plug-in hybrid's petrol or diesel engine can actually make fuel efficiency worse thanks to the additional weight of all the electrical equipment on board, so regular charging is a must.

The list of most economical 4x4s below is made up entirely of plug-in hybrids and we've limited the list to tall sport utility vehicles (SUVs). However, there are also plenty of standard cars with four-wheel drive, with and without hybrid technology, which are cheaper and often extremely efficient.

Most economical 4x4s

1. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Used deals Limited stock
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 46g/km

First up is the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. It's the original plug-in hybrid 4x4 that first appeared back in 2013, and until recently its rivals were working hard to catch up. Considering all the expensive technology involved in building this car, the Outlander still stands as one of the cheapest options on this list, and also one of the best.

It doesn't have the quality of something like a Range Rover, and it's not as good to drive as a Skoda Kodiaq or Mini Countryman, but its efficiency will save you money on fuel and road tax, and it's also roomy enough to easily cater for a family of five.

With 11 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs currently available on BuyaCar, you can very easily grab yourself an excellent used car finance deal for much less than £300 per month.


2. Volvo XC60 T6/T8

Used deals from £31,000
Monthly finance from £0*
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 23g/km

On paper, the Volvo XC60 beats the efficiency of the Outlander. It's intended as a much more upmarket car, with a better-quality interior packed with all the latest tech and equipment such as a heated steering wheel and automated emergency braking.

The plug-in hybrid T8 engine is only available from the mid-range R-Design trim and above, which means you'll be looking towards models with a sportier styling inside and out and massive 21-inch alloy wheels. Later on, Volvo added a lowere-powered T6 option and shuffled the trim levels around, so there should be a wider range of XC60s to choose from. If you can afford it, the XC60 is a level up on the Outlander.

Our used car finance deals for the XC60 T8 here on BuyaCar go some way to reducing the cost of purchase, but you should keep an eye out for some substantial pre-registered discounts, too.


3. Mini Countryman PHEV

Used deals from £17,000
Monthly finance from £511*
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 40g/km

The cheapest option on this list in terms of new pricing, the Mini Countryman PHEV can also claim to be the best when it comes to fuel efficiency. In fact, there is evidence to support a claim that the Countryman might well be the best car on this list. It's small, but still provides 450 litres of boot space as well as plenty of space for a family of five and, in 'ALL4' (4x4) guise, shapes up surprisingly well as an off-roader.

There is also no mistaking the Countryman as a member of the Mini family. Aside from the obvious styling similarities, this car is still very spritely on the road despite its size, thanks in part to the instant nature of the hybrid engine's power delivery.

Things keep getting better for the Mini, too, because it's also available on BuyaCar with some excellent value finance deals. This is not one to overlook.


4. Range Rover P400e

Used deals Limited stock
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 72g/km

Now we're getting to the big guns. The Range Rover has always been one of the best and most-capable off-roaders on the market, and that's still the case with this P400e plug-in hybrid. It's big and rugged and up to any task you throw at it, but - and you'd expect this for a price tag in the region of £90,000, it's also as luxurious as any Jaguar saloon.

The only question we have is whether you'd want to purchase this plug-in hybrid version over a cheaper diesel model. Sure the PHEV is more economical - the diesel will manage around 50mpg, but you can get much greater efficiency from alternatives on this list for a quarter of the price on BuyaCar. Even as a used car, the Range Rover plug-in hybrid is not what you'd call affordable.

The previous-generation Range Rover uses a 2.0-litre petrol engine as the main power source, but a new version was introduced in late 2021 that uses a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol engine instead - these are the P440e and P510e.


5. Range Rover Sport P400e

Used deals from £49,989
Monthly finance from £0*
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 75g/km

The Range Rover is so good as an off-roader that it features twice on this list, although this time it's the Range Rover Sport. It's smaller than the standard Range Rover and 66mm lower to the ground, so its off-roading capability is not quite at the same level, but you still get all of the quality.

But considering these differences, in terms of efficiency there is little to choose between the two. We'll again point to what you could get at a much lower price but, compared to the standard Range Rover, the Range Rover Sport is a better value option in terms of used car finance on BuyaCar. If you're looking to make a particular social statement, then the Range Rover Sport is the car for you.


6. Volvo XC90 T8 

Used deals from £39,995
Monthly finance from £0*
Fuel economy
CO2 emissions 28g/km

The Volvo XC90 T8 is our final option on this list. This is another economical 4x4 from Volvo with lashings of luxury and plenty of power to go with it. As with the XC60 above, the T8 plug-in hybrid engine becomes available mid-way through the XC90 range, so you'll be paying more but also getting plenty of standard equipment to go with it. 

The XC90 has been one of the very best SUVs you can buy for a few years now, it's huge for a start with practicality to burn and the distinction of being one of the safest cars on the road. As an efficient hybrid, it's even better, with the latest 2019 models able to cover up to 40 miles using just electric power. If you're able to pay for all this quality, we recommend you do so.


*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.


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