The best 4x4 vans x far

Utility meets off-road ability: the best 4x4 vans can do it all

BuyaCar team
Jun 9, 2022

Sometimes, even the biggest cars on the market just won't cut it. If you're into surfing, mountain biking or even base jumping, chances are you're going to be hauling a huge amount of equipment around with you, often to pretty inhospitable places.

In that kind of scenario, the best option for you is probably to look for a van, but one with four-wheel drive.

But these vans aren't just useful for adventurous types, a 4x4 van would be equally as useful to a carpenter who might regularly negotiate muddy paths, or a plumber who lives on the Shetland Islands. Or a florist, who wants to attend farmers’ markets held on a pretty steep hill.

If you’re after a van with power being sent to all four wheels, there are three main options. You can either go for a rugged, yet not overly spacious pick-up truck; a commercial SUV: ever practical, but converted for better use as a heavy hauler; or you can find a large and spacious panel van.

Alternatives to a 4x4 van

If you don’t necessarily need a full four-wheel-drive system, some vans offer alternatives. Renault offers a system called Grip Xtend. It doesn’t send power to all four wheels. It’s much more like an advanced traction control system.

Peugeot and Citroen offer a similar, but more advanced system. On models like the Citroen Nemo and Peugeot Boxer, it allows you to select different modes depending on what terrain you’re on.

And while we’re at it, switching to winter tyres in the winter can provide more grip, even with a van that is front- or rear-wheel-drive.

But if none of that will do, and you're certain a 4x4 van is your only option, then we have seven excellent options available for you right here on BuyaCar.

Best 4x4 vans

1. Volkswagen Transporter

Our pick Volkswagen Transporter 2.0 TDI 4Motion
Loadspace Up to 9,300 litres Payload Up to 1,328kg
Used deals from £26,999
Monthly finance from £386*

You’ll find the Transporter at the top of many of our lists, and with good reason too. Transporters are reliable - with a proven track record - and offer fantastic value for money considering they house a loadspace of up to 9,300 litres.

Volkswagen’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system is one of the most complex and complete systems available on a van too. It has a proper mechanical differential lock, and is also available with Volkswagen’s smooth seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox.


2. Mercedes Sprinter

Our pick Mercedes Sprinter CDI 4x4 Loadspace Up to 17,000 litres Payload Up to 2,890kg
Used deals Limited stock

The four-wheel-drive version of the Sprinter promises to be the most gnarly spec on offer. It’s available with two engines, a 2.1-litre diesel making 143hp, and a 3.0-litre diesel V6 making 188hp.

Unlike other vans on this list, the four-wheel drive can be operated manually via a button. Differential locks can also be optioned if you want to do some serious off-roading. Because it's a fairly new van, they can be few and far between.

3. Ford Transit

Our pick Ford Transit 2.0 EcoBlue AWD Loadspace Up to 15,100 litres Payload up to 2,169kg
Used deals Limited stock

Even those not au fait with van nomenclature will recognise the Transit name. It’s dependable, and importantly, is sold in huge numbers. So it should be fairly easy to find one on the used market.

The Transit’s four-wheel-drive system is operated via a switch on the dashboard. It’s available in L2 and L3 body lengths, and H2 and H3 heights, with either the 130PS or 170PS versions of the diesel engine.

4. Volkswagen Crafter

Our pick Volkswagen Crafter 2.0 TDI 4Motion Loadspace 11,300-16,400 litres Payload 735-2,573kg
Used deals Limited stock

Crafter by name, grafter by nature. It’s VW’s biggest van and is a similar size to the Transit above. Expect an intelligent parking system, complete with electronic steering assist, autonomous emergency braking and the latest entertainment system.

Also, expect to find VW’s 4Motion four-wheel-drive system. It’s available in panel cab, single cab, and crew cab versions, plus, can be teamed with the twin-turbocharged 2.0-litre diesel housing 175bhp.

5. Land Rover Discovery Commercial

Our pick Land Rover Discovery Commercial SDV6
Loadspace 1,856 litres Payload 816kg
Used deals from £40,000
Monthly finance from £853*

Land Rover penned the phrase, the best '4x4xFar' so it would be rude not to include it in a 4x4 related list.

The Discovery Commercial is much the same as a Discovery, albeit with the rear seats ripped out in favour of storage space. It’s not as practical as the other vans on this list, but, it does have more go-anywhere ability. Plus, it looks much like a regular Discovery rather than a plain old panel van.


6. Toyota Land Cruiser Utility

Our pick Toyota Land Cruiser Utility 2.8 D-4D Loadspace 1,574-2,216 litres Payload 593-796kg
Used deals Limited stock

Like the Land Rover Discovery Commercial above, the Toyota Land Cruiser Utility is essentially a Toyota Land Cruiser with the rear seats ripped out. This means you get the mountain goat-like abilities of a regular Land Cruiser, albeit with a much larger payload.

It comes in long and short wheelbase models, plus, the 2.7-litre diesel engine is as strong as an ox. It’s even quite sprightly when not fully loaded.


7. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Commercial

Our pick Mitsubishi Outlander Commercial PHEV Loadspace 1,600 litres Payload 510kg
Used deals Limited stock

Here we have an SUV-turned van, which is also a plug-in hybrid. The regular Outlander PHEV has rather won us over, with its clever use of space and even cleverer plug-in-hybrid system.

If you’re a person who wants to have a van, that will go off-road, plus, slide through busy cities using just electric power (while avoiding congestion zone fees), then this is probably your only option.

It’ll cover around 33 miles on just pure electricity (around town, not off-road) and has a load area of 1,600 litres, which is smaller than a Volkswagen Caddy, but larger than a Vauxhall Corsavan.


8. Ford Ranger

Our pick Ford Ranger 2.0 EcoBlue Payload 1,140kg
Used deals from £16,500
Monthly finance from £407*

If you're in need of a large, accessible loadspace, a pick-up might be better suited to you. The Ranger has been around in this form since 2016, and blends car-like comforts with van-like practicalities. As such, there is a high level of safety equipment and strong off-road ability, but the diesel engines can be a bit coarse and the automatic gearbox isn't as good as other rivals'.

The 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre diesel engines were replaced with a smoother 2.0-litre unit in 2019, available with 130hp, 170hp or 213hp, and a six-speed manual or 10-speed automatic gearbox. The choice of bodystyles is strong, too: single cab, super cab and double cab if you often find yourself carrying the whole family.


*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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