The commercial 4×4 sector remains one of the most popular in the vehicle market. It mostly consists of passenger SUV models that have been converted for use as a light commercial vehicle (LCV).
While commercial 4x4s are similar to car-derived vans in that they are based on standard passenger vehicles, they are usually much larger, have more room for storage, and offer greater off-road capability due to their four-wheel-drive train.
Here, we take a look at the best commercial 4x4s on the market and their general uses.
What are Commercial 4x4s Used For?
A commercial 4×4 can be used for multiple tasks, but their common purpose is for transporting equipment, goods, and tools. What distinguishes them from standard commercial vehicles and pickup trucks is their impressive 4×4 capability, allowing them to navigate the toughest off-road conditions such as farmland and mountainous terrain. If you require more traction than a normal SUV, van, or pickup can deliver, the solution could be a commercial 4×4, for which you’ll need business car and commercial vehicle insurance.
Commercial 4x4s come in a variety of models, and perhaps the most common example is the versatile and durable Land Rover Defender. This commercial 4×4 has been a popular choice for many years and remains a firm favourite in the farming community due to its outstanding off-road performance. Similarly, utility companies that require access to remote areas to carry out their work like servicing pylons or checking water treatment plants opt for a Defender as their commercial 4×4 of choice.
What are the Best Commercial 4x4s?
The commercial 4×4 market has experienced a significant boom thanks to the ever-increasing choice of vehicles. Below is a list of the best options currently available.
1. Land Rover Defender (Hard Top) 4×4
Land Rover stamped it’s authority on the commercial 4×4 market once again with its latest version of the renowned Defender Hard Top. Unlike older models, you can’t remove the roof on the new version, making it more solid by design but perhaps less versatile.
Nevertheless, the Land Rover name remains synonymous with the commercial 4×4 sector, and this version is available in two options – the short-wheelbase, three-door Defender 90 Hard Top, and the long-wheelbase, five-door Defender 110 Hard Top. Both are smooth to drive on the road and offer exceptional off-road performance.
Another attractive feature of the Defender is that it’s the only commercial 4×4 in our list that offers a three-seater cabin. It also boasts plenty of storage and 3,500kg towing capacity. There are 1,355 litres of rear storage space in the 90 and an impressive 2,059 litres in the 110 plus a maximum payload of 888kg. The Land Rover Defender may be more expensive than other commercial 4×4 options, but the extra cost is most definitely worth it.
2. Suzuki Jimny Commercial 4×4
The Suzuki Jimny has a chequered history – the original car version was pulled in the UK due to emissions regulation problems. However, a few essential adjustments later like removing the rear seats and installing a bulkhead and floor saw it make a triumphant return, this time as an LCV.
The Jimny is dinky with a payload of a meagre 150kg and loading bay under one cubic metre. However, that’s all overshadowed by its superb handling and ability to squeeze into the tightest spots that larger commercial 4x4s cannot. The Jimny offers plenty of on-road comfort but really comes into its own as an off-road vehicle. It’s also a fraction of the price of other commercial 4x4s making it excellent value for money.
3. Toyota Land Cruiser Commercial 4×4
Like the Land Rover Defender, the Toyota Land Cruiser is famed for its all-round ability and reliability as a commercial 4×4. It’s also available in three-door short-wheelbase or five-door long-wheelbase options.
Land Cruisers are exceptional off-roaders capable of handling the harshest terrain yet are also perfectly at home on the road thanks to a smooth and powerful 2.8 litre engine that is surprisingly quick. The short-wheelbase version provides 1.6 cubic metres of load space and the long-wheelbase an impressive 2.2 cubic metres. Although maximum payloads are 593kg and 765kg respectively, the Land Cruiser remains one of the most dependable commercial 4x4s on the market.
4. Dacia Duster Commercial 4×4
If you need a commercial 4×4 at a bargain price, look no further than the Dacia Duster. With prices starting at around £14,500 plus VAT, it’s super cheap compared to its main rivals.
There are several versions of the Duster, and its extreme lightness makes it sprightly and adept at higher speeds. Its load area of 1.3 to 1.5 cubic metres isn’t the biggest, nor is the maximum payload of 503kg for the four-wheel drive version. However, when you offset that against the price tag, the Dacia offers exceptional value for money.
5. Land Rover Discovery Commercial 4×4
Like its cousin, the Defender, the Land Rover Discovery isn’t cheap, but the commercial 4×4 version is still hugely popular, partly because it looks nothing like a van yet is highly practical with excellent off-road performance.
You’ll get an impressive range of standard kit on even basic models such as a powered tailgate and hi-tech infotainment system. Driving on roads is a pleasant experience, and it’s also excellent as a solid, off-roader. The Disco’s D300 mild-hybrid version packs a 306hp punch that thrives in harsh terrain and is capable of 0-62mph in a rapid 6.9 seconds. As for transportation, the payload is 784kg and load space is just over 2.0 cubic metres, making it plenty big enough as a commercial 4×4.
What is the Difference Between a Commercial 4×4 and a Standard SUV?
A commercial 4×4 is essentially a converted passenger SUV. The process is relatively simple and involves the removal of all rear seats to create a dedicated load area for transporting tools and goods, leaving only the front passenger seats behind.
Any rear side windows must also be covered or blanked out, and it’s essential that rear seat mounting points are disabled and the seats destroyed to comply with commercial vehicle status and tax requirements. Doing this prevents owners from reinstalling the rear suits to ferry passengers around while continuing to take advantage of lower van tax rates.
When the rear seats have been removed and destroyed, you’re left with a robust bulkhead between the load space in the back and the remaining passenger seats in the front, sometimes with a mesh net in the middle. This allows visibility through the rear windscreen which is often left as clear glass but can be replaced with a solid panel.
With a completed conversion features from the standard passenger SUV like rear side doors that open remain, though rear windows are often replaced by hard-wearing solid panels that can’t be opened.
What are the Benefits of a Commercial 4×4 Over a Standard Van or Pickup Truck?
Aside from their obvious off-road capability, commercial 4x4s have numerous advantages over traditional vans and pickups. Benefits include:
As commercial 4x4s are based on ordinary passenger vehicles, they look different from standard vans and pickups. This makes them less likely to attract attention from criminals looking to steal tools and equipment or commit other crimes. Additionally, the load area in a commercial 4×4 is often more secure than it is in a pickup, and most owners prefer the ‘look’ of a commercial 4×4 to an ordinary van too.
Commercial 4x4s drive better than most vans or pickups because they’re based on a car. Most SUVs also offer greater levels of performance than most modern vans and pickups, which can be basic and clunky by design and sluggish to drive.
Not even the highest spec van or pickup truck is likely to match a commercial 4×4 for comfort. After all, you’re sitting in the same plush cab space as the car on which it is based with a variety of features and comfort settings such as noise reduction. On the other hand, standard vans and pickups often provide only limited features, making longer journeys more uncomfortable.
Are There Disadvantages to a Commercial 4×4?
Because commercial 4x4s are created by removing the rear seats only, they can lack the load capacity and capabilities of standard vans and pickups which have more storage space. Similarly, the loading height is generally higher in commercial 4x4s, though pickups also suffer from this problem.
Finally, though commercial 4x4s provide greater levels of comfort, the interior was not designed for commercial use or heavy-duty tasks that could cause expensive damage.
Do You Need Help with Your Commercial 4×4 Insurance?
At Keith Michaels, we provide specialist UK car insurance for a wide range of vehicles including commercial 4x4s. Contact us today to discuss your insurance needs.