The new Bentley Bentayga is one of the most luxurious SUVs ever made. Customers who can afford its £160,000 asking price can enjoy the pinnacle of automotive luxury both on and off-road, but most of us will never own one. Instead, here are six choices which are far, far cheaper.
1 - Range Rover (1970-2012)
We’ll start with the car that really popularised the idea of a posh 4x4. Despite being around in one form or another since 1970, the ingredients have stayed pretty constant: lots of leather and wood inside, a torquey motor up front (ideally a V8) and a split-folding tailgate at the back.
Modern Range Rovers may cost upwards of £60,000, but you needn’t spend anywhere near that much. There’s plenty of choice around £5000 and below if you’re brave, but we’d recommend spending around £10,000. This will give you a selection of first, second and even third-generation models. Just make sure everything works. Range Rovers can be very expensive when they go wrong.
2 - Audi Q7 (2005-2015)
Of all the cars on this list, you could argue that this is the closest you’ll get to a Bentayga - if only because the new Bentley shares a platform with the second-generation Q7. Naturally, it’s the first version we’re looking at here.
After years of offering four-wheel drive on cars, this was the first time Audi had created an out-and-out SUV. With the most common powerplant a 3.0 V6 diesel, it offers bearable fuel economy, and its classy interior has the added practicality of seven seats.
Less than £20,000 will get you behind the wheel. Just watch out for excessive front tyre wear and electrical gremlins.
3 - Cadillac Escalade (1999-2014)
Luxury SUVs don’t come much more American than this. From the imposing chrome cheese-grater grille up front to the sheer size of the thing, the Escalade may as well have been designed by Uncle Sam himself.
Look past the wood, leather and advantage of seven seats, though, and what you have is a truck. This old dinosaur, with its separate ladder-frame chassis and giant V8, is a far cry from the kind of modern 4x4 we’re used to.
If the rap star image appeals, prices start at less than £15,000.
4 - Mercedes-Benz GL (2006-2012)
Not to be confused with the G-Class, the Mercedes-Benz GL is a giant seven-seat SUV that competes against the Audi Q7. It’s hugely roomy, with adult-friendly rearmost seats and 2300 litres of load space with all five rear chairs folded.
Even the smallest V6 diesel struggles to manage 30mpg combined, but it has pace and refinement. If you’re slightly unhinged, there’s even a twin-turbo V8 GL63 AMG variant. You’ll find lots of low-mileage examples on offer for £30,000.
5 - Infiniti FX (2008-2013)
The slinky and rare shape of the FX is a left-field choice. Offering a distinctive take on the SUV formula, it’s well equipped and should prove reliable. A 3.0 V6 diesel is the sensible choice, but there is a 3.7 V6 or 5.0 V8 if you own an oil well.
However, the shape does make space in the back tight and the load bay is a lot smaller than you might expect. Although it may impress with its agility around corners, a coarse ride is the penalty. Prices start at around £22,000.
6 - BMW X6 (2008-2014)
If you want more sport than utility from your SUV, the BMW X6 merits a look. You’ll either love or hate the swooping, coupé-like roofline, but there’s little to complain about under the bonnet. An xDrive40d will give you semi-acceptable fuel economy and more than 300bhp.
The X6 also corners far better than you might imagine. The M50d and X6 M offer even sharper handling and prodigious power but can be uncomfortable on rougher surfaces.
A budget of £25,000 will give you plenty of choice among non-M-branded models. Keep an eye out for electrical gremlins.