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“You don’t need a Land Rover to experience off-road fun”

I’ve never really been affected by green-laning, rock crawling, or just off-roading in general, but recent experiences with new cars have made me wonder why more people don’t take their cars (especially SUVs) off the beaten path.

First up, the latest Land Rover Defender 130 was on display at the British company’s Eastnor testing facility on the Welsh border. It may be a Defender, tackling bumpy paths and muddy swamps with ease, but with a rather luxurious cabin and seating for eight, it’s primarily designed to appeal to large families.

Next up was the Mercedes G-Class in Graz, Austria. This £100,000 box on wheels did it all in utter luxury, as did the ‘G-Class Experience Centre’ with its deep water fords and ridiculous inclines.

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While these two vehicles were impressive, the latest Dacia Duster caused just as much excitement on Spain’s southern coast, teetering on a ridge with two wheels in the air or using its supple suspension to cross treacherous terrain at a good lick.

The Duster’s relatively light weight of 1,300kg helped it avoid getting stuck in the sand, as did its surprisingly small turning circle (not including the famous ‘G-turn’ of the new all-electric G-Class necessary). All this happened while wearing road tires and with no changes to the car you can buy for under £20,000 this summer.