SOMETIMES buyers can be put off from purchasing a four-wheel-drive vehicle in the belief that it will cost them too much in fuel.
But modern engine technology means that there are a number of vehicles that give you all the benefits of all-wheel-drive without the penalties.
Take the new Volkswagen Tiguan 4Motion for example, in which I recently covered some 400 miles.
At the end of that period the car had averaged 56 miles per gallon, and on long motorway sections that figure rose to over 60mpg, both higher than the official figure claimed by the car maker.
The Tiguan SE Navigation was powered by a 150bhp turbo diesel engine mated to a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox which had impressive pulling power although tended to be a little on the noisy side going through the gears.
Once up to speed the Tiguan was smooth, quiet and responsive with a comfortable, bodyroll-free ride.
And while for me it was always operating in two-wheel-drive you have the reassurance of knowing that the 4Motion system is constantly monitoring driving conditions and if there is any wheel slip traction is instantly diverted to the wheels with the most grip.
And if you are about to leave the highway you can switch to a choice of two off-road settings simply by turning a dial near the gear shift.
The Tiguan is VW's third best selling model in the UK and the second generation version is longer, wider and lower than the original.
Completely re-designed it's also much sleeker with a far less upright stance which makes it more appealing.
There have been big changes to the interior too, aimed at making life far more comfortable for rear seat passengers. Not only do they now have more legroom but the 40/20/40 split rear seat has an adjustable rake.
The seat itself can be slid 180mm forwards or backwards to give more legroom or create more luggage space in the boot area.
And with the back seat folded the Tiguan can accommodate 1,655 litres of luggage. Even with the seats upright there is a generous 615 litres beneath the electrically powered tailgate, which is ample for several suitcases.
Rear seat passengers can also enjoy the convenience of picnic trays on the backs of the front seats.
This car was equipped with Dynamic Chassis Control, an £810 optional extra, which allows you to alter the suspension settings between sport, comfort and normal.
You can even programme in individual settings so you could, for example, have the ride on normal but the steering on sport. The choice is yours.
The nice thing about the Tiguan is the solid, well put together feel it has and it's a car that's packed with a host of safety features including Front Assist, which uses a radar system to audibly alert you of an impending collision and then applies the brakes if you don't react.
And the new dashboard features virtual rather than actual dials and these cleverly alter in size to allow a mirror image of the satellite navigation screen in the centre console to sit between them so as a driver you don't have to take your eyes completely off the road.