I’ve never really been struck by green-laning, rock-crawling or just off-roading in general, but recent experiences in new cars have made me question why more people aren’t taking their cars (specifically SUVs) off the beaten track. 

First up was the latest Land Rover Defender 130 at the British firm’s Eastnor testing facility on the Welsh border. It might be a Defender, conquering the rutted tracks and muddy bogs with ease, but with a rather plush cabin and seating for eight – it’s set up to appeal to big families first and foremost. 

Next was the Mercedes G-Class in Graz, Austria. Taking on the ‘G-Class Experience Centre’ with its deep water fording and ridiculous gradients, this £100,000 box on wheels did it all in supreme luxury. 

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While those two vehicles were impressive, the latest Dacia Duster provided just as much excitement on the southern coast of Spain, teetering on top of a ridge with two wheels in the air or using its supple suspension to cross some treacherous terrain at quite a lick. 

The Duster’s relatively light kerbweight of 1,300kg helped it avoid getting stuck in the sand – as did its surprisingly tight turning circle (no need for the new all-electric G-Class’ famed ‘G-turn’ here). It did all this while wearing road tyres and with no changes to the car you’ll be able to buy from this summer for under £20,000. 

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