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Audi introduces the Q3 – an urbane friendly SUV

It used to be so simple – 4×4’s were big, clumsy goliaths, driven mostly by mums on the school run, with few redeeming qualities apart from their use as rescue vehicles during Britain’s recent mini Ice Age. Just a few years ago the Urban 4×4 (or SUV/SAV as car makers like to call them) were considered an endangered species as organisations sprung up – The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s – devoted to its demise.

Range Rover Evoque prices start from under £30,000

Land Rover has chosen an aggressive pricing strategy for the new Range Rover Evoque, starting the range below the all-important £30,000 threshold. To put that in perspective, BMW’s X3 now starts from £31,135, with the smaller X1 beginning at £24,265, so with an entry-level Evoque available from £27,955 the choice available to customers has never been better.

Driven: BMW’s 2011 X3 xDrive20d SE

It seems fortuitous that BMW chose a snowy Austria for the UK launch of its new 2011 X3, in fact the timing couldn’t have been any more perfect. As I write this, much of the UK is gripped by the most wintry November conditions in recent memory, Ideal for the four-wheel-drive SUV sector that BMW has targeted with its X3. But of course four-wheel-drive is only as useful as the traction available to a car’s tyres, so BMW also chose last week’s X3 launch to reveal its new range of winter-tyre packages available on all BMW and MINI models.

PERSPECTIVE: It’s a Mini Crisis

I recently had the opportunity to poke around the new Mini Countryman and, my word, what a ridiculous car. For starters it’s a fat old hector, not just for a Mini, but for any quasi-4×4. And secondly, this particular example cost over £30,000 which will get you a nice 997 Carrera S with not many miles on the clock. I have to ask, who would buy one?