Kings of the road or gas-guzzling monsters that should be consigned to the scrapheap?
The 4x4 is undoubtedly popular among many motorists but for others they are a hated ?fashion accessory? associated with ?school run mums? and commuters who spend more time negotiating their way through the concrete jungle than muddy tracks.
Greenpeace has dubbed the Solihull-produced vehicles as ?climate wrecking? Range Rovers.
But the motor industry has launched a counter attack and defended the luxury vehicles from the onslaught of ?the green-eyed monster? and ?easy stereotypes?.
Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth and the Alliance Against Urban 4x4s staged a protest against the use of 4x4s on the school run.
Campaigners distributed ?Could Do Better? cards to drivers of the vehicles in Edgbaston in Birmingham as part of their campaign.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Roger Higman said 4x4s guzzle too much gas, therefore contributing to global warming and hampering efforts to meet the European target to cut emissions by a quarter in the ten years to 2008.
He said: ?Of pollution levels, road transport is responsible for about a fifth of annual carbon dioxide emissions.
? We need to massively reduce our emissions if we are going to meet our target.
?What we are looking for is tax change.
"We want the Government to continue to increase the price of fuel and change road tax so that owners of large gas guzzler vehicles have to pay more, thereby discouraging people from buying these vehicles.?
The number of 4x4s on Britain?s roads were going up rather than declining, with the cars accounting for about 13 per cent of all new car sales, he said.
The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s is calling for a ban on advertising them and more tax to discourage people buying 4x4s.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) defended the 4x4?s environmental and safety record.
SMMT spokesman Nigel Wonnacott said: ?We think the anti-4x4 campaign is based on stereotype rather than facts.
?There are lots of types of 4x4, they are performing far better than they have in the past on emissions and safety.
?There is a little bit of the green-eyed monster involved here and there is quite an easy stereotype to pick on.?
Mr Wonnacott said an average 4x4 emits less carbon dioxide than a luxury saloon and only a little more than the average sports car. Emission levels in 4x4s have dropped more than other types of car.
The Government has already taken steps to encourage drivers to opt for environmentallyfriendly cars.
Drivers can save up to #110 a year in vehicle excise duty by switching to a more environmentally-friendly car.