EUROPEANS are buying more 4x4s than ever, with sales volume representing 14.0 per cent of total passenger car sales, up from 2.6 per cent in 1990.

The figures, published by The European Automobile Manufacturers Association, include all-wheel drive cars and SUVs.

Switzerland had the biggest proportion of 4x4s sales, with 42.1 per cent of the market, while Portugalís take-up was a mere 2.7 per cent.

By comparison, Aussie SUV sales accounted for 37.6 per cent of the total vehicle market in 2016 (passenger cars, 41.2 per cent; and light commercials, 18.7 per cent). To the end of May 2017, SUVs are the most popular type of vehicle sold in Australia, with 39.1 per cent share, followed by passenger cars at 38.6 per cent and light commercials at 19.5 per cent.