We’ve pulled together a list of 10 cars that’ll take a British winter in their stride – perfect if you’re worried your current car might struggle with cold weather and icy conditions once the clocks go back.
- Suzuki Vitara
- Volkswagen T-Roc
- Dacia Duster
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Volvo V90 Cross Country
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Fiat Panda 4×4
- Peugeot 2008
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Nissan Qashqai
1. Suzuki Vitara
Top-spec Suzuki Vitara models come with four-wheel drive as standard. This system, and the increased grip it offers, should help you handle wintry conditions with ease. Even two-wheel drive models have their advantages – the Vitara’s light weight and high ground clearance will help prevent you getting stuck in the snow.
All models come fitted with a DAB digital radio, USB connectivity, cruise control and automatic air conditioning – to keep you feeling toasty behind the wheel – as standard. Entry-level models cost less than £15,000 so, as an added bonus, you may be able to afford a good set of snow tyres, too.
2. Volkswagen T-Roc
The VW T-Roc is a smart-looking small family SUV – you can think of it as a Golf-sized car but on stilts. Not only does its raised driving position gives you a better view over the road ahead than a regular Golf-life hatchback, but it gives you a more secure feeling that’s calming in tricky winter driving. It’s comfortable over bumpy roads too, unlike some similar-size SUVs from other manufacturers.
Stick a good set of winter tyres on a two-wheel-drive version of the T-Roc and it’ll cope with most conditions, but if you live somewhere prone to really cold bouts of weather then go for one of the more powerful of the T-Roc’s engines, which are available with four-wheel drive. You’ll still want winter tyres to get the most out of a 4×4 T-Roc, so factor in that cost when you come to buying one. Speaking of which, see how much you could save on one using our VW T-Roc deals page, and get a more in-depth look by reading our VW T-Roc review.
3. Dacia Duster
The Dacia Duster is one of our favourite affordable 4x4s. Entry-level models cost from just £9,495 – few family hatchbacks can be had for such an affordable price, let alone high-riding off-roaders. As you may expect from such an inexpensive car, however, the Duster does without any fancy interior trimmings or an advanced infotainment system. It does, however, have a spacious cabin, a roomy 408-litre boot and can be ordered with a reasonably efficient 1.5-litre diesel engine.
The Duster might lag behind some rivals in terms of ride quality and handling but, when other SUVs start to struggle with slippery or icy roads, you’ll be able to sprint ahead thanks to its basic – but effective – four-wheel-drive system.
4. Skoda Kodiaq
Need to take six of your friends or family with you this winter? The Skoda Kodiaq is one of the least expensive seven-seater SUVs on sale, is available with four-wheel-drive on most engines and the optional Dynamic Chassis Control will iron out pockmarked roads and winter slush. It’s a car that has very few compromises – it’s quietly handsome, well-built, super-safe and designed to be perfect for family use. A powerful 2.0-litre diesel excels at towing large loads over uneven ground, too.
The cheapest 4×4 model is the 150hp 1.4-litre petrol, costing £26,385 before carwow savings.
5. Volvo V90 Cross Country
How do you make a premium estate like the Volvo V90 even better? With the Cross Country version you get four-wheel-drive and rugged plastic body cladding as standard, so you’ll be able to stray further from the beaten track while still enjoying a luxurious and calming interior. Like the similar Audi A6 Allroad and Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, it has a higher ground clearance – so you don’t scrape the bottom of the car on rocky ground – and an off-road driving mode.
Despite the extra off-road ability, the V90 CC doesn’t feel much different to the standard V90 on the road, although its softer suspension does increase comfort over bumps. You can only get the V90 Cross Country with diesel engines, and it starts from just over £40,000.
6. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport signifies one of the British brand’s finest efforts yet. It blends uncanny off-road ability with a refined, car-like driving experience on the road. This practical seven-seater is quiet and comfortable and even offers limited body roll and sharp handling for a car of its size.
Just like the rest of the range, it comes packed with all Land Rover’s best off-road know-how. Its Terrain Response system allows the driver to quickly adjust the traction, braking and stability control systems to cope with any road surface – perfect for changeable winter conditions. Should all that snow suddenly melt, it’s reassuring to know the Discovery Sport can wade through up to 600mm of water.
Entry-level models will set you back more than £31,000 but our Land Rover Discovery Sport deals page will show you the latest carwow deals. For more information read our full Land Rover Discovery Sport review.
7. Fiat Panda 4×4
Despite its compact supermini dimensions, the Fiat Panda 4×4 offers a spacious cabin, bundles of standard kit and thoroughly impressive off-road abilities – all for less than £15,000. It can happily plough on through a snow drift where much larger cars could struggle for traction.
The Panda tips the scales at as little as 1,050kg meaning its two compact engines – a 1.3-litre diesel and a 1.2-litre turbo petrol – aren’t worked too hard. Its super skinny tyres and four-wheel-drive system help it cut through the soft snow onto the grippy road surface below for maximum grip.
8. Peugeot 2008
The Peugeot 2008 shows you don’t need four-wheel-drive to conquer winter – in Allure and GT Line trims, this funky small SUV gets a sophisticated traction control system that has settings for mud, snow and other conditions you’ll come across during the icy grip of the winter months. Don’t think you’ll be able to drive up Everest with it, but it’ll offer extra security and comfort in less-than-perfect driving conditions.
The entry-level 1.2-litre engine with Allure trim will set you back £17,845 before carwow discount. Read our in-depth Peugeot 2008 review for more details, and visit our 2008 deals page to see how much you could save on one.
9. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV puts forward a strong case for being one of the most sure-footed SUVs for dealing with tricky winter conditions. Its electric motors help meter out its power more precisely than a traditional petrol or diesel engine, helping to reduce wheelspin on even the most slippery surfaces.
When the weather isn’t conspiring to ruin your day, you’ll be able to enjoy the PHEV’s excellent fuel economy. Not only can it return 148mpg in official tests but it’s happy to potter about in pure electric mode for as far as 32 miles. If you’ve somewhere to recharge it at work, the PHEV could be perfect for the winter commute.
10. Nissan Qashqai
The Nissan Qashqai, with its optional four-wheel-drive system, elevated driving position, excellent reliability and top safety marks could make the perfect pal for a long British winter. It’s not only pretty handy in slippery conditions but its fantastically comfortable ride, practical 430-litre boot and well-specced cabin should make it an ideal family car in the warmer months, too.
Even the most basic £18,545 models come fitted with Bluetooth connectivity, LED daytime running lights, a stop/start system – to help save fuel – and hill start assist as standard.
Save money this winter
See how much you could save on any of our top 10 cars for winter driving using our car deals page or, if you’re not sure what to buy, check out our car chooser tool. Already picked your ideal cold weather car? Our PCP calculator will help give you a better idea of how much it could cost per month.