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
- Dacia Duster
- Skoda Octavia Scout
- Kia Sorento
- Land Rover Discovery Sport
- Nissan Qashqai
- Fiat Panda 4×4
- Audi Q7
- Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
- Audi TT
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. 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 a cheap car, however, the Duster does without any fancy interior trimmings or an advanced infotainment system. It does, however, boasts a spacious cabin, a roomy 408-litre boot and can be had 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 the competition starts to struggle with slippery or icy roads, you’ll be able to sprint ahead thanks to its basic – but effective – four-wheel-drive system.
3. Skoda Octavia Scout
The Skoda Octavia becomes an ideal cold weather family companion in rugged Scout spec. It represents great value for money, there’s plenty of space for five in its well-built cabin and it boasts four-wheel drive for extra grip on slippery surfaces.
The Scout model sits on raised suspension to help it deal with the odd snow bank and, as a result, it rides slightly better than the standard car. Should you find yourself needing to tow a trailer, a pair of 2.0-litre diesel engines – producing 148 and 181hp respectively – should be comfortably up to the job.
4. Kia Sorento
Few seven-seat SUVs offer quite the same level of value for money as the Kia Sorento. Entry-level models, fitted with a 2.2-litre diesel engine that can return a claimed 49.6mpg, cost less than £29,000.
Thanks to its four-wheel-drive system – fitted as standard to all models – the Sorento makes a great way to transport seven in difficult wintry conditions. A raft of advanced electronic stability control systems helps to keep you facing in the right direction – even when a patch of black ice threatens to spoil your day.
5. 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.
6. 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.
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. Audi Q7
The Audi Q7 is more than just a large, high-riding SUV. Its comfortable, well-built cabin boasts numerous improvements over the old model including Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit display. The option of a heated steering wheel makes getting up on a cold morning just that little bit more bearable, too.
The German firm’s legendary quattro four-wheel-drive system and a whole host of advanced safety systems will keep you heading in the right direction on slippery winter roads, too.
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. Audi TT
The latest Audi TT is a sports car that’ll not be stumped by an icy country lane thanks to the extra grip afforded by its quattro four-wheel-drive system. Its super-bright LED headlights do a brilliant job of lighting the road ahead, too.
There’s a choice of strong diesel or petrol engines and even a 395hp TT RS model with a burbling five-cylinder turbocharged unit. All versions, from entry-level £27,585 models to range-topping £53,550 RS Roadsters come with a cabin full of plush materials and a stylish minimalist design.
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.