Best Cars for Winter

Best Cars for Winter

1 . Dacia Duster compact SUV

When the Dacia Duster was launched in 2010, it changed our perception of just how cheap a budget SUV could be. Sure, the Duster has a few rough edges, but for the money, its hard to beat. Theres a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the powerful and economical diesel is better suited to genuine off-roading something the Duster is more than capable of. Back on the road, the Dacia leans a bit in corners (but not excessively) and manages to be pretty comfortable. The interior is basic, but its spacious and high-spec models have plenty of equipment.

Price ?9,495 – ?15,495

PROS

  • Great value
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of space

    CONS

  • Dull interior
  • Entry-level car is basic
  • Noisy diesel engine

    2 . BMW 3 Series saloon

    The BMW 3 Series is one of the most accomplished cars on sale in the UK and its now available with xDrive four-wheel drive. Although expensive compared to mainstream models such as the Ford Mondeo, the 3 Series offers superb build quality and an excellent range of engines. Out on the road, it makes long motorway journeys easy, but find a twisting back road and the BMW is more entertaining than any of the competition. Adding four-wheel-drive makes the 3 Series sure-footed on slippery roads, although these models are also more expensive to buy and run than the normal car.

    Price ?23,555 – ?43,685

    PROS

  • Great to drive
  • Upmarket image
  • Low running costs

    CONS

  • High list prices
  • Expensive options
  • Firm suspension on M Sport models

    3 . Mazda CX 5 SUV

    Despite its looks, the Mazda CX-5 is more of a crossover than a rugged SUV, but it can still be fitted with four-wheel drive for extra grip. It doesnt feel like a big SUV from behind the wheel in fact, it even reminded our road testers of the sporty Mazda MX-5 roadster at times. Mazda has also given the CX-5 an excellent range of petrol and diesel engines, which provide plenty of power while returning strong fuel economy. Inside, theres lots of space for passengers and luggage, making this an excellent family car.

    Price ?21,895 – ?29,895

    PROS

  • Attractive and distinctive styling
  • Powerful and economical engines
  • Good ride and handling

    CONS

  • Interior storage space isnt great
  • More at home on the road than off it
  • Four wheel drive versions are less fun to drive

    4 . Audi TT coupe

    The TT is very much a sports car, but it can be specified with Audis quattro four-wheel-drive system, which makes it better at tackling slippery roads than rivals such as the Porsche Cayman. The new TT looks sharper than the old car, but the real revelation comes inside. Cars costing ten times as much dont feel as high quality as this Audi, and the stunning 12.3-inch ?virtual cockpit display is something were likely to see in many more cars before long. As before, theres a great line-up of petrol and diesel engines, with the Ultra diesel striking a particularly good balance between strong performance and excellent fuel economy..

    Price ?29,770 – ?40,270

    PROS

  • Stylish image
  • Diesel is cheap to run
  • Comfortable and fun to drive

    CONS

  • Expensive to buy
  • Cramped back seats
  • No four wheel drive diesel

    5 . Nissan Qashqai SUV

    Nissan can argue that with the original Qashqai, it invented the crossover a model that mixes the characteristics of a normal car with the looks and practicality of an SUV. The new model has grown up a little bit, but sticks to the same formula. Its not quite as enjoyable to drive, but it is quieter and even cheaper to run. It has a big boot, plenty of passenger space and useful cubbyholes dotted around the interior, making it perfect for family life. Choosing four-wheel drive doesnt convert the Qashqai into a rugged off-roader, but it does make it more capable in slippery winter conditions.

    Price ?18,265 – ?28,500

    PROS

  • Great all rounder
  • Excellent build quality
  • Low running costs

    CONS

  • Rear visibility could be better
  • Rear seats can feel cramped
  • Expensive top spec model

    6 . Range Rover Sport SUV

    The Range Rover Sport is more than ?10,000 cheaper than the full-sized Range Rover, so it could be argued that it offers good value despite its hefty list price. High performance and a luxurious interior are combined with proper off-road prowess, and while the petrol models cost a fortune to run, the basic diesel comes close to matching the MPG figure of a petrol saloon car. Out on the road, the Range Rover is extremely comfortable, and more fun to drive than youd expect. Off-road, sophisticated technology means the Sport is almost unstoppable.

    Price ?61,250 – ?93,450

    PROS

  • Luxurious interior
  • Comfortable and quiet ride
  • Good grip in corners

    CONS

  • Expensive to run
  • Uncertain reliability
  • Less boot space than the old model

    7 . Skoda Yeti SUV

    The Skoda Yetis breadth of talents made it an instant hit when launched, but its started to show its age recently, despite a facelift. Theres still plenty to like, though: the boxy looks translate into a spacious interior and Skodas Varioflex system offers a wide variety of seating configurations to choose from. The Yeti has a strong engine range and when specified with four-wheel drive ? is a surprisingly good off-roader, as well as being the perfect tow car. The Yeti is actually good fun to drive on-road, too, with much less body lean in corners than youd experience in a traditional SUV.

    Price ?16,715 – ?27,840

    PROS

  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Versatile seating
  • Inexpensive to own

    CONS

  • Removing seats takes effort
  • Harsh ride on poor road surfaces
  • Dull interior styling

    8 . Suzuki SX4 S Cross SUV

    Dont be put off by the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross dull looks, because underneath lurks an extremely capable crossover. Fitted with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, its economical yet also fun to drive. Add four-wheel drive and you get a car thatll be very capable in winter weather and can also turn its hand to light off-roading. Avoid the CVT automatic gearbox, though it makes the engine noisy and reduces fuel economy. The boring exterior styling continues inside, but the Suzukis cabin is quite spacious and it has a bigger boot than a Volkswagen Golf.

    Price ?15,499 – ?23,549

    PROS

  • Good value for money
  • Economical engines
  • Large and flexible boot

    CONS

  • Engines are noisy
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Dull styling

    9 . Skoda Octavia Scout estate

    The Skoda Octavia Scout is one of the most well rounded cars you can buy. The regular Skoda Octavia Estate is a top performer in almost every area and the Scout version adds four-wheel drive to the formula. That means you get a spacious and practical family car thats well built, competitively priced and enjoyable to drive. You can choose from two diesel engines, both of which offer enough power to tow up to 2,000kg (200kg more than the standard car) without the car feeling sluggish. On the downside, the Octavia Scout is more expensive to buy and run than the standard car.

    Price ?25,315 – ?27,990

    PROS

  • Well built and spacious interior
  • Four wheel drive excellent for towing
  • Diesels engines are powerful and economical

    CONS

  • Expensive compared to normal Octavia
  • Four wheel drive hurts fuel economy
  • Only available as an estate

    10 . Fiat Panda 4×4 hatchback

    The Fiat Panda 4×4 formula of a low list price and good off-road ability is reminiscent of the Dacia Duster, but the similarities end there. The Panda is a lot smaller than the Duster, but feels like a higher-quality product and its appeal goes beyond the fact that its cheap to buy. Its cheekily styled inside and out, and while interior space is limited by its compact dimensions, the Fiats cabin is still impressively practical. Its engines are very economical on paper, but weve found it difficult to match the TwinAir petrols claimed MPG figure in the real world, so the diesel is probably a better bet. Surprisingly given its cute looks, the Panda 4×4 is very impressive off-road.

    Price ?14,295 – ?16,945

    PROS

  • Impressive on and off Road
  • Well equipped
  • Economical engines

    CONS

  • More expensive than standard Panda
  • Limited rear legroom
  • 4×4 system increases running costs

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