Making winter driving easy
During winter, many drivers pay much closer attention when it comes to enhancing their road safety. Used cars today boast some truly incredible safety features and enhancements, which all add up to make everyday driving much safer.
However, not every car is ideally suited to the demands of winter, and with Britain being renowned for its questionable weather, a step in the right direction may well be that of a dependable all-wheel drive vehicle.
But which all-wheel drive vehicles are the best out there, and will serve you well all year round? Below we have compiled a list of our five favourites. It's worth noting that all our choices have the option of four-wheel drive, and a five-star NCAP safety rating.
Range Rover Sport
You simply cannot talk about cars which are perfect for winter without including a product from the iconic Land Rover range.
With high levels of standard equipment and a premium quality interior, it is plush and comfortable enough to rival the best luxury saloons in the business. It also has the ability to become an occasional seven-seater, so your options are never limited. Furthermore, the Range Rover Sport features no fewer than 11 active safety systems, designed to keep the vehicle stable during all road conditions.
As you would expect, the Range Rover Sport is an excellent off-road vehicle. It not only features permanent four-wheel-drive, but thanks to the Terrain Response 2 System it can adapt to a variety of different environments including tackling mud, gravel, rocks or sand. It can also be tuned to deal specifically with snow, making it the ideal winter machine.
Mercedes-Benz GLA 4MATIC
A stylish, compact SUV, the GLA brings Mercedes-Benz luxury and refinement to the crossover class. The practical and functional hatchback design can be specified with the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC four-wheel drive system; an always-active system which provides traction to all four wheels when they need it.
The blend of practicality and go-anywhere ability means that it is ideal in all weather conditions.
Standard safety equipment is also generous. Attention Assist features on all models and monitors alertness levels and steering input from the driver, sounding a warning if they show signs of tiredness. Collision Prevention Assist is also present across the range, which warns the driver of an imminent collision. The standard ESP (Electronic Stability Program) will also help on slippery winter roads.
BMW 3 Series xDrive
The BMW 3 Series is a car celebrated for its handling capabilities and driving dynamics but not so much as a winter car, due to being rear wheel drive. However, the xDrive system from BMW changes all that. Distributing power over all four wheels to give active four-wheel drive, it helps you to navigate the dangers of winter driving.
Standard safety equipment includes a tyre pressure monitoring system and ESP for added confidence on winter roads, whilst the 3 Series boasts a full complement of airbags.
The driving dynamics of the 3 Series are unaffected by the xDrive system, meaning it is still the perfect family car all-year round. A tried and tested selection of engines see the 3 Series score highly for reliability too. A 480-litre boot means there is plenty of space for winter equipment essentials as well.
MINI Countryman ALL4
A unique entry in the SUV class, the MINI Countryman promises a blend of classic MINI styling and driving dynamics in a versatile format which appeals to families.
Chunky styling is not just for looks either, the Countryman can comfortably seat four adults and boasts a reasonable boot space of 350 litres. Furthermore, it is available with the ALL4 four-wheel-drive system which can distribute power across the four wheels as required. This helps it maintain traction, even on icy or slippery roads.
The Countryman includes a full set of airbags for passenger safety, whilst models such as the ALL4 include Dynamic Traction Control for improved grip on snow by reducing wheelspin. Dynamic Stability Control, standard across the range, can brake each wheel individually to improve your holding on the road.
This is an SUV which focuses wholly on the driving experience, and as such boasts sharp handling and a range of powerful engines. It also has a luxurious interior, and a driving position which would be more familiar in a sports car. It is a Porsche, after all.
As standard, the Macan also has permanent four-wheel-drive which is designed to improve acceleration as well as road traction. As such, it is no wonder this model has made our list and is one of the most enjoyable ways to stay safe during winter.
The Macan is the first-ever Porsche model to be crash tested by Euro-NCAP and passed with a full five-star rating. It features Electronic Stability Control as standard, to help traction in addition to a raft of safety options.
Find your perfect winter car
All of the options presented here are excellent examples of cars that are suited to everyday winter driving. Their comfort, composure and excellent traction - combined with remarkable safety features - mean they are more than ready to tackle anything the British weather can throw at them - and you.