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With winter fast approaching, a key thing on driver's minds should be road safety. You can take a look at how to best prepare your car for winter with our handy guide.

However, not every car is ideally suited to the demands of winter, and with Britain being renowned for its extreme weather, it can be best to look for a car you can really rely on through the cold season. Of course, it has to be a fantastic car to drive the rest of the year as well.

Actually, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration, so we've compiled a list of our favourite cars for winter. Not giving away spaces easily, all cars had to have the option of four-wheel drive, and a five-star NCAP safety rating. As always, they need to be great behind the wheel, and offer practicality all-year round:

1. 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 the wheels when they need it. The blend of practicality and go-anywhere ability means that it's ideal in every weather.

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 imminent collision. The standard ESP (Electronic Stability Program) will also help on those slippery winter roads.

At heart this is still a family hatchback, and as such it has a large 481 litre boot. Raised roof height over the standard Mercedes-Benz A-Class also means there is generous head and leg room in the rear. 

The BMW 3 Series is currently celebrating its 40th anniversary. It's a car which is praised for its handling capability and driving dynamics, but not so much as a winter car. However, the xDrive system from BMW changes all that. Distributing power over all wheels to give active four-wheel drive, it helps you to navigate the pitfalls 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's still the perfect family car all-year round. A tried and tested engine range means it scores highly for reliability too. A 480 litre boot means there is plenty of space for winter equipment essentials. The 3 Series is still an extremely practical hatchback with good access and interior space.

3. Range Rover Sport

The Range Rover Sport has become a modern icon for versatility. With high levels of standard equipment and a good quality interior, it's plush and comfortable enough to rival the best luxury saloons. It also has the ability to become an occasional seven-seater too so your options are never limited.

As you would expect, the Range Rover Sport is also 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 from tackling mud, gravel, rocks or sand - it can also be tuned to deal specifically with snow, making it the ideal winter machine.

Suspension, ride height, gears and throttle response are all altered, making the Range Rover Sport one of the most assured cars on the road. As standard, the Range Rover Sport features no less than eleven active safety systems designed to keep the Range Rover stable.

4. MINI Countryman ALL4

Alongside the new MINI Clubman, the Countryman is one of the most spacious editions in the MINI range. A unique entry in to the SUV class, it promises a blend of classic MINI styling and driving dynamics in a versatile format which appeals to families.

This means that the Countryman 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 chunky styling isn't just for looks either, and the Countryman can comfortably seat four adults. A reasonable boot space of 350 litres is on par with a large family hatchback.

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 or sand by reducing wheelspin. Dynamic Stability Control, standard across the range, can brake each wheel individually to improve your holding on the road.  

5. Porsche Macan

The Porsche Macan has been described as a Porsche through and through. 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.

However, don't be fooled, as the Macan also has permanent four-wheel-drive as standard, which is designed to improve acceleration as well as road traction. As such, it's no wonder this model has made our list and is one of the most enjoyable ways to stay safe this 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 also features Electronic Stability Control as standard to help traction, and a raft of additional safety options. The Macan also has a practical flair too, with a wide opening area to the 500-litre boot which makes it well suited to loading larger items.