Ten of the best: Winter wonders

  • Selection of cars to help you deal with the rough weather
  • Mix of full off-roaders and high-rise estate models
  • It's not all about your car, driving technique and tyres too

1. Land Rover Discovery (04 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Discovery was a huge leap forward over previous models for Land Rover, offering refinement, space and on and off-road capability. The whole car has a quality feel, backed up by Land Rover's iconic image. Those looking for something smaller could always consider the Freelander.

Price (used) - £10,500 to £43,000

Fuel economy - 30mpg (diesel)

Power - 188bhp

Best feature: Terrain response system that makes the Discovery practically unstoppable in poor conditions.

2. Hyundai Santa Fe (06 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's a great 4x4 with a good interior, comfortable ride and capable diesels. Besides being attractively styled, it's available with seven seats, has generous equipment levels and a five-year warranty. It doesn't drive as well as the Discovery but it costs less. It can even be locked into 4x4 if the going gets tough.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £8,300 to £23,000

Fuel economy - 38mpg (diesel)

Power - 148bhp

Best feature: Good build quality and more kit for less money than alternatives.

3. Volvo XC70 (04 on)

 

WHAT IS IT?
The XC70 is an estate with off-roading pretensions - namely high ground clearance and a 4x4 system. It's surprisingly capable off road yet retains the comfortable ride of a conventional car. A low emission, high economy DRIVe version is available for the more frugally minded.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £16,000 to £33,000

Fuel economy - 47mpg (diesel)

Power - 160bhp

Best feature: High ground clearance and four-wheel-drive capability without compromising ride and handling.

4.  Nissan Qashqai (07 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The first car to be branded a crossover, the Qashqai was a great success. The majority of them are front-wheel drive yet four-wheel-drive versions are available which are ideal for dealing with poorer road conditions. The Qashqai also drives well and has smart styling with a spacious, comfortable cabin.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £7,000 to £21,000

Fuel economy - 40mpg (diesel)

Power - 147bhp

Best feature: Lofty driving position gives excellent forward visibility.

5. Mitsubishi Outlander (07 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Outlander is one of the best cars Mitsubishi has produced in years. It's available with seven seats, is comfortable, good to drive and is powered by a Volkswagen-sourced diesel. The Outlander also has switchable 4x4 for snowy conditions. It's a genuine family vehicle, ideal for those with lots of kids.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £11,500 to £25,000

Fuel economy - 42mpg (diesel)

Power - 138bhp

Best feature: Has seven seats, with the rearmost folding flat into the floor.

6. Skoda Octavia Scout (07 on)

 

WHAT IS IT?
Effectively a pumped-up Octavia saloon with four-wheel drive - much like the Volvo XC70 yet usually available for less money. It's designed to give you the practicality of an estate with the off-road ability of a proper 4x4. Performance is good with a range of engines and it's pretty capable on the rough stuff.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (uesd) - £8,000 to £19,000

Fuel economy - 44mpg (diesel)

Power - 138bhp

Best feature - Hill hold control that stops the car rolling back when you're about to pull away, making it easier to control.

7. Ford Kuga (08 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Kuga's no hardcore off-roader but it is available with four-wheel drive to tackle snowy roads and muddy tracks. It benefits from stylish looks, car-like handling, a premium interior and a refined, economical, diesel. 

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £14,000 to £21,000

Fuel economy - 47mpg (diesel)

Power - 138bhp

Best feature: Heated front and rear screens allow the Ford to defrost rapidly, meaning you can get on the move quickly. 

8. Fiat Panda 4x4 (05 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The little Panda's fun and surprisingly capable off-road with it's four-wheel drive performance being backed up with chunky looks and a spacious interior. Its small size makes it easy to manoeuvre and park but they aren't very powerful - so not ideal for commuting or motorway driving.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (used) - £4,000 to £9,000

Fuel economy - 54mpg (diesel)

Power - 70bhp

Best feature: Compact size means it's ideal for around-town driving and nipping about.

9. Mini Countryman (10 on)

WHAT IS IT?
The Countryman increases MINI's model line-up to four, and with a 4x4 it's a now a bona fide brand. The Countryman is half off-roader, half family hatch and comes with four-wheel drive as an option. There's plenty of space with a large boot, and the car comes with a decent amount of equipment like a DAB radio, Bluetooth, six airbags and air conditioning.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (new) - £16,000 to £28,000

Fuel economy - 64.2mpg (diesel)

Power - 88bhp

Best feature - An efficient diesel engine coupled with an automatic four-wheel drive system allows for 64.2mpg.

10. Peugeot 3008 (09 on)

WHAT IS IT?
It's Peugeot's attempt at combining a hatchback, a people carrier and an off-roader. It might not be as stylish as something like the Qashqai but it has a practical interior, a large boot, a split tailgate and excellent road manners. There's no four-wheel-drive system though, so you'll have to select the optional 'Grip Control' to help keep the car moving.

VITAL STATISTICS

Price (new) - £14,000 to £23,000

Fuel economy -  57mpg (diesel)

Power - 120bhp

Best feature: Optional 'Grip Control' that, despite not being a 4x4 system, controls traction to keep the 3008 moving in slippery conditions.

Parker's Top Tip

If you're considering a car, why not check out our comprehensive reviews, or have a look at what the car's worth before you buy by using our online price guide.