Top five 4x4s for Winter 2013/14

  • Parkers reveals its top five 4x4 choices
  • Make light work of winter driving
  • Wide range to suit different budgets

With winter fast approaching many new car buyers are once again considering the benefits of a 4x4.

There’s a plethora of different models on sale, from mainstream manufacturers as well as 4x4 specialists, with prices to suit a variety of monthly budgets.

So, to help you narrow down the search, we’ve narrowed the list down to five we recommend and have identified the ones to go for in each range.

Could one of these 4x4s be your next company car?

Fiat Panda 4x4

Fiat’s Panda might be a diminutive 4x4 but don’t underestimate its potential for dealing with rougher terrain and slippery weather conditions. Sure, bigger off-roaders can tackle more challenging terrain but if you only need a small car but with the ability to go off the beaten track it’s unrivalled.

Not only is it easy to park and manoeuvre in urban environments, it’s tough and practical too with additional unpainted body cladding to cope with the rigours of city and off-road life.

We go for the characterful 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine over the diesel option. It’s more powerful, economy isn’t far off the diesel’s pace and it’s less expensive to run as a company car.

We recommend: 0.9 TwinAir 4x4

Fuel economy: 57mpg

CO2 emissions: 114g/km

P11D value: £13,940

Monthly cost*: £33

Skoda Yeti

The Yeti has been a huge success for Skoda since it was introduced in 2009, with significant facelift appearing in time for the start of 2014 to keep it fresh.

A proven range of petrol and diesel engines are available, driving either the front or all four-wheels depending on the model chosen.

Practicality is a Yeti strong point with lots of flexibility in its spacious five-seater cabin. Equipment levels and build quality are strong points too. It’s distinctive, comfortable, surprisingly nimble to drive and proves to be a very satisfying choice. We’d plump for the 138bhp 2.0-litre diesel in well-specced Elegance trim as the best all-rounder.

We recommend: 2.0 TDI CR (140PS) Elegance Outdoor 4x4

Fuel economy: 48mpg

CO2 emissions: 154g/km

P11D value: £23,620

Monthly cost*: £98

Mazda CX-5

Mazda shook-up the popular crossover market in 2012 with its CX-5. Not only did it look athletic and interesting, it brought in a number of efficiencies under the ‘SkyActiv’ banner.

Not only are the petrol and diesel engines more economical and greener, the whole car has been designed with weight-saving in mind. The lightness gives the CX-5 greater agility making it feel quite sporty, yet it remains comfortable and spacious as a family car.

It’s not as practical as other 4x4s but it’s very well-built, generously equipped and is satisfyingly good to drive. The 2.2-litre diesel SE-L Nav AWD gets our vote.

We recommend: 2.2D SE-L Nav AWD

Fuel economy: 54mpg

CO2 emissions: 136g/km

P11D value: £25,515

Monthly cost*: £94

Volkswagen Touareg

Volkswagen’s second generation Touareg has been on sale since 2010 but still looks contemporary and imposing alongside newer rivals.

This is the sister car to Porsche’s Cayenne, but what the VW loses out on in terms of driving dynamics and exclusivity, it gains in terms of value for money. Don’t think of the Touareg as the poor relation though.

Even entry level SE trim is generously equipped with leather seating, climate control and an eight-speed automatic gearbox with steering wheel paddles if you prefer changing ratios yourself.

We’d go with the least expensive SE spec Touareg with the 201bhp 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine.

We recommend: 3.0 V6 TDI SE

Fuel economy: 40mpg

CO2 emissions: 184g/km

P11D value: £41,720

Monthly cost*: £216

Land Rover Range Rover

Land Rover’s imperious and stately Range Rover was renewed at the start of 2013 with a cutting-edge aluminium construction and up-to-date yet still familiar styling being the main talking points.

Seemingly physics-defyingly capable off-road, the Range Rover possesses Rolls-Royce levels of comfort on it, yet with its tall estate-car body and split tailgate it remains practical as well as opulent.

A range of diesel and petrol engines are available but in terms of reducing running costs, we’d suggest the new hybrid model is the one to go for. It comes at a price though – so far it’s only available in conjunction with flagship Autobiography specification, but it remains at the summit of 4x4 desirability.

We recommend: 3.0 SDV6 HEV Autobiography

Fuel economy: 44mpg

CO2 emissions: 169g/km

P11D value: £98,090

Monthly cost*: £458

* Quoted monthly costs are based on what a 20 percent tax rate payer would have to budget in 2013/14 for a car with no extra-cost options fitted.