- Saloons and estates with ample grip
- Secure handling in all weathers without SUV running costs
- Stylish executive cars that won't get stuck in snow
Drivers looking for safe handling and reliable traction in snow have many more options than the traditional off-road 4x4. All-wheel drive is available on a surprising variety of normal cars.
You don't need to buy the highest-performance variants, either. You're probably already well aware of Audi's quattro, but did you know manufacturers from Alfa Romeo to Volvo have all offered four-wheel drive models of their saloons, estates, hatchbacks and coupes.
Most of these cars use their all-wheel drive for wet weather and snow traction as well as enhanced grip in the dry; they offer few advantages for rough roads or off-road. In most cases, the four-wheel drive operation is completely invisible to the driver with no need for intervention.
Downsides of an all-wheel drive used car are few, but can include higher servicing costs, a need for tyres to be rotated front-to-rear and replaced in sets of four for even wear, as the torque or slip sensing mechanisms are put under extra stress by mismatched wheel diameters, and more expensive parts for items like suspension and exhaust systems.
Some may also have reduced boot space, and most will have slightly higher fuel consumption.
The benefits of four-wheel drive are worth the costs, though. Your BMW needn't be stuck at the bottom of hills in snow, and your Jaguar can be surefooted in rain and sleet. Here are some of the best stealthy 4x4s to buy used.
Compact executive 4x4s
How much should I pay for a BMW 3 Series xDrive?
BMW 320d SE xDrive 2013-2015
Used prices: £9,375 - £15,410
New price: £23,425 - £85,185
How much should I pay for a Jaguar XE AWD?
Jaguar XE 2.0d 180hp SE AWD
Used prices: £15,055 - £24,240
New price: £31,505 - £42,580
How much should I pay for a Subaru Impreza?
Used prices: £14,085 - £17,615
New price: £24,310 - £25,010
All-wheel drive family saloons
How much should I pay for a Subaru Legacy?
Used prices: £545 - £4,805
New price: £16,830 - £29,590
How much should I pay for a Jaguar XF AWD?
Jaguar XF 2.0d Prestige AWD
Used prices: £17,285 - £25,480
New price: £33,835 - £52,010
How much should I pay for a BMW 5 Series xDrive?
BMW 520d SE xDrive
Used prices: £21,580 - £27,865
New price: £36,275 - £96,205
Practical AWD estates
How much should I pay for a Ford Mondeo Estate AWD?
Ford Mondeo Estate 2.0 TDCI Zetec AWD
Used prices: £10,415 - £16,445
New price: £22,795 - £33,595
How much should I pay for an Alfa Romeo Sportwagon?
Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon 2.4 Multijet Q4
Used prices: £1,580 - £3,430
New price: £19,425 - £31,395
How much should I pay for a Saab 9-3 SportWagon XWD?
Saab 9-3 SportWagen 2.0t Aero XWD. Turbo X 2.8t + £500
Used prices: £2,510 - £6,850
New price: £18,350 - £34,550