As winter approaches, and with colder and potentially tricky conditions on the way, many of us start searching for a more capable vehicle.
Whether you live in the middle of nowhere or just fancy a car with more all-weather capability, there are plenty of all-wheel-drive vehicles to choose from. And while your first thought might be of a conventional 4×4, there are plenty of regular cars you can choose equipped with all-wheel-drive, which often attract lower running costs than a standard 4×4.
Here are 5 standard cars with all-wheel-drive.
Suzuki Swift 4×4
Any of the cars in Suzuki’s line-up can be equipped with all-wheel-drive for extra traction. It’s one of the few manufacturers to offer this, and all vehicles from its Ignis city car to Vitara crossover offer greater off-road capability.
Since 2013, the firm’s popular Swift supermini has been available with a permanent four-wheel-drive system too, and one that’s only 65kg heavier than the standard car. With low running costs – Suzuki claiming it’ll return 51.4mpg, with CO2 emissions of 126g/km – the Swift is one of the most affordable four-wheel-drive models around to run.
BMW 1 Series xDrive
BMWs have traditionally adopted a rear-wheel-drive setup, which is typically the worst when it comes to trickier conditions, due to a difficulty with finding grip. So in a bid to give its cars improved traction, the German firm has been rolling out its xDrive all-wheel-drive system on many of its models.
This includes the firm’s baby 1 Series – a premium hatchback rivalling the Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class. Introduced in 2013 onto the second-generation 120d model, which uses a punchy 181bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine, the xDrive system won’t allow you to head off-road, but will provide additional traction when the conditions take a turn for the worst. It’s also very efficient – BMW claims it’ll return nearly 60mpg, with CO2 emissions of 126g/km.
Subaru is another manufacturer known for its cars’ impressive all-wheel-drive systems. In fact, this extra ability is available on all but 2 of their cars sold over the years. While the firm is still known for its past rallying history, even its regular non-performance models like the Impreza offer plenty of grip thanks to standard-fit four-wheel-drive.
With a reputation of impressive reliability and durability, the Impreza is an oddball family hatchback. Although it isn’t especially efficient with its 1.5- or 2.0-litre petrol engines, it does give you value for money, thanks to a generous amount of standard kit – including alloy wheels and climate control.
Mini Clubman All4
A four-wheel-drive Mini might sound surprising, but this British manufacturer has offered such systems on some of its models for more than 10 years – one example being the Clubman.
This funky hatchback-cross-estate sits between the standard Mini Hatch and Countryman in Mini’s range – rivalling models like the Volkswagen Golf. If you want one with all-wheel-drive, you need to look out for an ‘All4’ model, which is only offered on second-generation models – introduced in 2016. Available on the sporty Cooper S, Cooper SD and John Cooper Works models, the system brings extra traction to this fun and high-quality Mini.
Audi TT Quattro
Want a sports car to use over the winter? Thanks to the Audi TT, it’s not impossible. This sports car is available with the firm’s famed Quattro all-wheel-drive system, which allows power to be sent to all four wheels – allowing for extra traction in bad weather, as well as improved performance.
This four-wheel-drive system is available on all three generations of TT, though make sure you buy a Quattro model, as roughly half of versions you’ll see for sale are standard front-wheel-drive. Regardless of which model you go for, the TT is a lot of fun to drive and gets a high-quality interior, and is available Coupe or drop-top Roadster form. Just be aware that running costs will be quite steep for petrol models – the TT isn’t the most practical choice.