The winter season can create a beautifully scenic atmosphere in many places, making it tempting to go out on a drive despite the cold weather and icy roads. In many cases, especially around winter, driving can be unavoidable when travelling around the country to visit friends and family. Whatever winter adventure you’ve got planned, some cars are better suited to certain ones than others, as our guide explains.
Before heading out on any winter drive in your new car, it’s essential that your car is fully prepared for the cold conditions by taking onboard important seasonal motoring advice to stay safe too.
Our pick: Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi 16V ecoFLEX
Long journeys back home or to visit grandparents at the opposite end of the country require a comfortable and economical car, such as the Vauxhall Astra. The 1.6-litre 16V diesel with the ecoFLEX trim offers a claimed 85.6mpg with low CO² emissions of 82g/km.
Our pick: Subaru Outback
There’s good reason you’ll see plenty of Subaru Outback SUVs on many ski slopes, as these vehicles are practically designed for your next ski trip. The latest models provide 8.7 inches of ground clearance, meaning a build-up of snow provides little problem, along with the all-wheel-drive (AWD) capabilities. Standard roof rails allow for a ski roof rack to be easily attached, or if you’d rather stick a ski rack on the rear that can be done too. Pick between an automatic 2.5-litre petrol or manual 2.0-litre diesel, with only the one SE Premium trim.
Our pick: Dacia Duster SUV
Burn off the results of any overindulgence with a crisp winter walk in the hills. The Dacia Duster is a real budget SUV but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in quality or equipment. With a starting price of under £10,000, you can find a used model at an absolute bargain, whether you desire front or four-wheel drive. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) and electronic stability control (ESC) help make it safe and reliable when tackling slippery roads and it’s spacious to pack in all your hiking gear, dogs and children (in whichever order).
Our pick: Volvo V90 Cross Country
Snow is the biggest hazard for many drivers in winter. Reduce such worries with the Volvo V90 Cross Country model, that features all-wheel drive and raised suspension designed to deal with wet and icy roads. It’s a highly adaptable vehicle, as the Cross Country model is basically a cross between the estate and an SUV. As Volvo is renowned for its attention to safety, the V90 is no different which makes it a popular choice for families in wintery weather. Standard-fit electronic safety systems, automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance help at all times, but especially during difficult driving conditions.
Winding wintery roads
Our pick: Ford Focus RS
There are many wonderful winding roads out in the countryside, such as the Applecross Pass up in Scotland, that are enhanced with a layer of snow. Wherever you’re driving round bendy country roads you’ll need something capable of dealing with the trick conditions. While the Ford Focus may not be great for ploughing through ten feet of snow, for British winters it’s perfectly equipped. An RS model offers all-wheel drive for excellent grip and hill-start assist to aid such conditions. Unlike some bulky SUVs you’ll also have a thoroughly enjoyable time taking on such bends thanks to its close control and feel behind the wheel.
Wherever your winter driving adventures will take you, one of these models should make it a safe, warm and fun experience.
Images courtesy of iStock.