Best Cars for Winter
winter cars will keep you safely on the road instead of in a snowbank.
1. Dacia Duster compact SUV
When the Dacia Duster was launched in 2010, it changed our perception of just how cheap a budget SUV could be. Sure, the Duster has a few rough edges, but for the money, its hard to beat. Theres a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the powerful and economical diesel is better suited to genuine off-roading something the Duster is more than capable of. Back on the road, the Dacia leans a bit in corners (but not excessively) and manages to be pretty comfortable. The interior is basic, but its spacious and high-spec models have plenty of equipment.

Price £9,495 - £15,495

  • Great value
  • Comfortable
  • Lots of space

  • Dull interior
  • Entry-level car is basic
  • Noisy diesel engine
  • 2. BMW 3 Series saloon
    The BMW 3 Series is one of the most accomplished cars on sale in the UK and its now available with xDrive four-wheel drive. Although expensive compared to mainstream models such as the Ford Mondeo, the 3 Series offers superb build quality and an excellent range of engines. Out on the road, it makes long motorway journeys easy, but find a twisting back road and the BMW is more entertaining than any of the competition. Adding four-wheel-drive makes the 3 Series sure-footed on slippery roads, although these models are also more expensive to buy and run than the normal car.

    Price £23,555 - £43,685

  • Great to drive
  • Upmarket image
  • Low running costs

  • High list prices
  • Expensive options
  • Firm suspension on M Sport models
  • 3. Mazda CX 5 SUV
    Despite its looks, the Mazda CX-5 is more of a crossover than a rugged SUV, but it can still be fitted with four-wheel drive for extra grip. It doesnt feel like a big SUV from behind the wheel in fact, it even reminded our road testers of the sporty Mazda MX-5 roadster at times. Mazda has also given the CX-5 an excellent range of petrol and diesel engines, which provide plenty of power while returning strong fuel economy. Inside, theres lots of space for passengers and luggage, making this an excellent family car.

    Price £21,895 - £29,895

  • Attractive and distinctive styling
  • Powerful and economical engines
  • Good ride and handling

  • Interior storage space isnt great
  • More at home on the road than off it
  • Four wheel drive versions are less fun to drive
  • 4. Audi TT coupe
    The TT is very much a sports car, but it can be specified with Audis quattro four-wheel-drive system, which makes it better at tackling slippery roads than rivals such as the Porsche Cayman. The new TT looks sharper than the old car, but the real revelation comes inside. Cars costing ten times as much dont feel as high quality as this Audi, and the stunning 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit display is something were likely to see in many more cars before long. As before, theres a great line-up of petrol and diesel engines, with the Ultra diesel striking a particularly good balance between strong performance and excellent fuel economy..

    Price £29,770 - £40,270

  • Stylish image
  • Diesel is cheap to run
  • Comfortable and fun to drive

  • Expensive to buy
  • Cramped back seats
  • No four wheel drive diesel
  • 5. Nissan Qashqai SUV
    Nissan can argue that with the original Qashqai, it invented the crossover a model that mixes the characteristics of a normal car with the looks and practicality of an SUV. The new model has grown up a little bit, but sticks to the same formula. Its not quite as enjoyable to drive, but it is quieter and even cheaper to run. It has a big boot, plenty of passenger space and useful cubbyholes dotted around the interior, making it perfect for family life. Choosing four-wheel drive doesnt convert the Qashqai into a rugged off-roader, but it does make it more capable in slippery winter conditions.

    Price £18,265 - £28,500

  • Great all rounder
  • Excellent build quality
  • Low running costs

  • Rear visibility could be better
  • Rear seats can feel cramped
  • Expensive top spec model

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