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The Best Cars For Winter Driving

The Best Cars For Winter Driving

By Swansway Motor Group 21-12-2016

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Even when the rain and snow begins to fall, we still need to get to work or school and carry out all of our day-to-day routines. Safe Winter Driving.

Our lives don't stop just because the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Even when the rain and snow begins to fall, we still need to get to work or school and carry out all of our day-to-day routines, which for most of us means jumping in the car.

Of course, at Swansway Group we would never recommend attempting to travel in treacherous conditions. Safety should always be the priority and if you have any concerns about driving…don’t!

People pushing car trapped in the deep snowWhat we will do, however, is give you the lowdown on some of the best cars for driving in winter weather. What makes them suitable for this cold, dark season? Why are they safe while it’s icy and wet outside? And which features can make your journey that little bit more comfortable?

We’ve chosen four of the most sought-after winter cars and pitted them up against each other by rating them for their handling on the road, pleasurable driving, overall safety, and running costs. The cars we’ve chosen are:

1. Volkswagen Tiguan

2. Range Rover Sport

3. Fiat Panda 4x4

4. Audi Q7

So, why not take a look now and decide which is your favourite!​

Of course, at Swansway Group we would never recommend attempting to travel in treacherous conditions. Safety should always be the priority and if you have any concerns about driving…don’t!

Check out helpful winter driving tips

GET A GRIP

When it’s wet or icy, you need to make sure that your car can stick to the road. If you live in an area that regularly experiences snow, you might consider investing in winter tyres that maintain tread flexibility in very cold weather, providing better grip in slippery conditions. Otherwise it’s down to your own driving ability, and your car’s traction and handling features:

Black range rover driving in the snowRange Rover Sport

With a comfortable interior and excellent handling both on and off-road, the Range Rover Sport has all of the benefits of the larger Land Rovers but with a significantly lower price tag. While smaller than its Land Rover siblings the Sport is still a big beast though, so although it’s fab for cutting through a snow filled road, it might be low on the list of choices for nipping around town.

Fiat Panda 4x4

Taller than the standard Panda, the 4x4 maintains the same compact dimensions with driving power applied to all four wheels of a car that is substantially lighter than the rest of our list. This makes for excellent city parking as well as agility on more challenging terrain with its mud and snow tyres coming in useful when slippery road conditions threaten to put paid to those shopping expeditions!

Audi Q7

Audi’s efficiency and quattro 4-wheel-drive make the Q7 a perfect choice for winter handling, continually monitoring the grip of each wheel and adjusting power accordingly, allowing better traction in slippery conditions. It’s also stylish, comfortable and provides confidence when driving, allowing you to make your mark, snow or no snow.

Our Pick: Volkswagen Tiguan

Like Audi’s quattro, VW’s 4MOTION distributes power to each wheel individually, for optimum traction in slippery conditions. Unlike the Audi (and the Range Rover) however, the Tiguan is one of the most economical SUVs around, allowing you to get a grip on your finances as well as the road!

TURN UP THE HEAT

No one enjoys being cold, so automotive winter warmers are must-have features during the colder months. Not only can a little heat make driver and passengers more comfortable but it can also ward off ice and mist on windows and mirrors that can impede your visibility when driving.

Fiat Panda 4x4

Despite the favourable price, the Panda 4x4 does boast some of the comfort specifications of its more prestigious rivals. Heated door mirrors, for example are included on this compact 4x4, as is climate control (though only one zone) and warm seats are available but come at an extra cost. A heated windscreen is also an option which hoiks this little car up the scale in our ratings.

Volkswagen Tiguan

Also with three-zone climate control, the Tiguan features heated front seats and wing mirrors with heated rear seats available as an option. Heated windscreen washer jets ensure that once it’s cleared of snow, your area of view should remain unobstructed despite plummeting temperatures - an icicle on your windscreen is not good for safe driving!

Range Rover SportRed car wing mirror frozen in the ice and snow

Going a tad further than the Audi, the Range Rover Sport not only has heated seats both front and rear but also includes a massaging option which comes in very useful after a long day, whether you’ve spent it at the office or out building snowmen. It falls slightly short by only having three-zone climate control, losing out on a zone to the Audi.

Our Pick: Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 is fitted with heated front seats as standard (as is common with many higher spec cars) and also has the option to upgrade to a ‘cold weather package’ which includes heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. More unusually however, is its four-zone climate control which creates a comfortable ride for every passenger. Another standard feature, heated wing mirrors ensure a clear view of those who are left out in the cold as you cruise by, toasty warm.

SAFETY FIRST

Staying safe has to be the number one priority when driving in winter weather. Some of the features we’ve already mentioned will go part way to keeping you safe on the roads. With ABS now standard on most vehicles, our chosen cars also come with additional technology to help you monitor the road, your surroundings and other drivers.

Volkswagen Tiguan

With a full 5-star EuroNCAP rating, winter driving is made easy by the abundance of technology fitted on-board the Tiguan. Standard equipment includes automatic emergency braking and lane-keeping assistance, together with the full range of airbags and stability control systems. New LED lights are particularly helpful in improving visibility in rain, fog or at night, providing a clear view, no matter what the winter weather throws at you.

Fiat Panda 4x4

ESC (Electronic Stability Control) is included on the Panda 4x4, as are head airbags but no lane assistance, emergency braking or knee airbag. Mud and snow tyres, and an Electrical Locking Differential System make up for a Euro NCAP rating of three stars and will go some way to keeping the 4x4 on the right track, which is pretty much the name of the game for winter driving.

Audi Q7Car dashboard warning lights ABS and check battery

Copious airbags protect occupants from injury during a collision, with Audi’s Sideguard specifically designed to protect from impact to the head and spine. ESC, AEB (Auto Emergency Braking) and optional speed and lane assistance has no doubt helped the Q7 achieve a 5-star EuroNCAP safety rating.

Our Pick: Range Rover Sport

Steering is light but accurate, providing excellent control on and off the road. Land Rover Adaptive Dynamics provide a clever feature that reacts to the road condition to minimise body roll and maximise grip. With a wading depth of 850mm, even the wettest of weathers should prove little challenge. As a new introduction to the market, there’s no EuroNCAP rating yet but every version comes with side, front, thorax and pelvis airbags as standard, making the Range Rover Sport hard to beat on the safety front.

EVERY PENNY COUNTS

Winter is usually a time when we all feel the pinch - and we don’t just mean from the cold weather. Heating bills are up and we all want to get that extra special Christmas present to light up our children’s eyes, so any savings on car costs are welcome!

Range Rover Sport

Expectations around fuel economy have grown massively since Range Rovers were first introduced more than 40 years ago. As such, they’ve become known for their practicality rather their fuel efficiency which lies around 46 mpg. The annual road tax, which starts at £185 for the lower-powered models, is what you would expect to pay for a car of this size.

Audi Q7

With a slightly improved mpg of 49, the Q7 will achieve roughly an extra 60 miles from the same-sized tank and depending on the size of engine, you could be looking at anything between £145 to £270 annual road tax. Not bad for the biggest car on this list!

Volkswagen TiguanIce and snow winter weather on the road

The story’s even better for the Tiguan! It returned above 60mpg in official testing, so this is one car you can expect to keep its promise of 700+ miles on a single tank - more than enough to get you from A to B, whatever the weather! At £185 a year, you’ll enjoy the same road tax as the Range Rover Sport - meaning, where running costs are concerned, you’ve got the pick of them both!

Our Pick: Fiat Panda 4x4

Economy is where the Panda 4x4 comes into its own! Not only does it have fantastic fuel economy of up to 60.1mpg, its low annual road tax of just £30 and tiny insurance group make it one of the most economical 4x4s on the road. So, if running costs are the bee in your bonnet, the Panda wins hands down.

CONCLUSION

It’s safe to say that owning any of these models will serve you well during the potentially tricky winter months.

Each of these cars will bring a variety of different virtues to the sometimes tricky task of winter driving. Your choice will depend on a number of factors personal to you. But whatever your budget and needs from a car for all seasons, Swansway Group dealerships will be able to find an answer for you.

View the Volkswagen Tiguan

View the Range Rover Sport

View the Fiat Panda 4x4

View the Audi Q7

Thinking about a car that’ll see you through the winter and all of the weather it throws at you? Which one would you choose? Pop along to your local Swansway Group dealership to talk through the options with our friendly advisors. You’ll be able to inspect these and many other cars, then give us your opinion on their suitability for winter driving.

While you’re deciding on a new car, make sure that your existing motor is prepared for unpleasantly cold or wet conditions with a vehicle health check to help keep you safe on the road this winter.

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