Think of a ‘winter car’ and you’ll probably imagine a robust SUV, complete with four-wheel-drive and hefty tyres to match.
Although this certainly counts as a ‘winter car’, a four-wheel-drive SUV isn’t the only suitable option when it comes to tackling the snow.
What makes a good car for snow?
Snow impairs tyre traction and grip to a far greater degree than other driving conditions.
Therefore, cars with strong traction and grip are best for driving on snowy roads.
If your car has both of these, then you’ll be able to get moving quickly in the snow whilst staying stable on the road.
All-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive
If you’ll only be driving in mild winter conditions and want the flexibility of a car that adapts to different situations, then an all-wheel-drive vehicle may be a good choice for you.
With all-wheel-drive, the system is able to transfer power to each wheel, maintaining traction. This is handy for keeping grip on icy roads.
Four-wheel-drive vehicles work in a similar way, but instead drive all four wheels constantly, adjusting the amount of power each wheel gets through either a mechanical or electronic system. These vehicles are typically designed for off-road driving and conditions where you may need to cover tough terrain (including heavy snow).
Made from dense rubber and silica compounds, winter tyres stay much softer and stickier in the snow. Designed for temperatures below 7C, they also have deeper tread patterns and will reduce braking distances in the snow — up to eight metres shorter than normal tyres, in fact.
More ground clearance
If you’ll be driving in heavy snow regularly enough, then ground clearance is the most important factor beyond anything else. Impacted snow is going to heavily reduce traction (and probably put you in a bad mood).
Most cars offer around 4-6 inches of ground clearance, whereas SUVs offer around 6-8 inches of ground clearance, sometimes with the option to adjust the suspension. Therefore, an SUV is one of your best options for manoeuvring through heavy snow.
Head straight to the vehicles in your budget using the links below, or just browse the full list!
Best Cars for Snow: up to £28k
Audi A1 citycarver 30 TFSI 6-speed manual from £21,155
Bringing SUV styling to the supermini sector, the A1 Citycarver is kitted with extra suspension to easily navigate potholes and tackle winter driving conditions in the city. It may not be designed for off-roading, but with a good set of winter tyres, it’s more than capable of handling snowy rural roads.
Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech 130 from £23,730
The sporty Peugeot 2008 becomes even more powerful with the inclusion of a 1.2-litre PureTech engine, which performs the same as a 1.6-litre engine, but with better efficiency. Depending on the trim level and options you choose, the car also comes with Grip Control, an electronic system that can optimise traction in challenging conditions. Choose from the likes of ‘snow’, ‘off-road’ or ‘sand’.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Peugeot 2008, or browse used Peugeot 2008 cars for sale right now >
Mitsubishi ASX Exceed Automatic 4WD from £26,465
Graced with sleek black detailing, the ASX Exceed is sophisticated in both style and mechanics. With four-wheel-drive and Active Stability Control, the car is well-equipped to handle tricky corners or snowy terrain. Its exterior has been designed in such a way that it can easily manoeuvre up steep inclines, plus its high driving position makes it easier to see the road ahead.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Mitsubishi ASX, or browse used Mitsubishi ASX cars for sale right now >
Best Cars for Snow: £28k – £35k
Kia Sportage GT-Line 1.6 CRDi AWD from £29,770
All-wheel-drive makes the Sportage GT-Line a strong performer in moderate snowy conditions. For 2020, the entire Sportage diesel range can be configured with mild hybrid technology, pairing the 1.6 CRDi diesel engine with a 48-volt battery. This helps to saves on fuel consumption and provides torque assistance — especially handy in the snow.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Kia Sportage, or browse used Kia Sportage cars for sale right now >
Mercedes-Benz GLA 200 4MATIC from £32,000
Looking more like an SUV than its hatchback-esque predecessor, the 2020 GLA is available with a high-performing 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine from launch. Available with four-wheel-drive and the Mercedes-Benz Engineered Package, the car will boast better hill-descent control for tougher terrain. It also comes with automatic emergency braking and Evasive Steering Assist to avoid imminent collisions.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Mercedes-Benz GLA, or browse used Mercedes-Benz GLA cars for sale right now >
Audi Q2 S-Line 40 TFSI quattro from £32,195
Fitted with Audi’s ‘quattro’ all-wheel drive technology, the Q2 has been designed for city dwellers wanting a compact (yet powerful) SUV. Not only does quattro improve the car’s driving dynamics in the snow, but the Q2 also features emergency braking and Audi Pre-sense Front for detecting other drivers and pedestrians — ideal in wintery conditions.
Best Cars for Snow: £35k – £45k
Range Rover Evoque R-Dynamic P200 from £35,575
Featuring four-wheel-drive technology as standard, the Range Rover Evoque is available with a nifty Terrain Response 2 system that automatically chooses the driving mode for you (for example, for snow). As a world-first, it also boasts Clearsight Ground View – a feature that allows you to ‘see through’ the bonnet thanks to a cleverly-projected feed onto the car’s infotainment touchscreen.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Range Rover Evoque, or browse used Range Rover Evoque cars for sale right now >
SEAT Tarraco XCELLENCE 2.0 TSI DSG 4Drive 190PS from £35,805
As SEAT’s flagship SUV, the 190PS Tarraco comes with four-wheel-drive and specialised off-road and snow modes. Delivering 38.2mpg and 147g/km, it might not be the most cost-efficient vehicle, but it certainly performs well on snowy terrain. Sold as a seven-seater in the UK, the Tarraco comes in a variety of trim levels, including XCELLENCE. With this, you’ll get the likes of Park Assist, Alcantara Sports Seats and 19-inch Exclusive machined alloy wheels.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new SEAT Tarraco, browse used SEAT Tarraco cars for sale right now >
Mazda CX-5 GT Sport Nav+ 2.2 SKYACTIV-D 4WD from £36,110
The CX-5 already has great dynamics on the road, but the addition of the SKYACTIV-D two-stage turbocharged engine greatly increases low and high-end torque. It also offers 20% better fuel efficiency than the previous diesel models, which is welcome news for those needing to drive long distances. The Sport Nav+ trim boasts 19-inch alloy wheels and keyless entry, whilst the 2019 CX-5 upgrade welcomes more precise G-Vectoring steering
Volkswagen Amarok Highline 4Motion from £40,299
With its unique four-wheel-drive system, the Amarok Highline pick-up truck is just as reliable in snowy off-road conditions as it is on city roads. When switching on the ‘off-road’ option, the vehicle engages its Anti-Lock Braking System and downhill driving assistant, increasing traction on tricky terrain.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Volkswagen Amarok, or browse used Volkswagen Amarok cars for sale right now >
Volkswagen Arteon R-Line 2.0 TSI 4Motion from £41,275
Sporty in appearance, this Arteon R-Line is powered by a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. This, along with its 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, gives the car a great deal of traction and exceptional driving dynamics for the snow.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Volkswagen Arteon, or browse used Volkswagen Arteon cars for sale right now >
Vauxhall Grandland X Hybrid4 from £41,500
As Vauxhall’s first all-wheel-drive PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle), the Grandland X Hybrid4 boasts plenty of features to make driving in challenging weather conditions easier. Perhaps the most impressive of all is the optional IntelliGrip traction control system, which allows drivers to choose from five distinct driving modes. ‘Snow’ mode largely controls the slip of the front wheels, transferring torque to control traction.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Vauxhall Grandland X, browse used Vauxhall Grandland X cars for sale right now >
Best Cars for Snow: £45k+
Jaguar F-Pace Chequered Flag 2.0-litre Petrol 250PS AWD from £46,485
The F-Pace comes with all-wheel-drive and All-Surface Progress Control for enhanced traction, making it an ideal choice for tackling moderate snowy conditions. The Chequered Flag trim level brings premium design features and upgraded specifications to the already-luxurious F-Pace.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Jaguar F-PACE, browse used Jaguar F-PACE cars for sale right now >
Porsche Macan S from £49,300
As the range’s ‘Sport’ model, the all-wheel-drive Macan S is equipped with many enhanced features over the ‘standard’ model, including a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine boasting over 340bhp. Porsche Stability Management (PSM) helps to stabilise the car through smart sensors that monitor things like the speed and direction of the car — great in snowy conditions.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Porsche Macan, or browse used Porsche Macan cars for sale right now >
Land Rover Discovery Landmark Edition from £57,350
Synonymous with off-road driving, the Land Rover Discovery comes with All Terrain Progress Control, which helps the car maintain a steady speed in snowy driving conditions. With the choice of a 240HP SD4 or 306HP SD6 diesel engine, the Discovery packs plenty of power — and it’s powerful in appearance, too. The Landmark Edition features 20-inch Gloss Black wheels and Narvik Black exterior details.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new A1 citycarver, or browse used Land Rover Discovery cars for sale right now >
Think you’ve found your ideal vehicle? Keep yourself extra safe on the road in snowy conditions with our winter driving tips.
PLEASE NOTE all prices provided in this article are correct at the time of published [March 2020].