Top 10 Best Winter Cars – Driving Home For Christmas

Top 10 Best Winter Cars – Driving Home For Christmas
21 Nov 2018
By Ronnie Lawson-Jones

Winter 2018 is almost upon us, this year has been quoted as potentially the coldest one yet. Every time there’s a cold snap the roads get treacherous which can lead to accidents for the inexperienced driver with a car no prepared for it. Here at All Car Leasing we’ve looked at 12 different metrics to come up with a definitive list of the best winter cars.

12 Desirable Winter Features

Before we begin let’s look at how we scored the cars.

1. 4x4 Capabilities

Having four wheels turn at once enables a car to grip and steer better when there’s more resistance between the tyre and the road such as snow, sleet, slush, water and so on. Having four-wheel drive is definitely a desirable feature in winter.

It could even help you get out of a ditch if you find yourself veering off the road and help others out of a ditch if it’s got enough power and the right tools.

2. Satellite Navigation

Getting lost is bad enough but getting lost in the middle of a cold, snowy winter night is a nightmare. Having a sat nav built in so you don’t need to rely on charging one is a godsend in a cold snap.

3. Heated Seats

This may be a nice to have but it still helps an awful lot especially at the start of a journey in winter. Related - Heated and Cooled seats.

4. Heated wing mirrors

Wing mirror defrosting is a job nobody likes to do as often the mirror can be misted up and dirty after trying to clear it yourself. Reduce that risk by having a car with heated wing mirrors.

5. Heated windscreen

Not all cars have a genuine heated windscreen but for those that do this is a major plus point in winter as it can get you going first thing in the morning at a rapid pace. Not a deal breaker though since a heated windscreen is almost exclusively Ford/Volvo.

6. Automatic gearbox

An automatic gearbox can help the driver make sure they don’t over rev the car and spin the wheels too much as well as change the gears smoothly. The extra gears that automatic gearboxes tend to have enable the revs to be lower almost all the time. An automatic gearbox in the snow can be a great addition for those who are inexperienced in snowy weather.

7. Winter mode

Some cars may have a winter mode which changes the gearbox to lower revs to always be in control – this is a mode specifically designed to the problem at hand and scores whatever vehicles have it (which isn’t many) major points.

8. NCAP rating

This is a straight up score from Euro NCAP. The higher, the better. A higher NCAP score means the passengers are safer and less likely to be injured in a collision.

9. Adult occupancy score

We look at the adult occupancy score and how safe the passengers would be in a collision. Winter weather, especially ice and snow, increase the chances of an accident dramatically and sometimes despite all your efforts you may still be involved in a crash. The safer the passengers the better the score it’s as simple as that.

10. Miles per gallon

How high your car’s miles per gallon doesn’t directly affect your ability to drive in the snow but it can affect how long you can go between petrol stations. You do not want to run out of fuel in the middle of nowhere with plummeting temperatures. Related - most economical cars.

11. Fuel tank size

This metric works hand in hand with miles per gallon. The larger the tank the further you can go without refuelling again.

12. All Car Score

The All Car Score is just the score our offices have given the car not just looking at it’s winter driving abilities but an overall view – if it wasn’t winter is this car still any good? Not to be confused with All Car Winter Driving Score which is an aggregated score from all winter metrics.

Best Budget – Dacia Duster 1.6 SCe Prestige 4WD

The Dacia Duster could well be the cheapest winter car on the market. With 4x4 capabilities, sat nav, heated seats, heated wing mirrors this has a lot of bang for your buck. However, it’s 3/5 NCAP rating and 71% adult occupancy let it down against some of the others in this list as well as the 40.4 miles per gallon. Still, if you just want a car for winter and don’t care about comfort then the Duster crossover is a top choice.

Related - Cheap Crossovers You Can Buy Now!

All Car Winter Driving Score – 6.6/10

Dacia Duster Best Winter Car

Click here to view the Dacia Duster 1.6 SCe Prestige 4WD

Best Small Hatchback – Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet SZ5 4x4

The Suzuki Swift has the distinction of being one of the only small hatchbacks with four-wheel drive capabilities which can be tremendous helps in sleet and snow. On top of that, the SZ5 trim we’ve highlighted will give you satellite navigation. It has an 83% adult occupant score, 65.7 combined miles per gallon.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 6.6/10

Suzuki Swift Best Winter Car

Click here to view the Suzuki Swift 1.2 Dualjet SZ5 4x4

Best City Car – Fiat Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet

The Fiat Panda is another example of a small car with four wheel drive for sleet and snow. On top of that, the Panda we’ve tested also has Sat Nav, heated seats, heated wing mirrors and even a heated windscreen. It has an NCAP rating of 4, adult occupancy safety score of 83%. You’ll get 60.9 miles to a gallon, too which is very good for a 4x4 car.

Related - Best City Cars

All Car Winter Driving Score – 7.6/10

Fiat Panda Best Winter Car

Click here to view the Fiat Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet

Best Coupe – Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic with Tech Pack

If you’re in the market for a sporty coupe and want the best one which can deal with winter weather then we couldn’t find a better one out there than the Audi TT quattro. Specifically the 2.0 TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic with Tech Pack version as it comes with some pretty sweet additions. It has 4x4 capabilities, satellite navigation, heated seats. Because it’s an automatic it can be easier to stay in control on slippery roads.

Additionally, it has an NCAP rating of 4, adult occupancy score of 81% and you’ll get 42.8 miles per gallon from the massive 55 litre tank.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.3/10

Audi TT Best Winter Car

Click here to view the Audi TT 2.0 TDI Quattro S Line S Tronic with Tech Pack

Best People Carrier – BMW 2 Series Grand Tourer 220d xDrive Luxury 5dr Step Auto

The BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer is a 7 seater with a lot of capabilities to tackle winter that many others don’t and this is why it’s our pick of the best people carriers for winter driving. We’ve chosen it because it has four wheel drive, sat nav, heated seats, heated wing mirrors and even a winter mode for the step auto variants.

It’s miles per gallon is 57.6 and it has a tank size of 51 lites. Lastly, the adult occupancy score is 84% and it has received a maximum NCAP score of 5.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.3/10

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer Best Winter Car

BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer 220d xDrive Luxury 5dr Step Auto

Best Small Crossover – Volkswagen T-Roc 2.0 TSI SEL 4Motion DSG

Out of all the small crossovers out there we have found the new Volkswagen T-Roc to be the best equipped for winter, specifically the 2.0 TSI SEL 4Motion DSG variant. With this, you’ll get four wheel drive, sat nav, heated seats, heated wing mirrors, heated washer jets and it comes as an automatic.

It has scored the maximum point from NCAP and has an excellent adult occupancy score of 96%. The miles per gallon isn’t the best at 41.5 but it does have a large 55 litre tank.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.3/10

Volkswagen T-Roc Best Winter Car

Best Family Hatchback – Volvo V40 Cross Country T5 AWD

This exquisite car has plenty of space for a small family and is a great family car in every season. However, during the winter the V40 shines with its four wheel drive, satellite navigation, heated seats, heated wing mirrors, quick clear windscreen and comes as an automatic.

Typical of a Volvo it has scored maximum points from NCAP and has an adult occupancy score of 98%! Its miles per gallon isn’t great at 44.1 mpg but it does have an enormous 57 litre tank.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.3/10

Volvo V40 Best Winter Car

Best Mid-Sized SUV – Subaru Forester 2.0 XE Premium Lineartronic 5dr

Out of all the mid-sized SUVs, we felt the Subaru Forester was the best equipped for winter. It has four wheel drive, sat nav, heated seats, heated wing mirrors, comes as an automatic and it comes with winter driving mode to make it even easier in winter.

It’s scored a maximum 5 out of 5 from NCAP and has an adult occupancy safety score of 90%. It has one of the lowest miles per gallon in the list at 38.4 but it does have one of the largest fuel tanks at 60 litres.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.6/10

Subaru Forester best Winter car

Click here to view the Subaru Forester 2.0 XE Premium Lineartronic 5dr

Best Estate – Ford Focus Estate 1.5 EcoBoost 150 Titanium X 5dr Auto

A surprise entry perhaps is the Focus Estate. The 1.5 Ecoboost Titanium X auto version has satellite navigation, heated seats, heated wing mirrors, quick clear windscreen and comes as an automatic. Its got the maximum score of 5/5 from NCAP and a 85% adult occupancy score. The Focus clocks in at 51.4 miles per gallon and a generous 50 litre tank.

What separates this from the pack is the exclusive quick clear windscreen which allows you to get going quickly in the mornings after the night freeze.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 8.6/10

Ford Focus Estate Best Winter Car

Click here to view the Ford Focus Estate 1.5 EcoBoost 150 Titanium X 5dr Auto

Best Executive Car – Audi A4 Quattro 2.0 TDI Black Edition 4dr

The Audi A4 Quattro is a stunning car that is more than capable of handling winter if you get the right one. Opt for the 2.0 TDI Black Edition Quattro S-Tronic and you’ll get 4x4 capabilities, satellite navigation, heated seats, heated wing mirrors and it’s an automatic.

The adult occupancy score is 89% and it has 5/5 NCAP rating. The miles per gallon is one of the best in class at 67.3 but it does have a relatively small tank at 40 litres. If you’re after a large family car / executive car and you perhaps live in a rural area which gets dominated by the effects of snow then the Audi A4 quattro could be the one you’re looking for.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 9.3/10

Audi A4 Best Winter Car

Best Full Size SUV - Land Rover Discovery 2.0 SD4 HSE Luxury 5dr Auto

In our humble opinion and after looking at all the requirements, the best full suze SUV AND the best overall winter driving car is the all new Land Rover Discovery 2.0 SD4 HSE Luxury 5dr Auto. It is a car built to tackle all weather and all terrains and does it well. Out of all of our attributes, the Discovery is the one which gets the most points.

It has 4x4 obviously, satellite navigation, heated seats, heated wing mirrors, a winter mode and comes as an automatic. Just as impressive is its safety stats which are 5/5 from NCAP and an adult occupancy score of 90%. It’s not the most economical though at 37.7 miles per gallon but it does have the biggest fuel tank of them all at a whopping 77 litres.

All Car Winter Driving Score – 10/10


Click here to view the Land Rover Discovery 2.0 SD4 HSE Luxury 5dr Auto

If you'd like to inquire on any of the above vehicles then just give us a call on 01565 880 880 or visit the deal page and press enquire. For more car leasing deals feel free to browse the website for the latest personal and business deals. 

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