Think ‘winter car’ and you’ll probably imagine a robust SUV, complete with four-wheel-drive and hefty tyres to match.
Although it’s certainly a decent starting point, 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 fargreater degree than other driving conditions.
Therefore, cars with strong traction and grip arebest for driving on snowy roads.
If your car has both of these, then you’ll be ableto 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 conditionsand want the flexibility of a car that adapts to different situations, then anall-wheel-drive vehicle may be a good choice for you.
With all-wheel-drive, the system is able totransfer power to each wheel, maintaining traction. This is handy for keeping gripon icy roads.
Four-wheel-drive vehicles work in a similar way,but instead drive all four wheels constantly, adjusting the amount of powereach wheel gets through either a mechanical or electronic system. These vehiclesare typically designed for off-road driving and conditions where you may needto cover tough terrain (including heavy snow).
Made from dense rubber and silica compounds, wintertyres stay much softer and stickier in the snow. Designed for temperaturesbelow 7C, they also have deeper tread patterns and will reduce brakingdistances 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. Compacted 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. That makes an SUV is one of your best options for manoeuvring through heavy snow.
Head straight to the vehicles in your budget usingthe links below, or just browse the full list!
Up to £28k
£28k – £35k
£35k – £45k
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, theA1 Citycarver is kitted with extra suspension to easily navigate potholes andtackle winter driving conditions in the city. It may not be designed foroff-roading, but with a good set of winter tyres, it’s more than capable ofhandling snowy rural roads.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Audi A1 citycarver, or browse used Audi A1 cars for sale right now.
Peugeot 2008 1.2 PureTech 130 from £23,730
The sporty Peugeot 2008 becomes even more powerfulwith the inclusion of a 1.2-litre PureTech engine, which performs the same as a1.6-litre engine, but with better efficiency. Depending on the trim level andoptions you choose, the car also comes with Grip Control, an electronic systemthat 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.
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. From 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-esquepredecessor, the 2020 GLA is available with a high-performing 1.3-litreturbocharged petrol engine from launch. Available with four-wheel-drive and theMercedes-Benz Engineered Package, the car will boast better hill-descentcontrol for tougher terrain. It also comes with automatic emergency braking andEvasive 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 drivetechnology, the Q2 has been designed for city dwellers wanting a compact (yetpowerful) SUV. Not only does quattro improve the car’s driving dynamics in thesnow, but the Q2 also features emergency braking and Audi Pre-sense Front fordetecting other drivers and pedestrians — ideal in wintery conditions.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Audi Q2, or browse used Audi Q2 cars for sale right now.
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 thatautomatically chooses the driving mode for you (for example, for snow). As aworld-first, it also boasts Clearsight Ground View – a feature that allows youto ‘see through’ the bonnet thanks to a cleverly-projected feed onto the car’sinfotainment 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 comeswith four-wheel-drive and specialised off-road and snow modes. Delivering38.2mpg and 147g/km, it might not be the most cost-efficient vehicle, but itcertainly performs well on snowy terrain. Sold as a seven-seater in the UK, theTarraco comes in a variety of trim levels, including XCELLENCE. With this,you’ll get the likes of Park Assist, Alcantara Sports Seats and 19-inchExclusive 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 4WDfrom £36,110
The CX-5 already has great dynamics on the road,but the addition of the SKYACTIV-D two-stage turbocharged engine greatlyincreases low and high-end torque. It also offers 20% better fuel efficiencythan the previous diesel models, which is welcome news for those needing to drivelong distances. The Sport Nav+ trim boasts 19-inch alloy wheels and keylessentry, whilst the 2019 CX-5 upgrade welcomes more precise G-Vectoring steering
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Mazda CX-5, or browse used Mazda CX-5 cars for sale right now.
Volkswagen Amarok Highline 4Motion from £40,299
With its unique four-wheel-drive system, the AmarokHighline pick-up truck is just as reliable in snowy off-road conditions as itis on city roads. When switching on the ‘off-road’ option, the vehicle engagesits Anti-Lock Braking System and downhill driving assistant, increasingtraction 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 poweredby a 276bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine. This, along with its 4Motionall-wheel-drive system, gives the car a great deal of traction and exceptionaldriving 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-inhybrid electric vehicle), the Grandland X Hybrid4 boasts plenty of features tomake driving in challenging weather conditions easier. Perhaps the mostimpressive of all is the optional IntelliGrip traction control system, whichallows drivers to choose from five distinct driving modes. ‘Snow’ mode largelycontrols 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+
Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 2.0 T32 TDI SWD 4MOTION
Yep, a van makes the list. More than 70 years in the making, the very latest Volkswagen Transporter is the most refined, most complete version of the commercial vehicle to date, and these days, it can even be fitted with VW’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system.
Adding 4MOTION turns the Transporter into a real go-anywhere machine, which comes in handy when the weather turns or the route to the job is a little treacherous. Plus, you still get all of the features that make Volkswagen’s mid-size panel van a class leader.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Volkswagen Transporter, or browse used Volkswagen Transporter vans for sale right now.
Jaguar F-Pace Chequered Flag 2.0-litre Petrol 250PS AWD from£46,485
The F-Pace comes with all-wheel-drive andAll-Surface Progress Control for enhanced traction, making it an ideal choicefor tackling moderate snowy conditions. The Chequered Flag trim level bringspremium design features and upgraded specifications to the already-luxuriousF-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 more than 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 [ATPC], 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 gloss black exterior details.
Get in touch to discuss your brand new Land Rover Discovery, or browse used Land Rover Discovery cars for sale right now.
Think you’ve found your ideal vehicle? Keepyourself extra safe on the road in snowy conditions with our winterdriving tips.
Want to know more about the best cars to drive in snow? Tweet us @JCT600, message us on live chat, or contact your nearest dealership — we’re always happy to help!
PLEASE NOTE all prices provided in this article are correct at the time of publication.
- Toyota RAV4. ...
- Kia Sorento. ...
- Land Rover Range Rover. ...
- Honda CR-V. ...
- Kia Telluride. ...
- Acura RDX. ...
- Honda CR-V AWD. ...
- Mazda CX-9. The Mazda CX-9 Touring SUV is another mid-size SUV that can handle the harsh weather.
- Skoda Kodiaq. Though the Skoda Kodiaq isn't designed outright as an off-roader, it's remarkably capable of taking on tricky driving conditions. ...
- Land Rover Defender. ...
- Volvo V90 Cross Country. ...
- Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. ...
- Subaru Outback. ...
- Mini Countryman. ...
- Fiat Panda Cross. ...
- Toyota Land Cruiser.
All-wheel-drive systems deliver power to all four wheels at the same time, or they automatically engage torque to all four wheels when needed. That's why all-wheel drive is best for driving on snowy and icy roads.Which 4x4 is best in snow? ›
- Toyota RAV4. The five-seater SUV is one of Toyota's best models when it comes to snowy and slippery conditions. ...
- Dacia Duster SUV. ...
- Land Rover Discovery. ...
- Toyota Land Cruiser. ...
- Kia Sportage. ...
- Porsche Macan S. ...
- BMW 3 Series Touring Estate. ...
- Range Rover Sport HST.
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- Honda Civic: Best Compact Car for the Money.
- Honda Accord: Best Midsize Car for the Money.
- Toyota Avalon: Best Large Car for the Money.
- Hyundai Elantra Hybrid: Best Hybrid or Electric Car for the Money.
The 37th Festival Automobile International jury has awarded the prize for the Most Beautiful Car of 2022 to DS 4. Designed by the DS DESIGN STUDIO PARIS, DS 4 stands out with its incredible proportions and remarkably imposing presence, as much on the outside as on the inside.Is a heavier car better in snow? ›
And while some people believe a heavy vehicle is better for snowy or slippery roads, Cox says they're wrong. Lighter definitely is better. "If you have more weight, you have a better contact patch to get moving, but then you have that much more weight to stop," he explains.What makes a car better in the snow? ›
Snow Tires, a Recap
Tires are the only component of your vehicle in contact with the surface you're driving on. That makes them the most important component on your vehicle. Various drive systems like four- or all-wheel drive are only able to take advantage of the traction provided by your tires. Same with your brakes.
The Kia Sportage is a solid choice for driving in snow, with the all-wheel-drive being the optimal trim. The Sportage performs well in winter due to its traction control, stability control, ABS and Driver Assist Technology features however it is somewhat limited by its 6.4-inch ground clearance.
While many people think that AWD is enough to take on dangerous ice and snow, there is almost no difference between AWD-equipped vehicles and ordinary cars when it comes to cornering, braking and handling in winter weather.Is a jeep or truck better in snow? ›
Longer answer; with better ground clearance than most other vehicles, along with a body built for off-road driving, and a four-wheel-drive system, a Jeep more than holds its own in the snow.Is torque good for snow? ›
Whether driving in the snow or on a dry road, both of these features are important because they are what help make the car move. However, if you are planning on plowing snow, then torque may be a detail you want to focus on more, because it's helpful for moving heavy objects.Are Toyotas good in snow? ›
Toyota trucks, SUVs, and crossovers are your best options across the board for driving in snowy weather. We highly recommend any of these vehicles if you drive through the snow on a regular basis.Are trucks or SUVs better for snow? ›
The short answer is that SUVs are generally better in the snow. Trucks are still great candidates for driving across snowy roads, but there are some major weaknesses as you compare them to an equivalent SUV.Who has best AWD system? ›
- Audi: OG of German AWD.
- Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC: second time's the charm.
- Acura Super Handling: beautifully complex.
- Subaru: tried and true simplicity.
- Deciding which AWD system is the best.