Winter is coming. And that, of course, means two things: dark nights and a crippled UK road network. The finest dusting of sleet or snow sees the UK grind (or skid) to an unavoidable halt, as the country fails spectacularly to cope with a turn in the weather.
However, a good set of winter wheels can be the difference between you being left stranded and getting home for Christmas – if Boris allows it, that is. Here, Ape runs down the best winters 4x4s for every budget.
£15,000 And Below
Fiat Panda 4×4
Unless you head to the classifieds there are few four-wheel drive options on the new car market. However, one car that has long offered go-anywhere transport on a budget is the Panda 4×4.
Given the price, don’t expect too many luxuries – but this is a small car with a big attitude for tackling serious off-road terrain. Don’t underestimate it.
£20,000 And Below
Dacia, which is owned by Renault, has a simple ethos: second-hand prices for brand new cars. Beyond the badge snobbery, Dacia produces some truly excellent vehicles and the Duster is the best of the bunch.
It may cost you less than £20,000, but inside you still get Apple CarPlay, a reversing camera, parking sensors and cruise control. Pound-for-pound, it’s among the best value winter transport.
£45,000 And Below
Land Rover Defender
The Defender is back, but still as capable as ever. While you can spend close to £100,000 on a Defender once you add on all the kit, the range does start from a more reasonable £44,260 for an entry-level, three-door 90 model. That gets you a 197bhp 2.0-litre diesel that comes as standard with an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive.
Electronic air suspension, a 3D surround camera and all-season tyres will ensure you never get stuck off-road.
£65,000 And Below
Audi RS4 Avant
Winter transport doesn’t have to come in the shape of a boxy SUV. Audi’s RS 4 Avant has demonstrated for years that fast, spacious estate cars can also do the job – and look a lot better while doing it.
Quattro all-wheel drive and 444bhp from a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 will ensure plenty of muscle, while the spacious rear end means it’s just as practical as a mid-size SUV in the real world.
£100,000 And Above
Rugged appeal, go-anywhere ability and kerb appeal don’t come better packaged than in a G-Class. It’s been around, in one form or another, for 40 years and over that time it has been continually developed to become one of the most capable 4x4s around.
The latest model has three locking differentials, a low range gearbox and independent suspension for maximum off-road ability. That boxy body also means 30% approach and departure angles.