It’s sporadic for a UK citizen to think of dealing with large amounts of snow and ice on its roads due to its mild climate change. Unfortunately this means that people are unprepared for even the short period snowfalls that occurred. In the UK, we are notoriously poor at preparing for any sort of weather change that is not a light drizzle. When it is sunny we are slapped with a hosepipe ban, we receive heavy rain and suddenly floods are everywhere and god forbid that we get even the slightest hint of snow!
If you are looking to buy a new 4 by 4 car, you must check what type of drive chain works best in the snow. Trusted car buying companies like WeBuyMotors has put together some tips and awareness for you to consider.
To anticipate the problem of snowy and unsafe roads, you must buy a vehicle that will perform well even in the iciest conditions. Nonetheless, what is the best vehicle for driving in the snow- front, rear or all-wheel drive?
So, let’s consider that how much difference can a 4x4 make during winter months?
4x4 has extra grip as compared to front and rear wheel drive because its power is being delivered to all the wheels on your vehicle. This benefit of added traction gives greater margin between a safe and chancy journey especially on snowy roads. The hazard of losing control on vehicle is minimized because all the wheels are driving the vehicle, if one of them slips then it doesn’t affect the car as seriously as there is still traction at other points.
Whereas, one must take extra care while driving 4x4 as cornering too fast on a snowy road can lead the front wheels twist and car can stay in a straight line instead of taking a turn. You must slowdown in advance to avoid this from happening.
Although 4 wheel drive can go long way but it does not help you to stop instantly. It is important for the driver to remember that plenty of time is needed to apply brakes and keep his car slow and steady.
Caution is necessary because it is significant to know that how to drive your car in winter conditions, as this can drastically enhance the performance of your 4x4.
UK landscape and road network not necessarily requires 4x4 in winter driving but if you do have one then you’re extremely unlikely to become stranded wherever you are in the country.
Honestly, a 4x4 can make a huge amount of difference when it comes to winter driving but it is not the be all and end all. It is just as important to install winter tires and know the best ways to drive in the snow and to avoid any hazards.
Driving technique is especially important when driving in tough winter conditions - the natural capability of a 4x4 can be dramatically extended when it is used correctly.
Use low range gears with greater control while ensuring 4x4 wheel drive. This includes low speed turns and tricky terrain drive. Pulling away in the highest practical gear will provide more natural traction due to the reduced torque being transmitted to the wheels. There are occasions, especially when recovering a stuck vehicle, when disabling traction control systems can be beneficial, but it's usually best to attempt recovery with the systems enabled first, only switching them off if you have been unsuccessful. The traction systems which can occasionally be a hindrance are the variety which have the ability to reduce engine power as a result of traction loss - occasionally you'll need the ability to spin the wheels unhindered to provide maximum chances of recovery.
Ok, so you have managed to pull away successfully and now you need to maintain progress. Bigger obstacles like rocks, branches and frozen pools of water are been hidden in deep snow so you need to drive at a sensible pace, but keep momentum up where. If you are driving on a well-established track, try to stick to the center to avoid drainage ditches.
Driving in Furrowed Snow
If channels have formed due to the action of previous vehicles, keep track of where your front wheels are pointing as steering can be dramatically reduced. It's very common for drivers to apply a certain amount of steering lock without noticing and the car will happily continue to follow the path of the channels. This is not necessarily a problem unless the wheels do eventually find traction as this could cause the vehicle to jump suddenly out of the channels and off the track.
Hence, the advantage of using a 4x4 drive in snow is the higher level of traction. This means that a 4 wheel drive user has a great ability to gain speed in slippery conditions, such as snow and ice. Equally by maintaining the momentum of a car, a driver has better control on the vehicle. Despite this fact it is imperative not to drive too quickly in snow in any vehicle. There are the same issues in terms of grip when trying to slow down or stop the car in 4x2 or 4x4 wheel drive.
To safely slow down a vehicle in snow make sure to leave as much space as possible. Gently brake in short progressive bursts to avoid your wheels locking. Over braking in icy conditions will more than likely lead to the car sliding.
If you really are confused to buy or not to buy a 4x4 car, then you must go through the following tips to get a clear answer of all your queries.
You must have a clear idea that you really need one or you are just getting attracted to its hot and commanding looks on the road. If your drive is so rough and tough then go for it otherwise go for some other options.
4 by 4 cars are costly to buy and run along for a longer period of time. They tends to consume higher fuel and maintenance cost. However, depreciation on 4 by 4 cars tends to be far less severe than on conventional cars so make sure you do your calculations wisely.
Most 4 by 4 cars sold in the UK come with diesel engines, particularly on larger models because of the overall cheaper fuel costs. These modern fuel cars offer better torque for towing. The latest trend is hybrid 4x4s such as the popular Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV capable of delivering a high 156mpg and 40g/km CO2 emissions, making it exempt from road tax and phenomenally cheap to run.
Mostly buyers opt for four wheel drive cars in winter months to avoid any accident or break down but it is a known fact that due to the sheer complexity of off-road cars, they often have far worse reliability records than hatchbacks or saloons. For this reason, it is well worth choosing a brand that offers a better warranty than the standard 3 years/60,000 miles. Kia offers an industry leading 7 year warranty or 100,000 miles whilst Hyundai and Toyota offer 5 year warranties with unlimited mileage and 100,000 miles cover respectively.
Most of the 4x4 cars do not have much interior space. Housing four wheel drive kit can take up some of a car’s valuable boot space or compromise on interior space for occupants. However, some 4x4s do offer a good substitute for an MPV including 7 seats and plenty of room for luggage. Some of the best large MPVs on the market include the Audi Q7, the BMW X5, the Kia Sorrento and the Volvo XC90. So you must choose when you are fully aware of every aspect of 4x4 cars.
4x4 cars are now available with better technology. One should consider the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions etc. before picking a car For example, the Skoda Yeti Greenline II offers claimed fuel economy of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km, meaning car tax will be just £30 a year whilst the Mitsubish Outlander PHEV is exempt from road tax altogether.
People do not make good choices by not considering all of the above mentioned points before buying a 4x4 car. You must spend the best of your time on making a ground for buying 4x4. Crossovers will almost always perform better as everyday transport than traditional 4x4s. If you’ve got the cash to spend, we would recommend opting for one of the many premium brands on the market to ensure you get the best performance possible. All the Audi, BMW and VW 4×4 cars are great to drive whilst on road performance in the Ford Kuga, Mazda Cx-5, Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC60 have also been highly commended.
Go through the following list of cars before making your choices for a 4x4 car
Regardless of its looks, the Mazda CX-5 is more of a crossover than a rocky SUV, but it can still be fitted with four-wheel drive for extra grip. Mazda has also given the CX-5 an excellent range of petrol and diesel engines, which provide plenty of power while returning strong fuel economy. Inside, there’s lots of space for passengers and luggage, making this an excellent family car, and an even better one for the winter months.
When the Dacia Duster was launched in 2010, it changed our perception of just how cheap a budget SUV could be. Sure, the Duster has a few rough edges, but for the money, it’s hard to beat. There’s a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but the powerful and economical diesel is better suited to genuine off-roading – something the Duster is more than capable of. Back on the road, the Dacia leans a bit in corners (but not excessively) and manages to be pretty comfortable. The interior is basic, but it’s spacious and high-spec models have plenty of equipment.
The BMW 3 Series is one of the most proficient cars on sale in the UK and it’s now available with xDrive four-wheel drive. The 3 Series offers superb build quality and an excellent range of engines though it is very expensive compared to mainstream models such as Ford Mondeo. It makes long journeys very easy on the road. Adding four-wheel-drive makes the 3 Series sure-footed on slippery roads, although these models are also more expensive to buy and run than the normal car.
The TT, a sports car, can be specified with Audi’s quattro four-wheel-drive system, which makes it better at tackling slippery roads than rivals such as the Porsche Cayman. The new TT looks sharper than the old car, but the real revelation comes inside. Cars costing ten times as much don’t feel as high quality as this Audi, and the stunning 12.3-inch ‘virtual cockpit display is something we are likely to see in many more cars before long. As before, there’s a great line-up of petrol and diesel engines, with the Ultra diesel striking a particularly good balance between strong performance and excellent fuel economy.
The Renault Kadjar is based on the Nissan Qashqai, but gets its own exterior and interior design, so everything you see and touch is Renault. Plus, the Kadjar is around £1,500 cheaper than an equivalent Qashqai. Fuel economy and running costs are marginally improved on the Qashqai, too, so it’s better value. Choosing four-wheel drive doesn’t convert the Kadjar into a rugged off-roader, but it does make it more capable in slippery winter conditions.
The Range Rover Sport is more than £10,000 cheaper than the full-sized Range Rover, so it could be argued that it offers good value despite its hefty list price. High performance and a luxurious interior are combined with proper off-road prowess, and while the petrol models cost a treasure to run, the basic diesel comes close to matching the MPG figure of a petrol saloon car. Out on the road, the Range Rover is extremely comfortable, and more fun to drive than you’d expect. Off-road, sophisticated technology means the Sport is almost unstoppable.
Don’t be put off by the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross’ dull looks, because underneath lurks an extremely capable crossover. Fitted with the 1.6-litre diesel engine, it’s economical yet also fun to drive. Add four-wheel drive and you get a car that’ll be very capable in winter weather and can also turn its hand to light off-roading. Avoid the CVT automatic gearbox, though – it makes the engine noisy and reduces fuel economy. The boring exterior styling continues inside, but the Suzuki’s cabin is quite spacious and it has a bigger boot than a Volkswagen Golf.
The Skoda Octavia Scout is one of the most well rounded cars you can buy. The regular Skoda Octavia Estate is a top performer in almost every area and the Scout version adds four-wheel drive to the formula. That means you get a spacious and practical family car that’s well built, competitively priced and enjoyable to drive. You can choose from two diesel engines, both of which offer enough power to tow up to 2,000kg (200kg more than the standard car) without the car feeling sluggish. On the downside, the Octavia Scout is more expensive to buy and run than the standard car.
The Fiat Panda 4x4 formula of a low list price and good off-road ability is reminiscent of the Dacia Duster, but the similarities end there. The Panda is a lot smaller than the Duster, but feels like a higher-quality product and its appeal goes beyond the fact that it’s cheap to buy. It’s cheekily styled inside and out, and while interior space is limited by its compact dimensions, the Fiat’s cabin is still impressively practical. Its engines are very economical on paper, but we’ve found it difficult to match the Twin Air petrol’s claimed MPG figure in the real world, so the diesel is probably a better bet. Surprisingly given its cute looks, the Panda 4x4 is very impressive off-road.
Subaru has forged a great reputation for building tough, rugged cars that excel when the weather turns bad. The Subaru Outback is the pick of the bunch, thanks to raised suspension and a four-wheel drive system that powers all four wheels all of the time. It might not be as conventionally stylish as other cars in this list, but it has a uniquely rugged appeal. Petrol and diesel engines are available, along with a manual or a clever automatic gearbox. Our top choice is the diesel manual, in entry-level SE trim. That means the car features kit such as electrically-operated front seats, climate control, sat-nav and a wide range of safety kit.
Content Writer at Motor Trader