A car for winter weather

(45 Posts)
Bunbaker Mon 30-Sep-13 19:09:52

I know this is an emotive subject, but I am seriously considering buying a 4 wheel drive car.

We live on a hill in a rural area and the bad weather over the last two winters left us housebound on a number of occasions. I have been looking at a Ford Kuga and wondered what the opinion was. Or what else can anyone recommend?

WMittens Thu 03-Oct-13 21:49:29


mittens bmws with winter tyres on are great in the snow

I have no doubt, and I'm fairly certain I'll be sampling the same in the future.

For now I'll stick to an AWD Impreza on winter tyres (well, when the temperature drops).

thenightsky Thu 03-Oct-13 21:48:16

I've had no issues since I got myself a Subaru all wheel drive Impreza which I swap onto winter tyres once the temperature drops to below about 5c for more than a week consecutively. Its been rock steady on solid ice and I've not missed a day of work, despite living 15 miles away down rural untreated roads.

Love winter tyres (Vredestein Wintrac Extreme) and my Scooby.

WMittens Thu 03-Oct-13 21:45:41

Duster - eww.

What? Romania's finest.

Hey, I was going to suggest a Lada Niva.

duckyfuzz Thu 03-Oct-13 19:36:02

mittens bmws with winter tyres on are great in the snow grin

BikeRunSki Thu 03-Oct-13 12:45:51

Yes, I meant 5 series. Not great on cars, but I can tell a Golf from a BMW.

octanegirl Thu 03-Oct-13 11:20:30

BikeRunSki I think you mean 5 series not Mark 5's ;) Unless you meant a Golf?

£15k is LOADS. You can literally buy anything you want!

Personally I'd always buy an older German 4x4 or LandRover model over a newer Japanese/other offering - and a new Duster would be very far down my list. I like quality interiors and cars that are built to last. Jap cars are built to last but don't generally have particularly nice cabins. Duster - eww.

WMittens Wed 02-Oct-13 19:50:04

I did say Land Rover, not Range Rover.

You said Range Rovers at one point too, which is why I mentioned it.

I don't think Freelanders are particularly reliable - they're a different beast to a Discovery.

OP, £15K is a hell of a wedge, there's a huge amount of choice at that point. You can get a brand new Dacia Duster 4x4 for a little over £11K.

BikeRunSki Wed 02-Oct-13 19:25:47

Ok, I stand corrected on the BMWs. Just repeating what the petrolheads at work told me last time it snowed and the managers all had to abandon their Mark 5s at the bottom of the hill.

Waferthinmint Wed 02-Oct-13 19:24:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

lljkk Wed 02-Oct-13 18:58:00

I meant swapping wheels I think! Sorry, is that too expensive to do ourselves?

BlackMogul Wed 02-Oct-13 18:52:37

OP - given your budget I would look at a 2nd hand freelander. I have had Land Rovers for 20 years and they have not gone wrong. I have them serviced and they have all been reliable. My current Discovery never puts a foot wrong and neither did the last one. The roads you have to deal with seem difficult. We have spent years agonising over snow car vs rest of the year car and I think you have to drive what you really like for the majority of the time.

Waswondering Wed 02-Oct-13 18:49:04

Friend who is gp in rural practice, north East Scotland, swears by a Fabia with winter tyres.

BlackMogul Wed 02-Oct-13 18:45:27

Actually I would recommend a Discovery. I did say Land Rover, not Range Rover. I have seen "soft roaders" abandoned on our hill and nearly every 2 wheel drive. BMW 5 my husband used to have was impossible! 4 x 4 of a good pedigree is definitely best.

WMittens Wed 02-Oct-13 18:42:17

BMWs are rubbish in snow because they are rear wheel drive.

Apart from the X1, X3, X5, X6, 1-series xDrive, 3-series xDrive.

WMittens Wed 02-Oct-13 18:39:53


Do you mean swap tyres or swap wheels? Swapping wheels requires jacking the car up, unbolting wheels, removing wheels, fitting other wheels, tightening bolts (or lugnuts) - easy.

Swapping tyres involves all of the above, plus breaking the bead on the tyre, levering the bead over the rim on one side, then the other, probably fitting a new valve, brushing some tyre soap on to the new tyre, levering it on to the rim (a fucking chore if you don't have thousands of pounds worth of equipment), checking the balance of the wheel and fitting weights as required (again a chore without specialist equipment).

BikeRunSki Wed 02-Oct-13 18:00:53

BMWs are rubbish in snow because they are rear wheel drive.

NaturalBaby Wed 02-Oct-13 15:16:11

My sister lived at the top of a steep hill up north for years and drives a fiesta...with winter tyres. The only time she's had big issues with it is when a car park flooded while she was at work grin.
I drove dh's bmw last year in severe snow and nearly skidded off the road with my 3 dc's in the back. Everyone I told said 'oh yea, bmw's can't cope with snow and ice'. Wish I'd known before I set off that day!

lljkk Wed 02-Oct-13 15:11:43

ps: do you think 1 Nov about right date to swap to winter tyres? Swap back end of March, maybe?

lljkk Wed 02-Oct-13 15:11:00

I intend to get winter tyres instead. Thanks for reminding me.
How hard is to swap tyres yourself? We are not super mechanical but we can often figure out basics.

Bunbaker Wed 02-Oct-13 15:04:06

Budgetwise I think I would be looking at no more than £15,000. It doesn't have to be a new car.

octanegirl Wed 02-Oct-13 09:54:10

OP if you give us a budget and so on we can help you better - but yes, 4wd on summer tyres is better than 2wd on summer tyres if you want to compare apples with apples, but winter tyres are the way forward (pardon the pun).

I have a 4wd estate car with summer tyres in summer and winter tyres in winter. I've not got stuck yet....

PastaBeeandCheese Wed 02-Oct-13 07:28:40

To be fair to SUV style 4x4s they are very good if you genuinely go off road which we do as our lane is unmade.

KatyPutTheCuttleOn Wed 02-Oct-13 07:23:57

I've driven a lot in bad weather, lots of snow and ice etc. I have had one accident where the car slid (not skidded) into a crash barrier, at the time I was driving a 4x4 so TBH I don't think they are any better or worse than other cars, I've got out of such situations in ordinary cars without an accident. Once a 4 x 4 is sliding down a hill into a crash barrier it's not going to give you the time to direct the car elsewhere - which I've been able to do in a smaller, lighter car.

Fairydogmother Wed 02-Oct-13 07:16:43

I have to say that the best non expensive 4x4 for me the last 2 winters has been my father in laws older style Suzuki vitara. We had several feet of snow drifts and getting to my horse was a nightmare but it plugged on in low 4 wheel drive where nearly everybody else got stuck.

The old thing saved my bacon on several occasions and it's not bad to drive the rest of the year either. I've used it for towing the horse box and rally car tonnes of times too

duckyfuzz Wed 02-Oct-13 07:09:48

Sorry bunbaker I was out all day yesterday, the 4wd was a passat estate. If you need a new car anyway id do as mittens suggests and go for a 4wd with winter tyres.

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