Small car that's good on winter roads

(13 Posts)
kitkat321 Sat 24-Sep-16 23:00:24

I have a wee 55 plate 1 litre petrol Kia Picanto.

Fab we car - surprisingly spacious except for the boot. It's actually better headroom wise than our main car (Astra).

Mechanically it's sound and has very low milage (about 40k) and it doesn't do a lot of miles - maybe 30 miles a week with the odd longer run on the motorway where it does feel a bit gutless.

It's not great on winter roads, the tyres are tiny and being a petrol it feels a bit skittish - I'm used to a diesel which I'm more comfortable/confident with in those conditions.

Unfortunately, we're in a semi rural village and a new estate at the bottom of a steep hill that doesn't get gritted much in winter (new development so council haven't adopted the road yet).

I do often have my toddler in the car so I'm conscious that it's maybe not the safest choice.

OH wants to get a new car but I think new cars with all their electronics and bells and whistles are more likely to break so an newer older car is probably better.

Any suggestions? Don't want to spend more than £3k ish. Initial thoughts are kia rio, hyundai ix20 (I think they are pretty much the same car), dacia sandero or nissan note.

Key considerations are reliability, stability on winter roads and space for a buggy.


Mondy Sun 25-Sep-16 04:50:31

I'd recommend either a Daihatsu Terios 4x4 or Panda 4x4 (the Cross diesel version). Four wheel drive can be worth its weight in gold in the winter.

lazydog Sun 25-Sep-16 05:16:23

I drive a fwd Honda Civic in the Canadian Rockies in wintertime. Decent winter tyres make all the difference. Dedicated winter tyres probably aren't an option for the UK because they'd have inferior grip and wear whenever it's mild, but I had Nokian (a Finnish brand) "All-Weather" tyres for a few years and they weren't at all bad. Not as grippy as proper studded winter tyres, but far better than trying to drive in snowy or icy conditions with summer tyres on the car.

Autumnchill Sun 25-Sep-16 05:36:07

Skinny tyre are better in the snow but another vote for Panda 4x4 or Skoda Yeti smile

kitkat321 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:33:56

Thanks all.

I didn't realise that skinny tyres were better - I wonder if I could just get winter tyres for the week picanto??

BossWitch Sun 25-Sep-16 21:43:06

You don't need to change car, just change tyres. You can get winter tyres off ebay, for cheap if you get remoulded ones, or from any garage. Any garage will stick them on for you. If you are really nervous or have horrendous roads/weather you can get all 4 done, if not just get the front 2.

Best winter car I ever had was my 1.2 petrol fiat punto with a pair of cheap remoulded snow tyres. It went through everything and anything - and this was the winter I lived in rural Northumberland and was snowed in the house for two days. Best bit was merrily going past very expensive, very stuck 4x4s. Problem with any 4x4 is weight - once they start to slide they are hard to get back. Unless you plan to go off roading, keep your car and change the tyres!

lovelyupnorth Sun 25-Sep-16 21:45:32

Just put winter tyres on. If not stick with your small wheels.

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Sun 25-Sep-16 21:47:27

I second getting winter tyres fitted. I do every winter with my Astra. Feel much more confident on icy roads in them. The initial cost was around £200 for the tyres then I pay to swap them over in November and back again at the end of March (about 60 quid a time I think). I've had the same tyres for a few winters now. They are hardly worn at all.

kitkat321 Sun 25-Sep-16 21:56:25

Brilliant thanks - I'll have a look on ebay and see what I can find or speak to my mechanic.

My last 3 cars before this one were all 4x4's with low ratio gearboxes so were an absolute doddle in even the worst snow! My wee picanto is like bambi on ice even with a light frost and I do think it's slippier on the mono block roads in our estate!

IDoAllMyOwnStunts Sun 25-Sep-16 21:58:39

I just went to a normal tyre place (Selectatyre) and they ordered them in for me. Best to swap around November time as the tyres perform best below a certain temperature.

Mondy Sun 25-Sep-16 22:01:08

Worth checking for tyres. You pay for them online and get them fitted at a garage near you. I saved over £300 on tyres for my CR-V - even Costco couldn't beat their price!

Anarchyinateacup Sun 25-Sep-16 22:04:59

Front wheel drives are great in the snow and ice, so most cars in the UK are reasonably ok. I have a 53 plate 1.4 fiesta and it copes perfectly here in multiple seasons in one day Scotland! The handling is good fun on wee roads too!

Anarchyinateacup Sun 25-Sep-16 22:06:56

An older freelander would also see you through the Winter with reasonable fuel economy too

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