Driving in snow can be harder than solving a quadratic equation. Motorists brave enough to venture into the wilderness must therefore choose the right vehicle for the job. So, which small cars excel in the snow?
The new Skoda Yeti
is a worthy choice. Skoda claim the Yeti is a 'crossover vehicle' combining the strength of a 4x4 with the practicality of a family hatchback. There is a choice of five engines, the 1.2-litre 105bhp and 1.8-litre 160bhp petrols - and three 2.0-litre diesels with outputs of 110, 140, and 170bhp. My preference is the largest diesel which reaches 62mph in 8.4 seconds and returns a combined average of 46.3mpg.
The second vehicle to tempt snow defying motorists is the Daihatsu Terios
. This compact off-road vehicle has permanent four-wheel-drive and a 1.5-litre 103bhp engine. The handling is composed and confident making this affordable 4x4 a surprisingly accomplished package. The Terios is also robustly constructed and Euro NCAP awarded it four out of five safety stars for adult occupant protection.
The final tantalising prospect is the Suzuki SX4
. Designed in collaboration with Fiat, the four-wheel-drive option of this compact sports utility vehicle comes into its own in slippery conditions. Engines throughout the range include two petrols and four diesels, teamed with a five/six-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Handling and ride may be mediocre in normal conditions, but the SX4's compact dimensions and four-wheel-drive make it an asset in snow covered towns.
By Stephen Turvil
Mon, 11 Jan 2010