posted 9 years ago

Best Small Cars for Driving in Snow

Driving in snow can be harder than solving a quadratic equation.

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.

Small cars, thin tyres, front wheel drive- diesel for better torque but not 100% necessary. Forget anything with ESP it is a waste of time in proper snow. 4x4s are fine, but you need a proper 4x4 like a Discovery, not a Rav or Vitara.

Ok Our Grande Punto 1.4 is great on snow. We live on the top of a hill so should know. The thin tyres with good tread low revs and it went through the worst of the weather.

Take a leaf out of the French people who live in the alpes ski resorts.Large 4 wheel drive British driven poser cars with low profile high speed tyres stay at the bottom of the mountain in adverse conditions or slide off on the way down.The French solution:- small front wheel drive diesel cars with manual transnission and the must have snow tyres, these have no problems. With ice we all have problems and need snow chains.

4x4's are all very well, if you can afford one, but a more economical 'practical' solution would be any small'ish Front Wheel Drive Diesel, (most weight on the 'driven' and 'steering' wheels) - fitted with "good" tyres; i.e. Plenty of tread. I had a peugeot 205 diesel that was excellent in any conditions, even snow up to 6 to 8 inches deep, commuting regularly between North Yorkshire and Lancashire. (210 miles daily!)

But all quadratic equations have solutions, and the roots are always easy to find, even if they are sometimes complex!