Not relishing the idea of a long road trip this winter in your day-to-day city run around? With the risk of high winds, low visibility, icy roads, rain and snow, driving through the cold, dark months is far from everyone’s cup of tea.
If you’ve got a long journey to make for business or pleasure and you don’t quite trust the road handling capabilities of your own car, you might be considering hiring a car to make that trip. But what are the most reliable cars for winter driving? Here are five of the best to start you off.
Hailing from Sweden, Volvo knows a thing or two about making cars that can handle cold weather driving. And over the last few years, the XC90 has emerged as one of the standout models in its class. This luxury SUV boasts a five-star safety rating with state-of-the-art features such as autonomous emergency braking, automatic seat belt tightening, exceptional road grip and a special ‘winter mode’ that starts in third gear to avoid wheel spinning in icy conditions.
Audi A3 Quattro
Audi has emerged in the past decade as a prestige marque to rival its fellow German brands Mercedes and BMW. It has also built a formidable reputation for the quality of its engineering and its peerless safety credentials. The two combine perfectly in the A3 Quattro to create a car that delivers perhaps the best on-road performance in tricky conditions of any vehicle currently on the market. ‘Quattro’ refers to Audi’s now-legendary all-wheel-drive system, but the A3 also includes ABS, anti-slip regulation and active-lane keeping to ensure you stay on the right track whatever the weather.
Know that unsettling feeling when, in high winds, torrential rain or when the roads are icy, you constantly feel like you’re on the edge of losing control of your car and veering off track? The Sorento counters this with a smart ‘vehicle stability management’ system, which helps to correct understeering and oversteering by automatically adjusting engine torque and braking. It is also a nice, big, stable family-sized SUV ideal for taking the whole clan on that road trip in comfort as well as safety.
While SUVs tend to dominate the all-terrain category, the Outback is a throwback to a previous era. Part estate, part classic offroader, it delivers all the essentials you want for a winter road warrior - it’s tough, extremely stable on the road and packed full of safety features. Adaptive cruise control and emergency braking help ensure that the Outback handles just as well when the weather is truly awful as it does in warm, dry conditions.
To round things off, a non-four wheel drive option. It might sound like a given to opt for all-wheel drive for a winter journey, but the 3008 offers an interesting alternative with its innovative Grip Handling technology. This works by adjusting power delivery when it detects the front wheels struggling for grip, offering a smooth and stable drive with good traction in all conditions. The 3008 also comes with added safety features such as lane keeping, distance warning and emergency braking.
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