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10 used family cars with all-wheel drive

By raccars Published

Standfirst

Our pick of 10 everyday family cars that will help you get out of the snow. You may not need that SUV after all!

For many people, the idea of a genuine 4x4 is anything but heaven. A more understated profile, and the savings that come with it, is much more like it. Right up until they have to be rescued in the snow by a big, flash 4x4. How to avoid the embarrassment? Get a family hatch equipped with four-wheel drive, to future-proof yourself against anything the British weather can throw at you. Here’s 10 of the best.

1. Audi A4 quattro

One of the most commonplace ‘everyday’ all-wheel drive cars is the Audi A4 quattro. Many engines and trims have been sold with a quattro four-wheel drive option over the years, meaning there’s plentiful choice among approved dealers.

Our choice would be the trusty 2.0 TDI, as it still delivers good mpg despite the security of assured traction in all weathers. Factor in the A4’s consummate long-distance refinement for a great all-year-round family saloon or Avant estate.

Find an Audi A4 on RAC Cars

2. Audi A3 quattro

You can buy early A3 1.8T and 1.9 TDI models with Quattro four-wheel drive for less than £2,000, but they’ll be more than a decade old. A safer bet is to buy a more recent 2.0 TFSI or 2.0 TDI, either a second-generation or current third-generation model.

If you don’t spot the ‘quattro’ badge, you don’t even know the A3 has four-wheel drive – until it gets you out of a tricky slippery patch, that is. Even fuel economy barely suffers over a regular model.

Find an Audi Quattro on RAC Cars

3. Volkswagen Golf 4Motion

If the Audi is a bit too expensive, try its more mainstream Volkswagen Golf sibling. Here, we’d go for the 2.0 TDI 4Motion model (likely wearing a 2006 plate) which, apart from a slightly raised ride height over a standard car, looks just the same as any other Golf.

Just be warned, Mk5 Golf 4Motion models are very rare, so you’ll have to search high and low to track one down. For this very reason, you may be better going for the more mainstream Audi…

Find an Volkswagen Golf on RAC Cars

4. Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

If you need something a bit bigger than a Golf, Volkswagen launched an all-wheel drive Alltrack version of the Passat estate in 2015, boasting Audi allroad-style off-road looks and a raised ride height.

It’s a more rugged SUV-style alternative to a regular Passat: if it’s too new, try searching for a 4Motion version of an older Passat – although again, they’re thin on the ground…

Find an Volkswagen Passat Alltrack on RAC Cars

5. BMW 3 Series xDrive

BMW only offered rear-wheel drive models of its sporting saloons for years – which caught many owners out in winter snowfalls. But now, there’s an alternative – xDrive.

These are all-wheel drive versions of regular current-generation 3 Series models and are, like Audi Quattro versions, almost identical to rear-drive variants. Offered with both diesel and petrol engines, they’re proving popular – BMW says its all-wheel drive 3 Series now outsells the comparable A4…

Find an BMW 3 Series xDrive on RAC Cars

6. Skoda Octavia 4x4

The Skoda Octavia is a great family car with an enormous interior, long-running and economical diesel engines, strong equipment levels and top value for money.

It’s even better as a 4x4 estate though: once again, they take a bit of searching out, but the all-wheel drive versions of Skoda’s Golf-derived family car are certainly worth tracking down. If you want something even smarter, try looking for one of the Octavia Scout versions.

Find an Skoda Octavia on RAC Cars

7. Subaru Forester

All Subaru family-orientated models come with all-wheel drive and one of the most practical is the Forester estate. With its raised ride height and tough looks, it has more than a hint of crossover SUV about it – intentionally so, too.

That’s because this is a genuinely capable off-road machine, with more ground clearance than many genuine 4x4s and a brilliant drivetrain that finds grip in even the slipperiest of conditions. With peerless reliability and good driving manners, the Forester is one of the best-kept family car estates on the road.

Find an Subaru Forester on RAC Cars

8. Nissan Qashqai 4WD

The Nissan Qashqai is a crossover SUV that looks like a 4x4 – but, generally, only drives the front wheels. Nissan does offer a 4WD system though, which is worth hunting for if you want the grip to go with the looks.

It’s generally restricted to more powerful engines and more upmarket trims which, along with its rarity, means prices remain firm. But it’s a reliable system that works well in ice and snow, so is certainly worth keeping and eye out for.

Find an Nissan Qashqai on RAC Cars

9. Peugeot 3008 Hybrid4

The Peugeot 3008 is another crossover that generally doesn’t have four-wheel drive. It’s the eco hybrid model that springs the surprise – this does offer all-wheel drive, thanks to its clever diesel-electric drivetrain.

The rear wheels are actually powered by an electric motor, which blends with the diesel engine driving the front wheels to give enough shove to deal with tricky conditions. Add in hybrid-diesel efficiency (with low-speed electric-only running) for an alternative take on the four-wheel drive family car.

Find an Peugeot 3008 on RAC Cars

10. Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

Suzuki’s Nissan Qashqai alternative again offers four-wheel drive in a limited number of models alongside the much more commonplace front-wheel drive models. Again, it’s a fully automatic system that doesn’t demand you press any buttons or tug any levers.

Suzuki calls the system ‘ALLGRIP’ and it’s best coupled to the impressive DDiS turbodiesel engine. You can even get an automatic four-wheel drive version though, if you stick to the 1.6 petrol engine alternative.

Find an Suzuki SX4 S-Cross on RAC Cars

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