RAC Cars News


Surviving Winter In A Two Wheel Drive

By raccars Published

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Basking in the remains of the summer, you'll no doubt be less than pleased to be reminded that winter is on the way. Nonetheless, organised types will be eager to prepare their cars for the colder weather, while those living in remote or inaccessible areas or who feel their old bangers won't make it through another cold spell, may be considering what they can buy to make the heavy weather a little more manageable.

The obvious answer is a 4x4, but if you're not comfortable with that idea, there are some very reasonable two wheel drive options that cope admirably with the famous British weather. Some sail through, thanks to minor additions, such as an elevated ride height, clever traction control system and good winter tyres at each corner - certainly a cheaper way into mountain goat territory than shelling out for an enormous mud plugger.

Peugeot's Grip Control and Renault's Grip Xtend

The Grip Control system used by Peugeot in its 2008/3008 crossover models features the kind of terrain assistance usually found on the likes of Land Rovers, with a dial allowing the driver to select Snow, Sand, Mud or Normal settings. In snow the traction control focuses on maintaining forward motion and while it doesn't quite turn the 2008/3008 into a four wheel drive, it's a very good alternative. Pretty much the same idea is used by Renault with its Grip Xtend system, with traction control modes including Road, Loose Ground and Expert.

Fiat Panda Trekking and Qubo Trekking

The Fiat Panda 4x4 is a cult favourite among Italian hill farmers, being as nimble as a mountain goat and virtually indestructible. The Panda Trekking is a very respectable two wheel drive version of the same, armed with the Fiat Traction+ system, functioning as a diff lock to apply the brakes upon the detection of front wheel slippage. With the admirable addition of mud and snow tyres as standard, it offers a lot of the advantages of the 4x4 for a cheaper price. The bulbous Qubo is fitted with the same Traction+ and a very practical rubber floor for easy cleaning.

Jaguar XJ

While the heated steering wheel is tempting enough in itself, the snow socks that come with the XJ are a very practical and convenient alternative to winter tyres. They are quick and easy to fit and remove, while Jaguar's Snow Traction System is available as an optional extra, in the form of snow chains for the rear wheels.

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