RAC Cars News


Top 10 Cold Weather Essentials For Cars

By raccars Published

A cold snap of stormy winter weather is hitting Britain, bringing the mild weather to a sharp, crisp close. For many drivers, it will mean they’re suddenly aware they’re missing the features that we long for in the dark winter months – and make others thankful they chose wisely when picking their car. But if you’re about to buy a new car, what things should you look for to see you through the cold season? Here, we list 10 winter must-haves…

Heated seats

For years, Volvos used to come as standard with heated seats, so their occupants could face the harsh Swedish winters in comfort. Hundreds of cars today can be bought with them, and it’s virtually a must-have if you own a car with leather seats. Saying that, still find the sensation… how can we put it… ‘unusual’...

Heated windscreen

Ford pioneered the heated windscreen with its Quickclear technology, and now many other brands are offering electric windscreens. The technology behind it is tiny, almost invisible wires throughout the screen that, within around 30 seconds of being turned on, will have cleared the screen of snow or ice on the inside and also removed the frustrating condensation on the inside. You won’t believe how often you’ll be thankful you chose this option.


ESC is now mandatory on all new cars, and many used cars also have it, particularly premium or sports models. The electronic anti-skid, anti-spin technology is exactly what’s required to stay safe on icy, changeable winter roads – it literally could mean the difference between a nasty prang or steering to safety.

Winter tyres

If you’ve never tried winter tyres, take our word for it – they transform how the car performs on wintry roads. They’re not just for when it snows, either: the benefits shine through whenever the temperature drops below 7 degrees Celsius. Officially, they’re called cold weather tyres, and are one of the best investments for winter driving you can make.

Heated washer jets

It’s the ultimate in frustration: you’re driving in grotty winter traffic, grime constantly being thrown onto your windscreen… and while your windscreen wipers may work, the washer jets are frozen and you can’t actually clear your screen. Tick the right option box – they sometimes cost little more than £100 – and cure this dangerous issue in an instant.

Xenon headlights

Winter is dark and quickly shines a light on any weaknesses with your headlights. The easiest way to guarantee extra light on the move is to choose a car with Xenon headlights. Also called HID headlights, their powerful beam significantly improves forward vision (and also gives that tell-tale crystal-clear white light so many executive cars now have).

Heated steering wheel

Can you believe that some cars offer electric heated steering wheels? Not just luxury cars either: the technology that started out in Range Rovers and BMW X5s can now be found in the humble Vauxhall Corsa and Hyundai i10. Dispense with the driving gloves for good!

Cabin pre-heater

Some luxury cars have a little heater plumbed into the car’s climate control system that works on a timer to start heating up the car before you get in. Today, most electric cars have the same function when plugged into the grid – it means the driver doesn’t have to waste precious battery power bringing the cabin up to temperature when they set off on a journey.

A built in ice scraper

An ice scraper is a winter default – it’s against the law to drive with your windows iced over, and you certainly don’t want to be using your credit card or CD cases. Ice scrapers have a habit of getting lost, though: no problem if you own a modern Skoda, because they have one built into the fuel filler flap to help in an icy emergency!

A built in coffee machine

This is the ultimate winter indulgence, but how those lucky enough to have it will appreciate it! The Fiat 500L features the option of a Lavazza coffee machine between the front seats, for a steaming cup of Joe on the go. The ultimate winter indulgence?

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