Why winter is the time to buy a 4x4

For peace of mind during the winter months, buying a 4x4 is the best investment you can make.

Winter is fast approaching and so conditions on the road are only set to decline. The UK is notorious for coming into the colder months unprepared for the amount of ice and snow, with not enough grit on the roads and many cars skidding. People trying to get to work, drive home for Christmas or take their children to school will need a car that can handle the adverse conditions and, more often that not, 4x4s have been considered the best option for driving in winter. Should you be looking to buy a used car any time soon, here are a few reasons why you could benefit from a 4x4.

Great at pulling through the snow

The top benefit of a 4x4 is its reputation to be able to pull through unfavourable road conditions. So when there are heavy snow drifts, you are far less likely to get stuck when behind the wheel of a 4x4. Their traction means that it is far easier to get going on ice and to move through thick snow without getting stuck.

Newer 4x4 models can be adjusted to varied weather conditions while you are on the go. At just the touch of a button, you can change the suspension, engine and transmission settings to suit the terrain you are traversing.

However, grip can still be a problem - as is the case with all cars - so make sure you leave a seven to eight second gap between your car and the vehicle ahead.

You will need the suspension

During snowy conditions, bumps in the road and potholes will get covered up so when you go over them unexpectedly this can cause damage to your vehicle. Choosing a car with plenty of suspension like a 4x4 is the best option for minimising the damage. Getting one with a high ride will also ensure the underside is safe when you go over unexpected bumps.

More economical than you think

One of the biggest concerns over buying a 4x4 vehicle tends to be its fuel economy. However, many 4x4s have been manufactured to provide lower emissions and higher miles per gallon (mpg). Diesel engines, in particular are more likely to be able to get more mileage before you stop for fuel again, which in turn can save plenty on road tax. The Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI 4x4, for example, can reach up to 57.6 mpg. Largely regarded as one of the specialists of 4x4 brands, Range Rover has also worked to improve fuel economy as its Evoque 2.2 TD4 Pure can reach 49.6 mpg.

Yet by combining an electric motor with a conventional engine, you can improve fuel consumption further. With electric cars very much the future of economic vehicles, some manufacturers have been turning to hybrid vehicles to improve fuel economy. Examples of this include the Lexus RX or the Cayenne from Porsche.

Combine price with specifications

When you do go to buy a 4x4 make sure you have the right specifications in mind for the price you want to pay. Going for a more fuel efficient vehicle can appear costly in the short term but it will save you plenty of money in the long run both on refuelling your car and on road tax.

Additionally, the higher the specification the more likely your car will be to keep its value so raising your budget for this could see you reclaim more of this money when you go to sell it later. However, what you will find that a 4x4 has above a conventional car money-wise is its ability to retain its value in general.

Get clear in your mind what style you would like to go for too, if you want a car with a higher ride or are looking for prestige brands such as the Audi A3 or the BMW X3 then adjust your budget for that. If you are put off by the look of the 4x4 remember that you can always go for a four-wheel drive version of a conventional car, so consider looking to such vehicles as the Vauxhall Insignia 4x4 or the Subaru Legacy.

 

  • On: 05 December 2013
  • By: CarShop

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