Winter is coming, as they said on that famous TV show no one likes anymore. And rather than that heralding an army of undead ice creatures, in the UK it means terrible weather and challenging driving conditions.
While we’ve already given some winter driving tips, others might be wondering which vehicles provide the most surety when the going gets tough. Here’s our picks for best SUV for winter driving.
While there are more accomplished vehicles on this list that can tackle whatever weather is thrown at it, the Ford Kuga has enough unique perks that it deserves a place on the list.
Perhaps top of that list is it’s one of the more fun to drive cars in the segment, acting almost as a beefed-up Ford Focus. On top of its sharp handling is the surety of the all-wheel drive and a commanding view from the driver seat. This ensures the Kuga is one of the best all-rounders on the market.
With advanced safety features including lane keep assist, hill-start and auto emergency braking, as well as time-saving features such as Quickclear to ensure your windscreen is defrosted in no time at all, it also offers plenty of convenience for motorists.
Beautifully designed, remarkably efficient, effortlessly capable, the Kuga has something for everyone and is available in petrol, diesel, hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
Range Rover Velar
Many wondered what the point of the Velar was when it was first launched, slotting into a bit of an obscure gap in the Land Rover range, but it’s safe to say the Range Rover Velar has proved to be a runaway success for the manufacturer.
Part of the reason for that success is down to the SUVs perfect balance of looks and performance. Described as ‘avant garde luxury’, the Velar emphasises sportiness and on-road ability thanks to its unique design that straddles a fine line between coupe-esque smoothness and SUV-esque presence.
While the seating position is lower than any other Land Rover before, emphasising sportiness and on-road performance as its top priorities, this isn’t at the expense of its all-weather prowess. Though it might be more driver-focused, it’s still incredibly capable over the rough stuff thanks to standard-fit four-wheel drive in whichever engine option you choose.
As standard, the Velar also comes with heated front seats, keyless entry, automatic headlights and wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror, and dual-zone climate control making it the ideal car whatever the weather and one of the best SUV for winter driving.
Right time, right place, Volkswagen introduced the Tiguan just as the crossover segment slowly began to dominate the new car market. Now in its second generation, the Tiguan has recently undergone a facelift to ensure it keeps up with its competitors.
The updated Tiguan introduces hybrid to the range for the first time and features newly designed headlamps, radiator grille and broad bumper intakes. Inside, a new multifunction steering wheel is offered as well as a redesigned centre dashboard which incorporates a new touchscreen display.
As far as surety, convenience and adaptability to the weather, the Tiguan provides an abundance of features and is comfy and quiet to drive. When you get in the car in a cold morning or evening, there’s heated seats and steering wheel to keep you warm, heated front washer nozzles and side mirrors to defrost more easily, and Travel Assist supports you in monotonous or tiring driving situations to make traffic jams and stop-and-go situations a doddle.
While 4Motion all-wheel drive is only available as standard on the top of the range R model, it will offer more traction on slippery roads so might be worth considering.
Volvo’s most recent SUV was introduced to plug a gap in their line-up and provide a challenge to the more upmarket small SUVs such as Audi Q2 and BMW X1.
The XC40 has built on the performance of the bigger XC60 and XC90 to offer something unique to the segment. In fact it was so impressive it was unanimously voted as the 2018 European Car of the Year.
Where the XC40 excels is in getting you from A to B in comfort, luxury, and most importantly safely. Safety has always been one of the core values of Volvo (in fact they invented the three-point seatbelt we all wear), so it’s no surprise to see the small SUV continue that tradition. In fact it’s one of Euro NCAP highest rated five-star vehicles, scoring 97% for Adult Occupant safety, 87% for Child Occupant, 71% for Vulnerable Road Users, and 76% for Safety Assist.
With a variety of drive modes to match conditions – Comfort, Eco, Off Road, Dynamic and Individual – it’s Off Road you’ll no doubt find yourself in over the winter months. This maximises the car’s traction when driving in difficult terrain and on poor roads ensuring it’s one of the best SUV for winter driving.
Part SUV, part hatchback, the Nissan Qashqai is a jack of all trades and started the crossover trend so it deserves a place on this list.
Now entering its third generation since the original’s launch in 2007, the Qashqai continues to fight off all-comers as the go-to family car. The latest generation has been completely overhauled to improve on and provide the same levels of size, styling and easy-to-operate assistance features.
With four-wheel drive as an optional spec, it proves to be a precise and confidence-inspiring drive. Range-topping Tekna and Tekna+ trims offer additional comfort features such as heated steering wheel, heated windscreen and heated front seats. It also proves to be one of the most economical 4x4s available, returning 55.4mpg too.
All of this inspires confidence in the Qashqai as a solid choice for best SUV for winter driving, proving it could continue to be the go-to choice for families up and down the UK.