British Motorists and Snow

I recently wrote an article about the fascinating 'Landrover Cuthbertson'

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Now I'm kind of wishing I'd actually bought the thing! That would be GREAT in the snow, I'm sure. I accept there's are certain issues with practicality, but it would be very good on a snow covered road. Then I got thinking, what about a 6x6? You can get a slightly rough n'ready Defender 6x6 for reasonable money. That'd be pretty decent on the slippy stuff right? Okay, okay, it's overkill and it'd be a bit long to park. Plus it's probably awful to drive to in 99% of situations.

I DID have an AWD Jaguar X-Type...

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That car was SERIOUSLY good in the snow. It was actually seriously good all-round. Anybody who hated on the X-Type was basically wrong, or must have driven the wrong one. It was fast, comfy, practical, unstoppable in the snow - even on normal tyres!

Going back BEFORE the Jag, I had a Ford Ranger Supercab on BF Goodrich Mud and Snow Tyres and that would go literally anywhere...

NOW, I have Ford Focus ST3, on the tyres it came with:-

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I'll be honest, I really wanted something which was AWD, but I couldn't get an Audi because I'm neither a dentist nor an architect and I couldn't get a BMW X-Drive because I just don't see myself as a BMW Driver...

Yes, yes, I'm sure I could get some stupid Chelsea Tractor that's about as interesting as John Major's autobiography. The thing is, despite them all looking like big chunky SUVs, most of them aren't even four wheel drive! I mean seriously! There's all these big SUV's with chunky tyres and high-riding suspension, but unless you go for the most expensive engine, it's just FWD? I mean, why not just get a Corsa or a Fiesta? If you get the 2WD version of something like a RAV4, you've basically bought a glorified, pimped up shopping trolley!

Ultimately, despite looking closely at the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV - I don't think I'm swapping. I like my Focus ST3. The Mitsubishi is appealing, because given that I only do short journeys mainly, I'd basically never have to put petrol in it. Plus the way the weather's been lately, it'd be handy...

The trouble is, for two days of the year... It'd be fantastic! But for the other three hundred odd days of the year it'd be a huge, heavy, slow barge. Ponderous in the corners, wallowing suspension... I'd probably enjoy driving it about as much as I enjoy accidentally injuring myself.

That's the thing with living in England though. If it was Europe or Canada, we'd be swapping our tyres for winter tyres in October. It'd make sense. But here, we tend to get three days in a row of really bad weather, about once every three years.

Driving around in something bloody awful for 363 days of the year so you don't get stuck on two days of the year seems even more mad than spending £500 on winter tyres and losing 3 cubic metres of storage space in your garage.

Of course, if I was wealthy like Mr. May, Mr. Clarkson or Mr. Hammond, I'd probably buy, tax and insure a fleet of interesting cars. Amongst them there would probably be a Defender... There might even be a Cuthbertson! I'd certainly like to think there was at least one 6 wheel drive one...

Unfortunately I have neither the cash nor the space for a fleet of interesting cars, so if the roads DO get bad. I'll have to walk to work. Luckily, it's only about a mile.

Martyn Stanley

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