HELP_WINTER CAR WANTED

Looking for a real all-weather car, not a silly SUV. Yes it's a #firstworldproblem #WANTED #WINTERCAR #ROOKIE

3y ago

5K

I have been desperately looking for a all-season all-terrain vehicle for months now. It's more difficult than you think. Please help!

I've survived six winters with my Japanese import Toyota Celica, but enough is enough!

I've survived six winters with my Japanese import Toyota Celica, but enough is enough!

I've lived between London and the French Alps for a few years now, and most modern luxury SUVs have failed to meet the criteria of driving on snow. It's been hairy sometimes. That's another story...

G-Wagon?

G-Wagon?

Rolls-Royce?

Rolls-Royce?

Landy?

Landy?

Most modern luxury SUVs have failed to meet the criteria of driving on snow. It's been hairy sometimes.

Mai Ikuzawa
Porsche is really really really scary on snow!

Porsche is really really really scary on snow!

I would love to hear your choice!

CRITERIA:

• Must be 4WD

• Must have ground clearance for snow

• Must be drivable off-road and also solid on long roadtrips (so jeeps and other tall cars are a bit of a no no)

• Realistic budget because winter is punishing on cars, so was Brexit. (so not Ferrari FF)

• Must have sex-appeal. And fun!!

Vintage Citroën?

Vintage Citroën?

Bentley or the sled... which one would you trust?

Bentley or the sled... which one would you trust?

Oh yeahhhh... Go super-size.

Oh yeahhhh... Go super-size.

Must have sex-appeal. And fun!!

Mai Ikuzawa
At least I can always find her.

At least I can always find her.

The Rookie...

The Rookie...

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Comments (15)

  • Thanks Ryan! Subaru Impreza WRX STi is definitely on my shortlist. I am a fan of the old Fiat Panda 4x4 too! But it just doesn't have the power on long European road-trips. Please do add more to the list.

      3 years ago
  • w123 is great fun in the snow, narrow tires, rwd, engine in the front, thats great :D

    as you need it for skiing, I would go (and planing to) for a pickup. you can put skis inside, so the mpg will be as with saloon with ski box on roof. it can go anywhere, you. can lift it if needed...

      3 years ago
  • Like Martin says, narrow tyres, weight, ground clearance. I used to drive a late 60s BMW 2000 in Munich in the late 80s and whenever there was sudden snow fall and the roads hadn't been cleared/gritted yet, everyone, especially the cool boys with the lowered rides and wide 80s tyres, would get stuck on the slightest hills: I'd just calmly cruise by, hardly ever spinning a wheel (except when intended, managed to do 360s with it on an airfield outside town). Great long distance cruiser too.

      3 years ago
  • This is possibly the best thread on winter car advice. Special thanks to Martin and David.

      3 years ago
  • The best winter car is the one on proper winter tyres. That said, there are some that just are a little bit better than others...

    David has already mentioned the Saab 96. Certainly works, and with the flat underbody and high ground clearance perfect for gravel roads (and snow). But still, it's a 60s car, with it's roots in the 1940s.

    If you'd like a little more space and a little less hassle with sourcing parts, I'd recommend having a look at Saabs following models: 99/90 and the first generation 900. They have double wishbone suspension set-up in the front, a leightweigt solid rear axle (firmly guides in a Watts parallelogram and with panhard rods), and a near perfect weight distribution (60:40 empty, 51:49 loaded). That means good traction on snow and gravel, but you'd also be surprised at how well these handle for an FWD car. If you have a little bit of a feel for a cars behaviour, you can choose exactly how they go around a corner - staying neutral, or rather going sideways? All it takes is some play with steering wheel and throttle. (Of course, if you are stupid, they can also understeer like any silly FWD car, but why would you want to do that?)

    The 900 is more refined has more kuxuries and a much nicer interior, but with it's longer front and rear overhangs it is not much use on rutted farm tracks, and utterly pointless offroad. Also, it's actual ground clearance is way lower than what you'd think looking at it from the side, and the turbos with their lowered suspension will even have problems climbing up a sidewalk.

    So for your purposes I'd recommend 99 and 90 (the latter basically is a 99 front end and passenger cabin, that has a 900 trunk welded to it). They are considerably lighter than a 900, have shorter overhangs, higher ground clearance, and handle even crisper. In fact, my daily commute through the Eifel - I happend to live close to the Nürbrurgring for some years - was FASTER with the 90 than with my 900 turbo, despite the turbo16 having nearly twice as much horses under the bonnet.

    Nice bonus: Saab passenger cells from that era are insanely tough, so unless other vintage cars, wou probably won't die. You can let 99/90/900 fall on the roof from 8m height and the A-Pillars won't collapse. Handy feature in a roll-over. (Friend of mine tried that out crashing and rolling a 900 turbo at 110mph on the Nürburgring, escaped unscathed.) Also, you get sturdy side impact protection (tried that out myself. Opposing audi owner did not like what my doors did to his front end, my car is still on the road...).

    Regarding offroadability, I've driven my w123 Mercedes to places where most SUV drivers would never dare to go. Old Mercs have pretty high ground clearances and are built like tanks. If you know what you are doing, you'll get astonishingly far... The magic is in kowing the car, carefully picking your line, and in having an air source -a cheap foot pump will suffice - so that you can play with tyre pressures.

    However, w123 fare rather bad in snow, slush and on ice. Front engine, rear wheel drive means no traction at all (when you do not have dynamic weight transfer to help you). The w123, as any rear-wheel-drive saloon, is extreme fun in the snow. Just don't expect it to get to places.

    I do not have any personal experence with these, but I could imagine Porsches to be extremely good in the snow. rear engine, rear whelle drive should mean plenty of traction. Again, pretty pointless offroad, but an older model might have enough ground clearance to handle farm tracks.

    And then, there is the sensible Option. Take a relatively modern estate or saloon car wih AWD and raised suspension. Audi Allroad or Volvo XC 70 come to my mind. Subaru also makes some of those.

    I'd take the Volvo, just because of the looks and its five-cylinder engine.

      3 years ago
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