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Top five smaller cars with four-wheel drive

Our guide to the best small/medium cars with 4WD

You don’t need a large, expensive SUV to have four-wheel drive. We’ve found five smaller cars with 4WD that should cope well with snow and slippery winter roads

With temperatures set to drop below freezing in some parts of the UK this week, you may be worrying about driving in ice or snow. 

We’ve found five small and medium cars with four-wheel drive that should cope well in tough conditions – especially if you fit them with winter tyres. And crucially, these cars don’t have the high running costs of an off-roader.

Try Which? for £1 to read our small car reviews and medium car reviews

Suzuki Swift 4x4

Suzuki Swift 4×4: a four-wheel-drive supermini

If you want four-wheel drive in a compact supermini, the Suzuki Swift 4×4 is one of just two cars available. Prices start at less than £14,000. 

The five-door Swift 4×4 features suspension raised by 25mm for added ground clearance, plus protective skid plates under its bumpers. The Swift 4×4 returns respectable fuel economy of 51.3mpg (claimed), although performance is leisurely; it takes 13.4 seconds to accelerate to 62mph.

Will the Swift let you down? Find out in the Which? Car Survey 2013.

BMW 1 Series 2011 1a

BMW 1 Series xDrive: a BMW that can handle snow

Unlike most BMWs, the 120d xDrive has 4WD, so you don’t have to worry about getting stuck in snow. 

Four-wheel drive is available on the 120d diesel, which gives a good blend of power and economy. Acceleration to 62mph takes just 7.2 seconds, but it still returns a claimed 60mpg.

Will the 1 Series leave you out of pocket? Get realistic economy figures in our full BMW 1 Series review.


Audi A3: four-wheel drive petrols and diesels

For many years Audi has fitted a number of its road cars with four-wheel drive and the A3 is no different. Buyers can benefit from ‘Quattro’ traction on the 1.8T FSI petrol and 2.0 TDI diesel. 

Both of these cars produce around 180bhp, so performance is impressive. They are only available with automatic gearboxes, however.

Is the Audi A3 worth its steep price? Read our full review to find out.

Skoda Yeti 01

Skoda Yeti Outdoor: quirky crossover

Skoda’s Yeti has a practical interior and boot, plus added off-road ability with the option of four-wheel drive on both petrol and diesel models. 

Buyers also have the choice between manual and automatic gearboxes, with automatics on several of the diesel models. Thanks to its raised ride height, the Yeti should fare well on snowy roads.

Does the Yeti perform well on tarmac? Find out in our comprehensive Skoda Yeti review.


Suzuki SX4 S-Cross: four-wheel drive in a hatchback body

If you want a four-wheel-drive car that doesn’t look like a butch off-roader, the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross might be worth a look. 

With hatchback styling and the option of petrol or diesel engines, the SX4 S-Cross is a good-value alternative to the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai. It hasn’t been through our test lab yet, though.

Find out how the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross compares to its rivals. Read our SX4 S-Cross first drive.

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