/ buying a cheap 4x4 wagon for winter...
i have finally decided to 'do something' with regards to getting about in the snow (rural worcestershire/shopshire/herefordshire border) after a couple of winters on the trot where careful driving in my front WD deisel Mondeo in all year tyres just hasn't cut the mustard.
the problem however is that i do about 25,000 miles a year, most of it on fast, well gritted/cleared A roads and Motorways, and really need a decent MPG. i currently get around 47mpg, and can't afford to replace it with a car that will cope with the snow/ice we have for around 2 or 3 months of the year, and also give 45mpg on the very regular drives to Glasgow.
so, i thought about buying a cheap (less than £2000) Landrover Defender, or Landrover Discovery - or even a 4WD Skoda Octavia just for local winter driving and a very occasion long trip when the wethers really bad. i've seen Octavis around for £600 to £2000, and lots of discos with 150k on the clock for £1200, and defender for around £2K.
are any of these 'bargains' woth touching with a stick, or would i be better off putting £400 worth of winter tyres on my Mondeo?
Tyres, and an extra £100 for chains for when it's really bad.
You'll never get that MPG from a disco or defender..
2k defenders will be dogs, discovery's can be had for a couple of hundred quid to last the winter and then scrapped.
I'd go for tyres/chains on the mundano.
Another vehicle means another lot of road tax & insurance (and servicing and air freshener and furry dice)...but the relatively standard tyres on a land rover/izuzu/landcruiser 4wd thing might just work in *most* conditions? Until it's really bad (but will you really want to be out in it anyway?). If you can keep it (securely) off-road (SORN) you'd get away with 6 months insurance.
Winter tyres for you normal car means that you , ahem, have an extra set of tyres and potential to drive in quite a bit of bad weather and able to cope if the weather comes in unexpectedly. Unless you use the 4wd november - march, with consequent fuel consumption.
If i had the cash & didn't mind spending it, assuming weather could get horrible & I knew how to drive it it [which i'm not sure about , TBH :-) ] second vehicle.
Winter tyres: cheaper, quite easy to fit, easier to store
Unless you really need another vehicle I wouldn't bother with a big 4x4. If you do need one, I'd suggest you add a Subaru to your list of 'possibles'. We have an old Discovery and while they're cheap to buy they do need a lot of preventative maintenance and overall it's not a cheap vehicle to run and maintain. I've driven a Mondeo on winter tyres in Norway on unploughed and untreated roads and it literally went anywhere although it often scrabbled for grip and there were the occasional tail-out antics.
So it's a vote for winter tyres from me too.
The tyres I've had on hire cars in Rjukan were not studded, but they were really soft almost gummy. And they were really impressive getting us up all kinds of things you would't dare attempt with a UK set-up.
Our Oslo-based hire car was fitted with 4 bog-standard winter tyres with no studs.
But if you're desperate to go the 4x4 route, an old fiat panda 4x4 could be an option.
For what it's worth, few years ago my little Toyota Yaris with a pair of chains on it comfortably pulled away from a Landrover going up a very snowy Ranmore Common.
Unless you're handy with spanners (and a welder) I wouldn't bother with cheap Landys, I have a 1979 Series 3 and it takes a lot (time wise that is not monetarily, parts are dirt cheap) to keep it ticking along nicely throughout the year.
In the last couple of years there have only been a couple of occasions where my daily driver (206) couldn't get somewhere my Land Rover could (on road that is!) and none of those have been in winter as I have winter tyres for the 206, they've been when it's flooded as the greater ground clearance of the Landy meant we could still get about.
I've just got an old L200 4x4 pickup as a project vehicle/off-road camper, and it cost me just under a grand. It needs a bit of cosmetic work, but there are certainly bargains out there if you look away from Land Rovers.
I like Ford Ranger pickups, they are great but were out of my project budget, but you might find one for £2k if you look around.
I use winter tyres (not 'all read round ones') on my Vauxhall combo and up here on the North Yokshire Moors they do me fine in the snow. Easily outperforms 4X4 with road tyres/low profiles, and with one big shovel in the back for insurance means I've never been stuck yet.
I have an 06 plate ford ranger, it gets me anywhere except when the snow is over the diffs.
Tax: £230 ish
Fuel: 30mpg in 2wd. (90 quid a tank, 350 miles)
Cheap to buy and very cheap to maintain.
I love it up until it's out of fuel!
ah, mines £85 for a tank, and i get 650-700 miles...
cheers folks, its definately winter tyres then. the Dunlops, Goodyear and Continentals appear to be pretty good - the Dunlop and Goodyears are about £85 each, the conti's another £15 or so.
i'll get them ordered.
I live in the middle of Dartmoor above 400m I drive a Hyundai i20 with winter tyres and they were perfect for driving around in the snow this winter. The only thing a car in winter tyres can't cope with is depth of snow but once its been compacted down or there is only a couple of inches its fine. I thought about getting a 4x4 but glad I didn't.they just seem to stick to the road as the tread design is a bit like rubber velcro. They are also great in heavy rain as they cut through standing water like a hot knife through butter.
Winter tyres AND wheels. Do you really want to frigg around changing the tyres? Much easier to buy an old set of wheels from a scrap yard and put the winter tyres on those. Much easier and quicker to change. That's what we did when we lived in Ontario.
As to buying a cheap 4x4 by the time you've paid Road Tax and Insurance, plus running costs (you'll be lucky if you get away with no mechanical repair) and depreciation you'll be better off the wheels route. The other thing to remember about 4x4s is that they too will perform better if you put the appropriate winter tyres on them for coping with heavy snow. 4 x 4s need the right tyres for the intended job. Eg road tyres are next to useless in serious mud, Mudplugers are awful on a metalled road. The same comment applies to 4x4 snow tyres, although Mudplugers are better than road tyres, so long as the snow doesn't feeze into the thread profiles.
A rather excitable executive I once worked with stormed into his Mercedes dealership wanting to know why his £80,000 grand Mercedes 4X4 couldn't get up the hill near his house while his neighbours 2X wheel drive heap could,
They then tried to sell him £1200 worth of winter tyres
Join the link up for an original 4x4 Panda.
A Panda video, cool little cars.
Jaguar do a 4x4 estate, thinking about it, but that'd be 15 grand or more I think. 20 something.
> Tyres, and an extra £100 for chains for when it's really bad.
What he said!
Cheap chains for the non-driving wheels and the best you can afford for the driving wheels. Chain users need a few extra oddments in the boot: sturdy rubber gauntlets for fitting chains and also two pair of pliers and some old bicycle spokes in case you need to repair a broken chain.
And a few more pound for a spare set of steel wheels from a scrappy.
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