It’s the time of year when ‘leaves on the line’ is a common railway station announcement, but on the UK’s roads you can add branches, mud and standing water to the list as we head into the tail end of 2021. What’s needed is a four-wheel-drive runaround, and we’ve picked some non-SUV options that will make your winter commute a breeze.
Audi A4 Allroad 3.0 TDI V6 Sport Quattro, £8699: Our first pick is a rugged variant of Audi’s popular A4 Avant. The A4 Allroad joined the model range in 2009. It features a 20mm-wider track than the standard A4, with adjustable air suspension, tough-looking exterior bodywork and a higher ground clearance. Although you won’t be clambering over sand dunes or up Ben Nevis in the Allroad, the model did gain a specially configured electronic stability programme to gear it towards rougher terrains.
Inside, it’s identical to a standard A4 Avant, including a pet-friendly 490-litre boot with a wipe-clean surface. You can also expect to get cruise control, tri-zone climate control, electric mirrors, parking sensors and roof rails in even an entry-level car. Sport spec brings leather-covered sports seats, too.
Engine options were more limited than with the standard A4. Diesels were popular in the UK, with a choice of 141bhp 2.0-litre TDI, 168bhp 2.0-litre TDI and range-topping 237bhp 3.0-litre V6 units. There was a single petrol engine: the 208bhp 2.0-litre TFSI.
We liked the look of this 2012-reg, 3.0-litre V6 in Sport trim for £8699. It’s done 130,000 miles and it might cost more in fuel than a 2.0 TDI, but you should still manage to hit 40mpg and it’ll reach 62mph in just 6.2sec.