Currently reading: Buy them before we do: used picks for 3 December
We take a look at some winter winners from this week's classified car ads

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. 

Click here to buy your next used car from Autocar

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. 

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Subaru Outback 2.0 D SE AWD, £2990: It looks basic inside, but this 2010, 144,000-mile Outback comes with climate control, cruise control and heated seats – all winter essentials. Its 2.0-litre diesel will get you to 62mph in less than 10 seconds and it’s a practical, everyday load hauler. 

Volkswagen Golf R 2.0 TSI 4Motion DSG, £21,495: Golf R residual values hold up well. We found this 2014 example with 59,000 miles under its wheels and a host of extras. The performance is impressive, too: you’ll hit 62mph in 4.9sec, courtesy of its 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and four-wheel drive.

 

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Fiat Panda 1.3 Multijet 16v 4x4 Cross, £5651: The UK isn’t brimming with used Panda 4x4s, but we think this might be among the finest. It’s a one-owner example with a full service history and 43,000 miles on the clock, and at £5651 it’s the very definition of affordable off-roading. 

Ariel Nomad 2.4 £58,000: Perhaps not one for daily commuting at this time of year, but certainly a fun four-wheel-drive conveyance. This one-owner, 2018-reg Nomad currently sits in a collection, has done 6000 miles and looks pristine. One for the weekend. 

Auction watch

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Morris Mini Shorty: This example of the ‘Shorty’ was adapted from a rarer ‘saloon’-shelled Morris Mini 1000 from 1968. It originally sported cream exterior paintwork but has recently undergone a full respray and body restoration, including rust-resistant undersealing. Its leather seats have been retrimmed and the dashboard is largely standard. Mechanically, it’s also largely sound, bar some gearshift issues. There’s little paperwork beyond its V5, although full photographic documentation shows its restoration. Despite this, the Shorty sold for £10,000 at auction – not bad in inches per pound. 

Future classic

Suzuki Ignis, £7750: Is it an SUV or a city car? Maybe both. But that ambiguity aside, the model’s appeal extends far beyond its affordable price. The Ignis is more versatile than appearances might suggest, with a 260-litre boot (reduced to 204 litres in an Allgrip model), an optional four-wheel-drive Allgrip system and the ability to comfortably ferry four adults.

Despite all this, it’s not far off the size of a Fiat 500. Power comes from an 89bhp 1.2-litre Dualjet engine and kit levels are decent. We found a 2017 example in the classifieds for £7750 with 21,000 miles on the clock. 

Class of the classifieds 

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“Find me a pick-up for less than £20,000, but make it properly cool.”

Land Rover Series 1, £18,450, vs Ford Ranchero GT Torino, £20,000

Oliver Young: Starsky and Hutch would be mighty proud of my choice. It’s a Ford Ranchero, a muscle-car-based pick-up that ticks all the cool car boxes. Is it a head-turning classic? It hails from the ’70s, so of course it is. Does it have a charismatic engine? Its American V8 is positively overflowing with charm and charisma. Could it be the star car of a Hollywood movie? With such road presence, I wouldn’t be surprised if LA comes calling. All this in a practical pick-up. It’s incredible. 

Mark Pearson: What on earth is that? Oh, well. At least I’ve chosen James a cultured, subtle and thoroughly practical pick-up. This lovely 1951 Landie is desperately cool and a thing of beauty: it’s great to drive, refined, spacious, economical and supremely practical. In fact, it’s one of the best cars ever made. And it’ll appreciate in value. 

OY: It’s barely a pick-up, Mark. Plus, it looks like a death machine. I imagine a pothole is enough to cause catastrophe. Does that sound cool to you? 

MP: You’re being very harsh on my Landie. It’s a luxury convertible really, like a Mercedes SL. And with its Lexus-like ride, you won’t be troubled by potholes. 

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OY: Well, if your Landie is in fact a luxury convertible, you’ve therefore failed the brief. My collectable classic of a Ford Ranchero wins by default. 

MP: Pah, default shmeefault!

Verdict, James Ruppert: Ranchero? I didn’t see that coming, but absolutely everyone will hear the V8 from five miles away. Great flatbed, too.

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