2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Tired of doing pirouettes on the ice or scared to sneak up behind snow plows? “My next car will be a four-wheel drive,” think some troubled drivers this winter. And it doesn't always have to be an SUV - the range in all classes is bigger than you might think.
By Sebastian Viehmann
Who needs all-wheel drive? The Beetle also worked in the snow, and who still remembers the days when BMW drivers never left without cement sacks in the trunk in winter? Front-wheel drive takes you even further than you think, and after all, good winter tires are what counts. All-wheel drive also costs extra, and consumption is higher than with front or rear-wheel drive. In principle everything is correct! But anyone who currently wants to cheat their way past snow plows, Dutchmen standing sideways or stubborn winter tire refusers will quickly learn to appreciate all-wheel drive. And for that you don't have to buy a fat SUV for a long time, as the following guaranteed SUV-free overview shows.
For example, the veteran among all-wheel drive vehicles, the Lada Niva (81 hp), costs 10,990 euros. With permanent four-wheel drive and a lockable center differential, the Niva declares the Cold War on any terrain. However, you have to live with the fact that the Lada is not necessarily more cozy inside than outside - cheap plastic and a lack of comfort reduce the fun in the snow. The Russian is also not available with a diesel engine. After all, the importer can convert the Niva with a LPG system and then costs at least 13,690 euros. The Fiat Panda 4x4 (from 60 hp and 12,870 euros), which has an electronic differential lock on the Cross model, is also a little money-maker.
The Daihatsu Sirion offers a little more space, although there is only one all-wheel drive version - the 1.3 Eco 4WD (91 PS and 13,990 euros, with automatic 15,090 euros). Daihatsu also offers the idiosyncratic box van Materia and the small SUV Terios with optional all-wheel drive. For 15,700 euros you will find what you are looking for in the competition: The Suzuki Swift with 92 hp and all-wheel drive costs 15,700 euros, and for 14,600 euros there is the fun-maker Suzuki Jimny (86 hp). However, even the umpteenth special model cannot hide the fact that the Jimny is getting on in years.
The compact ones
Even in the Golf class, hardly anyone ticks the all-wheel drive order form, but there is certainly a large selection. All-wheel drive specialist Subaru, for example, has banned the 4WD from its entry-level model Justy, but the Subaru Impreza is still available with all-wheel drive. The 1.5 R (107 PS) costs 18,900 euros and cuts a fine figure on ice and snow thanks to its perfect weight distribution and a fast-reacting all-wheel drive system. The Impreza WRX STI Sport (300 PS) is a real rally roll, but it costs 45,400 euros.
The extremely winter-proof quattro drive from Ingolstadt is already available in the brand's smallest model. The Audi A3 1.8 TFSI quattro (160 PS) is available from 26,550 euros, and the small all-wheel-drive Audi is also available in other petrol and diesel versions. At Volkswagen there are two ways to play all-wheel-drive Golf: Either in the Golf 2.0 TDI 4Motion (140 PS, from 26,790 euros) or with a significantly higher fun factor in the Golf R (270 PS, from 36,400 euros). Less sporty, but blessed with a lot of space is the Nissan Qashqai, which is available with 141 hp and all-wheel drive from 23,240 euros. You can get the Toyota Urban Cruiser with four driven wheels and an economical 90 hp diesel engine for as little as 22,950 euros.
Middle class 4x4
In the middle class, the range of all-wheel-drive sedans and station wagons is particularly large. The Audi A4 covers a wide range, the quattro versions of which start at 32,250 euros and have gasoline engines from 160 to 333 hp and diesel models from 143 to 240 hp. The BMW 320d xDrive (184 hp, from 36,700 euros) is very suitable for winter, pleasantly quick and economical in its consumption. The 3 Series is also available as a 330d xDrive (245 PS), the petrol versions 325i, 330i and 335i optionally have four driven wheels.
The competition from Stuttgart countered with the Mercedes C-Class C300 4Matic (231 hp, from 42,453 euros), the diesel C350 CDI 4Matic (231 hp) costs 47,570 euros. At Mercedes, the all-wheel drive is always combined with the very comfortable seven-speed automatic, but compared to BMW and Audi, the 4x4 versions are unfortunately very expensive. The Subaru Legacy (150 PS) is available for as little as 28,100 euros, and with the highly recommended, because it is powerful and economical, 140 PS boxer diesel on board, the Japanese costs 30,000 euros with good equipment. The station wagon version comes as an "outback" with a raised body and protective paneling. The Mitsubishi Lancer also comes from Japan (with 240 hp from 35,990 euros, as Lancer Evolution with 295 hp from 47,950 euros),where you buy the fun of the perfect driving machine with high consumption and little driving comfort. The Alfa Romeo 159 is more comfortable, but also sporty, from 36,550 euros (2.4 JTDM Q4, 210 PS).
Optionally, the Opel Insignia trudges through mud and snow on all fours, starting at 35,685 euros (2.0 Turbo 4x4, 220 PS). The catch: All-wheel drive is only available for the Insignia in conjunction with large and not very economical gasoline engines, but not with diesel engines. Those who prefer the Swedish alternative will find it in the Volvo S 40 AWD (only as a 230 hp turbo petrol engine, from 34,590 euros) or in the Volvo V 70 / XC 70 models (from 41,730 euros). If you are looking for all-wheel drive vehicles, you will also find what you are looking for at the Czech VW subsidiary Skoda, namely the Skoda Octavia 4x4 (with 160 hp from 24,740 euros, alternatively with 105 or 140 hp diesel).
The all-wheel-drive Skoda is only available as a station wagon. The Octavia Scout variant (from 27,390 euros) has, similar to the Audi A4 Allroad, Subaru Outback or Volvo XC 70, a raised body with protective paneling. At the parent company Volkswagen, all-wheel drive fun in the VW Passat starts at 29,325 euros (2.0 FSI 4Motion, 150 PS). The seven-seater high-roof station wagon VW Caddy 4Motion is more rustic, but also more spacious (only with 105 hp diesel engine, from 22,568 euros). Incidentally, Renault once also offered its Caddy competitor Kangoo with all-wheel drive, but there is no 4x4 version of the current model.
In the upper class, all-wheel drive is now a good thing. The classic in this segment is of course the Audi A8, which was initially only available with a quattro drive when the new model was launched (from 72,200 euros / 250 diesel hp). Its competitor BMW 7 Series can only come up with all-wheel drive in the 750i xDrive version (407 hp, from 96,400 euros).
In Stuttgart, people like to send the Mercedes S-Class 4Matic onto the road when it is snowing (with 235 hp diesel from 77,528 euros). A quiet connoisseur is the VW Phaeton, which is always equipped with all-wheel drive as standard and is available from 65,850 euros (240 hp diesel). The combination of hybrid and all-wheel drive is available in the Lexus LS (445 hp, from 103,900 euros).
You can treat yourself to a wide range of all-wheel drives in Zuffenhausen. The Porsche 911, for example, is available as a Carrera 4 with 345 hp from 91,369. The four-door Porsche Panamera 4S with 400 hp is available from 102,251 euros. Driving fun with four driven wheels is much cheaper with the Audi TT, from 35,400 euros (2.0 TDI quattro / 170 PS). The king of all-wheel-drive athletes in the realm of the rings is of course the Audi R8 (4.2 FSI quattro with 420 hp from 109,100 euros).
The Lamborghini Gallardo also comes from the VW Group and is available as an alternative to rear-wheel drive from 173,740 euros with 560 hp and four-wheel drive. And if you don't turn an eyelash even at a price of 1.31 million euros, you can really give yourself a four-wheel drive: the Bugatti Veyron with 1001 hp is waiting for this sum. However, the ski rack for the roof is missing in the accessories catalog.