WE seem to have developed something of a monsoon season from September through to Christmas.
At the moment, hardly a day goes by without some ghastly weather tragedy striking in an odd out of the way place.
The thing is, if you buy a SUV or 4X4 to cope with this, you are going to be lugging all that weight around the rest of the time when you simply don’t need it.
With all the added cost in fuel and repairs to these often over-complex machines what you really need is height and toughness.
This will, with the aid of some winter tyres, be more than enough for the occasional flood and the inevitable chaos that ensues when the blanket of snow hits in mid-January.
But which to pick? Well, there’s quite a bit more choice here than you might think.
Clearly motor manufacturers are a bit more thoughtful than we give them credit for. Small, practical and tough family cars have made something of a comeback over recent years.
Here are the three best picks from the team at UsedCarExpert.
As a four-wheel drive diesel the Qashqai can be expensive. But the unloved petrol cars can be stand out bargains. Fitted with winter tyres the Qashqai will be fine on flooded UK roads. The 1.6 petrol engine is all you need. It’s very reliable and easy to operate in rough conditions. And the Qashqai is a very tough car – much more so that it’s ‘soft-roader’ image would suggest.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk Cars for sale: An extremely tidy three year old 1.6 petrol, in Visia spec, with 40,000 miles on the clock can be picked up for £8,500.
SEAT Altea Freetrack
The off road Freetrack versions of the SEAT Altea are about as rational as cars get. They are excellent to drive, cheap, reliable and really pretty hard to fault. Perfect for the UK winter if you can live with the looks. Avoid the DSG equipped semi-automatic gearboxes. They are hopeless in heavy weather. Go manual.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk Cars for sale: A three year old car with 57,000 on the clock and the excellent 2.0 diesel engine can be picked up for £7,995. A comparable Audi (which share the same mechanicals) car will set you back £3,000 more.
Skoda Roomster Scout
Like the SEAT above, the Roomster Scout is totally rational car from the Volkswagen group that looks a bit odd but answers pretty much all the questions you can ask. I’ve actually driven one of these through the most appalling weather myself and come out unscathed. And that car was on summer tyres.
UsedCarExpert.co.uk Cars for sale: A three year old Scout, with only 23,000 miles on the clock and the durable 1.6 petrol engine will set you back only £6,900.
Motors.co.uk value verdict: