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4 x 4 & SUV FOR THE WINTER AND YEAR-ROUND

Back in the 1980s we had a run of a few mild winters and we were told that Alpine skiing was finished and that here in the UK we'd not be seeing much snow in the future. Well, here we are 40 years later and heavy early season snow in the Alps saw the opening of a number of resorts and here in Cumbria it's struggling to get above freezing and looks set to be cold for the foreseeable future. Regardless of what you think about climate change, winter in the UK still brings snow, ice, frost, floods, gales, hail and leaves on the line.....Here's a quick guide to the main types of 4x4 and SUV, to help you select the right vehicle.

Full Time 4WD

Proper off-roaders will have full time 4-wheel drive, combined with a low ratio gearbox and sometimes advanced features such as a differential lock. Inevitably the extra weight and drive train energy consumption will lead to lower fuel economy, but the all-round performance off road will be the best available. Examples include VW Amarok and some Toyota Landcruiser

Part time 4WD

There are lots of part time 4WD vehicles around - they offer the same 4WD systems as full time 4WD, but they can be switched into a 2WD mode for normal road driving, saving fuel and tyre wear. The switch from 4-wheel to 2-wheel drive is normally via a switch inside the car which activates the change electronically. There is a different differential system that means that they don't transfer drive to the wheels as well as the full time 4WD. Examples include Suzuki Grand Vitara.

GRAND VITARA









Full Time AWD

Full time AWD vehicles provide drive to all four wheels all the time, the drive to each wheel being electronically adjusted to maximise grip. The systems used are electronically advanced and although they do add weight to the car and provide lower fuel consumption, they provide great traction. The Audi Q5 is a fine example of a car with full time AWD - excellent for slippery road conditions. Subaru and Volvo also make good full-time AWD cars.


AUDI Q5 AWD








Part time AWD

Part time AWD vehicles provide a normal driving mode in 2WD, and the electronic system switches to 4WD when it senses slippage at the front wheels. The advantage of this system is of greater fuel economy, aligned with the disadvantage of less competent performance is adverse conditions, although they are still good, and a marked improvement on a standard two wheel drive car. The Honda CR-V and VW Tiguan are good examples of this category.




VW TIGUAN







2WD

2WD cars provide drive to either the front or rear wheels. Front wheel drive cars fitted with good winter tyres perform pretty well, particularly if you have experience of driving in slippery conditions, and can outperform cars with AWD or even 4WD systems that have road tyres with low tread.


TYRES

All of the above types of vehicle will perform best in slippery winter conditions with the correct all-weather tyres. In many European countries it's compulsory to fit all weather tyres during the winter months. The difference between normal road tyres and all-weather tyres is huge. All-weather tyres have a different tread pattern that grips better and are made from a different rubber compound that remains soft and grippy even at lower temperatures when standard tyres become hard and slippery. They are therefore useful not only in snow and ice, but also on cold, wet, slippery roads, offering more stability on corners and more efficient braking. In my opinion they are a must for winter conditions here in Cumbria.


CHECK OUT THE WEBSITE WWW.FELLANDDALECARS.CO.UK TO SEE OUR CURRENT STOCK OF SUV AND 4X4



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