It’s an almost knee-jerk reaction because I like to make sure I have something appropriate for what could be a challenging few weeks even before any snow falls.
Usually I have got it all wrong and end up with a two-wheel-drive convertible or a budget car with limited creature comforts.
But not recently when the Volvo V40 T5 with five-cylinder 254bhp 2.5 engine in 4WD Cross Country trim appeared. Saved, for now.
Until a few years ago, Volvo was seen as a maker of safe and splendidly spacious saloons and estates but which eschewed fashion for family virtures. How times change, for the better.
Today’s V40 T5 Cross Country is a very stylish semi-estate cross-over type of model which actually looks like it has been designed with attention to detail building up to a thoroughly competent all-rounder.
I find Volvo’s model line up a little confusing but it is a wide range and caters for extensive tastes and budgets and its current can-do-no-wrong model series is the V40.
There is plenty of urge underfoot in the 254hp 2.5 with rapid pick up for overtaking through the automatic 6speed transmission, especially on rural roads where opportunities are infrequent. The changes are silken and quick even under hard acceleration and when you are more relaxed the engine is also quiet and composed cruising on main roads.
The overall fuel consumption is a good indication of its long-legged ability.
The Cross Country has a higher ride height than the 2WD stablemates but it still handled well and inspired confidence, particularly the braking system.
For passengers the ride is slightly firm but still very comfortable and the room inside is generous all round while the boot has a big loadbed but deep rear three-quarter pillars and high tail do make reversing an issue in some situations.
It takes a boot-full at 335 litres but folding seats raises capacity to 1,032 litres.
Climate control is very sophisticated but simple as well and it filled the cabin with air and kept it at a desired temperature. Oddments room is good. V40 has been a success story for Volvo with about 6,000 sales last year in Britain and could double in the next 12 months as new engines join the series with very green credentials.
|Volvo V40 T5 AWD Cross Country Lux Nav £34.140||Insurance group: 30|
|Mechanical: 5cyl 2.5 turbo petrol, 6 sp auto||CO2 emissions: 194gkm|
|Max speed: 146mph||0-62mph: 6.4sec|
|Combined mpg: 34.7mpg||Warranty: 2yrs/ unlimited|