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One for the Road: A small off-roader that won't balk at the snow


Tony Simmonds has a couple of BMW Tourings, which haven't been brilliant in the snow. He thinks the latest Fiat Panda 4x4 is too expensive at £15,000.

A Car for the Head

Tony is keen to sell his older Touring, which isn't worth much but he may get a few thousand for it. In that case, what else can he get that is half-pint-sized but has real 4x4 ability? Well, I think that the Mitsubishi Shogun Pinin is one of the best of the bargain-priced, pocket-sized off-roaders. It is, however, tuned for off-road rather than on-road work and that means it will be a compromise for Tony. Provided he doesn't mind a slightly choppy ride and leaning around corners, the Pinin will be fine. Tony just has to choose between a five- or three-door. Prices start at £999 for a three-door 2001 1.8 GDi, while a tidy five-door 2.0 GDi from 2002 is around £2,000; both are great value.

A Car for the Heart

If Tony prefers a vehicle which is a bit more like a car to drive, yet has some 4x4 ability to cope with adverse weather, the Honda HR-V is an often overlooked bargain. Introduced in 1998, it had slightly weird styling, which may have gone out of fashion, but its reputation for reliability certainly hasn't. Tony needs to be careful, as there is a two-wheel-drive version, which would be cheaper to run, but not as good in the snow. Again, there is a choice of either three- or five-door models. It is practical, with a decent-sized boot and there was only one level of trim, which means electric windows, mirrors and central locking come as standard. A grand will buy a 2000 three-door model. A five-door 1.6 from 2002 is closer to £2,000.

Looking to buy?

Email James Ruppert at onefortheroad@independent.co.uk, giving your age, address and phone number, details of the type of vehicle in which you are interested, and your budget.