On my way home I drive about 1km on a street with an incline. For about 1-4 weeks per year nearly all cars have to drive a longer route and even this route often gives them problems. The reason is that the street is not always well cleaned and their wheels will spin. One of the very few exceptions is my Fiat Panda 169 4x4 with which I don't even notice anything when driving at this incline even in the heaviest snowstorm except that it is slippy on curves.

Because of the age of the car and the increasing repairs I am looking for a new car and want to know which parameters to look for?

One factor I think is the 4WD? Another thing others told me was the ground clearance. Is this true? Are there other factors like distance between wheels, weight, automatic/manual, gasoline/diesel/hybrid/electro, horsepower, ...?

I am looking for a car to drive to work, so I am interested on parameters which you find in typical cars for city/country road and not something like offroad-cars, Jeeps, trucks, ... . Since the selection of cars with 4WD is limited I also want to know what to look for at non-4WD-cars.

  • 2
    Get another Fiat Pands 4x4 - still around... and also new...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 14, 2019 at 21:39
  • 1
    Extremely good snow tires, traction control, antilock brakes etc.
    – Old_Fossil
    Feb 15, 2019 at 4:58
  • @SolarMike Even in the better variants the equipment is very basic and the space is also rather small, so I am also looking at other cars.
    – sweet home
    Feb 15, 2019 at 8:31
  • 1
    @sweethome I hade a panda, then went to the Sedici (Suzuki SX4 rebadged) more equipment, more space... But that became too small (two sons of 6ft plus...) so I went for a Jag x-type estate... magic takes 3 mountain bikes, 3 large teens and all the stuff in comfort...
    – Solar Mike
    Feb 15, 2019 at 8:54

2 Answers 2


You can go one of two ways - either go for a smaller car with narrow wheels (like you have with the Panda), or a bigger 4x4 with higher ground clearance.

Narrow wheels like you have now help to cut through the snow, giving you more grip compared with most cars.

More important, however, is your choice of tyres. Decent winter/snow tyres will give you much better grip on snow than normal summer tyres, and this makes much more difference than having four wheel drive or extra ground clearance. This is down to both the trad pattern (which has 'snipes' to help clear the snow from the treads) and also the compound of rubber used, which is designed to work better in low temperatures.

  • I get a new set of winter tyres about every 2 years to stay above 5mm. Those are typical tyres from the local car parts shop. Is this enough or should I switch earlier/against better ones? What should I look for when getting winter tyres?
    – sweet home
    Feb 15, 2019 at 21:20
  • 1
    It probably depends on how many miles you do, and in what sort of conditions. @solarmike says he changes winters every two years. I'd be more inclined to go for three years/3mm min depth, but then I'm in the UK where we don't get much snow or prolonged periods of subzero temperatures.
    – Nick C
    Feb 16, 2019 at 18:04

My Subaru Crosstrek has an interlock that prevents the car from rolling backwards when stopped going up an incline. This will let you apply the gas more slowly and help to avoid spinning the tires.

  • Most vehicles nowadays have a hill-holder clutch like this. It doesn't really help with wheelspin.
    – Chenmunka
    Oct 21, 2019 at 17:15

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