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Published Date: 11/30/2015

With the clocks rolled back already, the annual winter misery is rapidly approaching.

Toyota RAV4

The whole cold spell is much easier to live with though if you have a car that will cope with the unpleasantness with a little more aplomb than your average family hatchback.

You might expect the RAV4, as a typical "off-road" styled vehicle to slip into that role with no other questions asked, but its winter-surviving talents go much deeper than looks alone.

The RAV4's four-wheel drive system - available on all but the entry level Active diesel model - monitors all aspects of the driving assists and electric power steering to move torque around the wheels before any slip is detected. Should a loss of traction actually occur, a yaw rate sensor will detect it within milliseconds and redistribute the torque accordingly.

In particular circumstances when you know it's going to be slippery going before you even set off, you can lock the torque distribution between the axles to 50:50, at speeds of up to 25mph.

With a 7-inch ground clearance, the RAV4 will deal with deep snow or, more likely, flooded roads that would render a route impassable to regular vehicles.

When the ice has been and gone it's inevitable that potholes will open up. The RAV4 rides these new scars on the landscape with ease, so all should remain settled in the cabin.

The entire RAV4 range is equipped with either 2-litre or 2.2-litre diesels or a 2-litre petrol. With the widespread distribution of winter diesel in the UK from November through to April, these engines will keep you going right through the cold interrupted, whereas the hybrid power units used by some other manufacturers their in SUVs can struggle as the batteries' charge-holding abilities are hindered by the temperature.

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