What's better than a hardy half dozen all-paw, all-stars? A cost-effective half dozen, of course…
By PH Staff / Saturday, 17 December 2022 / Loading comments
Subaru Outback 3.0R, 2004, 109k, £3,450
You’ve got to be pretty confident to call a car ‘Outback’ – it’s going to need some proper mechanical resilience to back that name up. But then it comes from Subaru, and it’s hard to think of a company better placed to deliver tough off-road cars. The fact that the Outback name has been in production since 1994 – almost 30 years – shows what a success it has been for Subaru. Typically based on a Legacy, the Outback raised the ride height, beefed-up the exterior and generally made an already unburstable car even more capable. Not only does this one look superb in green with gold, it barely uses up a third of the budget, at £3,450. Just MOT’d, ULEZ compliant for the urban jungle and with four Bridgestone WeatherControl tyres fitted this year, the Subaru is ready for anything this winter has to throw at it. And 10 more after that, we’d wager.
Saab 9-3 Turbo X, 2008, 51k, £10,990
We love a curio, and they arguably come no more left-field than the most powerful Saab 9-3 ever to leave Trollhättan. The 2.8-litre Turbo X arrived in 2008 as a flagship for the last couple of years of 9-3, boasting 280hp from a turbo V6 and nods to the classic Saab Turbos with its all-black colour scheme and retro boost gauge. By the time of its introduction, the architecture meant the Turbo X couldn’t be a class leader against 3 Series and A4s, but now it’s rare, fast, and still quite handsome in its own way. The wagon remains the most desirable, of course, but this low mileage saloon does have the manual gearbox and looks in fine fettle, certainly good enough to excuse going a little over budget for (or haggling harder). A set of winter tyres on those smart 18-inch wheels – another stylish retro nod – and there will be no stopping you.
Volvo XC70, 2010, 84k, £9,995
Fear not, we’ve not forgotten the suburban battlecruiser that is the Volvo estate. With a near-legendary combination of comfort, durability, and performance, a Volvo V car of some kind has been the winter wagon of choice for something like a quarter of a century now. This is one right out of the top drawer: not only is it an XC70 instead of just a regular V – indicating the Outback-style cladding and all-wheel drive – it’s also been treated to a Polestar performance package. That means 315hp from the turbocharged straight six, a big number for such an innocuous-looking estate. The five-cylinder Volvos might be the legends, but nobody will complain about that level of performance. An immaculate Japanese import (which just goes to show the demand for these cars), the Polestar XC70 even comes with Pirelli Scorpion all-season tyres. It’s prepared for anything the winter has to throw at it, in some style.
Audi S4, 2004, 88k, £6,450
Rather like the inclusion of a Volvo here, there’s no way that a feature on great, affordable winter cars would be complete without an Audi Quattro of some kind. The sensible money would probably go an S3, or perhaps an Allroad of some kind, with a bit left over for winter rubber. But where’s the fun in that? It’s hard to argue with the appeal of a manual S4 (the V8 one, no less) at the best of times, let alone when it costs just £6,450. Sure, it’ll cost a fair bit to keep looking as good as it does now, and nobody will ever remember this as one of the very finest Audi saloons ever to drive, but there are 344 reasons to recommend it just under the bonnet. A 2004 car with just under 90,000 miles, it’s described as having a ‘comprehensive’ service history and an MOT until next October. Don’t pretend you aren’t tempted, too… MB
Ford Sierra XR4x4, 1986, 45k, £9,500
When it comes to winter warriors, as this list exemplifies, the obvious choices tend to be German and Swedish and Japanese. But for those that think outside the box, here’s something very unboxy: the jelly mould Ford Sierra XR4x4. There will also be those that say they had one ‘back in the day’ and they weren’t that great to drive even then. None of that matters now, though. If you’re of a certain age – and as a child who grew up in the ‘80s, I am – the realities of the XR4x4 are not important. What’s important is what it represents, and that’s a classic fast Ford. If the Cosworth was God, then the XR4x4 was Jesus. There was a certain mystique about this family car with a 2.8-litre Cologne V6 and four-wheel drive, and while the reality might have been somewhat different, this is a clean-looking example of a highly desirable car. JH
Volkswagen Golf R32, 2009, 94k, £8,490
Sure, today’s uber Golf is a supercomputer on wheels that can execute four-wheel drifts until there’s nothing left of the tyres if you tick the right option box – but it’s hard not to still yearn for a large, throaty engine up front. The Mk5 R32 was by no means the most engaging hot hatch of its era, largely owing to its 1,541kg kerbweight. But that 3.2-litre V6 under the bonnet would always ensure a healthy dollop of charisma for the ‘32. With 250hp and 236lb ft being sent across both axles, the VR6-equipped Golf was capable of shrugging off some of its portliness, particularly with the snappy DSG. Ultimately, the was no better way to experience the six-cylinder symphony up front than with the six-speed manual, available on this car here, which is distinctly absent from its modern-day equivalent. Now you just need one pound-a-litre fuel to make a comeback… CT
- Sports cars under £30k | Six of the Best
- GR Yaris vs. RS3 vs. M3 xDrive vs. AMG GT63
Latest Features articles
Lamborghini Countach | PH Origin Story
Winter warriors under £10k | Six of the Best
Peugeot 205 GTI Tolman Edition | PH Review
Lexus and the Holy Grail | PH Footnote
2023 Alpina B3 Touring (G21) vs. Audi RS4 (B9)
Source: Read Full Article