Small four wheel drive cars

Easy to live with + added off-road ability = small four wheel drive car. Read why they make a great deal of sense

Murray Scullion
Sep 11, 2018

Small four-wheel-drive cars are a bit of an automotive mashup, with a hint of Frankenstein’s monster about them.

Small cars are usually described as cute, nippy, and cheap. Typical two-wheel-drive hatchbacks like the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo conjure up images of little cars scurrying around town for a bit of shopping or getting to work and back.

Four-wheel-drive vehicles, like the Range Rover and Mitsubishi Shogun, have a different image all together. They tend to be big, rugged, and owners like to think of themselves as outdoorsy country-folk.

While the seemingly incompatible ideas seem, well, incompatible, the marrying of these strands allows a car to be both easy to park, live with, and insure, while being slightly better in the mud and the snow than a run-of-the-mill small car. The best of both worlds then, if you regularly travel slightly off the beaten track.

Keep scrolling to take a look at some of the best small four-wheel-drive cars money can buy

Suzuki Swift

Latest Suzuki Swift deals from £5,100
Finance from £103 per month

Suzuki has carved itself out a nice niche within the small car market by offering the little Swift with four-wheel-drive.

The styling is modern, with an almost playful-looking front end, plus it’s a fair bit cheaper than rivals (that don’t offer four-wheel-drive) like the Toyota Yaris and Hyundai i20.

Suzuki’s four-wheel-drive system is only available with the 1.2-litre engine. While it’s not bad, it’s important to remember that adding the 4x4 system to it adds 0.7 seconds to the 0-62mph time.
Suzuki Swift buying guide


Latest BMW X1 deals from £9,499
Finance from £180 per month

The BMW X1 is the smallest car within BMW’s X range of SUVs. It’s well equipped, and surprisingly good to drive, while the ride is comfortable and smooth. In other words, a solid car, and a good all-rounder.

Not all models have four-wheel-drive, so keep an eye out for models with xDrive in the name.
BMW X1 buying guide

Fiat Panda Cross

Latest Peugeot 108 deals from £4,295
Finance from £83 per month

Amazingly, there are actually two derivations of Fiat’s little city car that send power to all four wheels. The Panda 4x4, obviously, has four-wheel-drive, but the Panda Cross is our choice because it's the most rugged.

It has a special off-road mode for greater performance, as well as plates to protect parts underneath the car from scrapes, and front tow hooks. Although, it is significantly pricier than the 4x4.

The Trekking edition is worthy of a mention here too - it lacks four-wheel-drive but it does have raised suspension as well as electronic traction control.
Fiat Panda buying guide

Nissan Juke

Latest Nissan Juke deals from £6,000
Finance from £115 per month

The Juke’s looks are a bit Marmite-esque in that you either love it or hate it, but if you can stomach the exterior you’ll also enjoy a car that’s quiet and comfortable, with efficient diesel engines, and a lofty driving position.

And while it looks a bit like a Jeep that’s been shrunk in the wash, the majority of them will be in front-wheel-drive only.

So keep a look out for models with the 4WD badge tacked onto the rear end. Incidentally, the Juke is only available with a 4x4 system when specified with the potent 1.6-litre DiG-T engine.
Nissan Juke buying guide

Audi A3

Latest Audi A3 deals from £8,000
Finance from £148 per month

A high quality interior, a smooth changing automatic gearbox, and a badge with serious street credit. You’ll find all of these attributes with the Audi A3.

Audi’s infamous four-wheel-drive system, called quattro, is available with the A3 which should aid things when the weather gets bad.

You won’t find it on base-spec cars though. You’ll have to pony up for at least the 190hp 2.0-litre petrol engine if you want four-wheel-drive with your A3.
Audi A3 buying guide

Mercedes A-Class A45 AMG

Mercedes A45 AMG

Latest Mercedes A-Class A45 AMG deals from £20,579
Finance from £233 per month

The Mercedes A-Class has made a name for itself by being a posh Ford Focus. We’re speaking about the old-model A-Class here, as the new model has only just been released, with very few variations in place yet.

If you want power going to all four of your A-Class’ wheels, you’ll need to opt for the mega-fast A45 AMG version.

A 376bhp power output sees it get from 0-62mph in a supercar-like 4.2 seconds. Handling is good, aided by that four-wheel-drive system too, and its sporty bodykit and spoiler are guaranteed to turn heads.
Mercedes A-Class buying guide


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