Best cars in the rain

Heavy rain and storms needn't stop you in your tracks on the road - we've picked out eight of the best cars for driving in the rain

Sam Naylor
Oct 29, 2021

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, or where you are in the UK - rain is sure to be on the way soon if it isn’t raining already. Our changeable weather here in the British Isles means that we often have to drive to work, school or anywhere else in wet conditions.

Here we’ve picked out some of the best cars for driving in the rain, so you can feel safe and secure while you’re motoring in wet weather. There are a few key considerations here, including the availability of automatic windscreen wipers (which can take the stress out of constantly fiddling with the wipers as rain gets heavier or lighter), wading depths (which show the depth of water a car can safely drive through), four-wheel drive and safety kit.

Although the eight cars we’ve picked out below are particularly well suited to dealing with wet conditions, it’s worth remembering that virtually every modern car should be fine for driving in the rain. There’s no reason to unduly worry about your car being inadequate for wet weather unless it doesn’t have a roof, has poor ventilation (which could cause the car to steam up in the rain), or is more than 10 years old or so and doesn’t have traction control and stability control, as these systems help to stop cars from spinning their wheels or sliding out of control.

New cars now have to have clever systems that can automatically brake the wheels when they detect a slide or aquaplane in order to bring you to a safe stop, or correct a slide and stop them from spinning. Typically, the only way you’ll come unstuck in wet weather is if you’re driving too fast for the conditions - unless you have poor quality or highly worn tyres, which are likely to offer substandard grip in the wet and increase the chance of a crash, as they won't be able to stop the car as quickly as better tyres.

So, if you are driving in really heavy rain or through large puddles on the road, bringing your speed down to a safe level is key. Just as important, is making sure your car is fitted with decent tyres, that are kept at the correct pressures (having overinflated or underinflated tyres can increase how long it takes to stop the car) and have sufficient tread left. Yes, you might have to leave earlier for work, but this advice applies whether you have one of the cars we’ve listed below or not - drive to the conditions and maintain your car well to keep yourself and others safe.

With that said, let’s take a look at the best cars in the rain, from SUVs to city cars. You might also want to check out our list of the best cars for wading through deep water if you often drive on roads that are affected by flooding and don't want the inconvenience of having to take long detours.

Best cars for rain

1. Land Rover Defender

Best for off-roading in luxury

Used deals from £59,999
Monthly finance from £914*

The latest Land Rover Defender is a fantastic all-round car in a way that the previous more rugged models never were. It features a luxurious interior packed with the latest tech - including safety kit to keep you safe in wet weather - but retains its incredible off-road ability as well.

Okay, it’s a little expensive right now since even used versions are still quite new, but we reckon it’s the ultimate car for driving in the rain. Passengers inside can get comfortable in the high-quality cabin with superbly comfy seats, and drivers can enjoy the powerful engines with plenty of performance.

It has a great wading depth - being able to drive through water up to 900mm deep - so shouldn't be troubled by all but the very worst floods, all models have four-wheel-drive as standard and the Defender can take on the muddiest and most rutted back lanes and farm tracks with ease.

2. Audi A6 Allroad

Best for practicality

Used deals from £22,059
Monthly finance from £429*

The Audi A6 Allroad is a version of the A6 Avant - that's Audi's terminology for 'estate' - that features higher suspension, four-wheel-drive and a more rugged look thanks to plastic wheel arches and extra protection that means it’s good for some light off-roading, such as tackling muddy fields or farm tracks.

Yet since this is a large family estate car at its heart, the A6 Allroad is one of the most practical cars around. It has a huge boot and loads of room for passengers in the back seats, and the rear seats can be folded away to create a flat, roomy load area that’s big enough for bikes and surfboards.

The A6 Allroad is also luxurious and high-quality inside, has loads of modern tech and is really comfortable. In fact, the raised suspension means it’s even more comfortable than the normal A6, and it’s available with an excellent 3.0-litre diesel engine that brings performance and fuel economy in equal measure.

AUDI A6 AVANT BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mitsubishi L200

Best for off-roading at an affordable price

Used deals from £16,500
Monthly finance from £388*

If you need a car that can go anywhere but don’t need the luxury of a Land Rover Defender, or find it too expensive, the Mistubishi L200 is well worth considering. It’s a pick-up, which means it’s generally aimed at those who need a tough vehicle for work, but the double cab model has room for a family and it’s one of the best off-roaders you can get.

It uses an old-fashioned construction format that means it’s even more suited to off-roading than the Land Rover, and the huge tyres mean that it’s much less likely to get stuck in wet conditions. It’s an option for people who live in very remote areas that are likely to get flooded easily, as the Mitsubishi is really reliable and capable.

It’s not ideal if you want to carry non-waterproof things with you in the load area, though, as it’s a pick-up and the storage area is exposed to the elements. You can get hard-top roofs, but sometimes these aren’t as watertight as they might claim. The L200 is also quite noisy and uncomfortable on normal roads, so won’t be ideal for everyone.

MITSUBISHI L200 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Ford Focus Active

Best for rainy family holidays

Used deals from £16,699
Monthly finance from £234*

The Ford Focus Active is a bit like the Audi A6 Allroad above - it’s a pumped-up version of a normal family car, using slightly higher suspension and body protection for an off-roader look and feel. Unlike the Audi, it doesn’t have four-wheel-drive, but this isn’t necessary for driving in the wet.

Four-wheel-drive is useful for getting going on slippery surfaces, but the biggest risk in wet weather is sliding once you’re already moving, not getting stuck when stationary. The Ford comes with driving modes for wet weather, which help to tune the traction control for increased safety.

The Focus also comes with a very useful feature in wet weather: a heated windscreen. This function de-mists the screen almost instantly, which is really useful in steamy, wet conditions. The Focus is a great family car overall, with lots of space inside, plenty of comfort and efficient, quiet engines, so it makes sense - rain or shine.

FORD FOCUS ACTIVE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Volvo XC40

Best for safety kit

Used deals from £22,980
Monthly finance from £327*

The Volvo XC40 has a decent wading depth of 450mm despite being a compact SUV, but the main reason to choose one for driving in the rain is the fact that it’s really well equipped when it comes to safety kit.

It has advanced collision avoidance tech that can detect pedestrians and even large animals that you might have missed in the spray. 'Run-off-road mitigation' helps to prevent the car dropping off the road if you hit a muddy patch at the side of the road. This tech isn’t unique to the XC40 - it’s available on all Volvos - but the XC40 is an affordable and attractive family car overall.

The XC40 is comfortable, easy to drive, efficient and has plenty of space inside. It has a pleasant interior too, with lots of tech to make life easier. Look out for models with smartphone connectivity as this was an optional extra when new.

VOLVO XC40 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Skoda Kodiaq

Best for large families

Used deals from £20,800
Monthly finance from £293*

The Skoda Kodiaq is a large SUV and if you have a big family then it’s a great option for rainy driving. There are seven seats, and the rearmost seats offer plenty of space for adults, provided you slide the middle row forward a bit. It's a great value option when it comes to offering a decent amount of passenger and luggage room in a desirable SUV.

There are four-wheel-drive models available that are useful in some cases, but the Kodiaq is good in the rain no matter which version you choose. There’s plenty of ground clearance for puddles and a good amount of safety kit including AEB and plenty of airbags.

The Kodiaq is spacious inside, comfortable, easy to drive and most of the engine options are efficient. The petrol versions are powerful and smooth but the 2.0-litre diesel versions are probably the best all-rounders, since they bring a good balance between performance and fuel economy.

SKODA KODIAQ BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Subaru XV

Best for occasional off-roading

Used deals Limited stock

The Subaru XV is designed to work best as an everyday car rather than a tough and rugged off-roader, but it’s actually one of the best small SUVs if you do need to head down a muddy, wet track or even do some wading in deep puddles.

It uses Subaru’s tough and proven permanent four-wheel-drive system, so it’s far more capable off-road than some similar-sized SUVs, that are off-roaders only in style rather than substance. You do need to make some trade-offs for this, though, as the Subaru is less economical than many similar cars and the interior isn't as luxurious as those in a number of rivals.

It’s well-built, though, so it should last a long time - especially as Subaru has a strong reputation for making reliable cars. The XV is a bit of a niche choice and is quite expensive - when new, at least - but it’s an interesting option if you want a dependable small SUV with some off-road ability.

8. Suzuki Ignis

Best for wet city streets

Used deals from £7,601
Monthly finance from £119*

If you want a city car that won’t be stopped in rainy conditions then you could try the Suzuki Ignis. It’s taller than many other city cars and has a high ride height, which is good through puddles, plus it’s a rare small car that’s available with four-wheel-drive.

This is partly due to its Japanese origins, as many people in Japan need small cars that can tackle harsh weather conditions. The Ignis AllGrip is the four-wheel-drive model and it’ll help you to tackle wet and snowy weather despite the car’s tiny size that makes it easy to park.

The Ignis is really small and light so it’s fun to drive but also simple to manoeuvre and visibility is good. It’s reliable and affordable too, so although it’s not the most practical option, it could be a good choice for driving on wet city streets

SUZUKI IGNIS BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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