Can you recommend a 4x4 for use in snow, and can we buy a car and register it in Spain?

I hope you can give me some advice. I've never been attracted to 4x4s, but living in Scotland and having two severe winters in a row has persuaded me that when I swop my present car I should consider one. I presently drive an Audi A4 Avant S-Line, which isn't very good in the snow, and my wife drives a BMW 320 Cabriolet automatic, which has the traction of a sledge. I'm looking for a car that has good traction, has a reasonable amount of boot space (to compensate for the estate car), is not too boxy or overblown, and particularly has good fuel economy. Reasonable resale value would be nice too. I like the appearance of the BMW X3. I usually buy new and have a budget of £25,000 to £30,000. What would you recommend?

I have a second question. We have a property in Spain and are finding the cost of hiring cars prohibitive, so were thinking of buying a left-hand drive car to keep there. Car prices seem very high there. Is there a way of buying one here, or elsewhere on the continent, and driving it there, that you would recommend, or is it easier just to bite the bullet and buy in Spain? Thinking of a mid-range size, like a Clio or similar. Again would prefer to buy new. Look forward to hearing from you.

Asked on 30 July 2011 by IH, Strathblane

Answered by Honest John
Buy the Spanish car in Spain, but check first with your ‘assessor’ that you can actually register a car to your Spanish property without being a tax resident in Spain.

The best thing for winter is winter tyres. The next best is a 4x4. And, of course, the best of the lot is a 4x4 on winter tyres. The new F25 BMW X3 is excellent, but has a long waiting list. Long waiting list for the Range Rover Evoque as well. You might think about a BMW X1 X-drive or a MINI Countryman All-4. But what's surprisingly good, and available, is the Mitsubishi Outlander. I got 45mpg. Test and video here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/mitsubishi/outland.../
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