Is a Yaris suitable for a long winter commute, or should my daughter buy a 4x4 instead?

My daughter has a Toyota Yaris, which she was driving for four years over short to medium distances. Now she is taking up job in Walthamstow (Herts) shortly and needs to commute from home in Chorleywood (Herts) on the M25. She has to go early in the morning and come back in the evening (a daily commute of around 100 miles). Occasionally she has to drive at night-time for hospital emergencies. Though the Yaris is a good car, I am worried about its safety and robustness for daily motorway driving of 100 miles. Also, winter is coming. Safety is the paramount consideration, though reliability and running costs are also important. I heard a 4X4 is safer. Is it true? If so, which one do you recommend. She does not need a big car but a safe and robust car, or do you think the Yaris is good enough?

Asked on 15 September 2011 by VD, via email

Answered by Honest John
There's nothing wrong with a Yaris. But I do recommend fitting winter tyres between late October and March. They are generally more effective in snow and ice than four wheel-drive, though, of course, four wheel-drive with winter tyres is better still. She could take a look at a 4WD Toyota Urban Cruiser 1.4 D-4D and fit with winter tyres.
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