There's no doubt our latest long-termer – the Nissan X-Trail 2.0dCi Tekna – has been thrown in at the deep end.
Since arriving at AOL Cars in mid November it's had to contend with everything from howling gales and flash flooding to sub-zero temperatures and snow. Lots and lots of snow!
> Reassuringly though, the no-nonsense SUV has tackled the worst of Britain's winter weather with the sure-footed confidence of an Eskimo who's just found two tennis rackets. And that's made Nissan's family friendly 4x4 a firm favourite with the AOL Cars team, who now make a mad scramble for the keys at the faintest suggestion of a cloud.
Spend even a short time behind the wheel and it's easy to see why. On the road, the big X-Trail handles effortlessly and belies its hefty dimensions and rugged looks with a performance that's as mild-mannered as Cliff Richard in his Christmas onesie.
But take this usually timid creature beyond the Tarmac and it rips off its metaphorical shirt, pulls its pants on over its trousers and tackles all obstacles with the gusto of Bruce Willis taking on the Taliban.
Nissan's clever All-Mode 4x4-i system, coupled with an impressive 173 PS 2.0-litre turbo diesel powerplant and a serious amount of ground clearance, leave you in no doubt this is more than just an accessory for the school run mum.
Were mum to use it though, she'd find herself with plenty of pennies left to up the kids' pocket money at the end of the week. We've been clocking up a very healthy 36mpg on average.
Let's not pretend though that the X-Trail's popularity among AOL Car's band of motoring purists is all about the way it drives. For this model has a list of creature comforts, smart features and nice touches longer than Mr Tickle's left arm. Leather seats, a Nissan Connect five-inch touch-screen navigation system, 360-degree bird view camera parking system, electric panoramic sunroof and a rocking Bose audio system with nine speakers make this model more homely than the average three-bedroom semi.
And so, with winter on its way out and the daffodils beginning to appear, the X-Trail is likely to continue to prove a popular choice in this office in the weeks and months ahead.
Engine: 2.0-litre, diesel
Power: 171bhp, 360Nm
Max speed: 124mph
Costs this month: £0