With the recent spells of horrifically adverse weather working their way up the country, many motorists may well be considering a more robust ride in which to complete their daily commute.
But big 4x4s with their thirsty engines, raised ride height and tough exterior bodywork are bound to be ridiculously expensive, right? Not necessarily.
Affordable brands such as Dacia, Fiat and Nissan all currently offer 4x4 models that provide the assurance and sure-footedness of all-wheel-drive without the wallet-stinging price tag.
Those put off by the usually bulky exterior of many off-road vehicles can also breath a sigh of relief because with models such as the Fiat Panda 4x4 and the Suzuki Swift 4x4, customers can have all-weather peace of mind as well as a compact city car in one neat package.
Here's our pick of the most affordable new 4x4s currently on the market...
Suzuki Swift 4x4
From £13,819 to £14,949
Suzuki's plucky little city car has been given a four-wheel-drive makeover to ensure performance both in busy cities and on slippery road surfaces. The ride height has been raised slightly for better obstacle clearance, while bashplates and tougher bumpers have been added to suck-up the odd knock. Don't expect mountain climbing abilities nor impressive wading depths but do get excited about impressive fuel economy and all-weather grip.
0-62mph: 13.4 seconds
Top Speed: 103mph
Fuel economy: 51.3mpg (combined)
Emissions: 126g/km CO2
SsangYong Korando 4x4
From £14,980 to £22,735
Ssangyong: the no-nonsense vehicles from Korea. Not our words but the words of the up and coming budget brand. You used to get what you paid for with a Ssangyong but huge improvements have been made to the latest models to ensure cutting-edge styling, solid off-road performance and impressive fuel consumption figures from the punchy 2-litre diesel engine. Plus, it can do proper 4x4 stuff like the ability to tow up to two tonnes and wade through flooded roads.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Top Speed: 116mph
Fuel economy: 47.1mpg (combined)
Emissions: 147g/km CO2
Skoda Yeti Outdoor
From £15,125 to £27,025
Every 'affordable 4x4' list should have a Yeti on it and that's because Skoda has created an exceptionally capable machine for under £16,000. The interior is robust and reliable, while the clever 4x4 system allows for forays off the beaten path. It's economical, offers plenty of space for the family inside and doesn't cost the earth when things go wrong, so you can afford to attempt that 'impassable' pass.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel
0-62mph: 12.2 seconds
Top speed: 108mph
Fuel economy: 47.9mpg (combined)
Emission: 154 g/km CO2
From £15,174 to £26,075
We've been running a two-wheel drive ASX for several months now and we've had nothing but praise for the hardy SUV. The four-wheel drive version adds a premium but the extra grip on offer is well worth it if you live off the main routes. Mitsubishi is adept at creating some of the best 4x4s on the market (Think L200, Outlander and Shogun) and the same technology can be had in the much cheaper, more 'user-friendly' ASX model.
Engine: 1.8-litre turbodiesel
0-62mph: 10.6 seconds
Top speed: 115mph
Fuel economy: 54.3mpg (combined)
Emissions: 136g/km CO2
From £15,713 to £27,530
Many critics have bashed the current trend for crossover SUVs, citing that they aren't actually any good at venturing off-road despite their muscular exteriors. That might be true of the popular two-wheel drive iterant but the upcoming 1.6 litre turbodiesel version comes with a full four-wheel-drive system. There is a price to pay (£25,695 to be exact) but that buys the most powerful engine in the line-up and peace of mind when the heavens open and the mercury drops.
Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Top speed: 118mph
Fuel economy: 57.6mpg (combined)
Emissions: 129g/km CO2
Take a closer look at the models mentioned in the gallery below and click here for part 2
Contributors: Megan Manneh