It seems like our global weather patterns are being thrown into chaos, what with wildfires and floods in Australia just a couple of weeks ago, we now have to face Storm Ciara up in the United Kingdom. This weather formation has terrorized the residents of this extremely large island, with an opening salvo that saw 160 km/h winds picking up anything that wasn’t secured properly, to flooding even right in the middle of the land mass, and blizzards that are now tearing through Scotland.
It’s the worst storm in seven years, with the largest affected area in that same duration. 190 flood warnings and 170 flood alerts have been issued, nearly 200 flights have been cancelled in the space of 48 hours, and public transport and bridge usage have been severely disrupted.
But as is the case with our perverse curiosity, we can’t help but wonder: what car would you pick if you had to weather Storm Ciara? Here are our top three picks.
By now, you know there’s probably going to pickup truck on every one of these lists. They’re still the vehicle of choice for going where the going gets tough because they’re capable of taking some pretty extreme forms of punishment without slowing down. Such is the beauty of ladder frame construction and solid live axle construction.
But why the Ford Ranger of all the options on the market? Simple: it has an extremely high wading depth of 800 mm. If you find your path blocked by floodwaters, simply dive in and push through. Anything more than that and you’ll need a snorkel, but the Ranger will get you further without needing to resort to such items.
Pre-1980s Volkswagen Beetle
You’d be surprised why we would pick such an old model, but there’s some beauty in the simplicity. It may not be the quickest thing in the world, but the classic Beetle has a couple of tricks up its sleeve. The cold weather may affect the operation of its carburetted engine, but it’s not something that can’t be fiddled with by an experienced Beetle owner.
The real party piece is the fact that the classic Beetle is designed to be airtight. Yes, that means it can float on flood waters for brief periods of time, giving you a little extra time to failure. Either that or you can break out the oars and paddle your way across whatever’s in your way.
If you’ve got an appetite for punishment, the Jeep Wrangler lets you do what a pickup does but with the benefit of no body panels. You won’t need to worry about water coming into the cabin when there isn’t much of a cabin to begin with – all you’ll really need to do is don a drysuit to keep yourself warm when you’re up to your proverbial balls in frigid water.
Besides, there’s something oddly beautiful about driving an open top car into a storm. You’re embracing the elements as they come, and as long as you don’t get blown away by a gust of wind, you’ll probably make it to wherever you need to go.