Even if you don’t want the extra cost of winter tyres, checking the tread depth of your existing tyres is important. The legal limit is 1.6mm, but having more than this can dramatically improve steering and braking - if your tyres are due replacing, then winter is a good time to do it. Also check your tyre pressures regularly, as these can change with the drop in air temperature with the changing of the seasons.
The XJ's interior is looking a bit dated these days next to newer rivals, but it still has a wonderful ambience. Up front, the diamond-quilted seats (embossed with some questionable '575' branding) come with a wide range of adjustment, and those in the rear are treated to plenty of leg room; there’s little reason to opt for the long-wheelbase variant.
The Ferrari (chassis number 1451 GT) was originally built to compete in the 1959 Le Mans 24-hour and had been off the production line for no more than 5 days, before it was tearing up the tarmac at the world’s oldest endurance race.
Professional winter car checks
You do get a lot of kit for that money, mind you, including a range of safety and convenience features such as adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a collision-mitigation system. The exterior has plenty of colour-keyed elements to please the eye, including bumpers, mirrors and door handles, and the interior is swathed in nappa leather.
Step inside, press the bright red starter button and the supercharged V8 bursts into life with an intensity that is often missing from modern-day turbocharged engines. It’s a real brute of an engine that is absolutely brimming with character; at low speeds, you’re treated to a lovely V8 warble that's soon joined by a delicious, high-pitched wail from the supercharger as the revs climb. It’s an intoxicating soundtrack that is backed up by prodigious levels of performance.
He credits its handling with saving his life one dark night when a bumper fell off a semi, forcing him to swerve into an interstate median, blowing out two tires in the process. "Had to obviously get the tires replaced and the car towed in that night. But any other car, there was no way in the world that I would not have hit that bumper."
But there is more to a good supermini than standing out in a crowd. It needs to remain practical enough for family life and decent to drive. Admittedly, the Micra lacks the overall polish that makes the latest Seat Ibiza and Ford Fiesta both stand out performers. But the little Nissan goes about its business quietly and with minimal fuss, with only fidgety ride at low speeds providing a real grumbling point. Although I suspect sticking with 16in wheels rather the optional 17s fitted to our car would cure that issue.
You can then read the freezing point of the antifreeze using the scale inside the tester. Replace the antifreeze in the car’s system and replace the cap.
But what’s it like today?
The worst thing you can do when a slide occurs is to panic. If you freeze behind the wheel, then there's more chance of you having an accident, but if you keep calm, you will be able to deal with any situation that occurs. The aim is to avoid an accident, but if one is unavoidable, keeping calm will allow you to deal with the situation better and reduce its severity.