Conquering the Winter Roads: Top Cars for Snowy Season
As the temperature dips and snowflakes begin to swirl, it's time to start thinking about winter driving. For many, this means swapping out the summer tires for a set of snow tires and hoping for the best. But if you're looking for a car that can truly handle the harshest winter conditions, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Essential Winter Car Features
- All-wheel drive (AWD) or four-wheel drive (4WD): This is arguably the most important feature for winter driving. AWD and 4WD provide traction on all four wheels, which is essential for navigating slippery roads and steep inclines.
- Good ground clearance: Higher ground clearance helps prevent your car from getting stuck in snow drifts or hitting hidden obstacles.
- Winter tires: Winter tires are made with a softer rubber compound and deeper tread than all-season tires, which gives them better grip in cold weather and snowy conditions.
- Stability control and traction control: These electronic systems help to keep your car stable and prevent it from skidding.
- Heated seats and steering wheel: These features are a welcome luxury on cold winter days.
Top Cars for Winter Driving
Now that we know what to look for, let's take a look at some of the best cars for winter driving:
- Subaru Forester: The Forester is a perennial favorite for winter driving, thanks to its standard AWD, excellent ground clearance, and spacious cargo area.
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid: The RAV4 Hybrid is a great option for those who want fuel efficiency in addition to winter capability. It offers AWD, good ground clearance, and a comfortable ride.
- Honda CR-V: The CR-V is another popular choice for winter driving, with AWD, decent ground clearance, and a long list of safety features.
- Jeep Grand Cherokee: The Grand Cherokee is a capable off-roader that's also at home on snowy roads. It offers a variety of AWD systems, plenty of ground clearance, and a comfortable and well-equipped interior.
- Toyota Highlander: The Highlander is a spacious and comfortable SUV that's also available with AWD. It offers good ground clearance and a long list of safety features.
- Volkswagen Atlas: The Atlas is a large and versatile SUV that's also surprisingly good in winter conditions. It offers AWD, good ground clearance, and plenty of space for passengers and cargo.
- Subaru Outback: The Outback is another Subaru that's well-suited for winter driving. It offers standard AWD, good ground clearance, and a comfortable and practical interior.
- Volvo V60 Cross Country: The V60 Cross Country is a stylish and luxurious wagon that's also capable of handling tough winter conditions. It offers AWD, good ground clearance, and a host of safety features.
- Audi A4 Allroad: The A4 Allroad is a sporty wagon that's also surprisingly good in winter weather. It offers AWD, good ground clearance, and a Quattro all-wheel drive system that provides excellent traction.
Tips for Winter Driving
No matter what car you drive, there are a few things you can do to stay safe on the road in winter:
- Drive slowly and cautiously.
- Leave plenty of extra space between you and the car in front of you.
- Avoid sudden stops and starts.
- Be aware of your surroundings and watch out for black ice.
- Use your wipers and defroster regularly.
- Keep your gas tank full to avoid running out of fuel in cold weather.
By following these tips and choosing a car with the right features, you can be sure to conquer the winter roads with confidence.
Additional factors to consider
- Budget: Cars with AWD and other winter-friendly features can be more expensive than those without. Decide how much you're willing to spend before you start shopping.
- Fuel efficiency: If you're concerned about fuel economy, consider a hybrid or electric SUV.
- Cargo space: If you need to carry a lot of gear, such as ski equipment or winter clothes, make sure to choose a car with plenty of cargo space.
Reliability: Winter is a tough time for cars, so it's important to choose one that suits your needs.