Driving in the snow poses unique challenges because it significantly reduces tire traction compared to, for example, rain. An experienced snow driver will know to brake early, apply the gas more gently, and keep longer following distances in traffic. All of these can greatly reduce the risk of an accident, although obviously, some vehicles are more suitable than others for driving in icy winter weather. The ten best cars and crossovers for driving in the snow currently on the market are listed below.
Dodge Charger AWD
All-wheel drive is not a necessity when driving on snow, but it sure helps out. Having a Dodge Charger AWD that you can use year-round and not just during fair weather can be very helpful. Two Dodge Charger AWD models are available: the 300-hp GT and the 292-hp SXT. This allows buyers to choose based on their budget or desired level of equipment. The AWD system supplies torque to the front wheels only if the condition requires it; otherwise, it operates in RWD mode for enhanced efficiency.
With the Dodge Charger’s relative heft and predictable handling, the chassis is ideal for the system. This makes the Charger one of the best cars for snow driving.
We can’t complete our list without at least one model of Subaru. The Japanese company is one of the expert manufacturers that know how to produce AWD vehicles with balance and capability. The Subaru Outback is simply one of the best examples on their lineup. This mid-size crossover showcases how good the company is when it comes to engineering AWDs.
The Subaru Outback is available with the standard Symmetrical AWD system that pairs the flat “boxer” engine with full-time AWD. This provides the Subaru Outback with impressive traction over loose surfaces. With an 8.7-inch minimum ground clearance, it will be hard to get stuck.
Nissan Altima AWD
Though some of you may seem surprised that a Nissan sedan makes this list, the Japanese brand has been offering the Altima with an AWD option since 2019. This mid-size sedan makes for a great case as one of the best cars for snow driving. The Altima’s AWD system is only part-time and only engages the rear axle if needed, such as times when wheelspin is detected. It runs front-wheel-drive mode at all other times. That makes for predictable handling, especially in inclement weather conditions. In Nissan’s vehicle lineup, continuously variable automatic transmissions have become a mainstay for quite some time. The smooth power delivery equates to no sudden wheel torque changes. Thus, it is rare to upset the vehicle while it finds traction. Offering the Altima with an AWD option since 2019 has been a great move from Nissan.
Jeep Grand Cherokee AWD
A Jeep making this list should not be a surprise. Jeep has been manufacturing off-road, rugged vehicles longer than any other vehicle manufacturer. Honestly, there are many options in the Jeep lineup that could make this list, but we settled with the Jeep Grand Cherokee because it is probably the best one yet. The Grand Cherokee can meet most needs as it is available in three different 4×4 drivetrains. It also features a Quadra-lift suspension that can improve ground clearance up to 11.3 inches. This helps eliminate the need to shovel your driveway to park your vehicle properly.
Volvo V90 Cross Country
The reputation for safety of Volvo has been tagged as legendary. With that being said, the Swedish car manufacturer has been producing excellent snow-friendly vehicles for quite some time now. One sterling example is the Volvo V90 Cross Country. It has standard AWD, a specious body style, and a lifted ride height.
The company itself promotes this specific vehicle as a car that is designed for all weather and all roads. However, the company is correct with its claims and not blowing smoke. The Volvo V90 Cross Country features an 8.3-inch ground clearance. This vehicle is premium-feeling, controllable, and smooth, as you would expect from a highly trusted manufacturer such as Volvo.
Acura RDX SH-AWD
Honda’s premium brand, Acura, has been offering the Acura RDX in a redesigned status since 2019. This compact luxury crossover‘s most notable change is the inclusion of the Super-Handling All-Wheel-Drive System (SH-AWD). This system was not included in the second-generation Acura RDX. This brand-new system operates full-time. It can vector up to 70% available torque towards the rear axle.
This means that the Acura RDX SH-AWD offers efficient handling even in snowy conditions because it can send the needed twisting force to each rear wheel and help drivers make a safe turn. In addition, there is an Integrated Dynamis System with this vehicle that features a dedicated Snow mode.
BMW 3-Series xDrive
BMW has been one of the most trusted car brands when it comes to engineering prowess and weight balance results. The xDrive AWD system is a seriously efficient car fit for snow driving. This vehicle is as high-tech as it goes. It maintains a slight rear bias by default that helps with agility. It also uses electronics to vary the front/rear torque split depending on driving conditions.
The BMW 3-Series is quite on the steep side. However, you get what you pay for. It even comes with a three-zone climate control, superb build quality, and 14-way power adjustable front seats.
Due to Subaru’s impressive symmetrical AWD system, we can’t just let one model from the Japanese company be on this list. Another model that impressed us is the Subaru Crosstek. This vehicle showcased a new nameplate when it premiered in 2013. However, beneath the rugged cladding and sharp bodywork, it looks like a raised Impreza hatchback. Nothing against that; this vehicle offers an 8.7-inch ground clearance. That helps make it a good option on snow and uneven terrain locations.
In addition to the safety provided by Subaru, the Brake Assist and Symmetrical AWD have been standard.
Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
Audi was one of the first manufacturers that embraced all-wheel drive in their road cars. This was specifically targeting drivetrain benefits for snow driving. Decades after, the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro has been one of the best vehicles for trudging throw snow. This vehicle was inspired by the A4 Avant station wagon. This car features standard AWD, a wider track width, and a raised ride height. It also features an adaptive damping suspension and an Off-road mode that helps it turn into one of the most competent cars in handling winter conditions. Three-zone climate control, standard heated front seats, heated steering, plus available heated rear seats make the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro a great choice for snow driving.
Toyota RAV4 AWD
In 2018, the Toyota RAV4 experienced a redesign and turned into one of the best cars for winter use. The all-wheel drive option made the RAV4 more capable of sending more or less torque to the rear wheels. The torque-vectoring AWD system really made all the difference. You will have better confidence driving in snowy conditions. The RAV4 also includes a multi-terrain knob for dialing in the powertrain for facing whatever condition you may be in. The Toyota RAV4 AWD offers a mix of comfort, safety, and an abundance of space. You will never go wrong with the Toyota RAV4 AWD for your winter getaway.
Picking the Best Cars for Snow
When it comes to selecting which car to use for snowy conditions, it actually depends on your specific requirements. There are a lot of factors that may affect your final decision, such as price, size, safety, and performance. With our list above, you have a good mix of budget-friendly and luxurious options. You’ll also notice the options of sedans, crossovers, and SUVs on that list.
If you live in a region that usually experiences harsh weather conditions, getting a snow-friendly vehicle is an ideal thing to do. Automobiles that have all-terrain options work best for these scenarios. If you use this car often, make sure you invest in it properly. Choosing safety above budget may be a good thing to consider since you will be protecting yourself or your family from potential danger. Never underestimate the importance of safety, especially in inclement weather conditions.
You will need control, stability, and balance whenever you go through harsh winter conditions. The vehicle options that we enlisted above offer these considerations. Whatever model you choose, it would be smart to always consider the best one that could minimize the risk of an accident. Check for the ground clearance that your chosen vehicle can handle and estimate the snow that you usually plow through in your area. There are vehicle options on the list that offer high-ground clearance. This would not only be suitable against snow but also if you go through different terrain conditions.
Never underestimate the possibility of a car accident, especially during harsh weather conditions. Thus, you should be 100% prepared at all times. Having a car companion that can assist you through these can be highly valuable for your safety.