Looking for the best car for snow? Check out this list of the top winter cars available on the market.
When it comes to the best car for snow, you have several options to choose from, including, Nissan Altima, Subaru Outback, BMW 3 series, Land Rover Discovery, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-9, Dodge Charger AWD, Hyundai Palisade, Subaru Ascent, and Volvo Xc90.
You can't go wrong when you choose any of these cars. However, because you have so many options available, choosing the best car for snow can be difficult. This is why we have created this review to steer you in the right direction and help you find the right vehicle.
Our team of experts has put together this guide to find the best cars for snow. We've produced a list of 11 vehicles that not only use advanced technology to navigate through the snow but can also be equipped with extra features that make them true winter champions.
Features To Look For
We realize this isn't breaking news to you, but it seems that snow will soon blanket much of North America with ice for the next few months. With summer done and fall well started, we thought now would be a good time to discuss snow.
The first snowfall of the year has hit many parts of the country, and if you're not prepared to drive in the snow yet, now is the time to learn. Driving in the snow creates obstacles for drivers since it significantly reduces tire traction compared to rain. Certain automobiles are naturally better adapted to trekking through slick winter conditions than others. Whether you're buying a new vehicle or hoping to improve the existing one, here are a few features to consider when it comes to the best cars for driving in the snow.
The most helpful features for staying in control during snow (in even the most treacherous conditions) are four-wheel drives or all-wheel drives. Any car's type of tires and wheels ensure that you always have the most traction, whether you hit a patch of ice or drive through a couple of inches of snow.
Depending on the model, the maximum clearance may be available only with All-Wheel Drive (AWD) and possibly additional optional equipment. Under normal conditions, some AWD systems will direct 100% of the engine's power to the front wheels, sending additional power to the front or rear wheels as needed to maintain traction, while others will divide the difference 50/50 or remain a touch rear-biased for a sportier feel over the dry pavement.
Additional features, such as heated steering wheels and seats, are also helpful features to keep you as warm as possible when you step into the vehicle in freezing weather.
A few luxurious options come with heated windshields and mirrors that melt the ice away so you won't have to scrape it off. This may be a little over the top but still pretty useful on frozen evenings.
Installing winter tires or adding tire chains or cables to your car's tires is perhaps one of the best ways to drive through the snowy, slushy roads. Winter tires and chains are designed to adjust to the changing temperature and provide better traction and control of the vehicle.
Best Cars for Snow
Winter weather takes a toll on cars and poses challenges for drivers. However, your options are no longer limited to jeeps and big SUVs, thanks to advanced technology. Modern cars are now equipped to handle traction and suspension on snow-packed roads.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
The Land Rover Discovery Sport offers a comfortable ride, especially for long journeys. It is considered one of the best off-road vehicles due to its pre-installed terrain response system. If you are looking for something substantial and luxurious, the land rover discovery sport is the best car for snow. However, the car has two main drawbacks. First, it guzzles fuel and second, it is costly. Nonetheless, the Land Rover Discovery Sport will have no difficulty ploughing through piles of snow and scrambling up slippery slopes.
The Discovery Sport manages to blend its battle-hardened appearance with a more comfortable and palatial interior, as you'd expect from a car within this price range. Fabric seats and cushioned upholstery are available depending on which trim you choose.
The 10-inch touch screen infotainment unit is colorful and bright, and if you upgrade to the SE model, you can replace the analogue binnacle with a digital screen behind the steering wheel, which makes driving with satellite navigation a breeze.
The Discovery Sport, unlike many of its competitors, has a third row of seats. They may be a tight fit for adults, but if you ever need to save the day on the school run, they should suffice.
The Honda Pilot is an excellent choice for safe and secure family transportation, as it can accommodate up to eight passengers across three rows of seats. It comes with a 3.5-liter V6 engine that produces 280 horsepower and is mated to a nine-speed automated transmission. Honda's Variable Torque Management with Torque Vectoring is included in the Pilot's all-wheel-drive system, which can split engine torque between the front and back axles and between the left and right rear wheels for superior handling in a variety of road conditions. In normal trims, the ground clearance is 7.3 inches, but in the TrailSport trim, it's raised to 7.9 inches.
The three-row Mazda CX-9 is more engaging to drive than most midsize crossover SUVs, thanks to better handling and a peppy 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 227 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque on regular gasoline and 250 horsepower and 320 pound-feet on premium gasoline. The available Mazda "i-Activ" all-wheel-drive system distributes most of the engine's power to the front wheels, with a minor amount of torque diverted to the rear to speed up the switch all-wheel drive when needed. For extra traction on slick roads, it can automatically send up to 50% of power to the rear wheels. The car rests on 8.8 inches of soil.
Dodge Charger AWD
Never believe anyone who tells you that all-wheel drive is required for safe snow driving; it isn't. It's wonderful to have, though, and its inclusion on the current-generation Dodge Charger lifts the sedan from a summer muscle car to a year-round daily vehicle.
The 292-horsepower SXT and the 300-horsepower GT are the two AWD Dodge Charger models offered, providing purchasers with a choice of what amount of components they want and how much they want to spend. When situations call for it, the AWD system only sends torque to the front wheels; otherwise, it operates in RWD mode for maximum efficiency.
The Charger's dependable handling and relative heaviness make it a great partner for this technology, resulting in one of the best cars for snow available.
The Hyundai Palisade is a stylish three-row midsize SUV with a 3.8-liter V6 engine that produces 291 horsepower. Hyundai's optional HTRAC all-wheel-drive system divides torque between the front and back axles and has adjustable performance modes, including a snow setting for improved traction on snow-covered roads. For strenuous conditions, you can also lock the system with a 50:50 torque split. The Palisade is 9.7 inches above the pavement, giving it extra traction over deep snow ruts.
The Subaru Ascent
The Subaru Ascent is a three-row SUV that can comfortably accommodate up to eight people. It has a superior all-wheel-drive system, hill descent control, and Subaru's X-Mode traction management system as standard equipment, making it a true winter warrior. It's driven by a 260-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine linked to a gearless CVT transmission, making it speedy and fuel-efficient. The Ascent's suspension provides a smooth ride and an ample 8.7-inch ground clearance for navigating heavy snow or mild off-road tracks.
Nissan Altima AWD
Our list would be incomplete without the Nissan Altima AWD. The Nissan Altima began offering all-wheel drive as an option with its new design in 2019, making it a strong contender for the best car for snow.
The Altima's AWD system is a part-time system that only engages the rear axle when it detects wheelspin or when you provide adequate steering input. It runs in FWD mode at all other times, allowing for predictable handling in adverse weather. Furthermore, Nissan's continuously variable automatic gearboxes have been a fixture in the company's product selection for a long time, and their beautiful, steady power supply means there are no sudden changes in wheel torque to throw the car off while it's trying to find traction.
Wintery weather and snow-covered streets are nothing new to the Swedes, so the Volvo XC90 feels right at home. The XC90's four-wheel-drive system channels the Norse pantheon's abilities, and like Thor's mythical hammer, Mjölnir, it has no trouble leveling snow-covered mountains.
Volvo's latest models exude flawless Scandi-cool with their minimalist dashboards and sharp, sumptuous interiors. It may have once been the 'go to' for old men and auction house enthusiasts, but Volvo's latest models exude effortless Scandi-cool with their minimalist dashboards and sharp, sumptuous interiors. It has a 5-star Euro-NCAP rating, and a 'Run Off-Road' system will prepare the vehicle for a collision if it detects you heading off the road, while power-absorbing seats will absorb the shock of a significant collision.
The car's passenger compartment, like Mjölnir's, appears to have been forged in the Norse Gods' forge. It's made of boron-based high-strength steel, the strongest steel used in the automobile industry.
BMW 3 Series Touring Estate
In terms of all-around competence, we consider the BMW 3 Series to be one of the best cars for snow on the market in the UK, and the Touring Estate adds practicality to the mix. Although its 500-litre boot isn't the largest, it's significantly more adaptable than the saloon's. It offers the same powerful all-round package elsewhere, combining a fantastic driving experience, elegant appearance, and a finely crafted interior – all supported by that desirable blue-and-white emblem. The 3 Series is more costly than equivalent cars like the Volkswagen Passat and Ford Mondeo, yet it drives better than almost all competitors, whether on a highway cruise or a twisty country road.
The Touring Estate comes with a wide selection of engine and trim options, and those who frequently experience inclement weather will appreciate its four-wheel-drive technology. The M340i petrol, 320i, 320d, and 330d diesels, as well as the 330e plug-in hybrid, all have it. The system's added weight and mechanical drag raise fuel consumption (though the 320d xDrive Touring Estate's consolidated fuel economy of over 50mpg isn't bad), but it may be a trade-off worth making for added traction on slick roads, and it makes putting the 3-series' power down a little simpler even in dry conditions.
Subaru Outback Estate
Not everyone who drives in lousy weather wants an SUV, and Subaru has been catering to this demographic for decades. Full-time four-wheel drive has been a brand trademark since the 1970s when Subarus were first supplied through agricultural equipment dealers, and it contributes to the Outback's particular appeal. Subaru has since produced multiple generations of the Outback, each based on the estate version of the Legacy but with sturdier bodywork and elevated suspension for increased ground clearance - a formula that companies like Volvo and Audi have now copied with their Cross Country and Allroad models. The new Outback is yet another spacious, practical estate with a well-built (though somewhat basic) interior that can navigate rugged roads and keep going in wintry circumstances like few other vehicles.
Only a characterful flat-four 2.5-litre petrol engine with roughly 40mpg is available currently — the 2.0-litre diesel engine is no longer available. While the Outback's somewhat raised seating position means it can't compete with more traditional estate cars in terms of snappy handling and lean body resistance, it's significantly less likely to be caught off guard when the weather turns bad. For those who have learned to rely on the Outback's capacity to handle rugged roads, a slightly drab look is unimportant on a vehicle whose dependability has been demonstrated.
It would be best if you also thought about an SUV's ground clearance, which is the distance between the pavement and the axles of a car or crossover. A vehicle with a higher ground clearance can help better plough through deeper snow accumulations without scratching the undercarriage or becoming trapped in other ways.
The Toyota RAV4 compact crossover, which is also offered in plug-in hybrid models, offers a pleasant ride with a spacious cabin and several advanced safety features as standard. All-wheel drive is optional, and a hybrid-powered vehicle is available. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder gas engine produces 203 horsepower. To improve fuel economy, the RAV4's basic AWD software can effectively re-engage and deactivate AWD as needed. The variable torque vector All-Wheel Drive with Rear Driveline Disconnection is available, which can transfer torque to individual rear wheels as needed to keep traction. The Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims have a ground clearance of 8.6 inches, with the latter having a special frame and 18-inch sleek alloy wheels with all-terrain tyres.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding