If you’re looking for cars that might be formidable in the snow, you might live in a climate similar to mine.
It’s been brutal out there this year. Snow storm after snow storm has slammed the area and if you don’t have a set of wheels (or a whole car) made for this garbage, you might be in deep trouble (or snow).
Right now it’s March so it might be too late to save you this winter. But winter will come again and you’ll be better prepared.
After driving past a ton of spun out cars and trucks alike, you realize that it’s not only the vehicle that can save you from spinning and potentially hurting yourself and others.
A lot of it is the driver. So before I go into cars that’ll make you safer as well, make sure you focus on being a safer driver. I know that seems obvious, but driving on some of these roads it really seems like a lot of people lack common sense.
Also, trucks have limits in the snow. They’re not as amazing as you think.
The advancement of driving technology has helped drivers be safer on roads and catch them when they might not be able to.
Advancements from stability control and even ABS can aid in keeping safe in the snow.
More recently, manufactures have developed systems like four wheel steering and intelligent all wheel drive.
Intelligent all-wheel-drive systems really stepped up the game. These systems allow cars to select which wheel to send power to, when other are slipping for maximum traction.
This set up is ideal. It’s all-wheel-drive, but better. A nice touch.
GET SNOW TIRES
The best practice for any car or truck is to get snow tires. Swapping out your summer tires for winter tires every year is a great way to ensure your safety. There are plenty of tests online of how each tire tread acts on snow and ice, and how snow/ice tires are just pinnacle.
Any of the below best cars for the snow will just be better with snow/ice tires. Just do it.
Front-Wheel Drive Cars:
This is the basic of the basic. Front wheel drive cars aren’t the best cars for the snow, but they’re better than RWD.
Front wheel drive equipped cars have advantages over RWD cars because all thew weight of the engine, trans-axle and the car itself are on top of the drive wheels. The weight is really the advantage there.
Packing a ton of weight into the trunk of a RWD car can help as well if you’re stuck with one.
But without any weight in the back, front wheel drive cars are much better in general.
Beyond front-wheel-drive, there’s all-wheel-drive. The name is exactly what it is: all four wheels are powered by the engine individually through multiple differentials.
All-wheel-drive is able to be shut off or turned on in low traction situations. The system in modern applications can chose individual wheels to drive in low traction situations. It’s pretty optimal.
4WD or 4×4 is similar. The system drives all four wheels, but delivers equal torque to the two axles.
Both systems are effective to help your car in snow. But modern systems of both AWD and 4WD have the best advantage.
In most cases these days, you can get AWD/4WD cars equipped with some sort of bad weather driving mode.
For example on Jeeps and some GM cars, you can get “Snow/ice” driving modes. These modes claim to optimize driving behavior in the car for improved traction in low traction situations.
Now that we got the broad examples out of the way, we can focus on less-broad examples.
X-Drive, Quattro And 4MATIC:
Originally, I wanted to break these three up into their own sections but they’re all in the same family so to speak.
All three systems are intelligent all wheel drive systems. There are debates open about which one is best, but I can tell you they all do an extraordinary job at keeping all four wheels planted.
These systems transfer the power of the engine to all of the wheels. They are able to detect which wheel is slipping, and direct power to the wheels that have traction for the safest possible result.
Any car you get with any one of these systems will definitely help. I drove a 3 Series with xDrive in heavy snow (with normal all season tires…for fun) and the system worked absolutely fantastically.
I’ve heard fantastic things about the Quattro system as well, but I haven’t has a chance to really test it in snow.
Same goes with Mercedes-Benz’ 4MATIC system. All of these cars have gotten even more smart in recent years. They’ve developed the cars to be smart enough to even change their suspension angles to better cope with corners and low traction situations.
Again, any car equipped with any of these systems and even similar systems from other manufactures out there will surely do the job very well for you.
Pretty Much Any Jeep:
Jeeps are pretty much the best cars for snow. It’s more common knowledge than say a 2-Series with xDrive, but that reputation was well built.
The 4WD system in Jeeps is just fantastic. It’s been tuned and refined over years and years and with some good winter tires, you’re in great shape. The low end torque is great and their abilities can even more be enhanced with modifications.
And again, just like with trucks the fact you have a Jeep doesn’t mean you have super powers on the road. Don’t drive like a dumby.
Cars developed in rally racing always seem to get very good marks for driving in rough weather.
Cars like the Lancer Evo (previous generations as the current one is just bad) and the WRX STi with snow tires make great cars in the snow from their great drive systems.
Subaru’s in general are fantastic snow machines. I was recently looking into buying an Impreza and was blown away at how it handled the snow. The traction system allows you to play a little but keeps you from killing yourself.
Sum It Up:
Cars that are effective in the snow generally have a few key characteristics. They have all wheel or 4 wheel drive, they’re generally heavy and can feature a long wheelbase.
There are many examples of cars and trucks that fit these criteria and to outline all of them would take a very long time; and I know you don’t have that sort of time or attention span!
If you’re car shopping for something formidable in the snow, you should look directly to something a four wheel or all wheel drive system. Whether you need a truck, SUV or sedan, an all wheel or four wheel drive system will pretty much solve your problems in the snow.
And again, get winter tires. They make a world of a difference.