Those accustomed to winter driving can understand the importance of having the appropriate car. “When all four tires are working to move a car forward, each requires less traction,” Kelley Blue Book explains. ”And when one tire does slip, there are three more to shoulder the load, not just one. That, in a nutshell, is why all-wheel drive is good in the snow, and so popular in the highest and northernmost parts of the country.”
Here were the 10 top picks that Kelley recommends for winter driving. Notably, we swapped out the Ferrari FF for the Volvo XC70, since the FF and its $300,000 price tag is generally out of reach for the average buyer. Nonetheless, we’re sure it’s a fantastic car. The following are not ranked by any particular measure, and this is far from a comprehensive list. What do you drive?
10. Toyota Sienna
If passenger space is important (or you just really like minivans), the Toyota (NYSE:TM) Sienna is the only vehicle in the segment able to send power to all four wheels — something that not even Honda’s praised Odyssey can claim. This makes the Sienna the sole option for families seeking minivan verstility with all-weather capabilities.
9. Chevrolet Tahoe
Chevrolet’s (NYSE:GM) Tahoe is a remarkable vehicle for moving large quantities of stuff over just about any kind of terrain as KBB points out. Seating accommodations max out at nine, while it is capable of towing over 8,000 pounds of whatever needs towing.
8. Ford Fusion
“A midsize sedan isn’t the first car that comes to mind when thinking of the best ways to navigate slippery asphalt,” KBB says, but notes that with the optional all-wheel drive package, the [Ford] Fusion becomes as capable as it is stylish. “Providing year-round traction along with a commanding, SUV-like view of the road ahead, the Ford Fusion AWD is easily one of the most adaptable sedans on the market.”
7. Subaru Crosstrek
Small and agile, but boasting the clearance and capabilities that belie its size, the Subaru Crosstrek boasts beefed-up suspension, over eight inches of space to the ground and, Subaru’s excellent full-time symmetrical all-wheel-drive.
6. Nissan Pathfinder
“Nissan’s freshly revamped 7-passenger SUV offers better fuel economy and more car-like driving dynamics than previous Pathfinder models,” KBB observes. While the Tahoe offers 15 miles per gallon in the city and 21 miles on the highway, the Nissan puts out a slightly better 19 and 25, respectively. Just don’t expect the same kind of towing performance.
5. Volvo XC70
Though the Ferrari FF (KBB‘s option) is indeed the first Ferrari to boast all-wheel drive, we found that the Volvo XC70 is a far more realistic option for many. Clad in plastic body panels, equipped with all-wheel drive, and sporting a higher clearance than its V70 sibling, the Volvo can handle just about any terrain that’s thrown at it.
4. Subaru Outback
If the Crosstrek didn’t have the kind of voluminous cabin that’s needed, the Outback should provide the solution, without sacrificing any of the Crosstrek’s other benefits. “Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system has an almost uncanny ability to find grip in the slick, which is why you can’t throw a snowball without hitting a Subaru.”
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, just as the Jeep Grand Cherokee doesn’t fall all that far from the Jeep Wrangler. While it’s considerably more refined than its trail-going cousin, the Grand Cherokee still has a powerful engine (with a diesel unit to come), four-wheel drive, and the ability to raise the vehicle’s height and adjust traction for specific terrain with the touch of a button.
2. Land Rover Range Rover
The new generation of Land Rover’s Range Rover (the Range Rover Sport is pictured above) has shed some 700 pounds from its predecessor, though it still has the same pedigree that makes Land Rovers such renowned off-roading vehicles to begin with. “The most adverse urban road conditions are deemed trivial in the eyes of an SUV renowned for its ability to conquer some of the most unforgiving terrain this planet has to offer,” KBB says.
1. Audi Allroad
Finally, the venerable Audi Allroad, back after a 7 year vacation from the American market. Audi’s impressive all-wheel Quattro system is combined with a turbo-charged engine, better ground clearance than the typical wagon, but with the cargo space and versatility of an SUV.
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