The best vehicles for long, snowy winters

Technology has evolved so much in recent years that almost all cars have four-season capability nowadays. However, some of them are hard to drive in the winter, when front- and rear-wheel driven layouts tend to slip or become stuck in the snow. Fortunately, automakers are now offering AWD systems on a wide variety of models, so you are no longer restricted to only a handful of them, mostly SUVs.

In 2019 you can also buy sedans, hatchbacks, and even supercars with AWD, which makes life a bit easier if you live in the Northern United States. So, if you’re in the market for a winter-prepped vehicle, here’s a list of AWD cars, ranging from trucks to compacts, to consider.

Subaru Forester

2019 Subaru Forester Adds Size And Safety, Scraps Turbo And Manual Gearbox Exterior
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Redesigned for the 2019 model year, the Forester is now in its fifth generation. It looks better than ever, it has a solid tech package, and it’s quite capable in the snow and off the beaten path.

The Forester is also a honest SUV that comes with plenty of bang for the buck.

No "best vehicles for snow" article would be complete without this crossover. Priced from $24,295, the Forester is really affordable in base trim, but you can also jump a couple of trim without breaking the bank. The Premium model retails from $26,695, while the Sport comes in at $28,795. Opt for the range-topping Touring model though and you’ll end up paying $34,295 before options. But the base model is actually a good package. It comes with Subaru’s iconic Symmetrical AWD system as standard and it also includes Vehicle Dynamics Control, EyeSight Driver Assist technology, and Subaru Starlink Multimedia.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder boxer
Power: 182 horsepower
Torque: 176 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 9.6 seconds
Top Speed: 137 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Subaru Forester.

Jeep Wrangler

2018 Jeep Wrangler Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Wrangler is also a fresh SUV, with the JL-generation unveiled in late 2017. Although it looks very similar to its predecessor, the JL features many important upgrades. You can now pick from three different four-wheel-drive systems, including Command-Trac, Selec-Trac, and Rock-Trac, all of which enable specific off-road capability.

The Wrangler is a serious off-road vehicle so it won't have any issues coping with snow.

Add the right equipment and it can also tackle icy roads if necessary. You can also buy it in various body configurations, including two- and four-door layouts. Drivetrain options are varied two and include a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V-6, and a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel. The base V-6 is good enough if you live in areas with several months of snowfall each year. The Wrangler starts from $28,940 if you can settle without the optional eight-speed automatic transmission or the 2.0-liter turbo-four unit.

Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Power: 285 horsepower
Torque: 260 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 8.3 seconds
Top Speed: 103 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Jeep Wrangler.

Toyota RAV4

2019 Toyota RAV4 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Yet another new SUV on this list, the RAV4 was unveiled in late 2018. If you want an SUV just for the higher ride and off-road capability but prefer the looks of a sporty hatchback, the latest-generation RAV4 is exactly what you’re looking for.

Boasting an aggressive design that reminds of hot-hatchbacks, the RAV4 will looking anything but boring in front of your house.

Moreover, it’s equipped with more tech than ever and even the most affordable trims are fitted with state-of-the-art tech. The RAV4 starts below the $25,000 mark, but add AWD and fees to the base model and the sticker jumps to $26,900. That’s still affordable for an SUV that will get you through the winter.

Engine: 2.5-liter four-cylinder
Power: 203 horsepower
Torque: 184 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 8.2 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Toyota RAV4.

Tesla Model X

2016 Tesla Model X
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While most SUVs are well-equipped for the winter, they come with two drawbacks.

They aren't as fuel efficient as a car and they're usually slow. If it bothers you, then you should consider the Tesla Model X.

The all-electric SUV will save you some cash at the pump and it also delivers sports car-like performance, even in its base trim. It also has cool "falcon" doors for the rear passengers, the tablet-style infotainment display, and semi-autonomous capability. But the Model X comes with a notable downside: it’s expensive. The entry-level model retails from $80,450, while the range-topping version goes past the $100,000 mark. The good news is that you can drive it for up to 295 miles on a single charge.

Engine: two electric motors
Power: 417 horsepower
Torque: 487 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Tesla Model X.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country High Resolution Exterior
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If you’re not the green type but you’re looking for a premium offering, the V90 Cross Country might be it. This vehicle is also more practical.

Combining the luggage room of the V90 wagon and the ride height of an XC90 SUV, the V90 Cross Country seems like the perfect choice here.

Add in the fact that it’s loaded with modern tech and it has a premium interior and you don’t have to worry about a thing when taking those long winter trips. Drivetrain-wise, the V90 Cross Country comes with a variety of four-cylinder engines, starting with the T5, rated at 254 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The good news is that the base model features an all-wheel-drive system as standard. It’s far from affordable though, as pricing starts from $52,550.

Engine: turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Power: 254 horsepower
Torque: 258 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 7.2 seconds
Top Speed: 143 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country

Jeep Gladiator

2020 Jeep Gladiator Exterior
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No list about the best winter cars is complete without trucks. Winters may be harsh in some areas, but some jobs require around the clock hauling.

So either you have a company that can't waste time during the cold season or you simply need to haul stuff on a daily basis, the Gladiator is one of the best options out there.

Based on the latest Wrangler, it combines off-road capability of the SUV with the practicality of a pickup truck. The five-foot steel bed is big enough to carry long items and the wide tailgate and rear and side steps makes it easy to load stuff into the truck. It can also tow an impressive 7,650 pounds, a best-in-class figure, while its payload is rated at an impressive 1,600 pounds. Class-leading capabilities and off-roading prowess? Sounds like a good deal. The Gladiator shares its 3.6-liter V-6 with the Wrangler, while a diesel will be offered in 2020. Pricing starts from around $34,000.

Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Power: 285 horsepower
Torque: 260 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 8.4 seconds
Top Speed: 103 mph

Read our full review on the 2020 Jeep Gladiator.

Ford F-150

2018 Ford F-150 High Resolution Exterior
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Ford F-150

The Gladiator isn’t big enough for you? Then you can always go with a full-size truck like the Ford F-150. America’s best-selling truck is now in its 13th generation, and even though it’s some five years old as of 2019, the mid-cycle upgrade introduced a fresh design and new technology.

The first truck to adopt an aluminum body, the F-150 remains a solid proposition against competition from Ram and Chevy.

Engine options are numerous, but if you want a modern drivetrain you might as well go with the 2.7-liter EcoBoost option. Four-wheel drive is standard with this engine, as is the 10-speed automatic transmission. Hauling is not an issue thanks to its 8,500+ pound max towing and 2,250+ pound max payload. A SuperCrew version with the 6.5-foot bed and the 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine will set you back only $36,845.

Engine: turbocharged, 2.7-liter four-cylinder
Power: 325 horsepower
Torque: 400 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 7.5 seconds
Top Speed: 102 mph

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-150.

Subaru WRX

2018 Subaru WRX High Resolution Exterior
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Can you survive the winter without an SUV or a truck? Definitely! You just need the right car. And the Subaru WRX has what it takes to make driving in the snow seem easy and fun.

Yes, driving in the cold season can be fun in this car that's heavily inspired by Subaru's past success in the World Rally Championship.

Not only equipped with a smart all-wheel-drive system as standard, the WRX also features a powerful engine that generates in excess of 250 horsepower. It’s equipped with modern tech, it has a flat-bottom steering wheel, as well as an active torque vectoring system. At $27,195 before options it’s not very expensive either.

Engine: 2.0-liter boxer
Power: 268 horsepower
Torque: 258 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 6 seconds
Top Speed: 155 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Subaru WRX.

Dodge Challenger GT

2017 Dodge Challenger GT High Resolution Exterior
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If you want to take things up a notch there’s a very cool two-door option available. It’s called the Dodge Challenger GT and it’s essentially a muscle car with an all-wheel-drive system.

Fitted with the same AWD system as the Charger, including its active transfer case and front-axle disconnect, the Challenger GT is a good option if you want a sporty vehicle with all-weather traction.

But there’s a catch. Dodge offers the Challenger GT with the V-6 engine only. There’s no option for a V-8 and you’re stuck with the eight-speed automatic transmission. But it comes with plenty of cool standard features, like the Super Track Pak equipment group, performance suspension, dual-zone climate control, leather steering wheel, premium floor mats, and illuminated cup holders. Pricing for the Challenger GT starts from $30,395.

Engine: 3.6-liter V-6
Power: 305 horsepower
Torque: 268 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 6.3 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Dodge Challenger GT.

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Sedan

2019 Mercedes A-Class vs 2019 Mercedes CLA
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Unveiled for the 2019 model year, the A-Class Sedan rounds up our best cars for snow list.

Based on the latest A-Class hatchback, arguably the best car in its class, the A-Class Sedan is pretty much a shrunken CLA without the coupe-style roof. While the standard model doesn’t an all-wheel-drive system, you can add it as a $2,000 option. The sedan is loaded with modern tech borrowed from the larger Mercedes-Benz sedan, including the intelligent MBUX infotainment system, a digital instrument cluster, and a 64-color ambient lighting system. There’s only one engine available, in the form of a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Pricing starts from $34,500, which isn’t very expensive for a premium vehicle. However, the A-Class Sedan is a bit small, even for a family of four.

Engine: turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder
Horsepower: 188 horsepower
Torque: 221 pound-feet
Drive: AWD
0-60 mph: 7.1 seconds
Top Speed: 130 mph

Read our full review on the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert -
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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