When the snow starts flying, temperatures start dropping to the bitter cold mark and roads start icing over, your choice of vehicle becomes paramount to safely get from point A to point B. If you don’t have a good winter car, you might want to start looking for an all-wheel drive vehicle. Here are 10 of our favorites.
When people start talking about all-wheel drive, Subaru is often one of the first automakers that pop into their minds. Subaru is known for its legendary all-wheel drive systems and performance. The Subaru Outback is also a pretty economical car to own and operate. Plus, it has a large following which keeps the resale values high.
For used car buyers looking for an all-wheel drive vehicle, a Subaru Outback is about as good as it gets. With Subaru’s legendary all-wheel drive system, cargo room to haul most anything and space for five people, the Outback fits a large number of people’s needs.
Who says an all-wheel drive car can’t be fun? The Dodge Charger is available with all-wheel drive, and the sedan-like muscle car has plenty of power, torque and room for passengers. It also offers good visibility and handles well with its wide wheelbase.
The Charger comes in a number of trim levels, including some pretty track capable models, and it’s available with a few engine choices. Since some Charger models are incredibly powerful rear-wheel drive sedans, make sure that the used Dodge Charger you’re considering has all-wheel drive if you need better traction in winter weather.
Along the same lines as the Dodge Charger, the Buick LaCrosse offers a wide wheel base, plenty of power with its available V6 engine and all-wheel drive. It also offers a more luxurious and comfortable interior when battling the elements. Lastly, it offers GM’s OnStar system with automatic crash notification and GPS tracking, which is really handy in case of an accident.
If you’re shopping for a used Buick LaCrosse, you should find it to be a good bargain since it fits in-between a luxury offering and an entry-level vehicle. This means you will find many upgraded features without the upgraded price.
Rounding out the list of sedans would be the Chrysler 300. Like the others it sports a wide wheelbase, a powerful engine and an optional all-wheel drive system. While the 300’s all-wheel drive system may not have the same reputation as Subaru’s, it does a good job handling sloppy, wet roads.
The Chrysler 300 has been around for a while and the used car inventory is starting to grow, which means you should be able to find a good value.
The Mazda CX-5 has a surprising amount of capability with its all-wheel drive system. It’s also sporty, fairly roomy and gets good fuel economy for its class. Lacking the big name of say a Ford, Chevrolet or Chrysler helps value seeking used car buyers when looking at the Mazda CX-5. Keep your eye out for one of these and you might find a diamond in the rough.
If the Outback doesn’t do it for you, try stepping up to the Subaru Forester. Recently upgraded, the Forester offers lots of cargo room, excellent visibility and Subaru’s renowned all-wheel drive capability. With good fuel economy for its class, impressive resale value and lots of available safety features, the Forester is a solid choice.
One of Honda’s top sellers, the Honda CR-V has been a solid vehicle for years. It has plenty of passenger space, offers a smooth driving experience and has proven to be pretty reliable. Recently upgraded, there are several generations of the CR-V on the used car market. Look for a used CR-V with the all-wheel drive option if you need a little extra capability.
As the only van with an optional all-wheel drive system, the Toyota Sienna has been a top choice among families. It offers lots of room, good fuel economy and rides on Toyota’s reputation for quality. The Sienna is normally found in a front-wheel drive configuration, so look closely for the all-wheel drive model.
Like the Mazda CX-5, the Nissan Rogue features a spacious interior, sharp styling, good fuel economy and an optional all-wheel drive feature. For used car buyers, the Nissan Rogue also represents a good bargain.
Land Rover LR2
A list of vehicles able to handle the elements wouldn’t be complete without a Land Rover. The LR2 is Land Rover’s response to a quickly growing crossover SUV market and while it is smaller, it retains Land Rover’s legendary off-road performance. With many computer and mechanical systems assisting the driver, the LR2 takes away much of the driver’s stress when the roads get ugly. It is hard to go wrong with a luxury SUV that also features off-road capability.
No matter which model you are end up looking at, an all-wheel drive vehicle often provides a much better driving experience in sloppy conditions. The peace of mind gained by having this feature is hard to measure. Yet, getting home safely with less stress is well worth the investment.