What’s the Best Vehicle for Driving Through a Winter Storm?

All-wheel drive plays a big role

Driving in snow
Cars driving on a road in the early morning blowing snow.
dpa/picture alliance via Getty I

If you are reading this in the United States right now, odds are good that you’re either in the middle of a winter storm or you will be soon. Perhaps you aren’t traveling for the holidays — or perhaps you’ve already arrived at your holiday destination. But if you’re going to be on the road in the days to come, it begs the question — what would be the best vehicle for that purpose?

Kelley Blue Book recently took a crack at ranking the best cars and SUVs for a very specific aspect of winter travel — driving in the snow. The process involved a number of features, from the drivetrain to driver assist technologies; blind spot monitoring can be especially useful with the added complexity of precipitation thrown into the mix.

The study ranks the Subaru Outback as the best vehicle for driving in the snow, pointing to its all-wheel drive and its high level of ground clearance as the deciding factors. Specifically, the review hails the Outback Premium as possessing even more features that are well-suited to snowy driving, giving both the 2023 and 2022 editions high marks.

Among the other vehicles that earned praise in the study? The 2023 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, 2023 Toyota Sienna AWD and 2023 Toyota Camry AWD all came off well there — though, as with the premium options package for the Outback, the addition of optional features for many of these played a big role in their presence on the list.

More broadly, the article notes that a driver’s level of experience on snowy roads counts for a lot — and that certain automotive technologies (including the aforementioned blindspot sensors) can make up for a lack of that experience. Snow tires, rain-sensing wipers and emergency braking are among the other features that are singled out for their importance to driving in a winter storm.

Driving in snow is never fun — but in the right vehicle, it can be safer and more bearable than you’d expect. Here’s hoping your winter driving is as safe as it can possibly be.

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