Car buying is a painful, complex process for many people. Most have several reasons they want a particular new car, but it can be difficult to find everything exactly as you want in a specific model. This can be especially true when shopping for a vehicle that performs well in the snow.
Just about every new vehicle you can buy has traction control and anti-lock brakes, but most cars and crossover SUVs also come standard with front-wheel drive. Although front-wheel drive does have its winter driving advantages, all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive usually have a clear advantage, especially with winter tires fitted.
That is just the tip of the iceberg. Some of the best cars in winter conditions are also the safest since slippery roads can get the best of anybody at any time. Our list of the best cars for snow and ice in 2022 and 2023 will help you see the variety of options out there and help you pick the best one for your needs.
Volvo V90 Cross Country
The Volvo V90 Cross Country makes station wagons look cool again. It has some of the most attractive exterior and interior styling in its class, standard all-wheel drive, a mild hybrid powertrain to boost fuel economy, and about eight inches of ground clearance. Additionally, the V90 earned itself an IIHS Top Safety Pick + award for its superior safety scores in an accident.
It is quite a pricey option, and it does not offer quite as much cargo space as other wagons with which it competes, but its newly updated infotainment system and peppy 295-horsepower turbocharged and the supercharged engine should be enough to get anybody excited about driving it. Fuel economy estimates of 22 MPG in the city and 29 on the highway are good but not stellar.
If you pair its styling with its standard blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and automatic high beams, it is easier to justify its higher-than-average price tag. It will also make traveling in tricky road conditions a little easier. You can opt for the smaller V60 if you want better fuel economy and have a smaller bank account.
Subaru is known for its unique vehicles and stellar Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive system. Even though the Forester, Outback, and Impreza are more well-known in the Subaru lineup, the Crosstrek has proven to be one of the most reliable options in the Subaru lineup with a unique personality for outdoor enthusiasts.
Unlike most other vehicles, you can still choose the Crosstrek with either a manual transmission or a continuously variable automatic transmission. 152 or 182 horsepower is available depending on the engine you choose with the latter getting you up to 34 MPG on the highway. All Crosstrek trim levels benefit from automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.
Subaru has not made any notable changes for the 2022 model year, and the Crosstrek is not known for its refined driving dynamics, posh interior, or stellar performance. Still, that is part of its allure. It offers the prospect of simple transportation and the ability to get just about anywhere when snowy conditions prevent others from doing so.
Ford Bronco/Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Bronco was one of the most anticipated new vehicles in recent memory, and one of the best parts about it is that there are two versions from which to choose. The Ford Bronco is the brawnier, traditional body-on-frame SUV that harkens back to the classic Broncos of 30 or more years ago. The Bronco Sport is a more road-friendly crossover version. Both have the impressive capability and make winter conditions look like a walk in the park.
The “Baby Bronco” comes standard with a three-cylinder engine that makes 181 horsepower while the larger Bronco makes 300 horsepower from its 2.3-liter turbo-four. Both feature four-wheel-drive systems rather than all-wheel drive. The Bronco Sport is more capable off-road than most other crossover SUVs, but the big Bronco is one of the best off-roaders available on the market right now.
Neither achieve stellar fuel economy numbers, neither features the most comprehensive list of standard technology features, and neither is the most comfortable to drive, but both are two of the best vehicles to have in winter weather. As an added bonus, both provide a good amount of cargo space with their boxy styling, despite being considered compact SUVs.
Even in its base trim level, the Jeep Wrangler is known for its off-road capability. For it, driving on slippery roads is a breeze. There are no major changes for the 2022 model year from 2021, but there really do not need to be. It comes with a standard four-wheel-drive, the choice of four doors or two, and a wide variety of powertrain options, including a plug-in hybrid and a 470-horsepower V8.
For as good as the Wrangler is off-road, you pay the price on the road. Its solid front and rear axles, poor fuel economy, and body-on-frame construction make the Wrangler ride more like a pickup truck than a standard crossover SUV. It also lacks many of the standard safety features and the best tech features offered on other modern SUVs.
Despite all of this, the Wrangler is one of the most beloved vehicles on sale. Its resale value is high, its interior is not as rough-and-tumble as you might expect, and you can get it with some nice features. Higher trim levels can be equipped with a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, remote start, and LED headlights to help you navigate rough winter weather.
Another Subaru that unsurprisingly makes our list is the Outback. To make it even more appealing to buyers, Subaru has introduced the Wilderness trim level to the Outback lineup for 2022. The Outback was good in the snow before with its Symmetrical AWD, but the Wilderness adds all-terrain tires, increases the ground clearance to 9.5 inches, and adds some rustic styling touches to make it look more off-road-focused.
In its normal form, the Subaru Outback is a comfortable family hauler with a 182-horsepower engine. 260 horsepower is available from a slightly smaller turbocharged engine, but both send power through a continuously variable transmission. It is technically a crossover SUV, although it is more like a lifted station wagon than anything else.
With stellar crash test ratings, standard automatic high beam headlights, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive headlights, it is one of the vehicles you want when the weather gets bad. Available features like heated front seats, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and blind-spot monitoring make the Outback even more winter weather friendly.
Audi A4 Allroad
The Audi A4 Allroad is like a cross between the Subaru Forester and Volvo V90 Cross Country. Audi’s Quattro AWD system is well-known throughout motorsport history and the current car industry alike. Unlike the Subaru, the A4 Allroad is more luxury-oriented, less rough-and-tumble, and more stylish. Unlike Volvo, it’s been on the market longer, it is smaller, it has a lower MSRP, and it has a generally more capable all-wheel-drive system.
Although it does not get quite the fuel economy of the Volvo V60 or V90, it has just as nice of an interior, a larger standard touchscreen, and sharper handling than its Swedish rivals. Automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and forward-collision warning are standard safety features on all models.
Nothing has changed for the A4 Allroad for the 2022 model year, but it remains a well-rounded option for anybody who has to deal with winter weather. Heated seats in both rows and a heated steering wheel are available once you start climbing the trim levels, but even in base form, the A4 Allroad can be your everyday commuter car, your bad weather car, and your nicer luxury car, all at the same time.
The Forester is Subaru’s best-selling model. It has a more upright stance than the Impreza and Outback, allowing for more passenger headroom and nearly 29 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row. Of course, Subaru’s excellent all-wheel-drive system is standard on all models with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warning to cap off the safety list.
A slight exterior styling refresh from 2021 models helps keep the Forester fresh while it also follows the Outback's lead and gets the Wilderness trim level added to its already versatile lineup. 8.7 inches of ground clearance is quite good, but the addition of all-terrain tires on the Wilderness trim may help a bit more in truly deep snow.
Like the other Subarus on this list, the Forester is by no means a hard-core snow monster or off-roader, but it does better in snowy conditions than most competitors. If you just have to deal with the occasional poor road conditions, its base 182-horsepower engine gets you up to 33 MPG on the highway and 26 MPG in the city. With available fog lights, windshield wiper de-icer, heated mirrors, and heated front seats, cold weather will be easy to tackle.
The Mazda CX-5 may be better in deep snow than the Mazda3 simply by virtue of its greater ground clearance, but both are available with Mazda’s i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system. The Mazda3 has the advantage of being more nimble and maneuverable. You also get the advantage of having Mazda’s 2.5-liter turbocharged engine for about $4,000 less than if you got the CX-5 with the same engine.
The AWD Mazda3 pumps out 250 horsepower, it achieves fuel economy estimates of 23 MPG in the city and 32 MPG on the highway, it is packed with all kinds of tech goodies, and it has one of the best interiors on the market for a reasonably priced car. Windshield wiper de-icers, rain-sensing windshield wipers, heated front seats, adaptive front lighting, and a host of safety features are all included in the sub-$33,000 price tag.
Mazda’s all-wheel-drive system makes use of torque vectoring like many other all-wheel-drive systems on the market, but it is different in that it is proactive rather than reactive. It may not be as good as Subaru’s Symmetrical AWD system, but it does a good job of having traction ready before traction is already lost, like in many other systems.
The Honda Pilot is one of the most beloved midsize crossovers on the market for its spacious interior, plentiful cargo capacity, and comfortable ride. Not only is the Pilot pretty good in the snow with its torque-vectoring VTM-4 all-wheel-drive system, but it is also a great family hauler when you are going about your everyday business.
Unlike the smaller Honda CR-V that also comes with a standard front-wheel drive drivetrain and available all-wheel drive, the Pilot has a snow mode. You can also use its VTM-4 system to “lock” the rear differential in place to get out of an even trickier situation. In the absence of a true locking differential, this usually does the trick in most slippery conditions.
Beyond its usefulness in winter driving, it comes with a 280-horsepower V6 engine, a nine-speed automatic transmission, seating for up to eight passengers, a well-appointed interior, and plenty of tech equipment to keep your entire family happy, and up to 26 MPG on the highway with all-wheel drive equipped.
The Toyota 4Runner is not as refined as the Toyota Rav4, it is not as technologically advanced as the new Toyota Sequoia, and it is not as large as the Toyota Highlander, but it is the one you want for any kind of serious snow driving. As a traditional body-on-frame, pickup truck-based SUV, it is a bit old school, but it has a proper four-wheel-drive system and nine-and-a-half inches of ground clearance.
It is due for a redesign soon, so there is not much in the way of styling refreshes, but Toyota has added the TRD Sport trim to the lineup for the 2022 model year. The 4Runner is rather expensive, especially considering its dated design, five-speed automatic transmission, and 4.0-liter V6 engine, but all these elements have given it a reputation for reliability and have kept its resale values incredibly high.
If you want a more comfortable SUV that gets better fuel economy and comes with some reassurance when road conditions deteriorate, you should look to the RAV4 or Highlander. But, if you want a vehicle that can tackle deep snow and can take you off-road when the snow melts, you should check out the 4Runner. It can tackle almost anything, especially if you opt for the off-road-ready TRD Pro trim level.
You may not think that a BMW 3-Series is a snow-ready vehicle. It is certainly not as capable as the Subarus and some other SUVs on this list, but BMW’s available xDrive all-wheel-drive system certainly gets the job done on slippery roads. The 3-Series provides buyers an entry-level luxury car with all the features you would expect in a premium vehicle The added assurance of all-wheel drive just adds to what it offers.
Base models come with rear-wheel drive and a 255-horsepower engine. Adding all-wheel drive is a $2,000 extra, and equipping it only drops fuel economy slightly from the standard drivetrain to 25 and 34 MPG in city and highway driving respectively. BMW has added a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster as standard on each 2022 3-Series model to compliment the standard 10.25-inch touchscreen.
Forward collision warning, rain-sensing windshield wipers, adaptive headlights, and automatic high beams come standard, but you can fit cold weather niceties like heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and multi-zone climate control as extras.
Most people probably do not know that the Dodge Charger – the same four-door sedan that can be fitted with a 797-horsepower V8 engine – can be had with an all-wheel-drive. Unfortunately for enthusiasts, all-wheel-drive is only available with the base 300-horsepower V6 engine on the SXT and GT trim levels.
That being said, 300 horsepower is still a healthy power figure, the Charger has a spacious interior, and you can get an un-Charger-like 27 MPG on the highway with all-wheel-drive equipped. Unfortunately, the Charger does lack many standard safety features that other vehicles offer at its near $36,500 or $38,500 starting MSRP, depending on the trim you choose.
What it lacks in standard features and notable changes for 2022, it makes up for in character and some unique selling points. Even though you cannot get all-wheel drive with any V8-powered model, you still get the muscle car appearance, you get the passenger space that comes with a full-size car, and you get a user-friendly standard infotainment system.
Hyundai Palisade/Kia Telluride
We have seen the Palisade and Telluride on multiple lists before and for good reason. They are two of the best current midsize SUVs for their spacious interiors, good cargo capacity, long standard safety features list, great standard tech features, and overall well-roundedness. Even though both come standard with front-wheel-drive, all-wheel-drive is available on each trim level.
For your winter weather needs, both vehicles offer 8 inches of ground clearance, a snow driving mode, and an AWD lock that continuously sends power to the rear wheels for additional traction. Neither SUV can truly compete with the likes of the Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, or Jeep Grand Cherokee, but like the Honda Pilot, they have more to offer in slippery conditions than many other crossover SUVs.
In addition to being more usable than the smaller Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sorento, both the Telluride and Palisade benefit from more standard driver assistance features for the 2022 model year. Kia has also given the Telluride a larger 10.25-inch standard infotainment touchscreen and dual-zone climate control.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you take the capability of a Toyota 4Runner and add some of the Hyundai Palisade’s fantastic interior touches, you get the Jeep Grand Cherokee. It has been completely redesigned for 2022, and it has continued to impress everyone with its well-roundedness. Except for its high price tag and limited five-passenger seating, there is not much the Grand Cherokee does not do well.
Being a larger crossover SUV compared to the Jeep Wrangler’s smaller size and more rugged body-on-frame construction, it cannot quite get to every place its sibling can, but it is not far from doing so. Each Grand Cherokee comes with available four-wheel drive, a great feature with which to navigate some of the toughest winter weather conditions. Choosing the Trailhawk trim gets you even better off-road performance with Jeep’s Quadra-Drive II four-wheel-drive system.
With standard safety features like automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keeping assist, your everyday commuting will be handled just as easily as your winter weather commuting.
Like BMW, Mercedes-Benz also offers its 4Matic all-wheel-drive system on multiple models, including the compact A-Class. Even though the A-Class is not quite as capable as some Mercedes-Benz SUVs like the GLB, GLC, and GLA, mostly because of its lower ground clearance, it is a more affordable and approachable option.
You can almost think of the A-Class as a ritzier Mazda3, with the Mercedes-Benz brand recognition to back up it. It has a similarly luxurious-feeling interior, better fuel economy numbers of 24 and 35 MPG in the city and on the highway, and spunky driving dynamics, despite only having 188 horsepower with its base 2.0-liter turbocharged engine.
No significant changes have come to the A-Class for the 2022 model year. For around $3,000 more than the Mazda3, you can have the Mercedes-Benz A 220 4Matic with standard blind-spot monitoring, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning. That is not too bad of a prospect considering the badge and the added capability in poor road conditions.