Here what our readers picked to the best cars on snow and ice…Thank to all those who participated…
Here’s our picks:
Forester XT. With four advanced compound snow tires, the thing sticks like a snow cat. Low CG, longish wheelbase, decent clearance, and let's not forget the fantastic 2.5 Turbo motor!
For even more fun, a C-4 996 or Evo 8 with four sticky snows would be a hoot.
Volvo X/C-90 gets an honorable mention as well... especially because it meets the 8,000 pound GVW requirement for the fantastic new depreciation rules without being a monstrosity!
Acura MDX...reliability...good looks...performance...18mpg town, 24 mpg fwy... all wheel drive..7 passenger...ULEV vehicle...can be had at a good price...
Has to be an audi with Quattro because its proven to be the best all wheel drive system there is that is why the European ski teams all use Audi and so do the law enforcement,
The best car for snow and ice is without a doubt the Audi A6, I had one for two years here in Canada. With 4 Blizzacks in the winter it was very confidence inspiring!
LAND ROVER, RANGE ROVER WILL TAKE me anywhere, anytime!!!
I believe that an awd car with snow tires, such as any audi quattro, BMW 3 series with the new X drive, an infiniti G35x, any subaru (all with snow tires). I have a 2004 Subaru Forester XT. The stock all seasons work fine when i take it skiing to Vermont every week on very snowy, icy roads. Even my other car, a REAR WHEEL DRIVE 2002 bmw 540i sport with snow tires mounted on the stock 17in wheels works fine in snow. I never had a problem driving up my steep snowy and verry slippery driveway in this car. It can handle anything with the conti contact snow tires. Now imagine snows on an AWD car. It's an unbeatable combination. Maybe i'll put snows on my subie to be super safe. A friend of mine brought his Range Rover skiing, which performed worse in snowey/icey conditions than my 540. It was sliding all over the road, on a brand new set of the factory goodyear 18in tires. These are my experiences with snowtires/allterrain tires on all different types of vehicles. Hope it helps!
I'd rule out any Mercedes, Range Rover or VW/Audi product because their reliability is a real issue - Is it really worth the risk of a break down in the middle of a blizzard or inoperable heating controls in minus 30 degree cold conditions?
I think the Lexus LX 470 would be good for the snow (heavy, good traction and torque, able to claim over piles of snow) but may be too top-heavy for ice. For ice how about the Infiniti G35 or new BMW 5 series wagon with AWD, and winter tires?
I would recommend a BMW 325 IX-drive E30 with good dampers perfect for snow and driving sideways
i am a proud owner and aggressive enthusiast of my 2002 Audi A4, this car has surprised me at most driving conditions that only seemed possible for skidoos! the quattro all wheel drive system, especially in the new generation Audi’s is a work of technological art. id recommend all my friends to try the new generation Audi’s with quattro all wheel drive...hence mine is the car of choice whenever the guys and i carpool out on rain, sleet or snow.
The best car for snow and ice is one you don't mind seeing dirty.. a lot, don't mind getting a ding or two in, has good traction, is still fun enough to drive and won't leave you stranded. My vote goes for a well maintained 88-91 BWM 325ix with good winter tires and that comes standard with some door dings and scratches.
I owned an Audi allroad back in 2001-2003 that was exceptional in this regard, particularly outfitted with four winter tires. I was able to raise the suspension for the really deep snow we sometimes get here in the upper midwest. Decent performance, a dose of luxury, and a fairly functional family car, all for under $50k.
Alas, I replaced that multi-purpose vehicle with two cars in the last
year: a C32 AMG (with summer tires) for decent weather days, and a VW Golf GTI (again, with four Dunlop snows) for the dead of winter.
If the weather is so bad that the fwd Golf can't make it, I just stay home and telecommute.
For my money, it's the Audi Allroad, excellent utility, comfortable, fast, well appointed and deals with ice and snow with aplomb.
Carefully contemplating the Performance/Value pairs (cannot let the Value-factor out!) I'd suggest Nissan Murano - the best performance/value combo!
The vehicle I would recommend would ABSOLUTELY have to have some form of traction control and MORE IMPORTANTLY stability control to bring the vehicle back under control in a slide. In order to traverse the snow and ice it should have decent ground clearance (8”+) and AWD. Further, if it all goes to pot, you want something that can survive a roll-over.
Given these requirements I would HIGHLY recommend the Volvo XC90. Here’s why:
1) It has an excellent traction and stability control system (same Bosch system found on other high-end cars) that works seamlessly to control vehicle skids.
2) It has just over 9” of ground clearance as I recall (just slightly more than the Ford Explorer.)
3) It has a full-time AWD setup that allows it to shunt power front to rear and side to side.
4) It has a boron-steel alloy roof combined with an air-curtain system designed to stay deployed for several rolls if you get in real trouble.
5) OK, a bonus – if you’re out in the snow and ice seat warmers and heated exterior mirrors are a nice touch!
One caveat, ANY vehicle I recommend comes with a stern warning to my friends about the virtues of snow tires!
The new Range Rover is by far the most superior car on the road when it comes to harsh snow/ice conditions. You can drive the car normally, smoothly, and safely in 15" of snow as I have found out this snow season up in the northeast.
The Mercedes-Benz ML500 is the all-time best all-around snow vehicle. It is not top-heavy like some other SUVs in the class, it has a wonderful V8 engine, and an advanced full-time 4x4 system with a low range! The interior is pleasant, and offers all of the necessary features of a luxury SUV, such as DVD navigation, heated seats, power-folding mirrors, bi-xenon headlamps w/ washer jets, a trip computer, automatic climate control, and a wonderfully sounding bose stereo. With the 5.0L engine, the ML transforms from a luxury wannabe to a class leader.
I have an Audi S8 and an RS6. Either with Blizzak tires can go anywhere with complete control. Of the two the S8 may be a little better as it has less power and more weight.
Mike in Cincinnati
Assuming this person will be using the vehicle on paved roads, any front wheel drive mid-size V-6 (for weight) with traction control, ABS and Blizzaks would work just fine.
On our last big snow I parked my Alero with Blizzaks in snow that was higher than the bumper. Without any hesitation or problems my car pulled right out of the parking spot. At the same time, I'm still able to get over 25 mpg unlike most SUVs, even the cross overs.
I think the best car on Snow/Ice would be the Volvo Cross Country (4 Dunlop Snows). I know because I drove one for 3 years. I backed out of my drive way (Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) one snowy stormy, February morning (-25 F). I stopped my car 10 feet into the street so I could put my garbage cans back upright (no I did not hit them). While I was out of the car I turned back to look up the street, I noticed a OC Transpo (Ikarus type) Bus coming at my car and the bus driver was not looking in our direction (which was straight in front of him). I jumped back into my car, rammed her in gear and floored it. In less then a second, I made it 8 feet back into my driveway before the bus slammed my tail end. I think the car save my life, if not only serious injury.
Ottawa, Ont., Canada
FWD stick shift car with 4 Michelin Alpins running on narrowest profile that gives about the same rev/speed ratio, ABS & traction control
Car, not truck because of better balance FWD for better traction with weight concentrated over driving wheels FWD is more forgiving of over enthusiasm in most drivers (... "at the point of disappearing ability", a FWD is less challenging IMHO Stick shift allows quick declutching to let front wheels concentrate on steering The Michelins grip like crazy: the only thing that will beat you in the Green Light Gran Prix is a 4WD with good ice tires Narrow profile stops "skiing"- a free feature of my low profile summer tires.
OK, so I had to buy winter wheels, but my summer wheels still look great, and if you get caught with a sudden snowy dump, it's easier to get four wheels swapped than four tires mounted. (Just don't try to run the winters for seven seasons!)
Traction control... cheaper than LSD
Given the number of SUVs that I pass in the ditch, I wonder whether it's the vehicle or the type of people who drive them, figuring their check book trumps the laws of physics.
Oh yeah: the nut behind the wheel...
Editor: Or behind the computer screen J
By far the Subaru's, either the Forester or Outback, I have had three Foresters and now have the Outback. They don't have the weight which can set up and keep a scary slide going and they have ample power to get traction going if you do get into a skid. They also don't topple over which makes the high 4WD's so bloody scary if you suddenly hit a hard object in a slide.. NO DOUBT ABOUT IT - Subaru’s!
Yes, we ski in Australia, at Thredbo.
Traction is the key along with stability, so you need a long wheelbase and narrow tires. 4 wheel drive is a must. The favorite driver is the Chevy Surburban. It has the longest wheelbase, no great need for large contact tires and can be equipped with a low range for deep snow. This observation is from years of driving in Wyoming on interstates and back roads.
I would have to choose the VW Touareg (and yes, over the Porsche
Cayenne) for maximum traction and safety in snow/ice conditions. Why over the Cayenne? Because the Touareg defaults with a 50/50 torque split, which will initially provide better traction in snow/ice conditions. Why over Audi/VW's other AWD products? Because 4XMotion is more advanced than 4Motion/Quattro in that it allows 100% of power to be directed to either the front or rear axles whereas the Torsen differential on 4Motion/Quattro only allows a 2/3 split in either direction. Furthermore with electronic differential locks (EDL), and ASR traction control, the system can then redirect power to either side of either axle if slippage is detected. I choose the Touareg as well because of it's low-range abilities in deep snow and the vehicle's ability to lock the center and rear differentials. Of course, like other vehicles in its class and of similar caliber, there's always Bosch's ESP stability control system that can intervene should the car slip anyway in an unintended direction. Overall, there is no other vehicle with a more advanced set of computer-aid and mechanical systems out there. This one's hands-down the winner.
For arguments sake, let's assume all candidates are equipped with similar winter-rated tires (albeit of different sizes). Given this I'd make a strong recommendation for the Audi Allroad Quattro due to its highly evolved AWD system, stability control and adjustable ground clearance (in the event of deeper snow). I would not recommend any SUVs primarily due to their generally greater weight and longer stopping distances esp. on slick pavement.
Volvo XC-90 T6
1.) The XC-90 has the most up to date systems, all working together in the best harmony of applications.
2.) The weight of the XC-90 will aid in keeping traction.
Just my opinion. The Haldex system is really amazing. Not to toot our own horn....
William M. Monroe, Jr.
Sales Planning Manager
Volvo Cars Of North America, L.L.C.
I think that many people should take a look at the Audi A6 2.7t, or Audi S4 V8. They are wonderful cars. We've have experience with a black 2000 2.7t, and love it. We're looking at the S4. The A6 is a great price.
I think that the Range Rover HSE is the perfect vehicle except for one major thing: it is an SUV. I love the way SUVs look and I love that I can tower over the rest of those on the road while I am driving them. However, they make others vulnerable because of their ride height. Also, they are far more inefficient than most cars, while owners don't need their off-road prowess. They also take too much room on roads and in parking lots. Countless times I have seen an H2 parked taking more than one compact space because it is too big to fit in one space. We need to rethink SUVs before it is too late. Los Angeles already has this pillow of yellowish-brown smog day in and day out.
So, with this in mind, I would recommend a 325ix wagon for all your snow and ice needs. With its quicker reflexes, I am sure that it would outperform nearly all SUVs on ice or snow.
I am writing in response to the inquiries relative to the best choice of car or truck in snow and ice. After careful deliberation I have chosen to recommend the new Toyota 4Runner. Having test driven several SUVs before purchasing my 2003 4Runner, I had the opportunity to judge the best of the best.
Not being a fan of ANY American Made SUV, I still decided to give them a chance. It was a waste of my time. No American Made and hardly any Foreign Made SUVs offered packaged options such as uphill and downhill ascent/decent control, automatic & manual air-ride control, electronic brake-force distribution, locking differential, full-time traction control, stability control, and low range 4-wheel drive (just to name a few). The only other SUV on the market that offered these same options as the Toyota 4Runner was the Land Rover by Range Rover. I cannot recommend the Range Rover due to the fact that one would have to sell his/her kidneys, arm, leg and perhaps a first born child to afford one.
In snowy & icy conditions the 4Runner has performed fantastically. Even without locking the differential and having the vehicle in "All Wheel" mode - it's still a challenge spinning the tires. And, by chance I should be able to spin the tires, the highly advanced traction and stability control systems work harmoniously with the Electronic Brake Force Distribution to keep the truck on a straight and steady course; the same principle applies while braking.
For the money, $43,500 list w/ V8 and Navigation - $39,000 actual cost, it was worth the money. Why not step it up and buy the GX470? Because I didn't think the extra $10,000 cost was justified. A friend of mine bought a 2003 GX470 at the same time I purchased my 2003 4Runner. We didn't tell each other that we were in the market for a new SUV - I guess we thought we'd surprise one other. Well, he paid $51,000 for his GX470 w/out Navigation! He was floored when he realized that the only options I was missing was memory seats and the Lexus Link! Incredible!
Anyway, my critique of the 4Runner is right on as far as I'm concerned. I've been a car enthusiast for years and have been lending advice to friends and family members about purchasing vehicles for those same many years. Believe me Auto Spies Readers - I would not steer you wrong!
Cranston, Rhode Island
I live in Canada where this matters a lot! The best vehicle I have ever had for winter is the 2004 VW Touareg which I bought specifically as a winter car. I have run it through deep snow, ploughed through drifts, driven on ice, and the car has performed amazingly. The V8 has plenty of grunt and the adjustable height air suspension is wonderful in deep snow. On a recent trip from Toronto to Washington DC the vehicle combined interior luxury with a good ride and unbeatable winter performance.
As a happy owner of a 911 C4 Cab (has never seen snow), BMW X5 4.4 w/ Sport Package (the worst in snow) and a Jeep Wrangler (the best!!!) It just won't get stuck. It goes through anything. Very easy to control and fun to drive in the snow. I suggest the 6 with the 5 speed and full doors. If it only had heated outside mirrors.