The best winter cars (and other vehicles), according to experts, all have a few things in common. They:
- Are reliable
- Handle well in the snow
- Come with high safety scores
- Have comfort features
- Have functional air conditioning and heating, especially for defrosting
- Have all-weather or winter tires
It might seem unlikely that you'll find a car that can do all that. But it's not. In fact, there are a lot of options - sedans and larger - that will keep you safe and comfortable all winter long. No matter what you prefer, make sure you're covered with an affordable car insurance policy.
We went on a hunt to find the best vehicles for winter divers - asking experts, interviewing consumers, and digging deep online. And we're pretty confident we found all the answers.
Note that the price we've tagged on each car is for a new model. If you're looking to buy used, you can save some money. Just make sure that when you're buying used, you get a thorough inspection (to make sure it's reliable).
8 Best Winter Cars and SUVs on the Market in 2018
1. Subaru Outback
2018 approximate base price: $25,895
It's hard to find a Subaru that doesn't have AWD as a standard feature, and the Outback is no different. That's why it's no surprise that the Outback isn't in competition with sedans, but SUVs. To boot, the Outback:
- Routinely gets top safety ratings
- Has higher ground clearance than other sedans
- Promises reliability and longevity
With the right set of winter tires, the Outback, even the base model, is an affordable choice for winter.
If you're looking for an alternative that's slightly larger, the Subaru Forester is another great option for a winter car.
2. Audi A4
2018 approximate base price: $36,000
The Audi A4 doesn't come standard with AWD like some of the other choices on this list. But the option for Quattro AWD is one that puts it firmly on the list of best 2018 cars for winter.
Even if you don't opt for the Quattro AWD, its four-cylinder engine and outstanding safety scores, combined with front wheel drive, don't compromise its position.
The A4 also offers:
- Standard heated front seats
- Extensive standard safety features
- Additional safety features for upgraded trims
If you want a sedan that's fun to drive in all seasons and safe for the winter, the Audi A4 is a great luxury small car to consider.
3. Honda CR-V
2018 approximate base price: $24,150
Like the Audi A4, the Honda CR-V doesn't come standard with AWD. But because the base model is so affordable, it isn't difficult to add that feature.
Experts suggest going with the $27,000 model for winter driving. This slightly upgraded trim comes with additional safety and comfort features. The 2018 model also comes with:
- Improved suspension, for better handling and comfort
- A more powerful engine
- Responsive handling
You can get a well-equipped crossover in the CR-V without breaking the bank, whether for winter or any other season.
4. Volvo V90 Cross Country
2018 approximate base price: $49,950
The V90 was a new model for Volvo in 2018, and it's taking the best winter car market by storm. Not only does it top other wagons, but its Cross Country model - though a bit higher than the base price above - is ideal for winter roads.
Other benefits for winter driving - aside from heated seats in both rows - include:
- Powerful engine (2.0 liters, four-cylinders)
- AWD is standard
- Higher ride height
If you're looking for a luxury wagon, the Volvo V90 is your winter dream car.
5. Ford Fusion
2018 approximate base price: $22,120
The Fusion is a mid-sized favorite for its reliability, safety and great pricing. Safety-wise, you can get AWD as an option. This is affordable, since the base price is affordable.
Aside from optional AWD, the Fusion comes with:
- Balanced, predictable handling
- Choice of four powertrains
- Optional heated front seats and steering wheel
If you're looking for an affordable mid-sized sedan that'll take you through the toughest winters, the Fusion is a great choice.
6. Chevrolet Equinox
2018 approximate base price: $23,580
The Equinox made waves in 2018 with its redesign, including more features and capabilities than ever before. Luckily, this includes features for enhanced winter handling, like:
- Two turbocharged four-cylinder engines
- Optional AWD
- Remote start, for pre-heating
For a crossover at this price, you can afford to amp up the comfort without breaking the bank.
7. Tesla Model S
2018 approximate base price: $69,500
Uber luxury cars obviously have their perks for the price, including better safety and handling in the winter. The Tesla Model S has been rated one of the safest cars on the road. While AWD is optional (RWD is standard), if you're paying the price for this car, adding it isn't a big deal.
Some other notable features of the Tesla's wintertime handling include:
- Excellent acceleration, even on the base model
- Exceptional, responsive handling
You can imagine the comfort features on this car, too. All around, it's a great option through and through.
8. Jeep Renegade
2018 approximate base price: $17,995
Jeeps are known for their off-roading capabilities and they handle well in the winter. The best part is that it's a great car during other seasons, too. This is because the Renegade comes with:
- Optional two four-cylinder engines
- Optional AWD
- Optional heated front seats on the Limited trim
As you can see, a lot of cold-weather friendly features are optional. But since the base price is so affordable, you can get a great multi-season car by paying a little more.
The Bottom Line for Your Next Winter-Friendly Car or SUV
According to the US Department of Transportation, there are over 5,748,000 vehicle crashes each year. Approximately 22% of these crashes - nearly 1,259,000 - are weather-related. This means you need auto insurance coverage - good insurance coverage.
When you're looking for coverage that's right for the risks you face, an independent insurance agent can help. Independent agents work for consumers, not for insurance companies. A winter-ready car and the right insurance coverage give you peace of mind. Get yours with an agent in your neighborhood, today.
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