As Americans prep for winter, all-wheel drive capability and enhanced safety features will top the priority list for automobile shoppers. Whether getting out of a parking spot in the snow or avoiding an accident with an out-of-control car are on the agenda, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s best-rated vehicles are worthy candidates. Here are seven AWD vehicles that scored highest on the IIHS list.
The IIHS is wild about the 2014 Mitsubishi (MSBHY.PK) Outlander, which landed Top Safety Pick Plus designation after scoring the highest rating in all five crash tests. The SE S-AWC model delivers four all-wheel drive settings, including “SNOW” for inclement weather and “LOCK” for drivers heading off-road.
Though Audi (VLKAY.PK) has launched the 2014 Q5, it’s the 2013 model that landed the IIHS Top Safety Pick designation as well as an “Advanced” rating for frontal crash prevention capabilities with optional equipment. The Premium 2.0 TFSI model delivers Audi quattro all-wheel drive standard. This crossover and its pricier Q5 siblings deliver on performance and safety for grueling winter weather.
The IIHS gave the 2014 Jeep (FIATY.PK) Grand Cherokee its Top Safety Pick designation, but this utility vehicle scored even higher on safety with an “Advanced” rating for frontal crash prevention capabilities. The Laredo 4X4 is ready to power through a harsh winter.
4. Cadillac SRX Crossover AWD ($46,095)
GM has always specialized in big trucks capable of tackling winter weather, but in the Cadillac SRX crossover, the automaker has a Top Safety Pick with a “Superior” rating in frontal crash prevention. This luxury ride’s AWD version delivers improved traction and acceleration when the road is slick.
Safety has always been a hallmark of the Volvo (VOLVY.PK) brand, and the 2013 XC60 landed the highest possible rating from the IIHS as a Top Safety Pick Plus. In addition, the XC60 got a “Superior” designation for its crash prevention system that ranked it at the top of the luxury SUV class. The AWD version starting at $41,550 is the winter warrior’s choice.
The Forester is one of Subaru’s (FUJHY.PK) best selling vehicles this autumn, as buyers are choosing the cost-effective SUV over most rivals. The four-wheel drive feature comes standard along with Subaru’s X-Mode traction assist system. The IIHS named it a Top Safety Pick Plus with its highest rating in all five crash tests.
It won’t surprise many to find Mercedes Benz (DDAIF.PK) with a top performer on the list of safe and capable SUVs. The ML 350 with four-wheel drive received the Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the IIHS, which also noted the M Class frontal crash prevention system in its recommendation.
Vehicles that are safe and capable of confronting the toughest weather make sense as the winter arrives. These seven vehicles are worthy of the challenge.
Don’t Miss: 6 Best-Value Automobiles to Buy in November.