The Best Cars for Snow Have the Right Combination of These Features, Says iSeeCars

With winter already in full swing, drivers across the nation are dealing with cold-weather conditions. That can mean rain, wind, ice, sleet, and snow. With this change of seasons, it’s good to know which vehicles can handle wintry weather. Below are the features that make certain cars the best for snow driving.

What are the dangers of driving in the snow?

To choose the winners in each segment, iSeeCars considered multiple hazards of driving in the snow.

For instance, ice can prevent a vehicle’s tires from gripping the road, making it hard to stop and steer. Specifically, black ice is especially harsh because drivers can’t see it and adjust accordingly. 

Reduced visibility is another risk iSeeCars considered. Effective defrosters or heaters are essential to keep visibility as high as possible in whiteout conditions or ice/snow buildup.

In addition, tire pressure and tread are other crucial factors when driving in the snow.

The best cars for snow have these features

Red 2023 Subaru Impreza, the cheapest new Subaru car and most affordable AWD vehicle, driving in the snow
2023 Subaru Impreza | Subaru

iSeeCars named 10 key features that make a car good for snow driving. Chief among them is all-wheel or four-wheel drive. The former splits power between the front and rear wheels, making it easier to maintain control if one of the tires slips. 

Anti-lock brakes are another feature in modern cars that cycle brake pads during sudden stops, which helps braking during snow driving. 

In addition, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), such as forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, can enhance safety and prevent accidents. 

Other features in the best cars for snow driving are higher ground clearance, headlight washers, heated seats/steering wheels, heated mirrors, traction/stability control, remote start, and winter or snow tires.

To decide which models made the cut, iSeeCars scored vehicles on a scale of 1 to 10. The analysis includes National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) ratings, value retention, and long-term reliability. 

The 5 best cars for snow driving

iSeeCars chose vehicles in 10 segments. All models have AWD or 4WD and the necessary ADAS and safety features to perform well in snowy conditions.

With a score of 8.6 out of 10, the Subaru Impreza is the top small car for snow. It performed best in quality (8.9) and safety (10). It’s also the most affordable AWD model, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) between $18,795 and $25,895. 

The best midsize car for snow driving is the Toyota Camry, with an 8.9 overall score. AWD is available for all trims with a four-cylinder engine. Boasting a perfect safety score (10) and numerous ADAS features, this sedan is an excellent choice for snow driving for around $25,295 to $35,720.

iSeeCars named the Dodge Charger the best large car for snow, with an 8.8 overall. AWD is available on the SXT and GT trims with a V6 engine. And the AWD system engages only when the car detects it’s necessary. A new Charger costs around $35,250 to $74,900.

With an overall 8.8, the Toyota Prius takes the top spot among hybrid cars. AWD is available for all models. Plus, the hatchback design and standard safety features make it a terrific choice among hybrid vehicles. Expect to pay about $24,525 to $32,650 for a new Prius.

According to iSeeCars, the best electric car for snow driving is the Tesla Model 3, scoring 8.7 overall. AWD is standard on all models. In addition, drivers can preheat and defrost the car remotely through an app. A new Model 3 costs between $46,490 and $58,990.

The top 5 luxury cars for snow

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iSeeCars gave the Lexus IS 350 an impressive 9.3 overall. Thanks to its high reliability (8.9), safety (10), and value retention (9.0) scores, the IS 350 is the best luxury small car for snow. A new IS 350 starts between $43,050 and $45,050 but provides a comfortable interior and copious driver’s aids.

Although the Audi A6 doesn’t score well for reliability (6.5), it’s iSeeCars’ best luxury midsize car for snow driving. Thanks to a perfect safety score (10) and standard AWD, the A6 gets an 8.8 overall. A new model costs about $37,500 to $48,300. 

Among luxury large cars, the Audi A7 is the best for snow driving, scoring an overall 8.2. Like the A6, the A7 has standard AWD. It also has automatic emergency braking and night vision to help with snowy conditions. A new A7 costs between $69,200 and $78,350. 

The BMW 3 Series gets the nod from iSeeCars as the best luxury hybrid car for snow driving. With a 7.5, the 3 Series has the lowest overall score in the roundup because of a slightly lower safety score (9.0) and a low value retention score (7.2). AWD is optional for an additional $2,000, bringing the MSRP for a new model to $42,850 to $44,950. 

Although it didn’t receive a quality score from iSeeCars, the Porsche Taycan is still the best electric luxury car for snow. AWD is standard on all trims except the base model. Features like traction and stability control and instantaneous torque vectoring make the Taycan a superb choice for snow driving. A new model costs between $79,900 and $185,000.

What is the best vehicle for snowy conditions?

According to iSeeCars’ analysis, the Lexus IS 350 stands out as the best because it earned the highest overall score. It’s one of the safest vehicles on the list, and the Lexus Safety System+ provides numerous ADAS features. They include automatic high beams, lane keep assist, and lane departure warning. 

A cheaper alternative to the IS 350 is the Toyota Camry. It has the second-best score and provides many of the same benefits as its luxury sedan cousin.