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Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on your hemisphere), winter 2021 is approaching rapidly. That’s even worse news if you find yourself in need of a new sedan (or car in general) to get through the winter months. Thankfully, cars like the Subaru WRX and Mazda 3 come with plenty of practicality and grip for the coming snowstorms. However, we also can’t discount FWD hatchbacks like the Volkswagen GTI.

Obviously, each car has its strengths and weaknesses, but only one can check all of your boxes. However, only one is the best car to get you through this year’s winter.

The 2021 Mazda 3 is a cheap AWD luxury sedan

The new Mazda 3 brings some excellent luxury touches to the table | Xavier Bonilla via Getty Images

The Mazda 3 is frankly one of the best sedan models you can get on sale today. It’s brought some real luxury to a segment that is otherwise lacking in it. Car and Driver loved it, and for good reason. Aside from the near-luxury interior, the Mazda 3 brings AWD to the table. However, that’s only true of some of the higher trim models.

Thankfully, an AWD Mazda is still pretty cheap, at right around $23,000 for an AWD version. It’s bested competitors like the 2022 Honda Civic with ease, and the brand’s AWD system will easily get most consumers through winter 2021. However, it should be noted that all of these cars should have a solid set of winter tires on them for optimal grip in the snow.

The Volkswagen GTI is one of the best FWD cars on the market today

A white Volkswagen GTI shot in a photo booth from the front 3/4
The Volkswagen GTI might just be all the car you need | National Motor Museum via Getty Images

Nowhere does that statement make more sense than in a used Volkswagen GTI. It’s the only FWD car on our list, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a solid winter driver. I used to pull right past 4WD trucks in the snow with my MK6 generation GTI. All with nothing but all season tires on. A lot of that is due to my tire choice, but the GTI’s excellent limited-slip differential also helps.

It’s also hard to argue with the fun to value ratio the GTI offers. Arguably, it’s the best on this list. Availible with around 225 hp and a dual-clutch automatic or a stick, the Volkswagen GTI brings hatchback practicality and affordable fun into a package you can drive year-round.

The Subaru WRX is the best car for winter 2021

A silver Subaru WRX sedan, the perfect car for winter 2021, shot from the front on a winter day
The Subaru WRX combines all of the aspects of a winter-proof car | Jim Mahoney via Getty Images

However, AWD is king in the winter months, and that’s why the Subaru WRX (or STI) is the best car you can get for winter 2021. You can have your choice in transmissions, and the WRX will satiate anyone’s need for fun without issue. However, neither the ‘Rex nor the GTI can match the Mazda’s interior. That said, the Subaru WRX makes too good an argument for itself, combining affordability, practicality, and grip into one cohesive sedan.


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