Wintertime driving presents a handful of challenges such as snow, rain, ice, and mud. Even though pretty much every car out there can be driven during winter if equipped with proper tires, some cars are still way better than others.
First of all, an all-wheel-drive system is a definitive characteristic of any true all-weather type of car. Heavier cars are more difficult to control on slippery surfaces, but they are usually a safer option in an event of a crash due to increased weight.
If you want a safe, capable, and relatively affordable hybrid car, the Subaru Impreza Hybrid is certainly a good option. However, if you want an SUV, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid and the Mitsubishi Outlander Hybrid are great for winter driving.
A luxury winter-beater BMW 530e xDrive is a great winter sedan, just like the Audi A6 Avant 55 TFSI e Hybrid. However, if you prefer an SUV, you’d be better of with the Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro.
Subaru Impreza Hybrid
It’s impossible to talk about affordable hybrid winter cars without talking about Subaru. The regular Impreza is probably one of the most affordable, yet usable AWD cars money can buy. Even though the price is relatively affordable, the Impreza also offers superior reliability and great resale value.
The tried and tested Subaru AWD system works like a breeze, and the Impreza is also fairly lightweight which is perfect for snow. The only thing that might deter you from buying an Impreza is the possible lack of space as the Impreza is a compact car after all.
Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid
As far as go-anywhere car brands are concerned, hardly anyone else does it better than Subaru, especially so at this price category. Many people believe that the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid is the best value hybrid SUV on the market right now, and it is hard to say anything against that.
Reliability-wise, Subaru always delivers. However, it is great to know that the Subaru Crosstrek also shares some of its componentry with the Toyota Prius Prime, and we all know that Toyota builds the most reliable hybrids on the market.
The Mitsubishi Outlander does not seem like a smash hit, after all, hardly anyone dreams of buying a Mitsubishi Hybrid SUV. Be that as it may, the Outlander is actually one of the most popular plug-in SUVs on the market, and more than 200k of these have already been sold.
This Mitsubishi SUV is capable of reaching an 80% state of charge in just 25 minutes. Such charging speeds are possible because the Outlander Hybrid still offers DC fast charging. If you pair that with 7.3 inches of ground clearance and a fully electric range of 22 miles, the Outlander seems like a great buy.
BMW 530e xDrive
Even though the Subaru Impreza is a great winter beater, the BMW 5-series hybrid is simply on a different level in almost every regard imaginable. The newest LCI BMW 5-series looks the part, and drives the part. Among the three kings of German executive sedans, the BMW 5-series is by far the most dynamic option of the trio.
250hp is more than enough pulling power for almost every situation. Safety-wise the 5-series comes with a plethora of safety equipment such as lane departure warning, frontal, side, and rear collision warning, blind-spot assist, and so on.
Audi Q5 55 TFSI e Quattro
The Audi Q5 Hybrid is probably the best Audi SUV on the market right now. Such a brave statement is due because the Q5 offers enough space while still not being gargantuan like its larger sibling, the Q7. The engine offers a combined 362hp, smooth automatic transmission, and superior fuel efficiency.
The Q5 also gets a 5-star crash rating across the board and it looks sophisticated, yet still SUV-ish. Interior-wise, the Q5 can be optioned out with pretty much every option you’d want. Multiple-way adjustable, comfortable heated seats, B&O Audio, and much more.
Which cars are not suited for winter driving?
In today’s day and age, pretty much every car can be a decent winter runaround if you have good winter tires. All-wheel drive cars are usually the best, but front-wheel drive or even rear-wheel drive is good enough if you got proper rubber and enough ground clearance. Nonetheless, don’t drive your car in the wintertime without proper tires.
If your region gets lots of snow, low-slung sports cars should be avoided because they don’t usually have all that much ground clearance. They also usually offer oversensitive gas and brake pedals, and that’s not something you’d want in slippery conditions.
Are hybrids any better than regular combustion engine cars?
Hybrids can be better if you are able to fully utilize the hybrid powertrain. Even though they do cost more when new, you may be able to recoup those extra costs if you buy carefully. Furthermore, hybrids are indeed better than regular combustion-engined cars as far as regular city driving is concerned.
Even so, they are not all that well when it comes to highway driving. Hybrids can sometimes weigh up to 500 pounds extra compared to a combustion engine variant, and such weight differences do impact efficiency. Furthermore, on highway speeds, your electric engine is not enough, and you are likely going to rely on the combustion engine anyway.
Are EVs better than hybrids for winter driving?
EVs are better if you want to maximize efficiency and if you have access to a reliable charging network. Even though EVs tend to lose some battery capacity when temperatures drop, such percentage losses are not really ever going to impact your overall range. On the other hand, EVs have lots of torque at any RPM range, and this can be useful while plowing through snow.
Without a regular gearbox, EVs drive smoother and are more sure-footed considering the additional weight. In addition to that, lots of newer EVs also take advantage of anti-braking, regen-braking, and advanced cruise control, all of which can significantly improve your snow driving experience.