If you live in poorly paved hilly areas, you are better off looking for an SUV due to increased ground clearance and visibility. If the roads are paved adequately, you ought to consider an all-wheel-drive car to make sure you are mobile during winter.
As such, small cars are actually a good option due to a lower curb weight which is essential when it comes to fuel efficiency and drivability. Small cars are more maneuvrable and easier to park, all of which are beneficial if you are driving on a significant gradient.
A Subaru Impreza is a compact sedan originally developed for world rallying. This means that the Impreza is right at home in mountainous areas. If you want an affordable compact SUV with AWD, you should check out the Jeep Compass or the Honda CR-V.
If you want a luxurious hatchback, the Audi A3 Quattro is a great choice. If you want a compact sedan, the Lexus IS250 is worth considering. If you want superior practicality and a relatively compact estate car, the Audi A4 Allroad is perfect for hilly areas.
The Subaru Impreza is somewhat of a legend thanks to a long-lasting legacy of affordable all-wheel-drive compact sedans. As such, the Subaru Impreza is one of the most affordable all-wheel-drive sedans currently available for sale in the US.
The pricing starts at less than $20k and the resale value is also fairly strong, Furthermore, the reliability is also way ahead when compared to the rest of the competition. Besides this, the Subaru also offers a modern-looking exterior and interior with all the necessary 21st-century features and amenities.
The Jeep Compass is one of the most value-oriented AWD compact SUVs out there. The best thing about the Jeep Compass is the off-road ability which is sometimes necessary for hilly areas, especially so if the road surface is bad. Another great thing about the Jeep Compass is that the MSRP price starts from $23k for an AWD model.
The Compass offers contemporary design inside and out and lots of technology solutions for increased comfort and general drivability. While some might consider the Compass to be a bit boring and ‘’cheap’’, it certainly is a great option at this price range.
Audi A3 Quattro
If you want something a bit more luxurious, but still capable in the wintertime, the Audi A3 Quattro is a great choice. An AWD Audi A3 starts at around $33k, and as such it offers quite a bit of equipment, but if such a price is way too high, you could also consider a used A3 Quattro.
The A3 is available in hatchback or sedan form, and the levels of luxury equipment available are amazing for such a price category. The Quattro AWD system is one of the most legendary AWD systems on the market thanks to the iconic Audi Quattro rally car.
For a little bit under $40k, you can get an AWD Lexus IS250. The IS250 is a great car because it offers luxury, practicality, and reliability for a fairly competitive price. You can also opt for the Lexus IS350 for an additional two grand or so if you want a more powerful engine.
The IS250/IS350 is one of the most reliable compact sedans money can buy. Practicality-wise, the IS offers ample interior and cargo space easily able of fitting 4 adults. All IS models also come with lots of luxury and comfort features, and a dynamic six-speed automatic gearbox.
Audi A4 Allroad
If you want a car with lots of space, AWD, luxury, and sportiness, the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro is one of the best all-around cars money can buy. The A4 Allroad variant offers a higher ground clearance, beefed-up suspension, AWD, and enough power and grunt no matter the terrain.
Besides the drivability, the A4 Allroad is also a luxurious compact estate capable of transporting up to 5 adult passengers without any issues. Equipped with a 6-cylinder engine, the A4 Allroad offers a perfect balance between fuel efficiency and power. The A4 costs around $40k, but expect to pay a few grand more for the All-road variant.
Are sedans a good option for hilly areas?
Not necessarily because sedans are usually lower to the ground and they don’t always come with an AWD system. If your sedan is something like an AWD Subaru Impreza or an Audi A4 Quattro, you ought not to worry about mountain driving.
An AWD is a necessity, especially so during the wintertime while there is lots of moisture, oil, snow, and ice on the road. Always be sure to equip your car with a decent set of winter tires though, because even the best AWD system out there is only as good as the tires are.
How should I drive while going uphill or downhill?
Constantly driving uphill should be done in a specific manner. First of all, keep your car in lower gear to make sure you have enough power. If you upshift while going uphill while you don’t have enough power, your car is likely to stall. If you drive an automatic, of course, this is not something you should worry about.
While going downhill, on the other hand, you should also keep your car in a lower gear so you can increase the amount of engine braking in an effort of keeping your brakes cool. If you put your car in neutral for example and use only the brakes, you are likely to cook your brakes fairly quickly.
What transmission option is best for mountain driving?
As mentioned previously, an automatic gearbox is a way better option when it comes to mountain driving. If you own a manual, you could put increased amounts of strain onto your gearbox if you are not driving appropriately.
The best powertrain combination for driving in hilly areas is an AWD system, lots of torque, an automatic gearbox, and a decent set of tires, and especially so in the winter months.