Shodding your car with snow tires, and winter wipers is a great way to tackle the winters, but buying a winter-capable car is the best option! Engineered to drive in the harsh climate, these cars will reward you with better control and comfort.
If you can’t throw money on a new Jeep or a Tesla, there are plenty of amazing used cars for driving on snow that you can get at a reasonable price.
Having a great four-wheeler is essential, so here’s a list of best used cars for winter driving. I’ve selected 18 cars for every budget, and every segment, to help you make an informed choice.
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List of Best Used Cars for Winter Driving
1. Nissan Altima AWD
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Nissan Altima is one of the best used cars for snow to drive throughout winters, thanks to its all-wheel-drive system! The 88-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine produces immense power, and the car glides through the snow with ease.
You can even engage the rear axle when driving on smooth roads to get better fuel economy.
Furthermore, you get great steering input, and that rewards you with better control over the vehicle. The rugged-looking car offers uncompromised comfort and has a spacious cabin to accommodate up to five people.
2. Toyota Matrix AWD
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Toyota Matrix is an easily available vehicle in the used car market, and you can find one in great-condition to drive during winters. With its Corolla-like design and versatile interior, this is a highly reliable car to drive in areas with heavy snowfall.
The car has built-in traction control, so you can even drive it during a blizzard. Well known for its reliability, Toyota Matrix requires minimal maintenance and has less curb weight so it glides over the snow-filled roads. Make sure to shod it with snow tires for better stability and control.
3. Ford Taurus AWD
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Ford Taurus is a nice used SUV to get on a tight budget. Unfortunately, Ford has discontinued this model, but you’ll find it easily in the used car market. Powered with a 288-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine, Taurus is a powerful four-wheeler that’s not short on comfort as well.
This best used SUV for snow driving comes with six-way adjustable upholstery seats to offer all-day comfort. If you are looking for a vehicle to drive on rough roads, Ford Taurus is your way to go.
4. Jeep Patriot 4×4
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Popular for its rugged body, Jeep Patriot 4X4 is a robust vehicle to drive in winters. This former baby of the Jeep family has a powerful motor under the hood, so you can easily drive through any obstacle without losing confidence.
Available in manual as well as automatic transmission, the vehicle offers a smooth ride. You can even mount a good rooftop cargo carrier, as the car comes with roof rails installed by the manufacturer.
Jeep Patriot is a gas-guzzler, so you should only buy this vehicle if you are serious about driving on rough roads and hilly areas.
5. Chevrolet Equinox
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Chevrolet Equinox is another amazing wintertime vehicle that belongs to the SUV class. Although this powerful vehicle is available in a range of engine and transmission options, this powerful vehicle helps you steer with ease on snowy roads.
Also, it’s a safe car making it a great choice for families and the elderly. The car even features a park assist camera to help you park it with ease. Overall, Equinox is an amazing vehicle for sensible winter rides on your daily commute.
6. Hyundai Santa Fe
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Depending on the year and model, Santa Fe might be a three-row car with a passenger capacity of up to six or a crossover with five-passenger cabin. You’ll enjoy driving the car in winters, even if it’s not an AWD model. Popular for its design and classic looks, Santa Fe has a smartly-laid out cabin.
The car is rich in tech features like its other Korean sisters and gives you a premium and comfortable feeling while driving. If you go for a 2018 or upper model, you can even use the snow mode in the AWD model.
7. Toyota RAV4
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RAV4 is my all-time favorite crossover that can easily handle the worst kind of weather. The rugged-looking car comes in an AWD option, and you will find it the best thing to drive in freezing temperatures.
The cabin is quiet and comfortable, which makes it a great option for families. Furthermore, the recent models of RAV4 are designed to offer you a fun drive. Lastly, the car comes with a 2.5-liter non-turbo four motor to produce immense power.
It even comes with a dedicated snow mode, and you’ll find this feature in the 2020 and above models.
8. Honda CR-V
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Known to produce immense power, Honda CR-V ensures you don’t get stuck in snow. From epic adventures to gentle cruises, the car is capable of doing almost everything.
Honda offers this amazing car in an AWD and regular option, and all models run on snow pretty well. The nimble handling guides the car with ease, and CR-V comes equipped with top-notch safety features like heated seats to keep you warm in winters.
The latest models even feature heated steering that makes driving fun in freezing temperatures.
9. Ford Ranger
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The Ranger is a compact pickup truck packed with a performance-oriented motor. The 2.3-liter turbo-four delivers 270HP, and the vehicle launches with speed as you press the gas pedal.
The agile steering makes the Ranger easy to maneuver on busy city roads and highways with snow. The cabin is spacious, and there is a big bed behind the car to carry your essentials.
The rear-wheel-drive is standard among all models, and you can even choose AWD options to drive in snow and slush. Lastly, the beautiful truck has plenty of features, including heated seats, crawl control, and more.
10. Nissan Rogue
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Nissan Rogue is for those that need a compact SUV with decent fuel mileage. Ideal for daily commuting, this car has the capability to navigate through snow-covered roads.
Nissan has even added AWD to upper line models of Rogue, and they are perfect to drive in any weather. The AWD lock is helpful when driving in snow, but there is no snow mode in models older than 2020.
You can be sure about the comfort and cabin quietness with Rogue, as it’s a popular family vehicle.
11. Ford Explorer
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For big families on the go, Ford Explorer is a next-level car to drive in winters and almost any weather. It’s a robust SUV with a powerful motor under the hood. You get plenty of tech features inside the cabin, and the digital instrument cluster looks amazing.
The light throw of this car is great, so you can drive during blizzards and fog. With a capacity of up to 7 passengers, Explorer offers ultimate comfort. If you need a winter-ready warrior that’s huge in terms of space and comfort, Explorer is your way to go.
12. Audi A8
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Audi is still selling its A8, so you can easily find a good 2015-2018 model under your budget. It’s a luxury sedan renowned for its features and safety. A8 is an all-season car that’s great to drive on highways during winters.
Inside the cabin, you’ll see plush seats with heated functions to keep you comfortable during the drive. In addition, the seats are electronically adjustable and have a memory feature to remember your seating position.
The top trims of the A8 include all-wheel-drive models with better stability and control. The fog lights on the A8 help you see the road during days with poor visibility, and the heated winter wipers help in defrosting the windshield.
If you go for the latest models, expect a snow mode to help you drive with added comfort.
13. Ford F-150
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Ford F-150 makes winter driving easier with its giant wheel and powerful motor. It has been lauded as one of the best all-weather pickup trucks, thanks to its AWD system. However, the vehicle looks humongous, and the cabin space is what any tall person would love.
The dashboard looks amazing with plenty of smart features, including stability control, which is helpful during winters. You can easily drive through slush, snow, and puddles sitting in a Ford F-150.
Built like a tank, the vehicle is reliable, but it doesn’t return good fuel mileage due to its massive engine. If you can find an F-150 2014 for a fair price, don’t hesitate and buy this bad boy.
14. Toyota Yaris
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If you are looking for the best affordable car for snow, Yaris is your way to go. It is an amazing option for busy moms who need a car to visit the supermarket to get groceries. It’s a small vehicle, so you can quickly maneuver it through the busy roads and traffic. The car carries the reliability of Toyota, and it won’t let you down even if it snows heavily.
Yaris doesn’t offer an AWD option, but the FWD is powerful enough when it’s shod with best snow tires. The best thing about Yaris is that it’s super cheap, so you can have it as your second vehicle.
15. Jeep Grand Cherokee
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The Grand Cherokee is a popular vehicle from the house of Jeep that can accommodate up to five people. The SUV is an absolute gem when it comes to off-roading, and you can steer it through roads filled with snow.
Powered by a 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee Trackhawk engine, the car can easily drive through the heaps of snow. The Grand Cherokee is a champion when it comes to comfort. It has heated seats with plush interiors so you comfortably drive during winters.
Jeep Grand Cherokee is an AWD vehicle, which makes it a reliable four-wheeler in areas like Colorado with heavy snowfall every year.
16. Subaru Impreza WRX Sti
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Subaru cars are known for their safety and performance, and you get it all in the Impreza WRX Sti. The sporty sedan comes equipped with a symmetrical all-wheel-drive system and controllable differential so you can enjoy a stable ride.
It uses the 152-hp Direct-Injection SUBARU BOXER® Engine that cancels the vibrations to reward you with a smooth ride. The cabin looks amazing and has comfortable seats. Impreza may not have a snow mode, but it has traction control, so the car doesn’t skid on snow.
Subaru discontinued this car in 2012, and you can get it for an extremely low price.
17. Infiniti G35x
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Infiniti G35x comes with a luxurious cabin and beige seats, so you will get a premium feel in this car. The X in the name denotes the AWD system that is a boon during winters. The sporty Japanese sedan comes packed with features like ABS, stability control, and more.
Known for its reliability, the car’s motor can easily clock hundreds of thousands of miles without any issues. If you live in a city with good roads, this sedan is an amazing option. It runs smoothly, sticking to the road, and when you shod it with winter tires, it becomes a perfect vehicle to drive in winters.
18. Subaru Outback
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The Japanese expert carmaker Subaru made a lot of headlines with the launch of Outback in 1995. It’s a capable crossover with a powerful motor that offers terrific performance in winters. The mid-size car comes with an AWD as a standard feature, so you can take it anywhere in any weather.
With stunning 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the car is fun to drive on roads with huge snow mountains. The motor returns a decent mileage, and you can enjoy the comfortable sitting on the upholstered seats.
You can easily find a reliable Outback 2015-2016 model for around 6-7 grand.
Q1: What is the Best Used SUV for Snow?
A: I can recommend Ford Explorer any day since it’s an amazing SUV with ample space. You can easily drive it on frozen roads with full control over the vehicle.
Q2: Is 4WD or AWD better in the Snow?
A: If you want to drive in moderate conditions, a car with AWD will be best. However, for some serious off-roading and driving in remote areas, you need a 4WD vehicle.
Q3: Are SUVs better for Snow?
A: SUVs are more capable than hatchbacks and sedans due to the powerful engine and better ground clearance. If you have a good budget, go for an SUV.
Q4: Is the Tesla Model 3 AWD good in Snow?
A: If you live in a city with good roads, Tesla Model 3 AWD makes a great choice. It features dedicated traction control, so you can drive in snow with ease.
If you are saving money for your new house or business, getting any of these best used cars for winter driving will be a real deal. When choosing a car for driving in snow, consider essential features like snow mode, all-wheel driving, heated seats, and more.
Winters are harsh, so having a capable car is indispensable to glide through the snow heaps, and salt scattered on the road.