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Overview

Driving through scenic cold regions is a beautiful experience for sure, but having your car stuck in snow is definitely not desirable. If you live in a location that experiences light to heavy snow, or if you prefer to travel to cold regions often, your SUV has to have the ability to power through even during adverse weather conditions. 

The basic necessity is all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive that can make your vehicle ready to bear the brunt of harsh weather no matter what season it is. But for driving in snow, you’ll also need something more, such as the comfort of heated seats and steering, necessary safety features, high ground clearance, and anti-lock brakes with stability control. 

In this article, we’re going to evaluate the top 10 best SUVs for snow, to make sure you have a great time driving through frosty, snow-clad terrains!

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.jeep.com

Why We Picked It: The 2022 Jeep Wagoneer might come across as a well-equipped family SUV, but when aided with the special off-road package, it can easily take you through the roughest of roads. It also has high ground clearance, and the backing of premium standard safety features, making it the best SUV for snow.

Jeep doesn’t compromise on interior comfort and luxuries either. You get capacious leather-covered three-row seating, with power-adjustable front seats, and automatic climate control.

Pros

Excellent ride quality
Upscale and tech-driven cabin
Ideal family SUV for off-roading

Cons

Trim levels are expensive, even the base options
The exterior design could have been better

2022 Jeep Wagoneer Specs

  • Engine- The standard engine is a 5.7-liter V8 paired with a 48-volt hybrid system, generating 392 hp. Rear-wheel drive comes as a part of standard offering, but for driving in snow or for off-roading in general, a four-wheel drive would be the best option. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 10 inches, along with an air suspension system that can increase the ride by 3.6 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Automated emergency braking, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control are the available standard features.
  • Fuel economy- For rear-wheel drive variants the fuel economy is 16/22 mpg city/highway, and for AWD it’s 15/20 mpg. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 27.4 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It has a towing capacity of a whopping 10,000 pounds.

9. 2021 Kia Telluride

Class: Midsize, Type: 3-row,  Price: $33,415

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.kia.com

Why We Picked It: In case you’re on a budget, Kia comes to your rescue with its new midsize SUV that doesn’t compromise on luxuries, and also promises a good ride. If you’re looking for the best SUV for snow driving, go with the optional all-wheel drive package. 

It comes with a generous number of USB ports and an impressive infotainment system, along with options for wireless charging. Higher trims get heated seats and premium Nappa upholstery. The Telluride is equipped with systems for keyless entry and remote start.

Pros

Luxurious interior
Capable of off-roading and driving on snow
Suitable for family trips

Cons

Driving dynamics are not engaging
Faulty cruise control

2021 Kia Telluride Specs

  • Engine- The 2021 Kia Telluride is powered by a naturally aspirated V6 engine that generates 291 hp. Front-wheel drive is standard, but you can also go with the optional all-wheel drive. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 8 inches. The vehicle comes with a rear air suspension.
  • Standard Safety Features- Forward-collision warning, auto emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keep assist are available as part of the standard package.
  • Fuel economy- The front-wheel drive offers a fuel economy of 20/26 mpg city/highway; the AWD variant makes 19/24 mpg city/highway. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 21 cubic feet.
  • Towing-  It offers a towing capacity of up to 5000 pounds.

8. 2022 Toyota RAV4

Class: Compact, Type: 2-row,  Price: $27,740

Toyota RAV4

Source: www.toyota.com

Why We Picked It: For buyers seeking the best SUV for snow driving without shelling out obscene amounts of money, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is a great option. It might not offer best-in-class handling or the utmost luxuries, but here you’ll get all-wheel drive options, high ground clearance, and a specific trim (TRD Off-Road) dedicated for adventurous rides. 

As you move beyond the first two trims, you’ll be greeted with dual-zone automatic climate control, a power liftgate, and faux-leather upholstery, among other features. While the upscale interior is reserved for expensive trims, Toyota’s generous standard safety equipment package is available for all models.

Pros

Robust exterior and spacious interior
Plenty of standard driver-assist tech
Smooth riding experience

Cons

The entry-level model is deprived of most upscale features
Handling needs improvement

2022 Toyota RAV4 Specs

  • Engine- Under the hood of the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 203 hp. It comes with standard front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is also available as an option on specific trims.
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 8.4 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, automated emergency braking, and pedestrian detection are part of its standard package.
  • Fuel economy- With all-wheel drive, the fuel economy is 27/33 mpg, city/highway. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 37.5 cubic feet.
  • Towing- The vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is 3500 pounds.

7. 2021 Hyundai Tucson

Class: Compact, Type: 2-row,  Price: $24,885

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.hyundaiusa.com

Why We Picked It: The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is a reliable compact SUV for off-roading or riding in snowy regions. Its thoughtful cabin with luxurious touches here and there, remarkable styling, and moderately high ground clearance make it a good choice for adventure-lover families.

When you move beyond the first two trims, you’ll find the SEL trim with dual-zone automatic climate control and heated front seats– features that ensure a comfortable ride on snow. You have to get either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive based on your preference

Pros

Sophisticated style and design
Great ride quality
Value for money

Cons

Fuel efficiency isn't impressive
Could be more spacious

2021 Hyundai Tucson Specs

  • Engine- The 2021 Hyundai Tucson is powered by a 2-liter four-cylinder engine generating 164 hp, or a 2.4-liter one generating 181 hp. You can choose between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 7.1 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Automated emergency braking and lane-keep assist are available as standard.
  • Fuel economy- For front-wheel drive, it’s 23/28 mpg city/highway; for AWD, it’s 22/25 mpg. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 31 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It has a towing capacity of 1500-2000 pounds, depending on which trim level you choose.

6. 2022 Honda CR-V

Class: Compact, Type: 2-row,  Price: $27,625

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.honda.com

Why We Picked It: Despite being a compact SUV, the 2022 Honda CR-V offers a spacious cabin and a reliable off-roading ability. Be it on snow, ice, or any other unusual paths, you can trust the CR-V to offer a pleasant ride. 

There is plenty of standard driver-assist tech to ensure hassle-free driving. If you go for the EX trim, you’ll find premium features like a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control, among others. The vehicle comes with an all-wheel drive.

Pros

Capacious and well-equipped cabin
Great fuel economy
Generous cargo area

Cons

The entry-level trim doesn't get ample standard features
Infotainment system isn't user-friendly

2022 Honda CR-V Specs

  • Engine- The Honda CR-V is powered by a 1.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 190 hp. The hybrid variant gets a 2-liter four-cylinder engine, paired with 2 electric motors, generating an output of 212 hp. 
  • Ground Clearance- The AWD variant has a ground clearance of 8.2 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, lane-departure warning, forward-collision warning, and automated emergency braking are available as standard.
  • Fuel economy- For 2WD, it’s 28/34 mpg city/highway; for AWD, it’s 27/32 mpg.
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 39.2 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It has a maximum towing capacity of 1500 pounds.

5. 2022 Dodge Durango

Class: Midsize, Type: 3-row,  Price: $38,590

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.dodge.com

Why We Picked It: The 2022 Dodge Durango just got family-approved with the introduction of the standard third row and a host of premium features. Thanks to its high ground clearance, powerful engine, and outdoorsy body, this midsize can be the best SUV for snow or ice-clad locations.

Based on the trim levels, you get a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering, front seats, and rain-sensing windshield wiper, to keep you comfortable inside the cabin, even when it’s freezing outside. The usual rear-wheel drive variant caters more to its muscle ute aura, while the AWD meets your off-road expectations.

Pros

Luxurious features suitable for both city rides and adventures
Impressive towing ability
Robust and highly capable engine

Cons

Fuel-thirsty engine
Standard safety package does not offer sufficient features

2022 Dodge Durango Specs

  • Engine- It’s powered by a V6 engine which generates 295 hp, and an optional V8 with an output of 360 hp. Optional all-wheel drive is available for all variants.
  • Ground Clearance- The 2022 Dodge Durango has a ground clearance of 8.1 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are available among other standard features.
  • Fuel economy- For the AWD variant, the fuel economy is estimated to be 14/22 mpg city/highway. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 17.2 cubic feet.
  • Towing- The V8 engine can tow up to 8700 pounds. ​

4. 2022 Subaru Forester

Class: Compact, Type: 2-row,  Price: $26,570

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.subaru.com

Why We Picked It: Wondering what is the best SUV for snow that won’t empty your pockets? The 2022 Subaru Forester can be a great choice. It has an adventure-focused body, combined with the comfort and practicality you’d expect from a typical compact crossover. 

The vehicle is equipped with X-Mode, Subaru’s off-road feature to make it easy to drive through deep mud or snow. This special mode strengthens the AWD system, resulting in the maximum supply of traction when your car is moving in snowy regions or any other adverse environment for that matter. And of course, you get a reliable 4X4 system

Pros

Seamless ride quality
Standard all-wheel drive
Spacious cargo area

Cons

Entry-level model lacks greatness
Acceleration needs to be better

2022 Subaru Forester Specs

  • Engine- Under the hood of the 2022 Subaru Forester is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, generating 182 hp. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Auto emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keep assist are standard.
  • Fuel economy- The AWD variant offers 26/33 mpg city/highway. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 28.9 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It can tow up to 1500 pounds.

3. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

Class: Full-size, Type: 3-row, Price: $51,195

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.chevrolet.com

Why We Picked It: The 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe boasts a massive dimension, with a comfortable headroom and legroom for all passengers seated in three rows. The high ground clearance and powerful engine make it equipped for driving on snow. The upper trims cater to adventure lovers, where you get plenty of driver-assist techs. 

This sophisticated full-size SUV is perfect for big families. Based on which trim level you choose, you will get heater steering, heated seats, memory setting, and exceptional towing ability.

Pros

Offers quiet rides
Spacious interior with ample space for a big family
Adventure-focused trims available

Cons

Front design might not be everyone's cup of tea
High trims are way too pricey

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe Specs

  • Engine- The base engine is a 5.3-liter V8 engine with an output of 355 hp, with two other options available– a 6.2-liter engine generating 420 hp or a 3-liter diesel 6-cylinder engine. You can choose between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. 
  • Ground Clearance- The ground clearance of this vehicle is between 8 to 10 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Forward collision warning and automated emergency braking are available as standard.
  • Fuel economy- The 2WD variant makes 15/20 mpg city/highway, and for FWD, the number changes to 14/19 mpg. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 25.5 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It can tow up to 8400 pounds.

2. 2021 Subaru Outback

Class: Compact, Type: 2-row,  Price: $27,845

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.subaru.com

Why We Picked It: A blend of a compact SUV and a station wagon, the 2021 Subaru Outback has made it to our list of best SUVs for snow. Designed for adventure lovers, the Outback has an impressive ground clearance along with standard all-wheel drive. The boot area has enough space to accommodate the passengers’ luggage. 

The cabin is well-equipped in every way. Based on which trim level you choose, you get a power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seat, heated steering wheel, and heated rear seats as additions– features that are ideal for driving through chilly regions

Pros

Generous amounts of standard features available for all trims
All-wheel drive comes as standard
High ground clearance ideal for driving through snow

Cons

Acceleration needs to be improved
Driving demeanor isn't engaging

2021 Subaru Outback Specs

  • Engine- The base engine is a 2.5-liter flat four-cylinder that generates 182 hp, and there’s an optional 2.4-liter engine that produces 260 hp. All-wheel drive is available as standard. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 8.7 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Forward-collision warning, auto emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keep assist are available as standard.
  • Fuel economy- With AWD, the fuel economy is estimated to be 26/33 mpg city/highway. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 32.5 cubic feet.
  • Towing- It can tow up to 3500 pounds.

1. 2022 Ford Expedition

Class: Full-size, Type: 3-row,  Price: $52,775

SUV Crossover Toyota

Source: www.ford.com

Why We Picked It: If you’re seeking a blend of smooth rides and impressive off-roading capacity, the 2022 Ford Expedition can be a viable option for you. In terms of style, design, and performance, Ford’s new large SUV is quite a steal. 

It’s not very fuel-efficient, but the engine is powerful enough, and it shows its mettle at highway speeds. With an improved infotainment system, increased ground clearance, and premium cabin trimmings, this vehicle will make your ride in snow a lot more comfortable.

Pros

Spacious cabin with tech features
Massive towing ability
Seamless ride quality

Cons

Low fuel economy
Standard safety features are not sufficient

2022 Ford Expedition Specs

  • Engine- Under the hood of the 2022 Expedition is a 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 380 hp. All-wheel drive is available as an optional extra. 
  • Ground Clearance- It has a ground clearance of 10.6 inches.
  • Standard Safety Features- Forward-collision warning and auto emergency braking are available as part of the standard safety equipment package.
  • Fuel economy- The rear-wheel drive variant makes 17/23 mpg on city and highway respectively. 
  • Cargo- The available base cargo area is 36 cubic feet.
  • Towing- The Expedition can tow up to 9300 pounds.

Are SUVs really better in snow?

SUVs in general are better in snow, in comparison to cars or sedans. They have high ground clearance, high seating position with better visibility of the road, and 4WD or AWD to tackle off-road efficiently. However, one big disadvantage of using SUVs for snow driving is their weight. Ultimately, it all boils down to the particular vehicle model you choose, so it’s crucial to make the right pick.

The List of Top Safety Features for Cars in Snow

Cars in snow should have some particular features to keep the driver and the passengers safe and sound. So before you decide on buying an SUV for driving in snowy, muddy, or any other adverse road conditions, make sure these following features are available in your choice of vehicle.

  • Ground clearanceHigh ground clearance allows the vehicle to absorb road shocks without damaging the lower part of its body. For the same reason, SUVs for snow should have high ground clearance, so they can effectively drive through the uneven and snow-filled terrains.
  • Headlight WasherSnow or rain can make your vehicle’s headlights clouded. A headlight washer is an electronic system that cleans the headlights with water or any other cleaning fluid. 
  • Anti-lock brakes and stability controlThe ABS system is designed to stop the wheels of your SUV from locking, ensuring safe braking on wet, slippery, or snowy surfaces. While making sharp turns, the stability control system of the vehicle helps the driver have control, even in slippery road conditions.
  • Low beam headlightsWhile driving in snow, rain, or foggy conditions, your SUV must be equipped with low beam headlights. High beam headlights are better avoided, as they can cause glare by reflecting the light back to the driver.
  • Blind-spot monitoringBlind-spot monitoring system alerts the driver about the presence of any other vehicle on its side or back. This prevents the chances of collisions and road accidents.
  • Heated mirrorsOften found in premium trim levels and expensive cars, heated mirrors are more than just a luxury addition. These mirrors come in handy while driving in snow, as they help the snow melt and prevent the mirror from being clouded. 
  • Forward collision warning and emergency brakingForward collision warning alarms the driver if there is a risk of an impending collision on the front side of the car. Automated emergency braking senses if there is slowed or stopped traffic ahead, and applies brakes to prevent a collision. 
  • LED headlights and taillightsLED headlights and taillights are highly energy-efficient, and make it seamless to drive in the dark. 
  • Snow tires and snow chainsSnow tires are specially designed for snow-covered roads. They prevent snow build-up while driving, and the snow chains provide maximum traction. 
  • Remote startWith remote start, you won’t have to leave the comfort of your home to start your car. Use the remote to start the defroster, and the ice and snow accumulated on the car will melt on its own.

 

Is AWD or 4WD appropriate for icy weather or snow?

Both AWD and 4WD can take you through icy weather or snow, but which one to choose entirely depends on the weather conditions of your region.

Snow or ice makes the roads slippery, and in such conditions, the vehicle needs to have a solid grip to steer through. All-wheel drive is useful for slippery, snow-covered roads, as it offers the necessary traction. 

But if you’re driving on roads that are covered with deep layers of snow, or the conditions are even harsher, 4WD is the way to go. Also, in case you live in an area where snow on the road is not regularly plowed, 4WD would be the better alternative.

What is the best SUV for snow: A quick look

SUV NameGround ClearanceAWDNHTSA Safety RatingJD Power Reliability RatingStarting Price
10. 2022 Jeep Wagoneer10 inchesNANot rated$60,995
9. 2021 Kia Telluride8 inches5-star85/100$33,415
8. 2022 Toyota RAV48.4 inches5-starNot rated$27,740
7. 2021 Hyundai Tucson7.1 inches4-star82/100$24,885
6. 2022 Honda CR-V8.2 inches5-star83/100$27,625
5. 2022 Dodge Durango8.1 inches4-star80/100$38,590
4. 2022 Subaru Forester8.7 inches5-star82/100$26,570
3. 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe8-10 inches4-star83/100$51,195
2. 2021 Subaru Outback8.7 inches5-star77/100$27,845
1.2022 Ford Expedition10.6 inchesNA78/100$52,775

Conclusion

To sum up, there are a plethora of modern SUVs that are equipped for snow. You can get either a compact, midsize, or large vehicle, depending on your budget and other requirements. However, it’s important to check that the vehicle is safe and reliable, so that when you go off-road, the SUV can handle all road conditions, without compromising on comfort or ride quality.

So check out the top 10 best SUVs for snow mentioned above, analyze their offerings and characteristics, and then decide which one suits your lifestyle perfectly.

 

FAQs

1. What is the safest SUV for snow?

With a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA and a JD Power reliability rating of 85/100, Kia Telluride is the safest SUV for snow.

2. Is AWD or 4WD better in snow?

AWD is better for slippery icy roads, whereas 4WD is better for deep snow. So while both are equipped to drive on snowy terrains, you choose choose between the two depending on your preference, location, and weather conditions.

3. Which SUV is best in the snow?

Ford Expedition is the best SUV in snow, thanks to its remarkable off-road ability and a high ground clearance of 10.6 inches.

4. What is the best vehicle to drive in both snow and ice?

Ford Expedition and Subaru Outback are best for driving in both snow and ice, as both have high ground clearance, reliable off-roading capacity, and sturdy build.

5. Which small SUV is best for snow?

With a great off-road focused model, ground clearance of 8.7 inches, and a 5-star NHTSA safety rating, Subaru Forester is the best small SUV for snow.

6. Is an SUV better than a sedan in snow?

Yes, an SUV is better than a sedan in snow. SUVs most often come with a 4WD system that makes them handle adverse road and weather conditions effectively. Moreover, SUVs also have higher ground clearance than sedans.