What to Look For in a Winter Vehicle

2017 Subaru Outback - Photo by Matt Smith

Winter may have taken its sweet time arriving in the Northeast, but after this past weekend, our city of Boston is a certifiable wonderland. The storms came just in time, too, as CarGurus headed down to Bugsy Lawlor’s headquarters for the annual New England Motor Press Association’s Winter Vehicle Testing. Last year, we made do with dry, frozen ground to judge the 2016 Winter Car of the Year, but after a winter storm strong enough to convince Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to declare a snow emergency, we were able to enjoy fresh snow on our favorite trail.

But what exactly should you be looking for in a winter vehicle? If television commercials are to be trusted, the only winter cars worth their salt are those capable of 4-wheel drifts down the back bowls of Colorado’s highest peaks. Blasting through fresh snow, rather than traveling up the I-95 corridor, may make for more attractive marketing materials, but most folks in the market for a winter vehicle are more interested in one that can reliably take them to work during the week and to the mountains on the weekend. If you’re looking for a car primarily to handle winter roads, there are a few details worth your attention. Continue reading >>>

Winter Essentials: Key Safety Features for Your Holiday Travels

car stuck in snow

As a company based in New England, CarGurus understands that traveling at this time of year can quickly become perilous, and having the right vehicle for winter can make a world of difference. We’ve already seen our first batch of snow and expect more to arrive shortly. Of course, inclement weather can unfortunately coincide with some of the busiest travel times of the year. With the amount of traffic you’re likely to experience this weekend, and with the very real possibility of icy road conditions, we implore you to be proactive this winter and drive a vehicle that can perform well in less-than-ideal conditions. That’s the best choice for you and for other drivers on the road.

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Canine-Friendly Cars for the Dog Days of Summer

Nigel, Erik Ross's Dog

Nigel the terrier loves feeling the wind in his face

We may be CarGurus, first and foremost, but that doesn’t prevent us from being proud pet owners, too. From French Bulldogs and Miniature Pinschers to Labradors and Great Danes, the dogs of CarGurus are a widely varied bunch. My own dog, Taylor, looks enough like a Labrador to keep landlords and kennels at ease, but her mix of breeds puts her solidly in the “mutt” camp. Regardless of size or breed, however, dogs are always a hit at CarGurus. Maybe that’s because dogs have such a social history with the automobile. They chase them, they hang their heads out the windows, and I don’t think I’ve ever met a dog who didn’t get a case of the wiggles every time it hears, “Want to go for a ride in the car?”

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The 10 Best Vehicles for Snow and Ice

Toyota_tacoma

I’ve driven a lot of cars in the snow and am surprised at how much difference I’ve seen even in vehicles that otherwise are comparable to each other.

As winter begins to set in across the country, we figure it’s a good time to create a list of the best cars, trucks and SUVs for plowing through deep snow and easing over slippery ice. Here are my top ten, but feel free to drop a comment and let us know what you drive in the snow and how it does.

Toyota 4Runner/ Tacoma

Throw any weather situation at either of these Toyotas and you’ll make it through just fine.

Audi A6 Quattro

I had a boss once who loved his A6 so much he’d take me out on snowy mornings and speed through the twisties, trying to make his car come unstuck. He succeeded only once, and broke an axle for the effort.

Honda CR-V

I chose this over the Pilot because it’s lighter. The Pilot gets a little top-heavy, which makes going down icy hills a heart-racing experience, while the smaller CR-V crawls easily to the bottom.

Subaru Forester

A low center of gravity and all-wheel drive combine to make the Forester a winner in the snow and cold.

Jeep Wrangler

If you’ve got a hard top and doors on your Wrangler, nothing should stop you from reaching the top of the mountain.

Volvo XC90

Lots of ground clearance, lots of weight, but a low center of gravity make the AWD version of the XC90 a great winter car.

Suzuki SX4

Being a 2,500-pound small car, this thing stays planted. And with the ability to choose AWD or lock it into 4WD, the SX4 is a great commuter car for snowy highways. Just don’t take it on the trails.

Lexus RX

As long as you’re not running low-profile 18-inch summer tires, this little Lexus will serve you well through any winter storm.

Porsche Cayenne

This is for those who want a little extra flashiness in the their snowy commutes, plus the added benefit of the residual heating function, which will keep the Cayenne heated for up to 20 minutes after shutting the engine off.

BMW 328i xDrive

With dynamic stability control and intelligent all-wheel drive, what else do you need in a winter car? Oh… headlamp washers? Okay, you get those, too.

What do you drive in the snow?

-tgriffith

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