The weather outside is frightful, but no matter how cozy you are inside, sometimes you have no choice but to get to work, school, or appointments. For drivers who live in cold or snowy places, having a vehicle that can handle slick or icy roads is essential. If you’re planning on doing lots of winter driving and want extra space, you’ll need an SUV with four-wheel or all-wheel drive. These vehicles aren’t just practical for winter, but are also lots of fun during the summer months for activities like four-wheel driving or camping.
About 45 percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. have one of these systems, but just because you’re buying an SUV doesn’t guarantee you’ll have 4WD or AWD, so be sure to check. If you’re wondering whether to chose a 4WD or AWD SUV, the short answer is that for most drivers there isn’t a huge difference. Both systems provide power to all four wheels, giving extra traction that increases your vehicle’s ability to get over slippery or rugged terrain. AWD vehicles are generally automatic, meaning that the car will switch to AWD when extra traction is needed and revert to two-wheel drive when it’s not. That saves fuel and improves handling. True 4WD systems are generally a bit more rugged, a good option for drivers who will be off-roading in addition to driving in the snow. They generally have to be turned on (although it’s as easy as clicking a button), and their handling is a bit stiffer.
Whether you just want to get through the winter or are planning a grand off-road adventure, here are five of the best AWD and 4WD SUVs that Carvana has to offer.
Hyundai Santa Fe: The Santa Fe is a great AWD choice for people who want a relatively small SUV. The Santa Fe comes with five- and seven-seat options, and has great fuel economy of up to 29 MPG highway, making it a perfect AWD SUV for commuters. However, the limited cargo space means that people who plan to use their vehicle to camp should chose another option.
Jeep Cherokee: You can’t talk about 4WD vehicles without talking about Jeeps. Despite their low reliability rating, Jeeps are known for their outstanding off-road and 4WD capabilities. The Cherokee blends Jeep’s cool factor with the practicality of a family car, but still holds its own in the snow and off-road.
Toyota 4Runner: The 4Runner is a true 4WD with great off-road capabilities. With seating for up to seven and one of the largest cargo spaces in its class, the 4Runner is a perfect vehicle for people who want to pack their 4WD for a weekend away with all their friends and toys.
Audi A5: The AWD Q5 is perfect for drivers who want off-road and snow capability in the luxury class. The Q5 will get you to your destination in any weather, and do so in style. Its large, high-end cabin and great acceleration make it a joy for the driver and passengers, and a great safety rating will set your mind at ease during treacherous winter drives.
Ford Expedition: The Expedition is a top-rated large SUV with three full rows of seats and amble cargo space to boot. In 4WD mode, it is efficient off-road and in bad weather due to its large engine that provides plenty of power. However, it’s size makes it trickier to handle in tight spots.