I remember 25 years ago if you wanted a four-wheel drive (4WD) or all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicle, you had to have either a Subaru, Audi, or pickup truck. Now nearly every automaker produces a highly respectable AWD/4WD option. Combine that with a set of badass snow tires and you are going to be unstoppable 95% of the time in the snow. This of course assumes the operator of the vehicle knows what they are doing.
- Related: Driving 0n Snow for Dummies
But let’s face it, it’s 2023 and we’ve moved past just having AWD/4WD and a good set of snow tires. Now we want features that enhance the safety and experience of driving when you have to make it to the mountain for a pow day. And not just anti-lock brakes, stability control, and ground clearance, but more advanced systems and technologies. Items such as a heated steering wheel, seats, mirrors, head-up display, adaptive headlights, and remote start, just to name a few.
Below are our 2023 best picks for snowy mountain travel. We kept the list to SUVs (with one exception) since they have the most room for gear and cater to adventure.
#9 Acura RDX SH-AWD
The SH stands for “Super Handling,” so it better be good. As much as 90% of torque can be transferred to one wheel. It has good ground clearance (8.2 inches), as well as collision warning, automatic emergency braking, LED headlights, heated outboard mirrors, and heated seats.
#8 Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD
The popular Tahoe has been completely redesigned. Not only does it have impressive ground clearance, but it comes with rain-sensing wipers, forward collision warning, front-emergency braking, LED headlights and taillights, and remote start.
#7 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic
The 4Matic (Mercedes’s AWD buzzword) comes loaded with available technological features great for driving in the snow. They include heated mirrors, heated seats, front collision warning, automatic emergency braking, LED headlights and taillights, rain-sensing wipers, and heated windshield washer nozzles.
#6 Toyota Sienna AWD
Not an SUV, but with AWD, plenty of cargo space, and tons of snow-safety features, the Sienna proves it’s not just for soccer moms. Just some of the features include LED headlights, fog lights, taillights, automatic high beams, rain-sensing wipers, and heated mirrors. Upgrade the trim and you can get a heated steering wheel.
#5 Ford Bronco Sport
The Bronco was specifically designed with comfort and style in mind and with AWD it can go anywhere. It comes standard with LED fog lights, a heated leather-wrapped steering wheel, and rain-sensing wipers. The Outer Banks trim model gains you heated outboard mirrors, heated front seats, a rear-camera washer, and dual-zone automatic climate control.
#4 Honda CR-V AWD
Every trim level of the CR-V comes with available AWD. Even the lower trim levels have LED headlights and taillights, collision warnings, emergency braking, heated front seats, heated outboard mirrors, and LED fog lights, as well as other driver assistance features.
#3 Kia Telluride AWD
If you haven’t been looking at Kia, then maybe it’s time you put it on your radar. The Telluride (cool name BTW) has remote start, heated mirrors, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitor, and rear cross-traffic alert. The EX trim adds features like LED headlights, heated seats, and automatic high beams.
#2 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
With 8.1 inches of ground clearance and AWD, LED lights, and automatic high beams standard on all models, the RAV4 is snow ready right out of the box. Stepping up your trim level and adding the Weather Package will enhance your experience with features like heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, adaptive headlights, and rain-sensing wipers.
#1 Subaru Outback
Legendary AWD and fantastic ground clearance is what got the Outback so notorious for winter driving. The latest edition comes standard with a snow/mud X-Mode transmission setting, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive LED headlights, and automatic high beams, along with many other features.