Home / The Best Cars for Every Budget / The Best Used Cars for Snow


It is hard enough to find a reliable used car, but finding one that is safe and reliable in adverse conditions like snow can be down right impossible. We could go on for days about cars to avoid, but that is not the point here today. After careful consideration, here is a list of five used cars that offer solid handling in the snow and have good government safety and fuel economy ratings.

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is an AWD beast that is nearly unstoppable in snow. When you mount a set of snow tires on one you have a snow-proof tank. The down side is that the Outback is notoriously under-powered. An additional consideration is that AWD vehicles are not known for their fuel economy. Mpg will hover in the 25 range for an Outback.


Sorry to be so general, but there are many good options within this vehicle class. The Dodge Caravan, Chrysler Town and Country, and Chevrolet Astro all offered AWD versions that featured a low center of gravity for better handling in adverse conditions. The 2003 model year marked the end of the AWD option in most minivans, so it should be easy to find an affordable example of any of the three models mentioned for less than $7,000.

Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion is a mid-sized sedan that handles surprisingly well in the snow. While used versions are not as affordable as the vehicles mentioned so far, the fuel economy beats the hands down. The standard front-wheel drive version is fairly agile and grips the road year-round, no matter the road conditions. The 2013 model is rated to serve up 37 mpg on the highway. If you opt for the AWD version for added snow defiance, fuel economy drops to 31 mpg on the highway.

Subaru XV Crosstrek

The Crosstrek combines the dependability of Subaru’s AWD technology, a beefy suspension system, and eight inches of ground clearance. The Crosstrek is also a roomy alternative to smaller compact SUVs. There are plenty of creature comforts to keep you smiling no matter how much snow is falling. Let’s not forget that it has the best fuel economy in the AWD SUV category. The Crosstrek is rated for 33 mpg on the highway according to the EPA.

Nissan Pathfinder

Many of us are looking for a vehicle that is both good in the snow and offers room for up to seven passengers. The Nissan Pathfinder is the best option in that category. Creature comforts abound, elbow room is in abundance, and handling in the snow is beyond compare. Used versions are a bit pricey, so beware. Powered by a mid-range 6-cylinder, the Pathfinder offers 25 mpg on the highway.

While these are the best used cars for snow, most front-wheel drive vehicles account well for themselves if driven with care. Oh, just for fun…Ferrari has gotten into the four-wheel drive market recently. The 2012 Ferrari FF features seating for four, great traction on any road conditions, and a top speed of 208 mph. All that for a mere $300,000. I do not understand why there isn’t one in every garage.

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