Best SUV for Snow: 10 Great Choices

Winter is either around the corner or already unleashing its full, snow-spewing furry. There’s no escaping its cold embrace. But life doesn’t stop just because it’s frosty and slippery outside.

We have busy lives, with places to go and people to see. Regardless of the worst winter has in store for us, we must still venture out. So being equipped to best handle the elements is key. Like, for instance, having a proper winter-ready vehicle.

Although nearly any vehicle can be driven through the winter with the proper tires and due care taken behind the wheel, many turn to SUVs as their winter weapons of choice. But what is the best SUV for snow and ice? It’s tough to narrow it down as nearly every manufacturer now offers a sophisticated all-wheel drive system on their various crossovers and SUVs. But we have combed through the field and highlighted 10 great choices below. 


Mazda CX-30

The Mazda CX-30 may appear to be just another small SUV, but it has an ace up its sleeve. That ace is the number 320; as in 320 lb-ft. of torque. While many in this segment have adequate power at best, the CX-30 can be equipped with a turbocharged engine good for 250 hp and the aforementioned ridiculous levels of torque. Does this help you get through the snow? No, but the CX-30’s all-wheel drive system is more than up to that task and all that power is waiting for the day the snow melts. 

See Also: The Best Snow Tires and Why You Absolutely Need Them

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Subaru Crosstrek

For outright snow conquering in a small SUV package, take a look at the Subaru Crosstrek. Roughly the same size as the CX-30, the Crosstrek may be missing the power of the little Mazda, but it makes up for it in capability. Available only with all-wheel drive, every Crosstrek comes standard with 8.7-inches of ground clearance and X-Mode (with the optional CVT). If rowing your own gears is more you thing, this Subaru is one of the few all-wheel drive SUVs to offer a manual transmission option. 

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Ford Bronco Sport

Think of the Ford Bronco Sport as a mix between the CX-30’s power and Crosstrek’s capability, just one size bigger. New this year, the Bronco Sport features styling cues from its bigger Bronco brother in a compact SUV package. Two engines are available, including a potent 245 hp turbocharged 2.0-liter. As should be expected by something wearing the Bronco name, the Sport is fully capable in the deep messy snow thanks to 8.8-inches of ground clearance and selectable drive modes. 

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Toyota RAV4 Prime

A completely different take on a compact SUV is the Toyota RAV4 Prime. A plug-in hybrid, the Prime is good for roughly 42 miles of all-electric, all-wheel drive travel. Open the windows in EV mode  and you’ll hear nothing but the snow crunching under the tires. Once depleted, the hybrid system consists of a 2.5-liter engine and no fewer than three electric motors. This is good for a combined output of 302 hp and quoted 0-60 mph time of just 5.7-seconds. 

See Also: 6 Tips for Driving in the Snow and Not Crashing

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Subaru Outback

Can’t decide between a traditional wagon and a SUV for your next winter warrior? Why not have both? The Subaru Outback is essentially a Legacy Wagon raised up to offer the ground clearance and capability of a SUV. This isn’t a pretender either. It sports the same 8.7-inches of ground clearance as its Crosstrek and Forester siblings, with standard all-wheel drive and X-Mode. The longer wheelbase of the Outback also helps improve straight-line stability in slipper-conditions. 

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Kia Sorento PHEV

The second plug-in hybrid on our list is the Kia Sorento PHEV. With a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine hooked up to an electric motor, this six-passenger SUV can go up to 32 miles on just electric propulsion. Whether on full electric or hybrid power, the Sorento is always in all-wheel drive mode. Kia’s all-wheel drive system has been greatly improved over the past several years and will have no trouble handling winter’s fury. The Plug-In Hybrid drivetrain is offered in more than one trim level which is a plus for potential shoppers.

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Jeep Grand Cherokee

If you want something about the size of the Sorento, but don’t need the third row and are looking for even more capability, there is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. An O.G. in the SUV world, the Grand Cherokee is known for its slippery condition capability while coddling passengers. The amount of choice with the Grand Cherokee is staggering, offering several drivetrain configurations, including a plug-in hybrid. Those who want the most capability in the muck should look to the Trailhawk while those looking for insane, giggle-inducing power will appreciate the SRT. 

See Also: Top 10 Best Cars for Snow

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Honda Pilot

The Honda Pilot, and its arch rival the Toyota Highlander, are what we would call the minivans of the SUV world. And that is not meant to be an insult in the slightest. The Pilot is nearly as practical, comfortable and spacious as those small-van people haulers, but with the added benefits of an SUV. With the option to carry upwards of eight people, the Pilot features good ground clearance, smooth V6 power and available all-wheel drive for every trim level. 

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Genesis GV80

If you want all the advantages of the Pilot, but in a more premium package, may we suggest the Genesis GV80. A relative new comer to the market, the GV80 can seat three rows of passengers in an elegant, upscale interior. It battles head-to-head with the likes of the Acura MDX and Infiniti GX60. Power comes from either a 300 hp 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine or a 375 hp 3.5-liter unit. All-wheel drive is standard with the larger engine and optional on the smaller one. 

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Chevrolet Suburban

If towing capacity and passenger space are the two highest priorities on your shopping list, the Chevrolet Suburban will fit the bill. The only true old-school SUV on the list, the Suburban can seat up to nine passengers and tow 8,100 lbs when equipped with all-wheel drive. It is offered with a choice of two V8 engines or a six-cylinder turbo diesel, all paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. With a generous 8.0-inches of ground clearance and available all-wheel drive on every trim level, the Suburban is well equipped to deal with snow and ice. 

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