If you live in an area of the country that experiences severe winter weather, and you’re in the market for a new vehicle, there are a number of 2014 four-wheel-drive (4WD) models that are right up your alley.
Depending on your taste, budget and needs, you can choose from fairly basic, manual to highly sophisticated automatic 4WD systems. Some of the higher-end 4WD models even offer selectable modes that allow you to fine-tune your vehicle’s traction to suit a variety of terrains and road conditions.
All 4WD include a low range gear which is designed to get you out of deep snow and mud, and make steep climbs more manageable. This mode, however, does little or nothing to enhance the vehicle’s braking or cornering abilities.
More and more motorists are opting for all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles to provide them with the added traction they need when driving on snow-covered roads.
Under normal conditions, many AWD vehicles deliver power to either the front or rear axle. Others provide full-time all-wheel-drive which alternately delivers additional torque to the axle that needs it when sensors detect that the wheels are slipping. Many AWD sedans automatically deliver additional power to the rear axle to give them greater stability and better overall handling characteristics when cornering.
AWD vehicles don’t offer low range gearing, which is what allows 4WD vehicles to perform so well in deep snow.
Regardless of whether you drive a 4WD or AWD model, the laws of physics still apply, and every vehicle will skid when driven too fast on wet, snowy or icy roads.
Forbes.com recently compiled a list of the 14 vehicles it says “can be expected to make short work of all but the most severe winter conditions.”
Topping the list were the Volvo SC70, Audi Allroad, Subaru Outback and XV Crosstrek by virtue of their higher ground clearance, and thicker body cladding. The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan and Wagon, Bmw 3 Series and 5 Series AWD and Gran Turismo xDrive models, Volvo S80, Subaru Legacy, Acura TL and Lexus GS AWD sedans also made the list.
The Toyota Sienna AWD was the only minivan to make the list, and was named the “best in show” because of its exceptionally high ground clearance – higher in fact than any of the sedans, SUVs and wagons on the list.