SUVs can drive in snow (to a certain extent). SUVs are vehicles that weigh 3,500 pounds and more. They can handle light to moderate snowfall conditions very well.
However, they may have trouble driving if the road is covered with thick or icy snow. Also, SUVs may not do so well on steep hills or winding roads covered with thick or icy snow. The tires used on most SUVs are designed for on-road use only.
Are SUVs better in the snow? How well do they drive compared to normal cars?
They are bigger and higher off the ground, but do they really drive better in the snow? If you live in areas with a lot of snow on the ground, then that question probably comes up a lot.
Friends might argue about what is better an SUV or a regular passenger car. But what’s really true? As far as the science goes, SUVs have better traction and handling in snowy conditions.
Therefore, many drivers actually buy SUVs for their traction in winter conditions. However, more recent models of recreational vehicles (RVs) and sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are even more effective than they were ten years ago.
Which SUV drives best in the snow?
The question of which SUV drives the best in the snow can be approached with a combination of objective and subjective measures. Objectively, most folks would say that all-wheel drive is the answer.
However, we also know that snow tires are important. Which is better? And what about winter tires? Do they make a difference? I put these questions to our long-term test fleet to find out which vehicles do best in the snow.
My pick for best-driving SUV in winter weather was an all-wheel-drive model wearing standard tires: the Volvo XC90 three-row crossover.
Is a front-wheel-drive SUV good in the snow?
It depends on the tires. In general, though, no, this is a common question and in general an incorrect perception. The misconception stems from the fact that some SUVs are based or designed off of light truck chassis; thus they have four-wheel drive.
That’s all fine and good if you need it but for everyday use in moderate weather, it is very seldom necessary to be in four-wheel drive. If you live in an area where ice, snow, or any other form of inclement weather is a factor then by all means do yourself a favor and buy the vehicle with a four-wheel-drive option.
Is AWD or 4wd better in the snow?
There is a common misconception out there that all-wheel drive (AWD) cars are better in snow than 4 wheel drive (4wd). The assumption is that the extra wheels will give you more traction and thus better control in slippery conditions. This is often thought to be especially true for low range transfer cases.
It’s true that in normal dry conditions a 4×4 with low range should give better performance than an AWD vehicle without low range. This became very clear to me when I drove a BMW 525i through some snow-covered hills once. It was stuck, no matter what I tried, and a 4wd Chevy Blazer with 2 wheel drive did not have even close to the same trouble.
So the answer is 4 wheel drive cars are always better when driving in heavy snow and winter-like conditions when compared to all-wheel-drive which can also drive in moderate snow conditions
Are winter tires better than AWD?
In real winter conditions, AWD is useless. It is less capable than front-wheel-drive and Traction Control is a must. Only the ABS works when it’s slippery, but Torque Vectoring can’t be activated until the wheels stop spinning (even if engine braking isn’t sufficient for that).
Do SUVs need Winter tires?
Some drivers of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) don’t think they need to put snow tires on their vehicles in the winter, because they assume their all-wheel-drive (“AWD”) systems will give them better traction than cars with two-wheel drive.
But actually, when it comes to traction and control in snowy conditions, four wheels is actually an advantage compared to two wheels. And when you’re driving four wheels instead of two, you’ll do better with a set of winter tires than without one.
Conclusion on Suv in Winter and Snow
Sport Utility Vehicles remain one of the most popular types of vehicle in the market right now, they have strong capabilities and continues to improve as time goes by, hopefully, this article helped clarify how SUVs perform in Snow.
Robert Anderson is a world class motorhead who rebuilt his first carb at age 10, his first engine at age 15, and completed his first full hotrod build when he was just 18! Previously, he has ran a part warehouse, delivered pizzas, and managed the service department for a $20 million/year revenue dealership. Robert knows cars like few others and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge.