The great Canadian winter is fast approaching for another year and it comes with several seasonal fun activities such as snowboarding, skiing, ice skating or snow tubing. If you’re one of those people that isn’t a big fan of the cold and its outdoor activities, you might need a vehicle to drive during those snowy and sub-zero days. However, many Canadians feel uncomfortable and hesitant driving in winter because the roads can be slippery or just more a hazard in general compared to warmer months. That’s why it is important to prepare your car for winter or if your budget allows, buy a new car that performs better in the snow.
In this article we will highlight some of the best cars for the Canadian winter and what you should consider before you buy one. We will also give you our thoughts and recommendations when it comes to trucks, SUVs and sedans where we comment on their safety, reviews and good performance as a winter car.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Winter Car
Before we start talking about specific models, let’s take look at the most important factors when it comes to shopping for a winter car, there are three key features you need to be on the lookout for:
As we’ve mentioned before, all-season tires are suitable for navigating most weather and road conditions, however, they may not be enough for the harsh Canadian winters, especially in Ontario, because they harden and lose traction once it gets too cold. On the other hand, winter tires are specifically designed for driving in freezing conditions and they are made up of specialized rubber compounds that stay nice and supple even in sub-zero temperatures.
Additionally, most car insurance providers offer winter tire discounts for drivers, allowing you to save a good percentage on your car insurance.
All-Wheel Drive and Four-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive (AWD) has the capability to send the engine’s power to all four tires. It will help keep your vehicle moving forward better than just a front-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive on snow-covered or rain-slicked roads.
Also known as ABS, this is a safety feature designed to prevent your car’s wheels from seizing up. It means that the breaks won’t lock up and will allow the wheels to rotate, meaning you can still maintain control of your car. ABS makes it easier for you to control your car when driving through winter roads and stopping on ice.
What Are The Best Cars For Canadian Winter Driving?
Now, let’s dive into our list where we go over some of the best cars for winter driving in Canada.
Best Trucks For Winter
Trucks are a great choice for driving in the great Canadian winter, thanks to their big-sized trunk, you can travel with heavy loads like firewood or snow-removal equipment. Additionally, most trucks have impressive hauling capabilities, giving you the ability to tow travel trailers or even a snowmobile. Driving a truck can be considered one or the more safer options in Winter, and the generous size of modern trucks allows them to cross over enormous snowbanks or slush-covered potholes with ease. These are our favorite picks:
Best SUVs For Winter
Canadian drivers are no strangers to SUVs and these are also a popular choice in the winter and they’ll usually come with the best winter tire brands in Canada. They will most likely have four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive to get out of those annoying snowbanks, maintain control on icy roads or deal with pretty much anything thrown in your way. Also, many drivers prefer SUVs because they come equipped with a variety of modern safety features that are ideal for winter driving. Here you find some of the best SUV’s ranked:
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Honda CR-V AWD
Best Sedans For Winter
If you prefer a traditional passenger car instead of a big one like an SUV or Truck, you can find several sedans on the market that fit your winter needs. Today’s best winter sedans perform well in the classic winter conditions like snow-covered roads, icy bridges, and strong winds. All in all providing a comfortable and pleasant experience when driving in snow. Some excellent options are:
Tips For Driving in The Snow
Driving in snow can be challenging but you can get to an expert level with your snow-driving by following some simple tips and advice that we’ve outlined below.
Make sure you drive at the recommended speed limit on the road, stopping in bad weather conditions can be difficult but if you maintain the speed limit, you should be able to stop safely.
If you know you’ll need to come to a stop, start by lightly pressing the brake well before you reach a stop sign or intersection. This helps give your car ample time to gain traction and decelerate. If you slam on your breaks, you are more likely to spin out or skid out of control.
Driving on an Incline
Driving up a slope covered in snow and ice requires you to press on the gas to maintain the speed necessary to reach the top. Accelerating before you start driving uphill can help your car gain the momentum it needs to navigate the slope. You should keep accelerating at a consistent speed until you get to the top of the hill.
Another good way to drive up an incline in adverse weather conditions is to use both of your feet. Place one foot on the gas and one on the brake. Slowly, press on the brake. This will help you gain traction. Once you feel your tires gain their traction back, then you can take your foot off the brake and allow your other foot to press down gently on the gas. You should continue this technique until you get to the top.
This might seem obvious, but especially when driving on snow or ice, you should lower your speed to successfully make 90 degree turns or a set of winding bends. If you start skidding, take your foot off both pedals and steer your car into the direction of the skid. This action will help you regain control, rather than turning the wheel in the opposite direction.
Perhaps one of the most delicate events when driving in the snow is when your car gets stuck due to lack of traction.
One way to get your car out of a tricky spot potentially is to move your steering wheel so that your winter tires are facing a different direction. Then, make sure that the direction your car is pointing in is safe, after that you should press the gas pedal and regain traction. Backing up is another way you can potentially regain traction after you get stuck in the snow.