Does Subaru make the best all-wheel-drive vehicles for winter commutes? A new U.S. News report says of the ten best cars for winter driving this year, Subaru has three models on the list, more than any automaker. There are two Subaru SUVs, the 2023 Outback and 2023 Ascent, and an unlikely model, the 2022 WRX, to score with the best.
Subaru also scores the most new models of any mainstream (non-luxury) automaker. U.S. News Autos says, "We've looked for features like all-wheel drive, standard anti-lock brakes, advanced safety systems, and conveniences like heated side mirrors to help make your winter driving safer and more comfortable for the whole family."
Here are U.S. News' top picks for driving in snow and ice this winter. The Volvo XC40 (8.4/10), Audi A4 Allroad (8.3/10), Subaru Ascent (8.0/10), Jeep Grand Cherokee (8.3/10), Subaru Outback (8.2/10), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (8.7/10), Honda Ridgeline (8.3/10), Volvo S90 (N/A), Hyundai Tucson (8.8/10), and the Subaru WRX (N/A).
The Subaru Outback midsize SUV ranked high on the list
U.S. News says, "The Subaru Outback kicks butt for a winter vehicle. It's as purpose-built as they come, comfortable and capable, equipped with standard all-wheel drive, loaded with standard safety features, and finished with easy-to-clean materials. This is your car if you want a family-oriented vehicle perfect for winter travel."
What is the price of the 2023 Outback?
The 2023 Outback now comes in nine trim levels for U.S. customers; the base trim is priced from $29,620, Premium ($31,920), new Onyx Edition with a 2.5 liter engine ($34,720), Limited ($36,520), Touring ($41,070), Outback Wilderness ($39,670), Onyx Edition XT ($39,820), Limited XT ($40,920), and Touring XT ($43,520). Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,225).
The Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV scores high
U.S. News says, "The Subaru Ascent is a great family-oriented midsize crossover with features that make it a good all-weather vehicle. All-wheel drive comes standard, which is rare in this segment. Furthermore, 8.7 inches of ground clearance provide enough room to get over bumps and debris."
What is the price of the 2023 Ascent?
The 2023 Subaru Ascent base starts at $35,120, and Premium trims begin at $39,180. The Ascent Onyx Edition starts at $42,520, the upper Limited starts at $42,820, the new Ascent Onyx Edition Limited is priced at $47,520, and the top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $49,420. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,225).
The Subaru WRX is an unlikely model
U.S. New says, "Yeah, another Subaru. The WRX is not the most practical vehicle on this list, but we saved it for last for a reason. The brand's signature all-wheel-drive system and robust attitude make it a great choice for this list. If you want a fun commuter car that can handle just about anything, and you're fine paying a premium over comparable compact cars, especially if you want one of the last manual sedans on the road, the WRX is the way to go."
What is the price of the 2022 WRX?
The WRX 6-speed manual trim level starts at $30,600. The WRX with Subaru Performance Transmission (SPT) is $32,450, WRX Premium 6-speed manual is $33,100, WRX Premium SPT is $35,150, WRX Limited 6-speed manual is $37,490, WRX Limited SPT is $39,740, and WRX GT is $43,390. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($995).
Maybe the WRX isn't so unlikely
Where are the Subaru Forester and Crosstrek SUVs?
The Subaru Forester and Crosstrek are not on the U.S. News list, but they should be. Both models come standard with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system for all-weather capability. The Forester and Crosstrek also have 8.7-inches of ground clearance, and both come with X-Mode for added all-terrain capability.
Why are Subaru models ranked high in winter-weather capability?
Subaru was the first and is still the only automaker to offer all-wheel-drive standard equipment on every one of its cars and SUVs. The 2023 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek, Ascent, Impreza, Legacy, Solterra EV, and WRX all come standard with its all-wheel-drive system. The BRZ sports coupe is the only model with a two-wheel rear-drive configuration.
U.S. News failed to mention that the Outback and Ascent come with dual-function X-Mode with a Deep Snow setting for additional severe weather capability.
Subaru created the small all-wheel-drive SUV segment and still offers the best all-weather vehicles for new car shoppers. U.S. News ranked the 2023 Subaru Outback, 2023 Ascent, and the unlikely 2022 WRX as the best new models for winter driving.
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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