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The 12 Best Cars For Winter Driving In 2023 - The Snowbaru Wins 4 Spots

Who makes the best all-wheel-drive vehicles for winter driving? A new U.S. News ranking says Subaru has more models on the list than any automaker. Check out the top twelve picks for 2023.

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Does Subaru make the best all-wheel-drive vehicles for winter commutes? U.S. News updated its best vehicles report saying of the twelve best cars for winter driving this year, Subaru has four models on the list, more than any automaker. There are three Subaru SUVs, the 2023 Forester compact SUV (rated first), the 2023 Outback midsize SUV, the 2023 Ascent 3-Row SUV, and an unlikely model, the 2022 WRX performance sedan, that score the highest.

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."

2023 Subaru Forester

Here are U.S. News' top twelve picks for driving in snow and ice this winter. The Volvo XC40 (8.4/10), Subaru Forester (8.3/10), Audi A4 Allroad (8.3/10), Jeep Grand Cherokee (8.3/10), Ford Bronco Sport (8.3/10), Subaru Ascent (8.0/10), Subaru Outback (8.0/10), Mercedes-Benz E-Class (8.7/10), Honda Ridgeline (8.3/10), Volvo S90 (8.2/10), Hyundai Tucson (8.5/10), and the Subaru WRX (7.5/10).

The Subaru Forester compact SUV ranked the highest mainstream vehicle on the updated list for 2023 models

U.S. News says, "The Forester exhibits all of the traits that shoppers should look for in a quality winter vehicle. It has standard all-wheel drive, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and its upright driving position allows the driver to see hazards on the road ahead."

2023 Subaru Forester

What SUV is best for snow and ice?

U.S. News says, "The Subaru Forester (is their pick) provides many of the Outback's similar features, but in a more upright design that allows for a commanding driving position."

What is the price of the 2023 Forester?

The 2023 Forester comes in six trim levels; The Base Forester starts at $27,620, Premium ($30,620), Sport ($32,190), Limited ($34,300), Wilderness ($35,245), and Touring ($37,720). Pricing includes dealer fees ($1,225).

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. If you want a family-oriented vehicle perfect for winter travel, this is your car."

2023 Subaru Outback

What car is best for snow and ice?

U.S. News says, "The Subaru Outback (is their pick) boasts standard all-wheel drive, 8.7 inches of ground clearance, and several advanced safety features."

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).

2023 Subaru Ascent

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).

Where is the Subaru Crosstrek subcompact SUV?

The Subaru Crosstrek is not on the U.S. News list, but the subcompact SUV should be. Crosstrek comes standard with Subaru's Symmetrical all-wheel-drive system for all-weather capability. The Crosstrek also has 8.7 inches of ground clearance and comes with X-Mode for severe weather and all-terrain ability.

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 Forester, Outback, 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 Forester, Outback, and Ascent come with dual-function X-Mode with a Deep Snow setting for additional severe weather capability. The Forester and Outback also have the off-pavement-ready Wilderness trim levels for more active customers who want to get further off the grid.

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 Forester, 2023 Outback, 2023 Ascent, and 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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Michael Ciccarella (not verified)    January 12, 2023 - 11:30PM

Interesting that the WRX, with its standard high performance summer tires and low ground clearance, was chosen over the Crosstrek. Doesn't make much sense to me

Barbara J Seevers (not verified)    January 13, 2023 - 1:23PM

In reply to by Michael Ciccarella (not verified)

I agree. Another thing that does not make much sense is why I've been waiting for my factory order '23 Crosstrek Hybrid (with moonroof) which was supposed to be submitted by Walnut Creek, CA Subaru with their September '22 allotment order. One salesman let me down until sales manager Steven Gu stepped in to follow up. Still waiting; they have my check. Can anyone put in a word for me?