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The 12 Best SUVs For Mud And Snow - Subaru Fans Aren’t Finished Playing Yet

Which small-to-midsize SUVs are the best on muddy roads? Check out the 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Outback features that set them apart from the competition.

Spring is here, but the snow still falls in the high country in massive amounts. Warm weather brings mud season in Colorado and the mountain states. So which SUVs are best when the snow melts and the mud gets deep? A new report from Kelley Blue Book lists the best cars and SUVs for the snow and mud and the features you need. The 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Outback are two of the best, according to KBB’s ranking.

KBB’s twelve best SUVs for mud and snow this spring

KBB says the twelve best SUVs (in alphabetical order) for driving in snow and mud are the Acura RDX-AWD, Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD, Ford Bronco Sport, Honda CR-V AWD, Hyundai Kona AWD, Hyundai Santa Cruz AWD, Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe/Laredo, Kia Telluride AWD, Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4Matic, Subaru Forester, Subaru Outback, and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

2023 Subaru Outback

But one feature sets the Forester compact SUV and Outback midsize SUV apart from the competition. The Subaru Forester and Outback features are the difference between getting stuck, needing a tow truck, or making it out safely.

What sets the Forester and Outback apart?

The 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Outback feature dual-function X-Mode that sets them apart from the competition.

Subaru Corporation developed a new setting for the three SUVs specifically for deep mud. The 2023 Forester Sport and 2023 Outback XT trims feature a new dual-function X-Mode with a deep mud/deep snow mode setting. In addition, the Forester and Outback Wilderness features an even more advanced dual-function X-Mode for extreme conditions.

2023 Subaru Forester

The Japanese automaker designed the new dual-function X-Mode to get owners further away. Regular X-Mode can be used in everyday commuting, especially in wet, icy, and deep snow in the spring. In Colorado, where this writer lives, we just had two feet of wet white stuff in the high country. And mud is just a little behind as the temperature warms up.

When do you use dual function X-Mode?

You can use regular X-Mode in any conditions where you need more traction. In addition, Subaru developed dual-function X-Mode in the 2023 Forester Sport, Outback XT, and Crosstrek Sport and Limited, which allows you to dial in the right amount of traction for whatever conditions you encounter this spring.

The new dual-function X-Mode has two settings, Snow/Dirt Mode and Deep Snow/Deep Mud Mode. In ice, snow, and wet conditions, Snow/Dirt Mode simultaneously controls engine output and throttle response to minimize wheel spin. It alters the vehicle’s Symmetrical all-wheel-drive torque split to direct power to the wheels that need the most grip.

Selecting Snow/Dirt Mode also engages the Hill Descent Control feature. Hill Descent Control keeps the Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek at a slow, even pace without applying the brake, allowing the driver to focus on steering, not braking. The setting is ideal on slick, heavy-wet, snowy roads when heading downhill.

Deep Snow/Deep Mud Mode

When you get off-pavement, you can encounter deep mud on the trail. You want some wheel spin to help get you out of a dicey situation in deep mud. When faced with deep mud or snow conditions, selecting this mode allows some wheel spin, when needed, to prevent the vehicle from becoming stuck. This setting will get you to your destination safely.

If you are like many outdoor enthusiasts, you can’t wait to get away from the city after the long winter. So as the snow melts this spring, the 2023 Subaru Forester and 2023 Outback will get you through muddy roads with the new dual-function X-Mode.

The new 2023 Forester Wilderness and 2023 Outback Wilderness trim levels are for outdoor enthusiasts who want to get further off the grid this spring and summer.

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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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