Best SUVs for Snow [Top Rated Models]

Best SUVS for Snow

Snow presents a unique challenge to drivers. Picking a good vehicle to handle winter conditions is important to those who live anywhere above the Mason Dixon line.

Our focus in this list of the Best SUVs for Snow will be on-road snow driving. Those who wish to tackle off-road snowy conditions should check out our list of the best off-road SUVs available.

Here is our listing of the best SUVs for Snow.

Check out all our picks for the best SUVs >>

Read about how we rank our vehicles >>

What Makes a Vehicle Good for Snow?

Checklist Good Crossover for Snow

Before we begin, let us provide some background on how we decide if a vehicle is “good for snow.” First, our staff tests hundreds of vehicles per year, often in harsh winter conditions. One of our staff is located in Wyoming, one in Vermont, and another in Massachusetts. Second, we have received closed-course winter driving instruction from experts like the Team O’Neil Rally School. Third, we have the opportunity to test cars on closed courses where we can push vehicles up to and past their limits without danger to the public. Despite all that bragging, much of what we gauge in our favorite vehicles in winter conditions have to do with real-world driving on public roads during winter storms.

In addition to driving dynamics, our list includes vehicles that add creature comforts like a heated steering wheel and heated windshield wipers. Our list also leans toward all-wheel drive, not four-wheel drive. Driving on snow-covered roads in 4X4 mode is unwise and can affect steering. Many off-road features such as locking differentials play no role in on-road snow driving.

Finally, we must mention tires. All of our evaluations are done with the manufacturer’s stock tires, not specialized winter tires of any kind (unless they come standard or as part of an option package). Winter-rated rubber ALWAYS improves a vehicle’s performance in winter. We strongly recommend that you consider a set of winter-rated tires if you drive in winter. You may notice that we also exclude any vehicle from this list that does not come with a spare tire. Manufacturers are moving to offer “repair kits” on many models to save money. The idea of repairing a tire by the roadside during a winter Nor’Easter is simply ridiculous.

Also, finally, consider nitrogen-filled tires for better performance in extreme weather conditions.

Best Crossover SUVs for Snow Comparison

ModelStarting PriceNotable FeaturesSpare TireSafety Rating 
Ford Bronco Sport
Trail Mode
Top Safety Pick +
Jeep Cherokee
Active Drive AWD
NHTSA 5-Star
Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, Ascent
$24K (Crosstrek)
X Mode
Top Safety Pick
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Downhill Assist Control
Top Safety Pick
Acura MDX Advance
Top Safety Pick +

1. Ford Bronco Sport

Ford Bronco Sport Snow

The Ford Bronco Sport arrived this past year and has won the hearts of fans, owners, and vehicle testers. It has earned its way to the top spot of many of our listings here at Find the Best Car Price. The Bronco Sport comes with every feature we feel matters most in winter driving.

To begin with, the Bronco Sport has all-wheel drive with multiple drive modes via its Terrain Management System. Ford calls this GOAT mode, or Goes Over Any Terrain. Beyond those, Bronco Sport top trims also have a Trail Mode that mimics hill descent control. We used it on a steep icy road to make our descent safe and predictable.

One feature that the Bronco Sport has that almost no other small crossover SUV does is a set of winter-rated tires. Available on top trims, these tires negate the need to have a second set of tires just for winter. Add to the list a full-size spare tire on two trims and a heated steering wheel, and the Bronco Sport is simply the best crossover SUV one can buy for snow.

What’s New for 2023?

For the 2023 model year, the Ford Bronco Sport gets two special edition trims: The Heritage Edition and the Heritage Limited Edition. Both special editions turn back the clock with vintage Bronco styling cues such as pastel exterior colors and white-painted trim pieces.

Current Ford Bronco Sport Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023FordBronco Sport$375/month for 48 months, $3,456 due at signing1/2/24
2024FordBronco Sport$436/month for 48 months, $3,719 due at signing1/2/24

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Ford deals and average prices paid.

2. Jeep Cherokee

Jeep Cherokee Snow

Having tested every Jeep from the Renagade to the Wrangler Unlimited, our top pick for the best Jeep small crossover SUV in the snow is the Cherokee. Jeep makes a wide range of Cherokees with multiple different powertrains. Without a doubt, the Active Drive AWD system on the Cherokee Trailhawk will work very well. However, any of the AWD-equipped Cherokees will get the job done.

We suggest looking closely at the options packages that Jeep offers when selecting a Cherokee for snow driving. Some trims offer heated second-row seating and other winter-friendly features such as all-weather floor mats. Jeep has a very wide range of offerings, many of which will handle wicked weather with ease.

What’s New for 2023?

The current Jeep Cherokee is ending production in early 2023. We will update this page with information on the next-generation Jeep Cherokee when it becomes available.

Current Jeep Cherokee Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2023JeepCherokee$1,000 8.23%$539/month for 36 months, $3,799 due at signing11/30/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Jeep deals and average prices paid.

3. Subaru Crosstrek, Forester, Outback, Ascent

Subaru Crosstrek Snow

Every Subaru sedan, hatchback, and crossover SUV is well-prepared for winter weather. All-wheel drive is standard on every Subaru crossover SUV, so you need not concern yourself with adding it to your build. No other brand goes as far as Subaru in ensuring that every crossover SUV it builds is all-weather and all-road capable.

As anyone watching Youtube highlights can see, Subaru’s reputation for all-weather excellence is well-deserved and goes back a long way. Models featuring Subaru’s modern X Mode and Dual X Mode are particularly well-equipped to tackle deep snow.

As a four-time and present-day Subaru owner, this author offers one piece of advice. On stock tires, Subaru crossover SUVs will almost always move forward in the snow. This can lead to overconfidence. Subarus are limited by their tires’ grip in winter weather. Don’t assume that your off-the-lot Subaru has the best rubber for winter driving. It does not. For the best turning ability and safe stopping, we suggest Subaru owners consider winter-rated tires.

What’s New for 2023?

The Crosstrek gets a new special edition model with Desert Khaki (a.k.a tan) paint, 17-inch wheels, and dark gray exterior trim. The interior sports two-tone black-and-red upholstery.

The Forester is unchanged for 2023.

The outback gets tweaked front-end styling including a larger grille, revised headlamps, and a new front bumper. The car's driver-assistance has been improved with cameras that offer a wider field of view.

The Ascent gets a new grille design, revised lighting elements, and vertically oriented 11.6-inch touchscreen.

Current Subaru Deals & Incentives

You may qualify for deals and incentives, check out this month's Subaru deals here.

4. Toyota RAV4 Adventure

Toyota RAV4 Snow

Toyota’s RAV4 line is the top-selling non-truck nameplate in America. Which one of the many RAV4 trims is best for your needs is your call. We wish to note that not all RAV4 crossovers are all-wheel drive, and even the AWD systems vary.

The Hybrid and Prime trims feature an unusual all-electric AWD system that we have tested and give the thumbs up to for winter driving. However, for those seeking the best possible winter abilities from a RAV4, we suggest the Adventure trim. It features added ground clearance, AWD tweaks, and downhill assist control that separates it from the many great RAV4 trims. This is the compact crossover you want if you have a remote ski cabin.

What’s New for 2023?

The RAV4 gets a larger 8.0-inch display to replace the previous 7.0-inch unit on LE, XLE, XLE Premium, and Adventure trims.

Current Toyota RAV4 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2024ToyotaRAV4$399/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing12/5/23

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals and average prices paid.

5. Acura MDX Advance

Acura MDX Snow

Those seeking a three-row premium midsize crossover for all-weather capability should consider the Acura MDX. We have placed this model atop many of our lists for many reasons. One of them is the Super Handling All Wheel Drive, or SH-AWD system it employs on some models. While most all-wheel drive systems will not help you turn the vehicle, some do, and one of the best is Acura’s. This system can overpower the outside wheel in a turn to help rotate the vehicle.

The Acura MDX is a premium vehicle, so expect heated everything and a comfortable ride with outstanding audio as you eat up winter driving miles.

What’s New for 2023?

While there are no changes to the MDX’s appearance, Acura has added a two-year/24,000-mile complimentary scheduled maintenance plan. Also, 2023 models will get free access to the AcuraLink connectivity plan for three years.

Current Acura MDX Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2024AcuraMDX4.90%$599/month for 36 months, $4,999 due at signing1/2/24

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Acura deals and average prices paid.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is AWD or 4WD better in the snow?

All-wheel drive is the better choice for winter driving. Unlike many four-wheel drive systems, AWD allows you to steer in any setting and at any speed. Also, AWD systems are automatic. You never need to engage them for the added grip to be available.

What is the best SUV in the snow?

Our veteran winter driving testers found the Ford Bronco Sport to be the best crossover SUV for winter driving. Unlike almost every offering, this model can come equipped with winter-rated tires straight from the factory. The Bronco Sport also has a multi-mode AWD system with Trail Mode control that makes steep downhill drives safer.

Which brand has the best snow capability?

Our choice as the best brand for winter driving is Subaru. Every Subaru sedan, hatchback, and crossover SUV comes standard with all-wheel drive. Models equipped with Dual X Mode are the best of the Subaru family.

Does AWD help in winter weather?

All-wheel drive vehicles are much more capable when starting than vehicles that drive just two sets of wheels. However, that does not mean they turn or stop better. We recommend winter tires for the best performance.

Are Teslas good in snow?

Tesla models equipped with all-wheel drive perform well in winter conditions when fitted with proper winter tires. However, no Tesla model comes with a spare tire, a safety feature we feel is required for winter driving. Also, electric vehicles have reduced range and longer charging times when temperatures drop below about 40 F.