Safest Cars to Drive in the Snow

by Jennifer Marlowe

Vehicles with the best handling in snowy conditions have electronic stability control, high ground clearance and a low center of gravity. Four-wheel and all-wheel drive give a car better traction, but do not guarantee better handling on ice. Check annual reviews listing the best cars to drive in snow from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Forbes Magazine and

Audi A8/S8

The Audi A8/S8 is one of the safest cars to drive in the snow.

Topping the 2009 list for Forbes Magazine's "Best Cars in the Snow," the Audi A8/S8 comes standard with all-wheel drive, electronic stability control and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. Heated seats are also standard in front and optional in the back. Other standard features include adaptive suspension, front and rear fog lights, adaptive steering resistance, retractable headlight washers and heated windshield washer nozzles. The Audi A8/S8 starts at $74,550, as of April, 2010.

Suburu Outback 3.6R Limited

The Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited handles well in the snow.

Raised more than eight inches off the ground, the Subaru Outback 3.6 R Limited combines high ground clearance with standard all-wheel drive. This wagon's handling also received good reviews from both the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and The Outback weighs more than 3,000 pounds and offers standard features like brake assist, variable torque distribution, electronic stability control and four-wheel anti-lock brakes. In addition, Subaru has several, optional winter extras like window-wiper de-icer, remote start, severe weather companion kit, battery warmer and engine block heater. The Subaru Outback starts at $30,995 as of April, 2010.

Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is an excellent snow vehicle.

Consider the Volvo XC90 when safe winter driving tops your priority list. calls it an "excellent snow vehicle." The XC90 has nearly nine inches of ground clearance and weighs more than 4,000 pounds. Available in two models, one has a 3.2-liter inline six-cylinder engine with optional all-wheel drive, while the V8 model comes with standard all-wheel drive. In addition, an optional climate package adds features like heated seats and headlamp washers. The Volvo XC90 starts at $35,962 as of April, 2010.

About the Author

Jennifer Marlowe is a seasoned journalist with experience since 1994. As a former reporter and columnist, she has written for a variety of publications including "The Cleveland Plain Dealer," "Sew Simple Magazine," "Northern Ohio Live," "Ohio Game & Fish" and "The Country's Best Log Homes." Marlowe holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Akron.

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