2005 Ford Fusion

Front Right Blue 2005 Ford Fusion Car Picture

Keep Your College Kid Safe in the Snow

by Ben Brady

Going off to college can be as stressful for parents as it is for young adults. In the flurry of preparations for registration, dorm living, and travel to new schools, on-campus transportation may filter to the bottom of the list. Autoweek recommends 10 great new and used cars for college kids that includes Chevy’s, Fords, and Hyundai’s, but to really ease concerned parents’ minds about kids away at college in snowy areas, they need to consider cars that handle well in winter driving conditions. All-wheel-drive vehicles, crossovers, and heavy vehicles are better choices than sporty cars for safe and dependable transportation in a wintry college town.

Kelly Blue Book’s list of 10 Best Cars for Winter includes the information about cars for winter driving that make sense for college kids. Vehicles like the Ford Fusion, Nissan Pathfinder, Subaru XC Crosstrek, and Subaru Outback make up this list. Joe Wiesenfelder at Cars.com recommends looking for features like anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems, all-wheel drive, ground clearance, winter transmission modes, and block heaters.

Ford Fusion

Ford Fusion Photo

Photo by mariordo59 via Flickr

The Ford Fusion is a mid-size sedan that’s also available as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. The 2013 Ford Fusion with all-wheel-drive provides the traction and higher clearance to handle wet and snowy roads well. The engine options that give it the power it needs to handle tricky road conditions include two four-cylinder fuel-efficient turbo-charged engines or a 2.0-liter 240 horsepower turbo engine.

Subaru Impreza

Subaru Impreza Photo

Photo by IFCAR via Wikimedia Commons

The Subaru Impreza made it onto the list of Best New Cars for Snow according to Forbes consumer automotive journalist Jim Gorzelany. It’s a compact four-door sedan with a hatchback and 2.0-liter 148 horsepower four-cylinder engine. The 6.1-inch ground clearance isn’t as high as other winter-driving models but does help in blowing and low-piled snow. The all-weather package features include heated front seats and side mirrors and windshield de-icer.

Subaru XV Crosstrek

Subaru Crosstrek Photo

Photo by lotprocars via Flickr

Subaru’s compact XV Crosstrek features 8.7-inch ground clearance, a 2.0-liter 148-horsepower four-cylinder engine, and choice of two different AWD systems. The Crosstrek’s best features are its partial zero emissions without alternative fuel technology, and the symmetrical all-wheel drive that gives it fuel efficiency and great winter handling.

Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback Photo

Photo by David Guo's Master via Flickr

The Subaru Outback made the top of consumer automotive journalist Jim Gorzelany’s list of Best New Cars for Snow. All-wheel-drive gives it for superior traction in wet and snowy road conditions. Higher-than-average 8.7-inch ground clearance helps drivers get through snow drifts. Gorzelany cites Subaru as making the best AWD systems, and drivers have three AWD options to choose from in the Outback. Drivers have a choice of two powerful engines: a 2.5-liter 173-horsepower four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter 256-horsepower six-cylinder. Winter-friendly features include heated front seats, windshield wiper de-icer, and heated side mirrors.

Other Cars

Other cars that received good reviews for winter driving from Kelly Blue Book include the Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover Range Rover, and Audi Allroad. Jim Gorzelany also recommends the Volvo S80 AWD, the Mini Countryman ALL4S, and the Audi Allroad. The Kelly Blue Book list was 2013 models, but many may be available as used cars from 2011 or 2012. in addition to Kelly Blue Book, parents can also refer to resources like Drivetime.com to find the right cars to send with kids to college in snowy areas.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Photo

Photo of a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee by order_242

About the Author:
Ben Brady moved to Canada from Wales for his job as a CPA. These days he consults with businesses about operations, taxes and more.

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