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Car question: recommend car for snow

hi - my husband and I are looking for a used truck/suv that has 4wd, can carry heavy loads, and is comfortable to drive in. We are purchasing a cabin in the Catskills, so it also needs to be driveable in the snow and can handle steep grades. Any suggestions anyone? We have NO idea what to pick as we live in south Florida… any help will be greatly appreciated!

Please be a bit more specific - what kind of heavy loads? Pickup truck stuff? Or SUV stuff? Toyota Sequoia would be one.

suv stuff.

Toyota 4-Runner!

Yep, if 4-Runner’s big enough, that would be a great choice, also Nissan Xterra and Pathfinder.

Ford F-150 with the 5.4L v8

I bought a used 2001 Toyota Sequoia 2 years ago to pull a horse trailer and my ski boat. It had just under 90K miles then and now I have about 115K on it. A very good, tight, solid vehicle. All the mechanics I’ve spoken with say these are good SUV’s. Be aware at 90K intervals the motor needs a timing belt replacement.

I live in the mountains of PA and this is a very good snow vehicle. I run the Bridgestone tires that were standard on the SUV and they work fine. I have winter tires on my other cars but don’t find I need them on the Sequoia.

Don't forget winter tyres.  They are so much better than the old snow tyre technology.  Also don't forget they are for winter.  You will want "all" season tyres for the other three seasons.

I will second and third the Toyota 4Runner with a caveat. The new one is too expensive and more hardcore off road. Look at the more civilized, still capable and less expensive 2003 to 2009 models. It matches many car based SUVs for comfort. It is NOT an econo vehicle but does well for the performance it offers.

I also second Jos. advice. The tires make ALL the difference in their winter capability. SUVs can be down right dangerous with inadequate tires when driven beyound their performance levels. It’s all too easy to be caught doing it with all the traction aids that can’t over come stupidity.

PS…if you think they aren’t capable, check utube videos as the 4Runner is one of the most demonstrated SUV models over any terrain.

thanks for your advice. am looking at 4runners but they are spendy, even used! but will keep looking. no one recommended jeep cherokee… should I avoid? they are nicely priced and 4WD.

I drove a Grand Cherokee back in 2005 for work. It went anywhere I asked it to once we put decent tires on it (the ones it came from the factory with were garbage). But it also had some unfortunate reliability issues, which were reflected across the line, not just my example. If you can swing the 4-runner, you’ll spend a lot less down the road at the repair shop.

thanks for your advice. am looking at 4runners but they are spendy, even used! but will keep looking. no one recommended jeep cherokee… should I avoid? they are nicely priced and 4WD.
A word of advice when commit yourself to a heavy duty SUV. The repair bills will kill you if you don’t go reliable. 4Runners are spendy as you say for a reason,they are amoung the very best in reliability…check CR. Ours has been an absolute rock and neighbor has 260K fairly trouble free miles. You get what you pay for. A jeep is good off road but a repair nightmare with my other neighbors. 4 is good, 1 is bad. CR report on Jeep Grand Cherokee, They are cheap used for a reason.

Predicted reliability 2 Fuel economy 1
Owner satisfaction 3 Acceleration 4
Predicted depreciation 1 Ride 3
Accident avoidance 3 Front seat comfort 4
Crash protect w/wo side air bag 4 / NA Owner Costs 2

Can you haul the heavy loads when there is no snow? If so, get a lightweight trailer kit and pull it with almost any car. Ask your real estate agent if a front drive car will do for you. I have owned many rear drive cars and saw the transition to front drive cars beginning in the late 1970s for us, and I can tell you that front drive cars in winter here in the northern midwest for me were a huge improvement over rear drive. I have driven a front drive car on an unplowed road with snow up to the rocker panels using original equipment tires.

Since you will be in the Catskills, that is why I suggest asking your real estate agent and others from that particular area if a front drive car will do.

If you want added security, get four snow tires for your front drive car and I believe that you will be near unstoppable. I have never used them on a front driver; have not needed them.

A Ford Explorer will save you some money and match the 4-runners reliability and comfort…

With all due respect, no Explorer made has come close to being able to do what a 4Runner can do as reliably.

CR"The Explorer is outdated. The standard V6 performs adequately but sounds coarse; we got 15 mpg overall. The V8 is stronger and sounds better, but delivers just 14 mpg overall. The ride is stiff compared with its car-based competition. Handling lacks agility but is sound and secure. The versatile interior has various folding seat arrangements and offers three row seating. Towing capacity is generous, but the Explorer struggles off-road. The 4WD system is permanently engaged. Reliability of all versions is average, but the Explorer scores too low to be recommended. Expect a redesigned, car-based Explorer in early 2011."