I am looking for a vehicle that will be useful in North Dakota winters- I have been thinking one of the crossover SUVs (4wd or AWD but better gas mileage and safety than full SUVs), preferably the RAV4 or CRV, although I’ve found an Equinox (06) that seems like it might work. Does anyone have thoughts on any of these (or other) vehicles and advantages/disadvantages of each?
If your primary thought is something good in snow but NOT off road, either RAV or CRV will be adequate. The RAV drive train with it’s locking feature and more responsive awd engagement I’ve found, is superior to the CRV. They do better on hills in snow and ice and offer the option of locking in drive train for heavier going. If you are primarily interested in snow travel as an after thought and want a better handling vehicle, then the CRV would be the better choice. Neither is a substitute for winter tires and both can be over driven w/o them.
Really can’t go too far wrong with either depending on the dealer reputation.
Prepare to pay a little more for either then the GM/Fords etc.; but you get what you pay for.
Subaru Outback or Hyundai Santa Fe/Tucson.
I’d pick a Forester, great safety ratings and awd.
The CRV doesn’t engage 4wd till it is slipping which can be a problem. The RAV4 has that annoying back hatch that opens sideways on the wrong side of the car unless you’re in a right hand drive country. Both are great cars though. As is the Forester.
The Equinox hasn’t have very good reviews.
Any of these will also need a good set of winter tires. You’d be better off with winter tires on, say, a fwd CRV than ‘all-season’ tires on an awd CRV.
The Forester would perform the best in the snow (the Subaru AWD system is by far the best of any this price range), but if you’re generally driving on plowed roads any of them will be fine, especially with winter tires. Honestly the AWD systems on the Rav and especially the CR-V aren’t much to write home about. I’d take front wheel drive with winter tires over AWD without any day.
I’ll take awd with winter tires over either Greasy ! The combination is unbeatable. Why either/or ? Locking feature on RAV makes it superior in deep snow conditions over the Subaru. Otherwise, handling on ice, hard packed, Subbie is tops.
The other problem is that I am looking to buy used. I haven’t found a lot in what I’m looking for (~04-06 with <100,000 miles), I do like Subaru, but really not finding any of those used.