I have a challenging car search

I am trying to find a car that meets all my requirements. This car needs to be able to get me to the hospital in the middle of the night in a snowstorm in western MN. I have problems with my hands getting cold and so it must have remote starting and preferably a heated steering wheel. I have a Volvo XC90 which I love but has neither of these 2 features but satisfies my requirement as a safety geek. I love techie features. The big disqualifier for most cars is that I live in a small town with limited service availability and I am tired of driving a hundred miles for service. I don’t have Volvo, Mercedes, BMW, Lexus, VW or Subaru in town. I would like to find something that meets all of these requirements and I don’t want a truck but SUV or crossover is fine. Suggestions?

You can remote starting installed on just about any car or truck by a good auto audio shop, so that’s no problem. I really don’t know of any vehicles with heated steering wheels. Check out Lincoln and Cadillac models to see if any have this feature. I think you could find an AWD Cadillac that would have all the techie stuff you crave.

Volvo safety is no better than most other cars today. It was true 25 years ago that Volvo’s had a safety edge.

I live in an area of severe snow storms as well. You should install an in-car heater; it is a small electric heater that clamps under the dash or on the kickpanel. The cord sticks out the front and you just plug it in in your garage outlet or any outside oulet. You should also install a block heater to prewarm the engine so you can get heat fast. Your car will be warm as toast when you get in and the engine will warm up very fast. You can install a remote starter if you must, but it will waste more fuel.

All the above can be put on the cheapest econobox for sale today. That leaves the electrically heated steering wheel. If you can’t find a car with it (there are a number available), just put one of these furry covers on the steering wheel and wear lined gloves for driving.

I have worked in areas where it gets to -45F and although it would be nice to have a heated wheel, using the above suggestions will largely eliminate the need for it!!

I don’t know exactly where you live but agree that a less complicated and more reliable car than the ones you mention will give you great peace of mind and get you to work on time.

Our family physician lives on an acreage out of town. He had a Mercedes once but now drives a Jeep Grand Cherokee so he can always be at the clinic on time as well as make those emergency trips to the hospital at midnight. He is now trading the Jeep for a Toyota Highlander which is a more sophisticated machine and also more reliable.

A Toyota Highlander or a Honda CRV would be ideal for you needs. There are others and other posters will likely make recommendations. My sister lives in a town of 9000 people, and the local Toyota dealer gives her excellent service.

It looks like the Cadillac SRX in the Luxury, Performance, and Premium trims has the features you want. An engine block heater is available as an option.

Well, your list of dealers you don’t have in town pretty much rules out most of the vehicles that have heated steering wheels.

What you should do is go to each dealer you DO have in your town, and ask them which vehicles have heated steering wheels, test drive all of them, and decide which one you like the most. Once you decide that, buy it.

But try not to decide until you’ve gone through every dealer that you ahve in town, and found out exactly which cars have that option. Its going to be a pretty short list.


You can cover any steering wheel a wrap that will heat up. I think it plugs into the power outlet. Just as you can get remote start added to any vehicle. You can add these to your current vehicle if you choose.

We have a cabin out that way so know what you mean. What you want is any GM, Ford, or even Jeep vehicle, with four wheel drive. Most can be ordered or dealer installed with remote and the leather trim package for the steering wheel should make that acceptable. Just remember that out that way, its not necessarily the ability to go that gets you there but the ability to see where you are going.

Doc and others have good suggestions, but…A poor man’s hand warmer…before you get out of the car with remote start, try angling all the dash vents at the steering wheel. When started with the heater on, it should make short work of the areas it does reach. You might be able to fabricate temporary deflectors that could work too. If it works on your present car, try it on a new Subaru outback with winter tires…reliability is just as important as good winter traction.

New Jeep Grand Cherokee? Got great reviews and meets all your qualifications. Probably a little cheaper than some as well.

You can also get steering wheel heaters that slip on to the wheel and plug into the lighter socket. (you remove them before driving) Not sure how well they work, but they’re selling at Menard’s in my neck of the woods for about $20.

Any front wheel drive or all wheel drive car with real winter tires and a decent pair of battery-powered heated gloves (Google Ansai) should do the trick. You’re welcome, Doc.

Just slip a Microsuede Steering wheel cover on a steering wheel. I live in Northern Nevada and we get some cold winters too and the microsuede steering wheel cover is great and it only costed me 14 bucks. I originally bought it during the summertime when it was hot and my steering wheel is black (OUCH!) and I can’t steer with my pinkies lol but I also found the microsuede is great in the winter too and you get great grip even if you’re wearing gloves…

get a FWD or AWD Ford and a pair of driving gloves.