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My husband and I are moving to Kilimat, CA. It’s at the very southern tip of the Alaskan Panhandle. We are torn between three cars and would appreciate your input. We’re looking at a Toyota Sienna, Chrysler Town and Country and the Honda Odyssey. Toyota: AWD, T&C: Engine Block Warmer (plus we’ve owned a T&C since 1991) Honda: Looks. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.

Bonnie & Richard Lee

I’m assuming you are moving to ALASKA, not CAlifornia. That part of Alaska has a very mild climate, but gets about 15 FEET of snow some years if you do not live right on the water.

Depending on the space requirements, my choice would be a Toyota Highlander, Toyota 4Runner, RAV4, or Honda CRV. Long distance highway comfort would not be one of your priorities, but driving through wet, deep snow will be. And dependable performance as well.

The block heater willl come in handy, but don’t expect Minnesota type of winter temperatures. The TV show about a doctor in Alaska was set in the “Alaskan Riviera”, i.e. the lower Panhandle.

If you can spare the time, take a trip up there before you move and observe what others are driving. Also, look around to see what dealerships are in the area; no good buying a Toyota if the closest dealership is 50 miles away

Thanks very much. I hadn’t thought about the need for repairs or maintenance.

We will be living near the water and I probably should have mentioned we will be traveling with 2 large dogs, several household items and 4 suitcases. While I appreciate the concern about driving through wet, deep snow, I’m thinking we’ll have more cargo room in a minivan.

I would recommend a Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander if there is a dealership there. They are very roomy and offer decent economy for their size and will give you AWD, I would avoid awd in anything that didn’t have decent ground clearance in heavy snow areas. That would include the Sienna. We drive in a snowy area and awd w/o good ground clearance is practically useless. 4Runners are good too and larger than before but are dedicated off road vehicles. I think they are over kill.

You missed the part where she mentioned the lower panhandle and said she was moving to Canada (CA).