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Should I buy new car for winter?

Hi everyone,

First time posting here. I know it's summer time, but having just gone through a brutal winter (New York), I'm already planning ahead for next winter. My wife is a doctor, so she can't avoid driving in snow. We currently have a 2007 Honda Accord. It's a great car, but my wife has gotten stuck a couple of times in the snow with it.

We did not have snow tires. For next winter, I definitely plan to buy full set of 4 snow tires. My wife, though, thinks that isn't enough. She wants a 4WD car, maybe even an SUV. My question is: How much better would a 4WD vehicle be compared to our front-wheel drive Honda Accord with snow tires? Even if we bought a 4WD vehicle, wouldn't I have to install snow tires on it anyway for maximum benefit? And how much better is an SUV compared to a regular car in the snow (assuming both are 4WD)?

Thanks for any advice!

The SUV will give you more ground clearance and weigh more, but that’s about it. My wife had no more troubles in the snow in her Jetta FWD than I did in my 4Runner, 4X4. We were in ND at the time, and had the pleasure of a very long winter. Once the roads are plowed, there’s not much in it, really.

My buddy will disagree, as he really loved his Jeep and it’s 4WD system, but I don’t think I agree with him.


A lot depends on whether she has to drive before the plows get the roads in decent shape. If she got stuck be being ‘high centered’, with the body of the car resting on snow, then maybe she needs an awd SUV. Otherwise, she’ll be amazed at what a good set of winter tires will do for her. I drove a fwd VW in Anchorage 12 years using winter tires, and I never got stuck.

I’ve been driving in winter most of my life – 30 years in Colorado and 5 years in Moscow. Real winter tires are 95% of driving on snow (common sense is the other 5%). My RWD BMW with four Blizzaks ran circles around my ex’s Audi Quattro with all (read 3) season tires. AWD/4WD will help accelerating and going up steep slippery slopes, but does not do much for cornering or stopping. Try winter tires before you go car shopping.

Compromise. Tell her you want to try the cheaper solution first; the set of 4 winter tires. If she still gets stuck, tell her she can start looking for that 4/AWD vehicle.

I think you will be buying a new vehicle with AWD, so you might as well get the brochures and start reading Consumer Reports. My wife decided back in 2003 that she wanted a Toyota 4Runner. We have gotten through unplowed roads where other vehicles wouldn't make it.

Your wife is driving the vehicle and if the AWD gives her confidence, it is worth it.

Emergency workers need 4WD to get through in any weather. The alternative is for a volunteer to drive her to and from the hospital in blizzards. The new Jeep Grand Cherokee has gotten great reviews. As long as she keeps up with maintenance, it should be a reliable vehicle for her.

just stay under 105mph if you get an Explorer. :stuck_out_tongue:

With winter tires on all 4 wheels the Accord should be a very good winter car. You should see how it works. If there is a problem next winter then get a AWD car or SUV.

Of course, if the woman wants to go to an SUV now then that’s a plan too.

No snow tires? I don’t think you can judge a car without snow tires. I’m surprised you didn’t have more problems. I’m with the others. Do the snow tires first.

<span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; "><i>We did not have snow tires</i></span><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; "><br></span></div><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; ">  <font class="Apple-style-span" color="#3333FF">  You have identified the problem.  Don't forget that you need FOUR winter tyres. They are really winter tyres not snow tyres these days as they function much better on ice (much better means marginal, compared to worthless, in this case) than the old technology snow  tyres. </font></span></div><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; "><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#3333FF"><br></font></span></div><div><span class="Apple-style-span" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 20px; "><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#3333FF">    Doctor or not, your wife needs to remember that if the weather is really bad, she should consider not going out or at least asking for a ride from the local police.  </font></span></div>

"just stay under 105mph if you get an Explorer."

bad doggie!

Never know if she’ll be needed at 3 am during a blizzard. And, as the poster responsible for that, we learn from his mistakes.

Accords are poor in snow because of their poor ground clearance as much as anything else. If you are really serious about getting around in the worse conditions, awd w/o ground clearance and winter tires is a waste of money. Include those considerations too. If you don’t need the towing but want the panache, a Mazda Cx7, Moreno infinity or Lexus. Would work. You get cars(along with Subarus) that handle as well as most sedans and ride very well. Avoid truck based SUVs, the real ones

Triedaq is exactly right. Your wife is the one driving the car, not us, and if she feels better driving 4WD or AWD than that’s what she should have. She’s an extremely well educated lady sho’s probably patched up the results of accidents, and definitely knows her needs when she gets an emergency call.

Pick up a Consumer Reports and the local bookstore, have her select the ones that look promising, and spend a weekend test driving them.

Sincere best.

I think this issue should be resolved between your wife and the resources available to her. She should read all about winter tires, SUV accidents, AWD and 4WD systems and if still not feeling comfortable with the Accord then she is getting a new car. Just make sure it is test drove many times and research is done so that the new car fits the bill. I would prefer an AWD car rather than SUV, but then I am not the one getting stuck in snow.

Yep, go get yourself a new SUV with 4 wheel drive. The ground clearance and extra drive wheels will make a difference. You can afford it.

Regardless of my comment above, I like my SUV. My wife practically refuses to drive it, due mostly to size. She’s happy enough to sit in the passenger seat, though. However, she’s always right. Doesn’t matter what I think nor want. It simply isn’t worth the aggravation and any argument that may ensue to argue with her. If she wants a little car, she gets a little car, and I learn a new one to maintain.

I suspect many of us are the same way with our wives. If they truly want an SUV, AWD, 4WD, or whatever, they’ll get it, sooner or later. The only real difference is how much pain we have to put up with in the meantime. If she’s wishy-washy on it, then you’ll have some say in the decision…but if her mind’s made up…forget it.


I might add that AWD or 4WD both are good for getting you through the snow or ice, however, neither one is better at keeping you from sliding off the road.