What car can handle our driveway?


Time for a new car! The problem is we have any extremely steep driveway. We currently have a Honda Odyssey and have to hit the bottom of the driveway at an angle to keep from scraping. Plus, it doesn’t make it up on rainy days unless we back up. My husband’s Jeep Wrangler slides on the way down. Our old Explorer had trouble with the brakes, seemingly from the constant up & down on the driveway. I saw that some Toyota’s have “downhill assist control” and “hill start assist control”. Does anyone have any experience with this? Is it real or BS?

Side note - any recommendations have to have a high safety rating and be large enough to fit 3 adults, 2 kids and a big dog.



Considered a Hummer or FJ Cruiser?


Thanks, but I think it would be too hard to get the kids in and out of the FJ. Plus, both the FJ and the Hummer have 3 star rollover ratings and less-than-desirable gas mileage. Uh-oh, looks like a have another requirement (typical woman, change the rules as I go)…we need acceptable gas mileage. Maybe one of those hybrids - enough hutzpah for the driveway?


We have a Toyota 4Runner with the downhill assist control and it does work, although we haven’t used it very often in the 4 years that we have ahd the vehicle.

We run 15-71 around town and 22-25 on the highway with the V-6 engine. Our 4Runner is a 2003 and it will hold the 3 adults, two kids and the dog. The new ones, as I understand it, have an optional third seat. I think that one can purchase the 4Runner with optional side curtain airbags.


How long of a driveway are we talking about?

It may make a lot more sense just to get it resurfaced than going out and buying what it sounds like will be an expensive vehicle to meet your many needs.


What is the construction length and condition of the drive?

Sliding is more a factor of the tyres. I suggest that the Jeep might be a very good choice with a new set of tyres. Not just new, but ones better suited for they job they are doing.

Where are you located? Is snow an issue?


We’ll add the 4Runner to the list…thanks!


Good point, but after driving several high mileage, transmission dropping hand-me-downs, I’m ready for a somewhat nicer car. You got me thinking, though. Does resurfacing mean ripping out the whole thing & regrading & repaving, or is it just putting a new surface on? The angle at the bottom is a problem, but we can’t really mess with it because of drainage. Humm…


I can not believe I didn’t think of tires!..Snow is not a problem, unless, of course, it snows. We live in central Virginia and if it snows, or even threatens to snow, everyone runs out, buys milk and bread and then stays home for a few days. Seriously though, I’ll look into the tire thing- I have some sort of Michelin’s on the Odyssey, but I have no idea what’s on the Jeep. Thank you!


Steep driveways are always a problem if they have a ‘smooth’ surface finish, regardless of tire tread.

Have the surface roughed up for better traction.

You’ve seen and heard those ‘rumble’ strips along the side of the road?

As far as the bottom grade goes, IF there is room before the public road, excavate some of the driveway, install a drainage pipe across and repave.


The rumble bumps are smooth but the asphalt surface can be roughed up pretty good.


Have you thought about a subaru outback?


We are definately going to have to look into the driveway situation…it’s a whole new angle we haven’t thought of. Thanks!


I’ve heard great things about the Outback, but not sure about the capacity & it might be a bit long - but it’s on our short list. On a side note, what’s the deal with the way the rear windows roll down (they always look crooked)?


How often do you need room for 3 adults, 2 kids, and the dog? If it’s often, you need 3 rows of seats. Most SUVs with a 3rd row have almost no luggage space behind the 3rd row. Except for a Suburban or an Expedition.


Thinking of roughing up the asphalt for better traction has me asking you to get at least three quotes, and ALSO have them give you the addresses of previous jobs so you can satisfy yourself if that’s what you want.


This person given the steepness of driveway needs AWD. The car is loosing traction probably due to weight transfer in slippery conditions and AWD will power the wheel not slipping. Backing up a hill with FWD transfers the weight to the front wheels regaining traction.

Although a vehicle equipped with traction may overcome this problem if the Honda Van lacks this.

If I were you I would look for an AWD vehicle used and take for a test drive to your home and try the vehicle out carefully of course.


I do agree with the other points of fixing the grade. This can very expensive however and possibly difficult depending on what municipality or state agency your working with on the issue.


What I mean on state agency/municipality is getting approvals if it affects any roadway drainage.


It might be cheaper to somehow FIX the driveway. I know a guy that had put in a new driveway because it was so steep. Switched it back and forth up the hill. Made it drivable…but twice as long.