What car to buy for a move to santa fe, nm?

I’ve got a VW Cabrio that I need to sell in order to get a more practical car for a move to Santa Fe. (I currently live in California.) I’m trying to decide if I ought to go with a car that is good in snow - I don’t want an SUV so I feel limited to the Subaru. However, while it snows in the winter, I don’t know if snows enough to warrent AWD all the time. I have also been thinking of getting a fuel efficient FWD car like a Honda Civic or Toyota Yaris and putting snow tires on it. Does anyone have the inside scoop on a good car for Santa Fe or the surrounding area? Does anyone have opinions about the Subaru Impreza wagon? I will be living out of town a bit, on a short dirt road.

Go buy a Hyundai Santa Fe, you’ll have the most appropriate car available.

4 wheel drive or AWD do help you get through in the snow. Under some conditions they are very helpful, but for most people they are far less important than most people think.

What is the real danger when driving in snow or ice?  Not many people die or are injured because their car could not get down the road or they could not get out of the ditch they slipped into.  Those are the things that 4WD and AWD are good at.  

The real trick in staying safe in winter driving is being able to stay on the road and stop before you slide into the car in front of you and 4WD and AWD will not help you at all there.  Good Winter tyres (Not all season) will help you there and they also help you get out of the ditch and down the road.  

Assuming your driving will be in a city or a public highway and not country back roads, winter tyres is all you are going to need.  If you get off the traveled roads, then add ground clearance to the mix.

Also remember that those parts of the world where snow is common just happen to have the proper equipment to keep the roads clear. The most dangerous place in the US in snow and ice is Miami Florida.

ABS and stability control are two great features for snow and ice.

Unless your selling in CA and buying in NM I would wait and see how your place pans out. Dirt roads typically mean your the last to be plowed out and the care is variable. This is where AWD/Subaru works really well.

I will just say our family estate is at the end of 3 miles of dirt road with a few houses. We have mud season, then snow/ice and the rest and FWD does not cut it whatsoever. If a winter storm passes your stuck with FWD/RWD for usually a few days until the whole thing passes and road is finally cleaned up. AWD/4WD gets you out.

Thats going to depend on how much snow comes down in one incidence and over the course of the winter ( ie piles on top of piles). It will also depend on how much equipment the county / city he is moving to has and how well they use it. Some of these dirt roads can get very nasty especially when there are drifts in parts.

You should wait and ask some questions of your neighbours when you get there. Lots of time to buy a car for the winter.

Also get a tow rope to keep in your car as you never know when it might come in handy.

4 wheel drive or AWD do help you get through in the snow. Under some conditions they are very helpful, but for most people they are far less important than most people think.

4wd or AWD is VERY NECESSARY in certain areas of the country (less then 1% IMHO). However MN is NOT one of them. There just isn’t enough snow to warrent it.

Keep the car you’re driving it’ll be fine. It’s a decent fwd vehicle that is more then adequate for the amount of snow MN gets.

Thanks so much everyone! This is helpful. I sort of want to get rid of the ragtop in California since who’s going to buy it in NM? So I have to make the decision before I go, so I can get there somehow.

Anyone want a cute little Cabrio? :slight_smile:

Although I live in California myself, I have been to New Mexico to ski in the winter. Specifically, I’ve been to Santa Fe to ski the local ski area (Ski Santa Fe) a couple of times. I can’t say what winter weather is like all the time but what I noticed was the smaller streets in Santa Fe can be very icy even if they are plowed. Even intersections at semi-major streets were icy. Cars in front of me at stop lights simply spun out upon the light turning green and slid helplessly to the curb. At other intersections, some cars couldn’t stop and some fender bending ensued. Chains did not seem to be required on most streets. Evidently cinders were not yet spread. It may have been coincidence but on one day that’s what we witnessed ourselves. Not everyone had 4WD but we did and we made it through fine.

How about a Sherman tank or one of those giant humvee replacments?

We lived in Santa Fe for 5 years, are skiers, and live out in Eldorado… and down about 2 miles of washboard dirt roads. It was heaven!

We truly did like Santa Fe, but let me caution you that there is mucho drunk driving tolerance there and you will, sooner or later, encounter a DUI Dude or Dudette.

So, first think safety. We drove a Saab as a primary car and it did very, very well on the safety part and on getting us around. It does snow often there, and many winter nights are into the single digits. Winter days warm up to 35 F or 45F in spite of the 7 F nights.

If you get a Saab, I recommend Jim Smart at Smart Motors for service; he only works on Saab and he is an absolute ace, absolutely honest, and he and family are an absolute joy. In fact, it’s worth getting a Saab just to get to know them.

We, by the way, owned a set of 4 mounted snow tires that we installed each fall and removed each spring.
This probably helped. I don’t recall if they were also studded - probably.

Have fun - we did.

Snow in Santa Fe is a rare event and it does not stay on the roads very long…Your Cabrio will fit right in with the Santa Fe lifestyle. After all, 80% of the people who live there once lived in SoCal…

Don’t buy another car until you need one. The one you have should do for a while.