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What to drive in Wisconsin

Our son is taking a job in Wisconsin and will be communing 40 miles each day. What kind of car does he need?

What ever he wants…

Yep, any reliable car with a set of winter tires on rims should do fine.

You might want to be a little wary of winter driving advice from a guy who lives in Florida. Winter tires will do fine but are not necessary.

I live in the upper midwest, any ordinary front drive car with regular, not winter, tires not worn past the wear indicators will do; that’s what I have done since our first front driver beginning in 1978. I recall driving our first front driver then. I was amazed how much better it worked in snow than a rear driver.

The roads are reliably salted here; not to worry unless you venture out into a storm before the salt trucks and plows do their thing which normally is only a short time window. Drivers here will not tolerate bad roads for long; will give heat to the people who are responsible to keep the roads clear.

Well that depends. If he wants to blend in, he needs a big pickup truck painted green and gold with a Packers bumper sticker and a license plate that says “H8Favre”

Otherwise, whatever he wants to drive.

Coming from a guy who’s been down this road on here before, you might want to put on your flame-proof suit right about now :wink:

OK, I’ll bite? Who lives in Florida?

I have had rear wheel drive pickup trucks and cars and survived, Though The last vehicle purchased has four wheel drive and it sure was nicer 4 or 5 days in the winter, but not a necessity.

Consider a front wheel drive& good mileage per gallon and not too sad if the road salt destroys it. Older Honda, Toyota Subaru come to mind…

Whatever suits his needs. I cannot think of a single reguler (non high-performance) vehicle that will not be fine in Wisconson with a good set of winter tires (for the winter) and proper winter prep. What we don’t know is how he plans to use it, what his budget is, what he likes, if he has a family, his age, his height, his weight, his build, his infirmaties, and all the details that go into selecting a car.

Wisconsin is a fairly large state. The driving conditions are very different in the south eastern section of urban Milwaukee versus the rural areas up near Superior, where they experience lake effect snow, or the northwoods area for examples. Where in Wisconsin would be somewhat important to know…

Since when does communing require travel? ;))

I’d hesitate to say “any ordinary from drive car”. Aside from the problem with what “ordinary” is supposed to mean, keep in mind, the wider the tire, the worse traction on snow will be. My Mazda6 has fairly wide tires and was completely undriveable in winter on ice or snow until I switched to winter tires.

Right now, under present conditions in Wisconsin, I wouldn’t drive a car made with union labor. This may change in the not-too-distant future. (sorry–I couldn’t resist making this post).

I drove my 1965 GMC pickup from Tucson to Milwaukee in the middle of March (yes it was very cold and took me 5 days). Then I drove the same truck till winter set in. After it becomes winter you want a “fully fuctional” vehicle, no matter what type you pick.

At the Dealership I worked almost every car had a change over set of winter tires already mounted or bought winter tires. Blizzacks were far and away the most prefered.



I would recommend a mid size car with Front wheel drive that suits his fancy. If winter conditions are tough get a set of winter tires.

I would not bother with a smaller vehicle like Civic, Cobalt, Corolla, Focus despite slightly better MPG due to significantly lower comfort level in smaller vehicle. This is coming from a former 75mile/day commuter in Civic. Miserable. I rented a Corolla and Civic recently, they still are not that comfortable compared to a midsize.

Yeah a normal front wheel drive would be fine with good all season tires. It is rare in Minnesota or Wisconsin for roads to be snow covered for very long. Although with all of the political upheaval in Wisconsin, they may not get anyone willing to drive the plows anymore or have any money for salt.