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Good FWD Cars For Winter Driving

Published on December 5, 2022 in Pre-owned vehicles by The Car Guide

Oh, winter! Most of us have love-hate relationship with it: for some motorists, it can be a major challenge while for others, it’s a lot of fun!

Of course, it all depends on the road and weather conditions. Some places in Canada get very little snow during the cold season, and other parts are used to get buried in it. Sometimes, there’s also freezing rain that turns our roads into skating rinks. And let’s not forget the cold that makes life tough for our batteries.  

It’s always better to be prepared. Good winter tires and a vehicle that’s able to face winter’s hardships are a must-have. Pickups and SUVs indeed have an advantage, as well as cars that are equipped with an all-wheel drive. Otherwise, you must exercise greater caution by making smooth, calculated manoeuvres.

That being said, it’s possible to drive a front-wheel drive car safely in winter, but that will depend on the quality of your tires. In normal conditions, where braking and road handling are more important to your safety than acceleration, winter tires remain the best, no matter how many driven wheels you have.

Now, a model like the MINI Cooper can be a wise choice because of its low centre of gravity and great manoeuvrability, which make it easier for the driver to quickly control and avoid skidding. However, its low ground clearance becomes a problem when you have to drive through a snowbank.

For that purpose, the Kia Soul will serve you a little better, especially if you need more interior space. In addition to being light, it has the advantage of having its wheels very close to the vehicle’s corners, which promotes better road handling.  

Photo: Guillaume Rivard

Generally speaking, you should avoid cars that are harder to drive because of their long wheelbase, or those that have a high torque at low engine speed because they are likely to swerve during accelerations on slippery roads.

Another tip: choose a vehicle with a traction control system that can be deactivated. At low speeds, the anti-skid can prevent you from going fast enough to get out of a parking spot, go up a small incline, or make your way through deep snow. If you deactivate the system, letting the wheels spin could eventually allow them to get enough grip to get you out of trouble.

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