Imagine living in an area that’s covered with snow for some portion of the year. Some of you don’t have to imagine that, but for the rest of us maybe considering shacking up in some log cabin in the Sierras, the reality is we are not readily equipped with the right car to deal with that kind of environment. What do you need to combat the harsh conditions brought on by snow? To handle eight feet of snow overnight, you need something with AWD, that has a lot of power, and is reliable. Here we’ve outlined three excellent choices for the snow, and all are affordable. The key to driving in the snow though is tires. So we took that pricing into account when choosing these cars.
When shopping for a used Land Rover, you need the supercharger because it’s an excellent choice. Its 4.2-liter V8 produces 400 horsepower of supercharged fury and powers four wheels with big tires. It can even tow more than 7,000 pounds, which for a luxury SUV is incredible. Looking at Tirerack.com, you can find snow tires for the Land Rover for as little as $180 per tire. That sounds expensive, but considering that the Land Rover pushes big 255mm tires that’s not really a terrible price. Combine it with the price of the car, around $10,000, snow tires would bring the total to around $10,800. For a luxury vehicle basically built for the snow, that’s not a bad deal at all.
For a more sporty snow experience, look no further than the 2004 Subaru Impreza WRX STi. It has 300 horsepower out of a turbocharged boxer 4-cylinder, is light weight (less than 3,000 pounds), and has AWD. Its shorter wheelbase makes it nimble in the snow and harder to beach. You can find one with a manual transmission for about $11,000. Snow tires for this car can cost as little as $135 per tire, thanks to the car’s relatively small 225mm tire size.
Now we come to the cream of the crop, the 1993 GMC Sierra 2500. When looking for this one, it may be difficult, but try to find one equipped with a 6.5-liter turbo diesel V8, AWD, and a manual transmission.
Diesel engines sometimes can be more finicky in cold weather because of fuel gelling, where gasoline becomes essentially Vaseline, and as a result, can’t flow through fuel lines. As long as you take care of the engine and use the occasional additives, the hundreds of lb-ft of torque produced by the diesel is worth the fuel jelly shortcomings. The manual transmission is a good idea if you want to get as close to its rated 19 mpg as you can. Like the Subaru, the GMC can also use small 225mm tires. Also, the car is dirt cheap worth only around $2,700 according to KBB.
These are just three options, all of which are great in the snow. There are plenty of other options of course but bear in mind that ground clearance is a factor so whichever car you decide to get, make sure you do your research and make sure it has the height to handle snow.
Marketing @ Instamotor. Dog lover, NBA fan, nerd at heart.