The Three Types of Used Cars for Winter Driving

October 19th, 2016 by


It’s already October, which means winter is just around the corner. For those still driving around that expensive summer convertible, it’s time to consider buying yourself one of three types of used cars in Baltimore, MD that are good for the winter: SUV, Crossover, or Truck. While a sedan with AWD is possible for those who are uncomfortable driving a larger vehicle, it won’t be as effective as combating the winter weather, especially if you need to drive through the snow in order to get to work. That said, it’s still important to learn about each type of vehicle, and a few of the leading models in the market. That way when it does come time to purchase yourself a used winter vehicle, you’re well-informed.

These are all unique in their own way. Each provides a different driving experience, depending on which one you pick.


For your SUVs, the popular ones are the Ford Explorer, Chevy Tahoe or Suburban, and Dodge Durango. Not surprisingly, these are the big three that have made the list when it comes to SUVs.

Now, it’s important to realize these are full-size SUVs, meaning they are all built on a truck — or truck-like — platform, and so, naturally, handle a lot like a truck. Other truck-like characteristics include a wide turning radius, 4×4 capability, big cabin, and low-fuel economy. But, if find yourself one that’s old enough as a temporary fix through the winter, you’ll score a cheaper version, allowing you the funds to keep your summer convertible inside the garage.

While an SUV has the same handling and fuel economy of a truck, it has one major difference: passenger space. Because of this, it’s a much more family-friendly vehicle. The Suburban, for example, can hold up to nine passengers. If you get one of these for your family, you can rest assured that they’ll be safe and sound on the road. Why? Because of the SUV’s large size and weight. In other words, there’s a lot of metal separating you and the kids from a collision.

Therefore, if you have a large family that you need to confidently transport around in the winter after a good snow storm, a full-size SUV is your best bet. You can always get a smaller or mid-size SUV like an Equinox if you still want similar capability, but slightly better fuel economy and handling.


A crossover is a mix between an SUV and a sedan. The SUV part comes from the design, and the sedan part comes from the platform upon which it’s built. The idea here is you’re getting a vehicle that blends the capability and ruggedness of a SUV, with some of the fuel economy and smoother handling of the sedan.

Most crossover SUVs still come with 4×4 capability, or AWD at the very least, so you’ll be able to safely and securely brave the winter weather. Because crossovers are also smaller than a full-size SUV, they are easier to maneuver through smaller areas. So if you live in a city that experiences winter, this might be the car for you. Also, crossovers get better fuel-efficiency, thanks to their smaller size.

With crossovers, it’s all about big capability on medium-to-small vehicles. Some of the more popular crossovers on this list are the Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, and the Honda HR-V.


For those looking for the most rugged and capable vehicle for winter travel, a used truck model is a staple. Again, popular models are from the big three brands when it comes to all things truck: Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500.

The good thing about these trucks, is they’re a dime a dozen used. You can find a used one of these almost anywhere, and their performance will not disappoint you. While it might not be as astounding or efficient as the engines found in the 2016 models, the 4×4 capability remains the same. Not to mention, these trucks are all tough as nails. Especially the Chevy versions, since the brand has been using (and continues to use) high-strength steel as the base for their frames.

These trucks can tow more than SUVs, but get less passenger space. So if you’re thinking you might need something to tow snowmobiles or other winter machinery, a used truck is probably your best bet. Alternatively, the truck bed also provides a great amount of utility. You can use it for getting salt and sand from your local highway department, or transporting firewood and wood pellets for your back-up (or primary) source of heating throughout the cold winter months.

Sometimes, there’s just nothing better than driving through a snowstorm in a weathered used truck. So even if it’s just that image that appeals to you, then a used truck is what you’ll want for winter driving.

An AWD Sedan is Possible, but Not as Good

You could look for a sedan with AWD capability, but it’s not nearly as good as the used trucks, SUVs, or crossovers that are circulating through the market. After all, AWD can only do so much. Then again, maybe for city dwellers a sedan wouldn’t be a bad idea. Or for those who aren’t used to driving larger vehicles

But keep in mind, sedans will get stuck easier than a larger vehicle. Why? For one, it doesn’t have the horsepower and torque to power through deep snow. Secondly, since it sits lower to the ground, it will simply get bogged down if the snow is deep enough.

Therefore, if you don’t need to drive in the deep snow on a regular basis and want to save money all-around, a used sedan would be best. But, if you have a job where you need to get to the office, regardless of the weather, you’re better off with one of the other three types of vehicles.

Whatever the case, choose whatever used vehicle is going to match your needs. You could buy new, but if you’re like one of the many consumers who have waited too long when it comes time to finding a winter rig, then a used truck, crossover, or SUV is a great fix for the season. Take that convertible back out in the spring.

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