When deciding what car you should get for handling the snow, you should start by considering the drivetrain. When considering snowy and icy conditions we are going to skip over 2WD options and focus on AWD and 4WD.
What Is AWD?
AWD or all-wheel drive operates with little to no driver input. When driving on dry pavement the engine will send all of its torque to one axle.
Part-Time vs. full-time awd
Part-time AWD is a more efficient choice that mainly uses 2WD, unless it feels the car slipping and switches to all wheels. Full-tie will always send some amount of torque to all four tires. The torque will automatically adjust as needed.
What is 4wd?
For those looking to do off-roading or drive on icy roads more consistently 4 wheel drive may be a better option for you. 4WD creates a lock on the axels that keeps the front and rear tires at the same speed. This helps reduce wheel spin in low-traction environments.
High vs. low range 4wd
With 4WD, drivers are able to switch from the high-to-low range. High range can be used when you need extra traction on more moderate trails. When trails or conditions become worse you can use low range at a slower speed to get more traction.