Winter Driving Takaways
When I woke up to the light dusting of snow this morning all I could thinks was: great…. I moved to Denver for the snow (the snow up in the mountains), and this year was just a slushy mess. Combined that with the amount of transplants from warmer climates who’ve moved here, and the amount of car accidents was genuinely frightening.
But the snow-days did provide me with a unique opportunity to really test out the capabilities of all the different all-wheel drive vehicles in the snow under very similar conditions. We are pretty pedantic when it comes to servicing our cars here, especially tires.
Unless a car has near new tires already on it, we replace them with ones we think our customers will want, and we never take the cheap route. With the exception of sports cars, we typically stick with good all-season rubber. Because of that I got to spend the winter behind the wheel of just about every car and SUV you can think of, in the worst driving conditions.
Here are my takeaways. First, and to the surprise of nobody, Audis are of course the easiest vehicles to tackle the snow. The Quattro system is a masterclass in engineering and it shows. While we don’t actively buy and sell Subarus, we did have a few come through over the past few months. And while I admit I am not a Subaru fan, I was honestly disappointed with how they behaved in the snow.
For casual driving around the city, they work just fine. And if that’s al the driving you’ll ever do, they are fine. But when it comes to driving under more extreme circumstances like emergency maneuvers (like the kind we all have to make when some *expletive* decides to merge into your lane on I25, 25 feet in front of you while going 25 mph slower than you), the Subarus really seemed to struggle compared to every European all-wheel drive vehicle.
Land Rovers are right up there with Audi in terms of driving confidence in the snow, and Mercedes does a great job too. But my personal favorite–and if you’ve read my other blog posts, this will come as no surprise–is BMW.
BMW’s xDrive system keeps their cars and SUV very docile and relaxing when you just want to get from point A to B, but during those times when you want to defile an empty parking lot, they make you feel like a professional rally driver.
We have a little open lot behind our dealership that I used to safely get a feel for how these cars behave, and everytime I got behind the wheel of a BMW, I was in heaven. The behave like race cars, which you might be thinking: why would I want that? Well, when I say that, I mean they allow you to slide the car like a 16 year old trying to impress their friends, but they never let you lose control. Even with the traction control dialed back or even turned off, BMW’s xDrive just encourages fun while keeping you safe, and making you look like a racing god!
There is a reason European cars cost more than other brands. You can get amenities like navigation, backup cameras, parking sensors, and all the other toys we all want on pretty much any car. What you are paying for when you buy a British or German vehicle is the technology behind the scenes… the technology you hopefully never need, but the kind that might save your life. If you haven’t had considered a European vehicle, I highly encourage you to disregard any negative stereotypes and just come drive a few. There’s a reason people swear by them.