Just because we’re in the gloomy throes of winter, that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our time on the road. Sure, summer might be better for convertibles and rear-wheel-drive sports cars, but there are plenty of ways to actually enjoy your time behind the wheel even as the snow flies.
We’ve taken a look at some of your most searched-for winter-friendly vehicles to bring you Autotrader’s top 10 coolest cars for winter of 2019. Every vehicle on this list has either standard or optional 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive so even if you live in the snowiest of climates, all of these options should be a practical choice for year-round transportation.
The Ford F-150 is perennially America’s best-selling pickup truck for good reasons. Not only is it a tough, reliable truck, but one of our favorite things about it is the variety within its lineup. You can get the simple, affordable XL trim, the supremely luxurious Limited trim, and just about anything you could want in-between.
The best F-150 for winter is easily the Raptor. The F-150 Raptor has quickly become a living legend for its incredible performance both on-road and off with standard 4WD, its ferocious looks, and its advanced technology. The Raptor can handle just about any blizzard winter can throw your way.
Speaking of off-road capability, a list of cars for winter wouldn’t be complete without the Jeep Wrangler. Specifically, we’d recommend a hardtop Wrangler for winter for obvious reasons. A 3-piece "Freedom Top" hardtop costs about $1,200 when adding it to a new Wrangler. The JL model, which was all-new for 2018 might look similar to the outgoing JK Wrangler, but it has updates that are much more than skin deep. It has a nicer interior, more modern technology, and more safety and convenience features available than its predecessor.
But most importantly, the Wrangler has better road manners than it ever has without sacrificing a shred of its off-road capability. Thanks to its standard 4WD, the Wrangler can handle the nastiest snow storms and your everyday commute without skipping a beat. With its go-anywhere capability and do-anything attitude, the 2019 Jeep Wrangler is a party on four wheels.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Love or hate the new face of the Silverado, it has some advancements over the previous generation that we really like. It has a much roomier back seat in the quad-cab models making it a better family vehicle, a roomier cargo bed and some interesting engine options like an efficient turbocharged inline four and a torquey turbodiesel on the way.
As for which one to get for winter, we’d recommend any Silverado equipped with the Z71 off-road package. This includes off-road-ready features like off-road suspension, hill descent control, skid plates, a locking rear differential, all-terrain tires and more. The Z71 package is available on 4×4 Silverados and standard on the Custom Trail Boss and LT Trail Boss trims, which add a cool off-road aesthetic, upgraded Goodyear Wrangler tires and a modest suspension lift.
GMC Sierra 1500 AT4
The GMC Sierra and the Chevy Silverado have been mechanically identical for a long time and that’s still the case for the new generation of both GM trucks, but they’re actually more different than ever.
The all-new 2019 Sierra ushers in a new off-road sub-brand for GMC called the AT4. The new Sierra AT4 replaces the old Sierra All Terrain and it’s similar to the new Silverado Trail Boss trims with 4WD and a similar off-road kit with a more premium aesthetic plus the distinction of the industry-exclusive MultiPro six-function tailgate.
People love the Chevy Tahoe for being a big SUV for big families who need to carry a lot of stuff and sometimes do some towing. Thanks to its truck-like architecture and its available 4WD, it makes a fantastic family hauler for all seasons, including the harshest winters.
One of our favorite Tahoe special editions for 2019 is the Z71 Midnight Edition. Not only do you get the cool black aesthetic of the Midnight Edition, but you also get the Z71 off-road package like the one we mentioned in the Silverado, making the Tahoe able to handle a wide variety of off-roading adventures. If you want to save a little money, look for a certified 2015 or 2016 Tahoe, they’re mechanically similar to the 2019 and should be just as capable.
The Ram 1500 is another full-size pickup that’s all-new for 2019. The Ram’s makeover was a huge upgrade over the previous model aesthetically, mechanically and technologically. It now has an available E-Torque mild-hybrid system that adds torque and saves fuel and a class-exclusive 12-in infotainment system available.
Our favorite new Ram for getting through snowy winter is the Rebel, which is the most off-road friendly of the lineup. It’s not as extreme as the F-150 Raptor, but it has 4WD, an off-road aesthetic, all-terrain tires, a factory lift, a locking rear differential and more to ensure you can get through the worst of winter.
The Toyota RAV4 is another vehicle that got a big upgrade for 2019 that we’re excited about. It’s quickly gone from the middle of the pack to the front offering what might be the best value in compact crossovers today.
The RAV4 is a smart, practical, value-conscious choice that makes a great all-season car. All AWD-equipped RAV4 models now come standard with multi-terrain select which give you four different driving modes: Normal, Mud and Sand, Rock and Dirt, and Snow making it perfect for winter.
When you think of a Honda off-roader, you probably think of a Honda ATV, but the Passport is back in the form of a new midsize, 5-seat crossover SUV. It’s not the body-on-frame beast that the original Isuzu-based Honda Passport was, but the new one actually makes more sense.
What makes the Passport great for winter is that every 2019 Passport — including the front-wheel-drive models — come with Snow mode that optimizes traction for snow driving. The ones equipped with the available AWD get the addition of Mud and Sand modes. The Passport is a little more rugged than what you might expect from a Honda crossover.
The all-new 2019 Ford Ranger midsize pickup is finally here. It might not have the insane off-road capabilities of the F-150 Raptor, but it strikes a nice balance of capability, efficiency, comfort and value.
Ford made a lot of customization options and accessories available for the Ranger, so you can outfit it for whatever adventure you want to use it for. Of course, the available 4WD makes it a beast in the snow.
Toyota Sienna AWD
You may not have been expecting to see a minivan on this list, but the Toyota Sienna has the distinction of being the only minivan on the market available with AWD. It might not be one of the coolest cars on the list, but an AWD-equipped Sienna gives you a big traction advantage over its FWD-only rivals along with having all of the comfort and convenience that a minivan offers like plenty of space and large sliding doors. However, AWD is only available on the range-topping Sienna Limited trim, which is a little pricey by minivan standards.