When we think of the best rides for skiing often SUV’s, Crossovers and Pick Up Trucks dominate the conversation due to their high ground clearance, storage, and naturally burly functionality. However, when you’re not skiing these upright vehicles lose out on driver feel, cornering, fuel economy, and practicality. Many of us just want our awesome daily driver to get us up to the hill with style and grace… and there is a great selection of high performance, totally awesome cars that drive as well and sometimes better than the proverbial SUV, Pickup, or Crossover.
Unless you live up in the mountains you rarely, if never need the extra stout and ground clearance of the taller vehicles. Typically when driving in snow on the highway, even on powder days the roads have been groomed by a plow. BMW’s X-Drive, Audi’s Quattro, Mercedes 4-Matic and other all wheel drive systems are quite capable of providing as good or better driving capability.
Let’s face it, for most of us 99% of our driving is on dry pavement even on the way up the mountain. There’s something uniquely fun about driving a great sports car up the winding mountain roads without being encumbered by the height and weight of the larger vehicles. My BMW 4-Series X-Drive crushes the mountain roads on the dry pavement as well as the snow covered passes in the biggest of blizzards.
The 2 key drawbacks to a car in the snow are lower road visibility, and lower ground clearance. When visibility is limited due to rain, snow, or dark an SUV will over a better view and perspective of the road ahead. Also, once you reach your destination, you may have to drive over some deeper berms or lesser plowed roads to reach your ski house. These are the trade-offs.
When it comes to Horse Power and drive train options, you may be best served with 220-250 HP, opposed to the gunnier 300-500 HP versions. When you’re in the snow, you don’t want or need the high HP versions as they may cause / enable you to break the tires loose when you’re seeking traction. That said, if you have a good touch, go ahead and enjoy the sportier looks, and bold acceleration of the S or M versions – go for it… we won’t judge you.
Editors Pick for Top Cars to get you up to the slopes in style
2022 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe X-Drive
The Grand Coupe is a great selection as it’s a “hot hatch” with plenty of storage for all of your ski equipment. If you have 1-3 passengers this is room for 3+ pairs of skis / boards, bags, food, etc. Read the full review….
2022 Audi A5 Sportback
Similar to the functionality of the BMW 4 Gran Coupe, Audi offers their version of the “Hot Hatch” design with plenty of storage and all the performance you expect from a luxury sports sedan. The price point of the Audi A5 Sportback is a bit lower than BMW and makes for a slightly more economical choice. Read the full review…
2022 Subaru Legacy
Subaru has long held a place in the hearts and minds of skiers. They’re very capable, handle quite well in the snow, rugged, low maintenance, and quite affordable. The Subaru Legacy offers a well rounded, economical choice in the editors list of great ski cars. Read the full review…