Unless you’ve been caught under a rock, well, basically forever you know that the Pacific Northwest gets its share of rain. On the bright side, it’s as gorgeous and green as Ireland and on the downside, well, rain. To boot, the winter brings snow, ice, and some flooding.
Whether you love it or hate it, though, you really do need a car that can handle those kinds of conditions. Fortunately for you, we can help with that, as you’re going to want to go with front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive vehicles.
As this Forbes article explains it, “First, the presence of all-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive is of the utmost importance. Sending power to every wheel offers the driver the highest level of traction and control possible in bad weather conditions. If AWD isn’t available, we would have taken a front-wheel-drive vehicle as well.”
Not so sure about all this? Read on for recommendations on the best cars for the Pacific Northwest.
What Car You Need in PNW – Subaru Impreza, Outback, or Forester
If you drive around the mountains of Colorado (or any mountain towns for that matter), you’re bound to see your share of Subarus. So you’re not likely surprised to see this land on a list of good cars in inclement weather. The Imprezas and Foresters are recommended in sketchy weather conditions but the midsized Outback might be the best of the three for the Pacific Northwest.
Subarus are recognized for their superior AWD systems, and this one is known for its excellent traction on wet or snowy pavement without having to be the size of a truck.
Here are the best cars of Pacific Northwest:
Toyota Sienna Minivan
If you’ve got a big family, there aren’t many things that are better for road trips and lugging kids to and from practices than a minivan. If you assumed, though, that none of them could handle the Pacific Northwest weather conditions, you’d be wrong. The Toyota Sienna is the first in its class to offer all wheel drive.
Not only does its Traction Control (TRAC) system prevent wheel slippage in the case of rain, but it also has rain-sensing windshield wipers. To boot, the Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) modulates break pressure when on slippery or rain-soaked surfaces, preventing wheels from locking up and allowing for better steering control.
If you’re looking for a good-sized vehicle with all-wheel drive that handles well in unfavorable weather conditions, this car is definitely in the running. As this article by i-5cars.com notes, “The Edge comes with Brake Assist and Ford’s Hill Hold Control, along with Brake Actuated Limited Slip Differential. Additionally, the Edge does come in All-wheel drive, something that could come in handy when hydroplaning.”
Not only is this vehicle an exceptional choice for handling weather in the PNW, but it is also surprisingly big for a sedan. Braking is responsive and handling is excellent even at a high rate of speed, with the suspension also having the ability to react well to any bends in the road.
If you’re particularly worried about getting caught in storms on the regular, go with the quattro all-wheel drive version. Want to test one out under these conditions just to be sure? All you need to do is wait for the rain and head on down to the Audi dealership in Seattle.
As CleanFleetReport.com contributor Larry E. Hall explains of the “Acura MDX’s winter-beating tactics”, “it’s Acura’s slick-working all-wheel drive system, Super Handling All-Wheel Drive or SH-AWD, that verifies the engineering design.
This enhanced version combines torque vectoring, stability and traction control.” Its wide front and rear tracks, four-wheel independent suspension, and short wheelbase are what you want in a vehicle when you hit that icy, wet, or snowy pavement. The AWD component ensures that these features work even in a couple inches of snow.
Driving in snowy or rainy conditions can be stressful for even the most experienced drivers, so land one of these while living in the Pacific Northwest and you can get the peace of mind you need.