Sometimes you just can’t wait until spring. The snowdrifts are piling up against the house. The heating bills have got you down, and you yearn to blow out of town with the family just to get away.
Here at Family Car Guide we’re pretty familiar with those kinds of feelings, so we thought it would be fun to put out a list of the best getaway cars for beating the winter doldrums. There’s nothing scientific about it, just a listing of cars, trucks, CUVs, and SUVs that may cause you to rethink your attitude about the wintertime blues.
Big honking trucks
If the snow’s piled up a good 16 inches or so, you really need the ground clearance and grunt of a big honking truck. Make that a pickup truck with crew or quad cab and a powerful engine. Key choices in this category include the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, or Ram, although perhaps the right combination of Toyota Tundra will do as well. See The Car Connection review of the 2011 Ford F-150 here.
2011 Jeep Grand CherokeeEnlarge Photo
Naturally, to be truly capable winter-weather performers that can carry the kids and stuff to a ski vacation or weekend winter getaway, a true go-anywhere SUV can’t be beat. It’s not that you’ll be out there hill-climbing, but you want a vehicle that can navigate whatever terrain you come across.
Right up there at the top of the list of fully-capable winter SUVs are the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Explorer (named 2011 North American Truck of the Year), Jeep Grand Cherokee, and Land Rover LR4. Marty Padgett’s review of the 2011 Ford Explorer has more information about this go-anywhere SUV.
2011 Subaru ForesterEnlarge Photo
Your getaway vehicle doesn’t have to be the biggest brute around to get the job done traveling through snow. A capable crossover will do, if it’s equipped with all-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive.
Case in point: the 2011 Subaru Forester, standard with full-time all-wheel drive and a good compact crossover to navigate snow, slippery streets, steep and rutted snow-covered dirt roads or even go off-road. The Car Connection gives the 2011 Subaru Forester an overall 7.8 (out of 10) rating.
2010 buick lacrosse sedan 005Enlarge Photo
Sure-footed family sedans
What if the family vehicle is a sedan? As long as your clan’s wheels – literally – are shod in the appropriate tires and you have AWD and the right amount of ground clearance, you should do just fine.
There’s the 2011 Ford Taurus, a sure-footed large family sedan (make sure it has AWD), the AWD-version of the 2011 Buick LaCrosse, and maybe one or two others (you take your pick). See more about the LaCrosse here.
2011 Toyota SiennaEnlarge Photo
We’ll add one minivan to the list of best getaway cars for beating the winter doldrums: the 2011 Toyota Sienna. Redesigned for 2011, and the only minivan with available AWD, the Toyota Sienna can carry the family in style and comfort while still getting everyone to their destination safely.
Of course, more to the point than what particular vehicle you drive this winter is the ability and experience to drive in the snow – whether it’s to your winter getaway or just getting to the mall in inclement weather. The best-equipped vehicle in the world can’t make up for bad driving decisions.
Still, you can always pop in your favorite video or rent an on-demand movie about a winter getaway – without having to get away. But where’s the fun in that? Go ahead and plan something exciting for the family this winter. And, be sure to be safe while driving, whatever your choice of chariot.
Admittedly, we’ve just scratched the tip of the snow bank, so give us your choice of best getaway cars for beating the winter doldrums in the comments section below.