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Best Cars by Climate in the United States

Rain, snow, extreme heat, traffic congestion, and windy roads – just a few of the dangers that await you depending on the climate you live in, and the time of day you leave your home. Everyone has that friend that claims to know exactly how to drive in every weather situation, but perhaps the better approach is to know what vehicle is best in every adverse circumstance. Let’s consider some options, depending on where you live and how late you want to be to work.

Pacific Northwest

Rain, rain, and for a change of pace, how about a little more rain? Precipitation is the leading cause of car accidents in the United States (aside from drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving). Rain is something we can’t control, so being prepared is your best defense, and a compatible vehicle is the first step. Here are some cars to consider for safety reasons when there are adverse conditions on the I-5 Freeway:

Toyota Sienna

Not glamorous, at all, really. However, this minivan is the only one on the market currently available with All-Wheel Drive. Taking the kids to sloppy, cold baseball practice isn’t as harsh with this V6-touting, four-wheel traction machine. Plus the legroom is extravagant, leading to easy vacuuming.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

You’re probably thinking, “Well, duh, SUV!” but hang on, this one specifically is geared for this type of weather. Trail-rated 4×4, tons of torque for pull-weight mastery, and premium interior for comfy and warm riding when outside is too chilly to handle.

Subaru Impreza

If you ask anyone in the PNW, they don’t need to be told Subarus are great for adverse weather driving. Everyone drives one anyway, so this might be old news. However, the Impreza comes with an AWD option, an $18k price tag, 36 MPG Highway, and an option for easy roof storage.

Southwest

The Southwest features some of the harshest heat known in the United States, so air conditioning, windows, and engine resilience should prioritize your vehicle search. Options for destination vacationing and everyday blue-collar work should also be considered. Here are some vehicles to keep in mind.

Ford Fusion Titanium

The Fusion Titanium features a spacious interior with ventilated front seats, allowing air to flow freely. The 33 MPG Highway engine won’t overheat, and still offers 175 horsepower to get through deserts and general heat at a decent pace.

GMC Sierra 1500

The 2015 GMC Sierra 1500 features a revamped interior and its own 4G Wi-Fi hotspot. To match the new interior, The Sierra 1500 has three available cab configuration options and a roll-formed pick-up box bed for durability and strength of carry. It’s equipped to handle desert and warm weather driving, while still being able to haul payloads with ease.

BMW 325i

Obviously luxury sedans aren’t in everyone’s budget. If you’re capable, and need some guidance, the BMW 325i has many features to make high heat driving bearable. Deep recline seats combined with available remote climate control make the ride easier for passengers, and helps prevent leg and back burn when entering a hot vehicle. Many of the models on the lot already have tinted rear windows as well, so relax and enjoy the ride through all the cacti and badlands.

New England/Northeast

Oh boy, it’s snowing again! AWD is nearly required in this chilly part of the United States, where parked cars can disappear in a single snow-flurry overnight, and tiny streets turn into car skating rinks at 34 degrees Fahrenheit. Crossovers, SUVs, and horsepower come out to play.

Subaru Outback

The Outback features 25 MPG City, great for stop-and-go travel the big city, while also not as large as an SUV. Once outside city limits, the Outback offers 35.5 cubic feet of storage standard, great for hauling sleeping bags, tints, and s’mores to your favorite spots for roughing it. Finally, with eight cup and bottle holders, the family can enjoy a warm cup of cocoa or an ice water in the summer.

Mazda CX-5

The CX-5 is available with a 184-hp 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, and the interior of this model is getting a major boost for 2016 in the tech department. Driver-assistance safety systems, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, collision-mitigating braking, and speed-adjusting radar cruise control are just some of the available upgrades.

Audi Q5

Audi’s Quattro system is one of the best in the business, and adaptive cruise control and automatic braking give the driver peace of mind. It’s not the perfect family car with its price tag, but well worth the extra cash if you have it.

Midwest

The Midwest is no slouch in the cold-weather department, but throw in blistering hot summers and the need for a versatile driving machine is very apparent. So what vehicles straddle the line and adapt nicely to both extremes? See below.

Ram 1500 HFE

This list needs more trucks, and the Midwest is the place to have them. The Ram 1500 is available in a 6-cylinder, 8-speed automatic, and diesel. It’s economic for a truck (24 MPG fuel economy), and capable of towing through snow, or handling long drives and summer getaway destinations.

Chrysler 200

Fuel economy meets horsepower meets comfortable interior at an affordable price ($22k). With the 200 you can choose between the 295 horsepower 3.6L V6 engine for power, or the 2.4L engine for solid fuel economy at 36 MPG Highway. The 200 also features AWD and a more aggressive exterior re-design.

Buick LaCrosse

Unique on this list to the LaCrosse, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot is available, powered by OnStar. The spacious interior provides the perfect environment for additional features that include heated leather seats, and Apple Car Play for your iPhone. AWD is also available, something somewhat rare to see in a luxury sedan at this price. The price tag is above the average at $31k, but American quality makes this vehicle a comfortable drive, no matter the weather.