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cars

Crossover Is King

Downsized SUVs offer the capacity of their beefy predecessors, but with less truck-inspired rides and better mileage. And meet Jeep’s new Italian cousin while you’re at it.

The golden age of the big SUVs of the ’80s and ’90s feels practically Paleolithic when you compare it to an evolving generation of smaller crossover models, which drive less like trucks but still offer truck-like utility and surefootedness.

Snow Driver: Comfort Kings

Want to haul a family without the fuel penalty of a traditional SUV? New full-size AWD sedans look to smooth the way to the mountains.

Grand and gracious full-size sedans come to mind for a night on the town, not a ski trip up to the slopes. But vehicular times they are a-changin’. Some of America’s most beloved four-door family brands now boast models with the winter-beating traction and agility of all-wheel drive, handling all but the deepest of blizzard-buried roads. And even the Koreans are getting into the game. 

Snow Driver: Circling the Wagons

Snow Driver: Circling the Wagons
Ford Flex: Snow Driver 2014
Today’s full-size crossovers look to fill the traditional role of the family station wagon and can haul seven in total comfort. So much for the good ol’ days.

The ’70S-era Brady Bunch station wagon might be all but extinct, but families aren’t. And neither is the need to haul kids and gear. If you’re not interested in making the jump to an SUV, consider a variety of stylish crossovers—vehicles built on car rather than truck frames—that mix capacity with a smaller size.

Snow Driver: Luxe Trucks

A generation of ultra-leathery, winter-ready 4x4s has replaced the rough-and-ready pickup. And they’re not cheap.

If your mental image of a pickup is a rusted-out work truck with a faded Killington sticker on the rear window and a couple of dogs in the back, it’s time to bring you up to speed.

Manufacturers are in an arms race to see who can build the biggest and most audacious family-hauling, winter-hardy light-duty trucks with leathery, gentleman-rancher appeal.

Snow Driver: Keeping It Weird

Snow Driver: Keeping It Weird
Subaru Crosstrek
Subaru down-shifts back to its off-beat roots with the affordable mountain-ready Crosstrek

While the rugged and reliable Subaru brand has become positively ubiquitous in snowy lands since the 1970s, there’s been one alarming trend: The cars have become less and less weird in recent years, much to the dismay of iconoclastic tweakers with their Mad River Glen bumper stickers.

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