Rough Road Ahead


I live in a cottage at the back of a gravel private road which is never plowed. I live in the Midwest where the winters get pretty bad. I need a car that will get me over that snow. The Subaru Crosstrek is coming out at the end of this year, but my current car is barely making it. I don’t know if I can wait for the Crosstrek. Is there any other smallish AWD car with high ground clearance (the Crosstrek’s is 8.6 inches)?

~ Sydney
Milwaukee, Wisc.


No need to wait for the Subaru, there are good all-wheel drive options available to you now.

Check out the 2012 Nissan Rogue, which has great ground clearance at 8.3 inches. We like the Rogue for its attractive styling and its wonderful spaciousness, giving room for front and backseat passengers without compromising on cargo area.

The 2012 Mazda CX-5 is a fun option, since Mazdas live up to their Zoom Zoom reputation with spirited acceleration and tighter handling characteristics. The all-wheel drive version of this compact SUV has 8.3 inches of ground clearance.

We also recommend the 2013 Ford Escape, which has been completely redesigned inside and out for the new model year. It’s more fuel efficient, and nicer looking on the inside. It has a ground clearance of 7.9 inches.

And the 2012 Toyota RAV4 is always a favorite choice. It, too, is fun to drive, has quite a bit of room for front and backseat riders, and ample cargo space. Plus, it comes with Toyota Care, a free maintenance service for the first two years of the car’s life. It has a ground clearance of 7.5 inches.

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