These Are the Worst Cars to Drive in Bad Winter Weather

These Are the Worst Cars to Drive in Bad Winter Weather

From Porsches to pickups, these are the cars you think are the worst for winter driving.

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A photo of a red TVR sports car in a studio.
Would you drive this in the snow?
Photo: TVR

It might not feel like it in some parts of the country, but it’s winter. I know, it sounds crazy, doesn’t it? And, in a season that traditionally brings awful weather such as snowstorms, freezing temperatures and bitter wind-chill, it’s best to be prepared for the worst when you hit the road.

But even if you load your car up with chains, shovels and ice scrapers, the very motor you’re running could one day let you down. If you want to avoid any stresses out on the road, what car should you avoid driving on a snowy day?

To find out, we turned to you and asked what are the worst cars to drive in bad winter weather? These are some of the top answers we received.

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Toyota MR2

Toyota MR2

A photo of a silver Toyota MR2 sports car with its roof down.
Photo: Toyota

“My 2001 MR2 Spyder. Small, extremely light, RWD, and without a TCS or ESC in sight, it was one of the scariest cars I ever drove during a Midwest ice storm.”

I wonder, would putting the roof down in a snowstorm make this experience better or even worse?

Suggested by: regnis78

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Chevrolet Tracker

Chevrolet Tracker

A photo of a red Chevrolet Tracker on snow.
Photo: General Motors

“I live in Alaska and over the years have driven a variety of cars in the winter, I own a 5th gen Camaro, a RWD Ranger XL and 250, and a beater with a heater Lesabre, any of which I can get around fine in, on the right tires…

“What I’d never drive again and think should be banned from anywhere a mosquito could piss on the road, any Chevy Tracker. Short wheel base, no traction control, no real weight and any that it has makes the car stable like a wiffleball, and no crumple zone…

“Those things are the equivalent to wrapping yourself in an aluminum foil ball and getting rolled down a mountain side slip and slide. I once made four full spins in one at highway speed because a bridge expansion joint was buckled… it was August.”

This does not sound like a fun way to get around in winter! Best avoid the Chevy Tracker and the Geo Tracker as well, just to be safe.

Suggested by: Matthew Flickinger (Facebook)

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TVR Sagaris

TVR Sagaris

A photo of a red TVR sports car in a studio.
Photo: TVR

“TVR Sagaris or any TVR in particular. The very last cars I want to drive in bad winter weather.”

Ah TVR, the plucky British sports car maker that, as far as I know, never made a name for itself on the global rally stage. No wonder its cars are best avoided in anything more than the drizzle you’ll find covering its native Blackpool.

Suggested by: thedriveress

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Porsche 911

Porsche 911

A profile photo of a silver Porsche 911 sports car.
Photo: Porsche

“🤔... Any widow maker, oops, I meant any 964/965 generation 911 Turbo.”

Perhaps we should just make a blanket rule that low, sporty European cars are best avoided when the mercury starts to drop.

Suggested by: @LilToot62 (Twitter)

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Shelby Cobra

Shelby Cobra

A photo of a pale blue Shelby Cobra in a studio.
Photo: Shelby

“A 427 Cobra would be awful;

“Cons

“- Too much power

“- Notoriously difficult to drive, even by professionals in good conditions

“- Not much weight, big wide tires, so no chance of cutting through the snow

“- Limited weather protection, effectively no safety features

“- If it’s an original, incredibly valuable if you bin it.

“Pros

“- Big engine, good at generating heat even if there’s no heater.”

Dammit, OK, American sports cars can go on that list as well.

Suggested by: maymar

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Chevrolet Camaro

Chevrolet Camaro

A photo of a blue Chevrolet Camaro on an ocean road.
Photo: General Motors

“I love my Camaro 2SS but got a flat tire on my Jeep the night before I had to take a flight, so I drove the Camaro the next morning. When I got back two weeks later, it had snowed the night before. I am not sure this car even has all-season tires on it, I am pretty sure it does not.

“I almost didn’t even make it out of the airport parking lot, it would lose traction with even the slightest press of the gas. I ended up creeping along at about six miles an hour, until I made it to the highway that was cleared up enough to get some traction. I had a 75-mile drive and I was lucky as hell that the roads got better within just five miles of the airport and it wasn’t so bad on the way home.

“It made it obvious it’s less about whether people ‘know how to drive’ and more about whether their car has any business being out in the snow. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of FWD shitboxes out there that are totally snow capable with even a decent set of all seasons, but some cars are just not made for poor weather.

“Another thing I learned is that a good set of snow tires makes more difference than even 4WD. I did 4WD for a few seasons and while it was a better experience than I’d ever had in a decade of driving FWD cars prior to that, snow tires have so much grip. The secret isn’t just in some fancy tread pattern, the rubber in standard tires start to get stiff and lose their traction abilities even as high as 40f, while snow tires use special rubber compounds that stay well, rubbery, even as temperatures plunge.”

So, are you saying that winter tires would have fixed your struggling Camaro? Or, is that something you’re going to experiment with the next time there’s a dusting of the white stuff?

Suggested by: Jordan Witt (Facebook)

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Lexus SC400

Lexus SC400

A photo of a silver Lexus coupe driving at sunset.
Photo: Lexus

“1992 Lexus SC400. LOTS of low end torque, zero traction or stability control. At least you have abs brakes on all four corners. It is very long and very low so easy to get high centered, and for some dumb reason Lexus decided not to give the V8 ‘sports coupe’ a limited slip differential. Only the manual transmission SC300 got a limited slip. This chassis is very well known for being snappy when it loses traction and many have gone for a spin.”

No traction, lots of torque and a snappy chassis are not the essential ingredients for a happy winter drive.

Suggested by: bassrockerx

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Corvette C1

Corvette C1

A photo of a white C1 Corvette in a studio.
Photo: General Motors

“C1. While their beauty earns them a spot in the automotive Louvre, it’s the last car I’d want to drive in snow. The hardtop was optional, they’re RWD on skinny tires, and unlike all other ‘Vettes, the elements could actually total it. At least you don’t need to worry about body rust.”

No need to worry about rust if you’ve wrapped your precious ‘Vette round a tree in the snow, right?

Suggested by: @IAmGaroott (Twitter)

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Dodge Demon

Dodge Demon

A photo of a red Dodge Demon on a race track.
Photo: Dodge

“Dodge Demon, either variant.

“Coming in second? The Dodge Viper.

“Honestly it probably needs to be the other way around as the viper had no stability or traction controls. but either one would be horrible to use in the snow.

“What would be first but only three were ever made? The TVR Speed 12.”

Are we surprised that a beefed up, performance-minded Dodge is bad in snow? At least the heat from its exhaust could keep you warm when you can’t drive it.

Suggested by: ikaiyoo

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Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler

A photo of an orange Jeep Wrangler parked on the snow.
Photo: Jeep

“Two door Jeep Wrangler. A mixture of poor insulation, short wheelbase, frozen solid mudder tires and over confidence in many drivers make them awful.”

I was shocked by this, but the Jeep Wrangler was a VERY popular suggestion today. Well, the more you know!

Suggested by: Barry Linkiewich (Facebook)

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Chrysler New Yorker

Chrysler New Yorker

A photo of a black Chrysler New Yorker sedan on a cobble street.
Photo: General Motors

“Some experience tells me that a 1982 Chrysler New Yorker is terrible.

“That was the winter I was forced to learn how to drive a RWD shit box in winter. It spun at the slightest amount of traction loss. It hated deep snow. It even had the gall to get struck in a three foot snow drift. And all this was with snow tires.”

Imagine the cheek of it! A city center cruiser getting stuck in a snow drift that would cover its hood comfortably. Despicable.

Suggested by: dolsh

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Ford Ranger

Ford Ranger

A photo of a black and silver Ford Pickup parked outside a shed.
Photo: Ford

“My dad had a RWD stick shift Ford Ranger pick up truck. It’s sucked so bad in the snow, we used to have to put logs in the bed of the truck to weigh it down.”

Another popular suggestion today was rear-wheel-drive trucks and people that don’t know how to drive them. Best avoided when the temperature starts to drop.

Suggested by: @hartattackman (Twitter)

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Chevrolet Chevette

Chevrolet Chevette

A photo of a red Chevrolet Chevette hatchback parked on grass.
Photo: General Motors

“Aside from what was already mentioned, I’m gonna nominate the Chevette and its RWD GM T-body derivatives.

“These were light with very little weight over the rear wheels. Plus the HVAC on these SUCKED.

“I know this from first hand experience.”

What’s worse than a car with poor traction in the snow? A car with poor traction and a shitty heater.

Suggested by: manwich

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BMW 8 Series

BMW 8 Series

A photo of a blue 8 Series BMW driving on a track.
Photo: BMW

“6/8 Series RWD BMW on OEM performance summers is probably the funniest I’ve ever seen. They have really wide rear tires, makes it worse. Watched a doctor with one try to get over a slight hill for about three hours.

“Second place would be any cheapo American RWD with no stability control and 60 percent weight over the front axle.”

More European machinery that can’t handle the snow!

Suggested by: Alex Kennedy

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It’s All About Tires

It’s All About Tires

A photo of a stack of winter tires.
Photo: Wolfgang Kumm/Picture Alliance (Getty Images)

“Anything 4WD with all-seasons.

“Sure, your Corvette on 200 treadwear performance tires will suck more, but you know it will suck.

“4WD will help get you out of a jam, but it will also help get you into one.

“The overconfidence of having 4WD will encourage you to outdrive the conditions, but you probably aren’t (shouldn’t be) driving long distances on the road with 4WD engaged, so you’re really driving a RWD vehicle with the mentality that it’s powering all the wheels. If the conditions are bad enough that you are driving in 4WD, the lack of a center differential will induce slip at the front or rear axle when turning.

“4WD is actually good in adverse weather, but it’s not as good as you might think it is, and that’s what makes it a bad choice.

“What kind of vehicles do you see in ditches most after the first snowfall?”

As many of you were very eager to point out, the answer is pretty much any car that isn’t fitted with the correct tires. Except the TVR, that would be awful in winter even if you fitted tank tracks.

Suggested by: smalleyxb122

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