Winter is not the time for car trouble. Now is when you should be test-driving vehicles and trading your old one in. These are the top five vehicles to get you through the ice, snow and slush of the coming months. Beyond being super-stylish, they’re affordable, reliable and safe.
Volkswagen Golf GTI
The Volkswagen Golf GTI is fun to zip around in and will turn heads while you’re at it. Well-respected among car afficionados and considered the benchmark for versatility, this sporty car has a punchy engine. For those who love the old-school stick, the GTI is available with manual transmission. While it’s compact, it’s great for winter driving, with anti-lock disc brakes, stability and traction control. The 2017 Golf GTI even earned a 5-star overall safety rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Mazda Canada’s best-selling model, this crossover SUV really outperforms. The CX-5 is great for road trips or just booting around town. Not only does it look cool, the 2017 model has plenty of new refinements, such as precise steering, reduced noise and a more comfortable ride. The rearview camera makes it easy to park and the rear seats recline and split-fold, so there’s room for Fido and all your stuff. It’s the winner of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada’s award for Best New Technology 2017, and it earned the 2017 Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The Honda Civic is a classic. It’s been Canada’s best-selling car for the last 19 years. Available in a 4-door hatchback, 4-door sedan, and 2-door coupe, there’s a size and style for you. Kelley Blue Book named the 2017 Civic the Overall Best Buy Award Winner. You just can’t go wrong with this favourite that’s fun to drive and comfy to ride in. Honda brought back the sporty Si model: a snazzy, superfast go-getter. There’s also the sexy new Civic Type R, which looks like a racecar and has a VTEC® turbocharged engine, plenty of horsepower and 6-speed manual transmission.
For the last two years, Kia ranked highest in overall initial quality in the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study. That’s pretty darn impressive, especially for Kia’s price point. The Soul is a subcompact crossover SUV with a wider-looking design and more aggressive styling. It seats up to 5 people and has a rear flat-folding bench seat and plenty of cargo space. The Soul also has a 5-Star Safety Rating from NHTSA. Make sure to check out the Soul EV, named one of the 5 Best Electric Cars Under $40,000 of 2017 by Kelley Blue Book.
Subarus are built to last — 96% sold in the last 10 years are still on the road today. The Impreza comes in a sleek sedan or a versatile 5-door. The all-wheel drive system and the power-adjustable heated mirrors are excellent features for winter driving. Every Impreza comes with roof-racking capability, so you can hit the slopes with your gear on top. The 2017 model has won many awards: a Must Test Drive by Autotrader, one of Wards 10 Best Interiors of 2017, and the 2017 Best Resale Value in its class by Kelley Blue Book. It also has a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the NHTSA.