10 of the Best Winter Cars & SUVs for $30K or Less

January 3, 2020

It’s the time of year when CAA is busiest, towing vehicles from driveways, car parks, and the side of the road. An unreliable car will show itself when the mercury drops and snow and ice take over the roads. If your car leaves you high and dry in the winter, it can be both frustrating and dangerous!

A reliable vehicle can make life during the cold season so much more pleasant.

For under $30,000, you can find a winter car that has everything you need to get through the ice and snow between now and the spring melt. 

The following vehicles made our list for scoring highly with our writers in several of the following categories: ground clearance, rugged design, handling on snow and ice, comfort features, and price point.

Our Top 10 Winter Cars & SUVs For Under $30K

This list showcases brand new prices, but if you keep your eyes peeled, you might be able to snag a similar, gently used model at an even better price! 

1. Subaru Impreza Touring with EyeSight - $25,595 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

For well under $30K, you can get one of the highest-rated cars for the snow, and a trim level higher than base. The Subaru Impreza Touring with EyeSight 5-door is listed at $25,595 and is powered by a BOXER engine with 152hp and the smooth acceleration of a CVT transmission. 

The most impressive feature for winter drivers is the standard equipment Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive. Along with dominating traction, the Touring trim with EyeSight includes driver-assist technology, heated seats, and pretty awesome in-vehicle infotainment. 

2. Mitsubishi RVR ES AWC - $25,498 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

If a compact SUV is your style, Mitsubishi has an affordable option with equipment to cut the chills. The Mitsubishi RVR ES with All-Wheel Control (AWC) gives you pretty much everything you need to trek through snowy conditions. A 2.0L MIVEC four-cylinder and a CVT transmission along with all-wheel drive make it a mechanically-sound package. 

The ES trim includes heated front seats, heated mirrors, automatic climate control, and plenty of hands-free phone functions that can be controlled without taking your gloves off. 

3. Toyota RAV4 LE AWD - $30,690 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

You’ll need to keep your eye out for a promotion to keep the price under $30k for the RAV4 LE AWD, but it’s possible. It’s one of the most popular crossovers in Canada because it’s such a reliable vehicle no matter the season. 

The RAV4 LE trim includes heated front seats, Toyota Safety Sense technologies along with Blind Spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Traffic Alert, as well as a 203hp 2.5L engine. With the RAV4, you’ll stick to the road thanks to AWD.

4. Honda HR-V LX AWD - $28,536 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

A serious contender in the subcompact crossover segment should be the Honda HR-V. It’s drives like a car with the capability of an SUV. The HR-V LX trim offers Forward Collision Warning, Collision Mitigation Braking, and Lane Keeping Assist as standard, along with interior comforts like heated front seats and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

The HR-V is spectacular with Real Time AWD with Intelligent Control System, and it’s a good deal at under $29K.

5. Jeep Compass Sport 4x4 - $28,116 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

The name ‘Jeep’ inspires confidence in rough driving conditions, so the Jeep Compass is definitely a contender. The Compass Sport trim is the entry level, but it gives you the necessities. 

A 2.4L four-cylinder engine, a six-speed manual transmission, push-button start, and power windows are included along with Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay. With Jeep’s Active Drive 4x4, you’ll get into the iconic Jeep brand for just over $28,000.

6. Hyundai Kona Luxury AWD - $27,899 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

Hyundai is known for exceptional value, and that’s noticeable with the Kona lineup. For under $28K, you can step up to the Hyundai Kona Luxury trim with AWD and get all the trimmings. 

A full suite of driver-assistive features, Blind Spot Collision Warning, heated leather front seats and heated steering wheel, and a 2.0L four-banger are all included with the Luxury AWD trim… and, of course, all-wheel drive.

7. Ford Ecosport S 4WD - $27,099 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

If you’re a Blue Oval aficionado, we’ve got an option for you as well. The Ford Ecosport S with 4WD gets in well under the $30,000 mark and is well suited for the winter climate. It’s powered by a 2.0L I-4 and has Ford’s Intelligent 4WD system available. 

FordPass Connect allows you to remote start your engine if you and your car have a cell signal. There may not be the bells and whistles other trim levels include, but they’re available if you’re willing to spend a bit more.

8. Chevrolet Trax LT AWD - $27,895 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

Carrying on the theme of small crossovers, the Chevy Trax LT AWD is another popular choice. 

Stepping up from the LS trim to the LT gets you remote engine start and heated outside mirrors, although the Premier trim is where heated seats and steering wheel come into play. Still, the AWD system included in the Trax LT AWD package means you’re getting great value. 

9. MazdaCX-3 GS I-ACTIV AWD – $27,359 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

Mazda has their finger on the pulse of the Canadian customer, and it shows with the Mazda CX-3. The GS package includes heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated mirrors. That’s all in addition to the performance you can expect from the Skyactiv-G 148-hp engine and the intuitive traction from I-ACTIV AWD. A true bargain for $27,359.

10. Kia Soul EX Limited - $27,995 approx.

Brand new vehicles that make great winter cars

You don’t necessarily need 4WD or AWD to drive confidently in the winter. The Kia Soul proves it with nearly six inches of ground clearance. 

And because you don’t need to pay for AWD, you can get more toys and equipment in your car. Things like leather upholstery, heated front and rear outboard seats, heated steering wheel, premium Harman Kardon sound, and even a Heads-Up Display are included with the Kia Soul EX Limited.

On a budget? You don't need to break the bank to get a vehicle you can rely on. Read more about the advantages of a quality pre-owned winter vehicle, and check out a few of our top picks!

Shop confidently with Canada Drives

Since 2010, Canada Drives has been helping Canadians find reliable vehicles for winter and beyond!

We can get you pre-approved for a car in no time. After you complete a quick online application, we will match you with local certified dealers that are willing to provide the best options for your financial situation. 

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