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What Are The Most Affordable Cars That Drive Well In Snow?

Snow might be pretty when it first starts to come down, blanketing rooftops and treetops with a cottony whiteness. But when it covers roads and highways with a slippery coating of crystals and ice, its beauty can quickly turn from gorgeous to dangerous.

Once winter hits and the snow begins to fall, all-wheel drive (AWD) can be your best friend. AWD vehicles offer extra grip on the road at the mere touch of a button; in addition, they usually offer an extra bit of ground clearance and can improve traction by directing power to all four wheels without driver input.

Needless to say, AWD vehicles typically are expensive to buy new, and they also demand a premium in the used-car market. Here are five examples of the best used AWD vehicles  we found, dating back as far as 2007 and with a mileage cap of 150,000.

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Dodge Journey 

If you’ve been searching for an affordable option that offers additional space in your winter ride, your journey might be complete with car. The Dodge Journey can be equipped, if you’re so inclined, with a third-row seat. A 2010 SXT AWD model in Ohio with that extra seating capacity, a V6 under the hood, a remote start, and less than 130,000 miles came with a price tag of just $4,795. With a 3,500-pound towing capacity, this car could easily haul your snowmobile, skis, and all of your other outdoor gear.

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Mazda CX-7 

This crossover features only a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine for base front-wheel drive (FWD), but upper AWD trims stuck with the CX-7’s original turbocharged 2.3-liter that put out 244 horsepower, making it a winter-weather champ you’ll really warm up to.

A 2010 CX-7 Touring model in New Jersey with only 112,000 miles was selling for $4,800 and included a moonroof (great watching for watching snowflakes fly), heated leather seats,  and new tires and brakes.

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Pontiac Vibe 

No new Pontiacs have been sold since General Motors discontinued the brand over a decade ago, but used Pontiacs continue to dot the car buying landscape – if you know where to look. A used 2009 Pontiac with 140,000 miles, selling in Rhode Island, could’ve been your ticket to a winter wonderland for only $4,500. If you happen to come across the AWD model of the Vibe, you’ll find a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that was used in some Toyota vehicles and is known for its longevity.

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Toyota Sienna

Minivans might have a bad rap as being, well, underwhelming, but truth is they offer a great deal of versatility. You can load a minivan up with people and cargo, enjoy the comfortable ride of a family car equipped with a lively V6 engine, and when the day is over, park it easily in your garage. A 2007 Sienna in Virginia with just 112,000 miles had an asking price of only $4,995, which isn’t bad for a nicely equipped Sienna LE AWD that can seat seven passengers heading out for a weekend of frosty frolicking.

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Subaru Impreza

All of the Subaru models feature standard AWD, and many provide the added ground clearance that comes in handy in deeper snow. Word of caution:  If you’re in the market for an older, high-mileage Subaru, keep an eye out for possible faulty head gaskets, which are a common problem with some of the company’s horizontally opposed “boxer” engines. If the problem is fixed before any damage is done, you can expect the engines in these cars to log another 50,000 to 100,000 miles without any issues.