Winter weather is on its way and you need a vehicle that can handle the slickest of situations. We could tell you all the reasons we think the 2015 Subaru Forester is the best in snow, but we are so confident in the Forester’s all-wheel drive power, we are going to share with you the result of a recent study by Consumer Reports.

Many carmakers claim they have the best small, all-wheel drive SUV to tackle winter weather. Consumer Reports decided to set the record straight when it came to these affordable all-terrain vehicles. During the one of the worse winters in New England’s recent history, Consumer Reports tested three of the most popular all-wheel drive compact SUVs at their Connecticut auto test center.

All equipped with their standard all-season tires, Consumer Reports tested the 2015 Subaru Forester, 2015 Honda CR-V and 2015 Toyota Rav4. Studying each vehicle’s capability and handling power through a series of test including straight-line acceleration, braking, hill acceleration and cornering evaluations, the group found that not all all-wheel drive vehicles are created equal.

When testing acceleration the RAV4 took the lead with a 2.3 second gap ahead of the Forester and the CR-V in between. In braking, the Forester took a close second to the Rav4 with just a 15-foot difference while the CR-V took more than 50 additional feet to come to a complete stop.

As the SUVs took on hill acceleration however, the Forester did remarkably better. The Forester’s drive system allows for a certain amount of wheel slip while climbing. This allows the vehicle to maintain momentum in low-traction driving situations, such as steep hills with fresh snow.

However the real differences came into play during the cornering evaluations. The team drove each of the vehicles around their unplowed handling course where the Subaru Forester emerged as the clear winner. The Forester handled the way people expect an all-wheel drive vehicle to drive. Consumer Report’s drivers could feel power being to sent to all four wheels at different times depending on what the situation called for and the vehicle felt balanced and allowed drivers to make mid-corner adjustments without losing control.

In contrast the CR-V required much more driver input and initially continued straight instead of rounding corners. The RAV4 did not respond to steering, braking or throttle adjustments and had to be slowed to a crawl before talking corners.

After weeks of exhaustive evaluations, Consumer Reports declared the 2015 Subaru Forester the best all-wheel drive compact SUV to tackle the winter weather. Consumer Reports backed up their claim even more with a survey of more than 50,000 of their subscribers who drove for more than 6 days in the snow last year on their all season tires. When asked to rate their vehicle’s performance in snowy conditions, 3 Subarus took the 1st 2nd and 3rd spots on the list including the Forester.

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