As residents of hot and dry regions of the U.S. prepare to bring their convertibles out for prime driving season, those of up north and in the Snow Belt have to start thinking about off-season storage. When you don't want to subject a car you care about to the elements, that's where a winter beater comes in real handy.
Read the full list over on Hagerty.com: https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/5-winter-beaters-to-endure-the-cold-months-ahead/
Second generation Ford Explorer Sport Trac 2007- 2011 with 4.6 V8 and all wheel drive. Was impressed with how well it handled in the snow over regular 4X4's when I first bought one new and still have.
Another vehicle to consider as a winter driver is the 2nd gen (2002-2006) Honda CRV. I have a 2004 CRV that I use in the winter. I also use it as needed during the rest of the year to haul things. It is highly reliable with the Honda K24 engine and it is so easy to service. It is also fuel efficient and comfortable too!
Must have a stick shift and I prefer AWD to 4WD for winter roads, so it would probably be a Subaru wagon for me. The domestics don't offer much with manuals and AWD, in fact, I'm at a loss to think of any right now.
My choice is a car. The Oldsmobile Calais. As a prior owner of two, an 86 which was my first Brand new car and a 91. I can attest to the fact that these cars really plow through the snow, limited only by their ground clearance. They were of an era where the front wheel drive Weight bias was very heavy towards the front.( you could replace the front brakes by a 3:1 ratio compared to the rear) New front wheel drive cars are not the same, since Manufacturers are looking for more neutral handling. I would assume The other GM "N" cars the Grand Am and Buick Somerset/skylark have the same ability.
For my winter ride up here where it snows is my 2012 Subaru Outback 3.6R (six cylinder)
as much ground clearance as a Jeep, ultra reliable and (in my opinion) the best All Wheel Drive system. And it is a real five speed auto, not the stupid CVD