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Conquer Winter Roads with These Top Volvo AWD Models

Winter can be a challenging season for drivers, especially when dealing with snowy and icy roads. If you live in a region with such inclement weather conditions, then having an all-wheel-drive vehicle is crucial.

A car that can handle slippery roads with ease is a top priority when shopping for a winter vehicle. Volvo cars are known for their safety and reliability, yet some models are better suited for snow than others.

In this article, we’ll discuss the best Volvo AWD models for snow and the critical features that make them perfect for winter driving.

Best Volvo AWD Models for Snow

When it comes to driving in snow, the most critical aspect of the vehicle is its ability to grip the road. Front-wheel drive cars do not perform as well as all-wheel-drive cars in rainy or snowy conditions as they only power two of the wheels.

All-wheel-drive cars transfer power to all four wheels, providing improved acceleration and traction, particularly in slippery conditions. In this section, we’ll discuss three Volvo AWD models that are perfect for driving in snowy conditions.

1. Volvo XC40

The Volvo XC40 is a small luxury SUV that’s perfect for those looking for a compact SUV that can handle snowy conditions.

It features a dynamic all-wheel-drive system that provides power to all four wheels, ensuring maximum traction on snowy roads. The XC40 comes with Hill Descent Control, which helps maintain speed and control when driving down slippery slopes, allowing drivers to descend hills with confidence.

Additionally, its Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control System help maintain stability on slippery roads by reducing engine power and applying brakes to prevent wheel spin. 2.

Volvo XC60

The Volvo XC60 is a mid-size luxury SUV that won the World Car of the Year award in 2018. It’s known for its unparalleled safety features, making it a top choice for those who prioritize safety.

The XC60 features an all-wheel drive system that distributes power to all four wheels, ensuring maximum traction in slippery conditions. It also comes with standard Hill Descent Control and a number of advanced safety features that provide drivers with confidence on snow-covered roads.

3. Volvo XC90

The Volvo XC90 is the larger version of the XC60, making it perfect for those with large families or those who need to transport a lot of cargo.

As with the other two models, it features an advanced all-wheel-drive system that provides maximum traction in slippery conditions. The XC90 also features Air Suspension, which allows drivers to increase ground clearance for added control and comfort when driving on snowy roads.

Top Features of a Snow-Ready Volvo

Volvo is known for its safety features, and when it comes to driving in snowy and icy conditions, these features can be lifesaving. Here are some of the top features of a snow-ready Volvo.

1. All-wheel-drive

All-wheel drive is a standard feature on most of the Volvo models, providing superior traction, stability, and control when driving in snow and icy conditions.

The system distributes power to all four wheels and can vary depending on road conditions, ensuring maximum grip. 2.

Heated seats and steering wheel

When the temperature drops, it’s crucial to stay comfortable behind the wheel. Volvo models come with standard heated seats and steering wheel that make the driving experience more comfortable.

3. Traction control system

The traction control system improves vehicle stability by detecting wheel spin and automatically applying the brakes to prevent wheels from spinning on slippery roads.

This feature helps drivers maintain control and traction on snowy roads. 4.

Hill descent control

Hill Descent Control (HDC) is a feature that provides maximum control and safety when driving downhill. The system automatically applies the brakes to maintain speed and stability when navigating steep inclines.

5. Advanced safety features

Volvo cars are known for their safety features, and snow-ready models come with additional safety features that increase control and stability in slippery conditions.

Some of the features include Electronic Stability Control, Collision Avoidance, and Lane Departure Warning, among others.


When shopping for a winter vehicle, it’s crucial to consider the driving conditions you’ll encounter regularly. Snow-ready Volvo models come with standard features that provide superior traction, stability, and control, making them an ideal choice for those living in snowy regions.

Whether you opt for the compact XC40, mid-size XC60, or larger XC90, you can be assured that you’re driving one of the safest cars on the road. 3.

Comparison of Volvo models for winter driving

When it comes to winter driving, not all Volvo models are created equal. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at how three popular Volvo models compare for snowy and icy driving conditions.

1. Volvo XC40

The XC40 is a small luxury SUV that’s perfect for city driving and navigating snowy roads.

Its all-wheel drivability provides excellent traction, helping drivers feel more confident behind the wheel. The car also comes equipped with Hill Descent Control, which enhances control and stability when driving on steep, snow-covered hills.

The XC40’s Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control System work together to reduce engine power, preventing wheel spin and maintaining stability on slippery roads. 2.

Volvo S60

The S60 is a luxury sedan that’s perfect for those looking for a car that can handle snowy and icy roads, without sacrificing performance. The car comes with all-wheel-drive, providing enhanced traction and stability on slippery, snowy roads.

Its advanced Electronic Stability Control System also helps drivers maintain control and stability when navigating slippery conditions. The car’s heated seats, steering wheel, and windshield wipers add an extra level of comfort, allowing drivers to enjoy a pleasant ride even when temperatures are freezing.

3. Volvo XC90

The XC90 is a larger luxury SUV that offers excellent handling, stability, and comfort on snow-covered roads.

The car’s all-wheel-drive system distributes power to all four wheels, providing maximum traction and stability when driving in snowy conditions. The XC90’s Electronic Stability Control System and Traction Control System work together to reduce engine power and prevent wheel spin, maintaining stability when driving downhill on snowy, slippery roads.

Its Air Suspension also allows drivers to adjust the car’s ride height, offering better control and comfort when driving in snowy conditions. 4.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

The V90 Cross Country is a luxury wagon that combines style, versatility, and winter driving capability. This car’s all-wheel-drive system distributes power to all four wheels, providing maximum stability and grip when driving in icy, snowy conditions.

The car also comes with a host of safety features, including Hill Descent Control, which enhances control and stability when navigating steep, snow-covered hills. Additionally, its Traction Control System automatically applies brakes to maintain grip and reduce wheel spin.

4. Volvo’s history with snow driving technology

Volvo cars have been a leader in the automotive industry in terms of safety and innovation.

In the 1970s, Volvo introduced a groundbreaking feature called the Lambda Sond, a sensor that monitors the amount of oxygen in the car’s exhaust system to improve fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. Today, Volvo has incorporated new features that enhance the cars’ winter driving capabilities.

These features are designed to provide drivers with a safer and more comfortable driving experience in winter conditions. One such feature is the all-wheel-drive system.

Volvo introduced an all-wheel-drive system in the 1990s, which was designed to improve the car’s handling and traction on snow and icy roads. This feature has since become a staple of Volvo’s winter driving capabilities, providing excellent handling, traction, and control on slippery roads.

Another feature that Volvo has developed is the Electronic Stability Control System, which helps drivers maintain control and stability on slippery roads by automatically applying the brakes and reducing engine power when wheel spin is detected. This feature is beneficial when navigating snowy, icy, or wet conditions.

Volvo has also developed Hill Descent Control, which maintains a steady speed when driving downhill on steep, snow-covered hills. This feature enhances stability and control while driving in snowy conditions, making it easier for drivers to navigate steep inclines.

In conclusion, Volvo cars are well-suited for winter driving, thanks to the extensive features that enhance their traction, stability, and comfort on slippery roads. Whether you opt for the compact XC40, mid-size S60, larger XC90, or versatile V90 Cross Country, you can be assured that you’re driving a car that’s designed for winter driving conditions.

5. Common mistakes to avoid while driving a Volvo in snow

Driving in snow is a challenge, even for experienced drivers.

There are some common mistakes that people make while driving on snow-covered roads, which can lead to accidents and other issues. Here are some common mistakes to avoid when driving a Volvo in snow.

1. Not clearing snow and ice from the car’s exterior

Before driving in snow, it’s crucial to clear the car’s exterior of snow and ice.

Snow and ice can obscure your view, making it difficult to see properly. Moreover, snow and ice can also fall off the car’s roof while driving, which can lead to accidents.

It’s crucial to clear all the snow and ice from the car’s roof, hood, windows, and mirrors before driving in the snow. 2.

Not adjusting speed

Driving too fast is one of the most common mistakes made while driving in snowy conditions. It’s crucial to adjust your speed depending on the road conditions and visibility.

Braking takes longer in snowy conditions, so it’s crucial to maintain a safe distance from other cars and reduce your speed when visibility decreases. 3.

Not using winter tires

Winter tires are designed to provide extra traction and control in snowy and icy conditions, making them essential for winter driving. Not using winter tires can make it difficult to maintain control and stability, especially on slippery roads.

4. Not using headlights

During snowy or cloudy days, visibility can decrease significantly, making it essential to use the headlights even during the daytime.

Turning on the headlights can help make the car more visible to other drivers on the road, which can prevent accidents. 5.

Improper braking

Drivers make the mistake of braking too hard on snowy or icy roads, causing the wheels to lock and leading to skidding. Try to avoid pressing the brake pedal too hard, and instead, apply gentle and consistent pressure.

6. Overconfidence

One of the most common mistakes drivers make while driving in snowy conditions is overconfidence.

It’s easy to assume that your car, especially a Volvo, can handle any driving condition, but it’s crucial to stay cautious and remain aware of the changing road conditions and the car’s response. 6.

Winter tire recommendations for Volvo

Driving in snow and icy conditions is challenging, and having the right set of tires makes all the difference. Winter tires are designed to provide extra traction and control, which is crucial for winter driving.

Here are some recommended winter tire options for Volvo cars. 1.

Bridgestone Blizzak WS90

The Bridgestone Blizzak WS90 is a premium winter tire designed for passenger cars, providing excellent traction and control on snowy and icy roads. These tires have an advanced tread design that enhances traction in slippery conditions and provides better handling and stability.

2. Continental Wintercontact SI

The Continental Wintercontact SI is a popular winter tire for Volvo cars, delivering exceptional performance and stability in winter conditions.

It provides superior winter traction and stability, making it perfect for driving in snow, ice, and cold weather conditions. 3.

Michelin Pilot Alpin 5

The Michelin Pilot Alpin 5 is a high-performance winter tire designed for ultimate performance on snow-covered and icy roads. It provides exceptional traction, handling, and stability, making it perfect for driving in winter conditions.

4. Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3

The Pirelli Winter Sottozero 3 is an excellent choice for those looking for a winter tire that provides comfort, safety, and performance.

It provides superior grip and handling on snow and ice, making it perfect for winter driving. 5.

Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3

The Nokian Hakkapeliitta R3 is a high-quality winter tire designed to provide ultimate performance in extreme winter conditions. Its advanced tread design provides excellent grip and traction on snow and ice, making it perfect for driving in harsh winter weather conditions.

In conclusion, winter tires are essential for safe and comfortable driving in winter conditions. Regardless of the choice of the tire, it’s crucial to ensure that they’re properly inflated, balanced, and installed before driving in snowy conditions.

Remember, winter tires are only effective if they’re used correctly. Drivers should also ensure that their driving habits are adjusted properly to winter conditions and remain aware of their Volvo car’s capabilities.

7. Tips for maintaining a Volvo for snow conditions

Proper maintenance is essential for ensuring your Volvo performs optimally in snow conditions.

Here are some tips for maintaining your Volvo for winter driving:

1. Check the battery

Cold weather can take a toll on car batteries, so it’s important to ensure your Volvo’s battery is in good condition.

Have it tested to ensure it has enough power to start in freezing temperatures. If needed, replace the battery to prevent any surprises in the middle of winter.

2. Monitor tire pressure

Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop, affecting the handling and traction of your Volvo.

Regularly check the tire pressure and keep it at the recommended level. This will ensure optimal grip and performance on snowy and icy roads.

3. Inspect the tires

Apart from maintaining proper pressure, it’s important to inspect the tires for any signs of wear and tear.

Ensure there is sufficient tread depth to provide adequate traction on slippery surfaces. Consider replacing tires that are worn out or switching to dedicated winter tires for added safety and control.

4. Test and replace the wipers

Good visibility is crucial in snowy conditions, so make sure your windshield wipers are in top condition.

Test them to ensure they effectively clear the windshield without leaving streaks. Replace any worn-out wiper blades to maintain clear visibility during snowfall.

5. Check the coolant

A properly functioning coolant system is essential for preventing engine damage due to freezing temperatures.

Check the coolant level and ensure it is a 50:50 mix of coolant and water to prevent freezing. If necessary, flush the system and replace the coolant to ensure proper protection in cold weather.

6. Keep an emergency kit

Snowstorms can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be prepared.

Keep an emergency kit in your Volvo that includes essentials such as a flashlight, extra warm clothing, a blanket, and a small shovel. Additionally, carry a bag of kitty litter or sand for providing traction under the tires if you get stuck in the snow.

8. Best practices for Volvo drivers in cold weather

Driving in cold weather requires extra caution and preparedness.

Here are some best practices for Volvo drivers to follow when navigating cold weather conditions:

1. Allow extra time

In cold weather, it’s crucial to allow extra time for your commute.

Start your journey a bit earlier to account for slower traffic, icy roads, and the need to clear snow and ice from your car. 2.

Warm up the engine

In extremely cold temperatures, give your Volvo a few minutes to warm up the engine before driving. This allows the oil to circulate properly and ensures optimal performance.

3. Clear snow and ice

Before heading out, completely clear your car of snow and ice.

Clear the snow from the roof, hood, windows, and lights to prevent it from blowing onto other vehicles or obscuring your own visibility. 4.

Use defrost and heating systems

Ensure your Volvo’s defrost and heating systems are functioning properly. Use the defrost setting to quickly clear any fog or frost from the windows.

This will prevent reduced visibility and help keep the interior comfortable. 5.

Drive smoothly and defensively

In slick conditions, drive smoothly and avoid sudden maneuvers like hard braking, accelerating, or turning. Gradual and controlled movements help maintain traction, stability, and control.

6. Increase following distance

In snowy conditions, it’s important to increase your following distance.

Leave plenty of space between you and the vehicle ahead to account for longer braking distances and potential skidding. 7.

Brake and accelerate gradually

To avoid skidding, brake and accelerate gradually. Sudden movements can cause the tires to lose traction and slide on slippery surfaces.

Smooth and gentle actions reduce the risk of losing control. 8.

Avoid cruise control

In slippery conditions, avoid using cruise control. This allows for better control and quick reaction to changing road conditions.

9. Avoid distractions

It’s even more important to stay focused and avoid distractions while driving in cold weather.

Maintain complete attention on the road to react quickly to any unforeseen situations. 10.

Practice defensive winter driving techniques

Defensive winter driving techniques include anticipating hazards, constantly scanning the road, and being prepared to react to other drivers’ actions. Stay vigilant and be on the lookout for slippery spots, black ice, and other potential dangers.

By following these best practices, Volvo drivers can ensure their safety and the safety of others while navigating cold weather conditions. Remember, it’s better to arrive a few minutes late than to put yourself at risk by rushing through treacherous winter weather.

9. Comparison between all-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive for a Volvo

When it comes to driving in snowy conditions, having a vehicle with enhanced traction and control is essential.

Volvo offers both all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel-drive (4WD) options in their vehicles. While both systems help improve traction, there are some key differences between AWD and 4WD.

In this section, we’ll compare AWD and 4WD for a Volvo, helping you make an informed decision when choosing the right drivetrain for snowy driving conditions.

All-Wheel-Drive (AWD)

Volvo’s all-wheel-drive system is designed to provide power to all four wheels, ensuring maximum traction in various road conditions, including snow and ice. Here are some of the advantages of AWD:


Improved traction: AWD systems distribute power to all four wheels, improving traction and reducing the chances of wheel slippage. This enhanced traction helps Volvo vehicles maintain stability and control in snowy driving conditions.

2. Enhanced handling: AWD improves the handling of the vehicle by optimizing power distribution between the front and rear wheels.

This results in better cornering abilities and increased stability on slippery roads. 3.

Automatic operation: Volvo’s AWD system is automatic, meaning it engages and disengages based on the road conditions and the demands placed on the vehicle. This allows the driver to focus on the road without having to worry about manually controlling the transfer of power.

4. Fuel efficiency: AWD systems have evolved over the years, and modern technology has improved efficiency.

Volvo has developed efficient AWD systems that activate only when needed, reducing drag and improving fuel economy.

Four-Wheel-Drive (4WD)

Four-wheel-drive is usually associated with vehicles designed for rugged off-road adventures. While Volvo does offer 4WD in some models, it’s important to understand how it differs from AWD for snowy driving conditions.

Here are some key aspects of 4WD:

1. Engageable or full-time: 4WD systems can either be engageable or full-time.

Engageable 4WD allows the driver to manually engage or disengage the system as needed, while full-time 4WD operates continuously, providing power to all four wheels at all times. 2.

Improved off-road capability: 4WD systems are typically designed for off-road driving and offer excellent capability in challenging terrains. They provide higher torque and can handle more extreme conditions than AWD systems.

3. Less fuel-efficient: 4WD systems tend to be less fuel-efficient due to their continuous operation.

The additional mechanical components and power requirements often result in lower fuel economy compared to AWD systems.

How to Get the Most out of Your Volvo in Snowy Driving Conditions

Driving in snowy conditions requires skill and preparation. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your Volvo in snowy driving conditions:


Use winter tires: Winter tires are designed to provide optimal traction and control on snowy and icy roads. They significantly enhance the performance of any drivetrain system, including AWD and 4WD.

Install a set of winter tires specifically designed for snowy conditions to maximize your Volvo’s capabilities. 2.

Drive at a safe speed: Adjust your speed to the road conditions and decrease your speed in snowy weather. This allows for better control and improves your ability to react to unexpected situations.

3. Maintain proper following distance: Increase your following distance to give yourself ample time to react and brake safely.

This is critical, as snowy roads increase braking distances. 4.

Avoid sudden maneuvers: Practice smooth and gradual acceleration, braking, and turning. Sudden movements can lead to reduced traction and loss of control on slippery roads.

5. Utilize driver-assistance features: Volvo vehicles are equipped with advanced driver-assistance features that can provide added safety in snowy conditions.

Features such as traction control, stability control, and anti-lock braking systems enhance traction and stability when driving in snow. 6.

Keep your vehicle maintained: Regular maintenance plays a crucial role in the performance of your Volvo, especially in snowy conditions. Ensure your tires are properly inflated, wipers are in good condition, and all systems are functioning optimally.

Regularly check your battery, coolant levels, and other essential components to prevent any unexpected issues while driving in the snow. 7.

Be cautious on ice: Even with a capable drivetrain system, driving on ice is inherently dangerous. Reduce your speed, avoid sudden maneuvers, and remain cautious when encountering icy patches on the road.

By following these tips and fully utilizing the capabilities of your Volvo, you can drive safely and confidently in snowy conditions. Remember, no matter the drivetrain system, it’s important to adjust your driving techniques and always prioritize safety.

11. Real-world tests of Volvo’s snow driving capabilities

Volvo has built a reputation for producing safe, reliable, and capable vehicles, particularly in snowy and winter driving conditions.

But how do Volvo vehicles actually perform in real-world snow driving tests? In this section, we’ll explore some real-world tests and reviews that showcase Volvo’s snow driving capabilities.

1. Car and Driver Snow Testing

Car and Driver magazine conducted a series of snow testing on various Volvo models, including the XC90, XC60, and V90 Cross Country.

In their tests, they were impressed by Volvo’s all-wheel-drive systems, which provided excellent traction and stability on snowy and icy roads. They noted that the Volvo models handled snowy conditions with ease and were able to maintain control even in challenging situations.

2. Auto Express Winter Tests

Auto Express, a renowned automotive publication, conducted winter tests on the Volvo XC40 and XC60.

They praised Volvo’s all-wheel-drive systems for providing impressive grip and traction on snow-covered roads. The XC60 particularly stood out for its stable handling, even in treacherous conditions.

Auto Express commended Volvo’s commitment to safety features, such as stability control and traction control, which helped to maintain control and confidence in snowy driving situations. 3.

The Fast Lane Car Snow Test

The Fast Lane Car, a YouTube channel dedicated to automotive reviews and testing, conducted a snow test on the Volvo XC90 T8 Plug-in Hybrid. The video showcased the XC90’s impressive handling on snowy mountain roads.

The host was particularly impressed by the all-wheel-drive system, which provided ample traction, stability, and control in deep snow, allowing the XC90 to confidently navigate snowy terrain. 4.

Consumer Reports Winter Driving Evaluations

Consumer Reports, a trusted source for product testing and reviews, evaluates vehicles in various driving conditions, including winter driving. In their evaluations, Volvo vehicles consistently received high marks for their winter driving capabilities.

In particular, the Volvo XC60 excelled in their tests, showcasing excellent traction, handling, and stability in snowy conditions. These real-world tests and reviews provide valuable insights into Volvo’s snow driving capabilities.

The consistent praise for Volvo’s all-wheel-drive systems, stability control, and traction control highlights the brand’s commitment to producing vehicles that excel in snowy and winter driving conditions. 12.

Differences between Volvo’s XC and V lines for snow driving

Volvo offers two distinct vehicle lines, the XC line and the V line, each suited for different driving needs and preferences. When it comes to snow driving, there are some notable differences between these lines.

In this section, we’ll explore the differences between Volvo’s XC and V lines for snow driving. 1.

Ground Clearance

The XC line, including models like the XC40, XC60, and XC90, are designed as sport utility vehicles (SUVs) with higher ground clearance. The increased ground clearance allows for better maneuverability in deep snow and helps prevent the vehicle from getting stuck.

This extra clearance is particularly beneficial when driving on unplowed roads or in areas with heavy snowfall. The V line, on the other hand, consists of Volvo’s wagons, including models like the V60 and V90.

While the V line vehicles still offer adequate ground clearance for most winter driving situations, they typically have slightly lower ground clearance compared to the XC line. This can mean a small disadvantage in extremely deep snow or off-road situations, but it doesn’t significantly impact the V line’s overall snow driving capabilities.

2. Body Style and Size

Another difference between the XC and V lines lies in their body styles and overall sizes.

The XC line consists of SUVs, which generally have a larger silhouette and higher seating position. This offers better visibility and a commanding view of the road, regardless of weather conditions.

The larger size of the XC line vehicles can also provide a sense of stability on snowy roads. On the other hand, the V line consists of wagons, which typically have a lower profile and a more aerodynamic design.

While wagons may offer slightly less road clearance, their lower center of gravity can provide enhanced handling and stability on slippery surfaces. 3.

Handling and Performance

Both the XC and V lines benefit from Volvo’s commitment to safety and performance, making them well-suited for winter driving conditions. The XC line’s SUV nature offers a more commanding presence on the road, while the V line’s wagon design emphasizes handling and agility.

Volvo’s all-wheel-drive systems are available across both the XC and V lines, and their advanced stability control and traction control systems ensure optimal handling and stability in snow and ice. These systems work in conjunction with Volvo’s expertly tuned suspensions to deliver excellent performance and confidence in snowy driving conditions.

In conclusion, both Volvo’s XC and V lines offer capable options for snow driving. The XC line’s SUV design, higher ground clearance, and larger size make it well-suited for deep snow and rugged winter conditions.

The V line’s lower profile and emphasis on handling and agility still provide excellent snow driving capabilities, albeit with slightly less ground clearance. Regardless of the line you choose, Volvo’s commitment to safety, all-wheel drive, and advanced technology ensures a capable and confident snow driving experience.

13. Snow safety features on newer Volvo models

Volvo has established itself as a frontrunner in automotive safety, and this commitment extends to their newer models’ snow-specific safety features.

These advanced technologies provide enhanced protection and assistance to drivers during snowy and icy conditions. In this section, we’ll explore some of the snow safety features found in newer Volvo models.

1. Snow Mode

Many newer Volvo models, such as the XC40, XC60, and XC90, offer a Snow Mode or Winter Mode feature.

This specialized driving mode adjusts the vehicle’s settings to optimize performance on slippery surfaces. It modifies torque distribution, throttle response, and the transmission’s gearshift points, allowing for smoother acceleration and improved traction in snowy conditions.

2. All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction

Volvo utilizes advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) systems in its newer models.

These AWD systems continuously monitor the road conditions and distribute power accordingly to the wheels with the most traction. This ensures optimal grip and stability on snowy and icy roads.

One notable AWD system is Volvo’s Instant Traction, which proactively transfers power to the wheels with the best grip, reducing wheel spin and maximizing traction. 3.

Stability and Traction Control

Volvo vehicles are equipped with advanced stability control and traction control systems. These technologies monitor vehicle behavior and intervene when necessary to help the driver maintain control on slippery surfac

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