10 Best Cars For Colorado in 2024 (Do I Need an SUV?)

Colorado is a great place to own a car. The state’s roads are well-maintained, but the weather tends to snow all year round. It always snows each month of the year, but the snow is mainly from October – to late April.

Since the weather is always cold, road conditions in Colorado tend to be slippery due to snow. That’s why when choosing a vehicle for use in Colorado, you must focus on a car that performs well through snow, ice, sleet, and rain.

So, What is the best vehicle for Colorado?

A vehicle with AWD or 4WD with adequate ground clearance would perform well in Colorado. An AWD SUVS like the Subaru Forester, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota RAV4 are good choices for a Colorado. These vehicles can handle the state’s diverse weather conditions and terrain. They are also all big enough to navigate the state’s roads comfortably.

Here is a list of cars I recommend if you live in Colorado.

Subaru Outback

  • Class: Compact SUV 5 Seats
  • Starting Price: $28,895 MSRP
Subaru Outback in Snow Pictures

The Subaru Outback stands out for various reasons. It boasts standard all-wheel drive and EyeSight Driver Assist, making it an ideal choice for off-roading and navigating through winter weather conditions.

Reliability is a key feature of the Outback, ensuring you can venture without fearing breaking down in remote areas. Additionally, its spacious interior accommodates all your gear, making it a practical choice for any adventure. In Colorado, where winters can be harsh, the Subaru Outback emerges as an excellent car option.

Catering to families, this SUV provides a comfortable driving experience, ample interior space, and various tech features to enhance your journey.

Beneath the hood lies a 2.5-liter engine generating 182 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.4-liter engine with 260 horsepower is available for those seeking more power.

Impressive fuel efficiency is another highlight, with 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Subaru Outback’s ground clearance is notably high at around 9.5 inches, further complemented by the capability to tackle cold Colorado winters when equipped with winter tires.

Jeep Grand Cherokee

  • Class: Midsize SUV 5 Seats
  • Starting Price: $36,495 MSRP
Jeep Grand Cherokee in Snow Pictures

The Jeep Grand Cherokee, a formidable 4X4 SUV, is tailor-made for off-roading and challenging winter conditions. Renowned for its reliability, this vehicle ensures peace of mind during remote journeys, eliminating concerns about unexpected breakdowns. Its spacious interior easily accommodates all your gear, and the comfortable driving experience allows extended trips without fatigue.

In the context of Colorado’s diverse terrain and unpredictable weather, the Jeep Grand Cherokee stands out as an exceptional choice. Boasting an impressive ground clearance of 13.3 inches, it navigates through various landscapes easily.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is equipped with four proven 4×4 systems and well-prepared for all weather conditions. The Quadra Trac II technology, in its 4WD system, excels in extreme road conditions, including wet, sandy, muddy, or snowy surfaces—ideal for the frequent snowfall experienced in Colorado throughout the year, akin to the conditions in Alaska.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee offers several specialized driving modes that are adaptable to road conditions. Activating the snow mode ensures a smooth ride on Denver’s snow-covered roads. Not all models have a 4X4 drive wheel system; the Limited, Limited X, Trailhawk, and SRT models exclusively feature the 4X4 drive systems.

Honda Pilot

  • Class: Midsize SUV 7-8 Seats
  • Starting Price: $37,090 MSRP
Honda Pilot Towing a Trailer
2024 Honda Pilot Towing a Trailer

The Honda Pilot is another excellent SUV option for Colorado, featuring all-wheel drive that enhances its off-roading capabilities and performance in winter weather.

With a reputation for reliability, the Pilot assures remote journeys, eliminating concerns about unexpected breakdowns. Its spacious interior easily accommodates all your gear, while the comfortable driving experience allows for extended trips without fatigue.

Renowned as a fitting SUV for Colorado, the Honda Pilot is equipped with a robust 280-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine and boasts a 7.3-inch ground clearance. These features contribute to its reliability in diverse weather conditions, making it adept at tackling mountainous roads.

For those seeking a slightly smaller option, Honda offers the Honda Passport, a rugged midsize SUV with a potent V6 engine. Ready for all weather and road conditions, the Passport provides a compelling alternative for individuals who find the Pilot’s size to be on the larger side.

Hyundai Tucson

  • Class: Compact SUV 5 Seats
  • Starting Price: $27,500 MSRP
Hyundai Tucson Hybrid Pictures

The Korean compact SUV underwent a comprehensive redesign last year, showcasing a masculine style, a contemporary interior, and a long list of safety and driving comfort features.

The Hyundai Tucson stands out as an outstanding option for Colorado residents. Its HTRAC all-wheel-drive system proves invaluable in various weather conditions, enhancing the vehicle’s overall performance.

The 2024 Hyundai Tucson has a 2.5-liter engine, producing 187 horsepower. Additionally, a hybrid model is available for eco-conscious consumers, providing an alternative fuel-efficient choice.

It’s important to note that the HTRAC AWD system is exclusively offered on SE, SEL, XRT, N Line, and Limited trims, ensuring that drivers can enjoy enhanced traction and control in challenging road conditions.

Toyota RAV4

  • Class: Compact SUV 5 Seats
  • Starting Price: $28,675 MSRP
White Toyota RAV4 Off-Road

The Toyota RAV4 presents an excellent option for individuals seeking an SUV without needing a larger vehicle. Renowned for its reliability, the RAV4 ensures peace of mind, eliminating concerns about unexpected breakdowns even in remote locations.

In the context of Colorado, the Toyota RAV4 emerges as a stellar choice. With an impressive ground clearance of 8.1 inches, it navigates various terrains easily. Including Dynamic Torque-Vectoring All-Wheel Drive further enhances its capability, making light work of snowy roads in Colorado.

Moreover, the Toyota RAV4 offers versatility with options for gas, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid models, catering to different preferences and environmental considerations. This adaptability, combined with its reliability and performance features, solidifies the RAV4 as a well-rounded choice for individuals in Colorado.

Ford Explorer

  • Class: Midsize SUV 7 Seats
  • Starting Price: $36,860 MSRP
Ford Explorer Off-road reliability

The Ford Explorer, a mid-size SUV, is another excellent choice for those seeking a reliable and spacious vehicle for their daily driving needs, particularly in Colorado.

Known for its reliability, the Explorer offers peace of mind, ensuring you won’t have to worry about unexpected breakdowns during your journeys. With three rows of seating, it caters to larger families or groups, providing ample space for everyone. Choosing between rear-wheel drive (RWD) and upgrade to four-wheel drive (4WD) adds to its adaptability, especially in diverse road conditions.

The Ford Explorer distinguishes itself as one of the most powerful SUVs in its class, offering three engine options: the 2.3L, 3.0L EcoBoost, and 3.3L Hybrid Engine. This variety allows consumers to select the powertrain that best suits their preferences and needs.

The intelligent four-wheel-drive (4WD) control system in the all-new Ford Explorer enhances its performance, optimizing engine power and the braking system to deliver the right traction for various driving conditions. This feature is particularly beneficial on snowy or slippery roads.

Considering Colorado’s weather conditions, it’s worth noting that while the standard RWD drive system is available, upgrading to the 4WD version, equipped with Intelligent 4WD, is recommended for enhanced performance in snowy road conditions. Though the upgrade comes at an additional cost, the benefits in terms of traction and control during adverse weather conditions make it a worthwhile investment.

Ford F-150

  • Class: Full-Size Pickup Truck
  • Starting Price: $34,595 MSRP
Ford F-150 in Snowy Road Pictures

The Ford F-150 pickup truck proves to be an excellent option for individuals requiring a reliable vehicle for both work and daily driving, particularly in the versatile terrain of Colorado.

Renowned for its reliability, the F-150 ensures peace of mind, eliminating concerns about unexpected breakdowns even in remote locations. Its spacious design caters to those with extensive gear, making it well-suited for various professional and personal needs.

In the context of Colorado, the Ford F-150 stands out as a commendable choice. Boasting a robust ground clearance of 11.5 inches, it navigates through diverse terrains easily.

The availability of different engine options further enhances its appeal, allowing users to choose the powertrain that aligns with their specific requirements.

While the F-150 offers versatility, it’s essential to note that opting for the 4X4 drive system comes with an additional cost. However, considering the prevalence of icy roads in Colorado, the investment in 4X4 is recommended for optimal performance and traction, especially in challenging weather conditions.

The added capability of a 4X4 drive system makes the Ford F-150 well-equipped to handle the varying terrains and weather conditions that Colorado often presents.

Honda Ridgeline

  • Class: Compact Pickup Truck
  • Starting Price: $38,800 MSRP
Honda Ridgeline Pictures

The Honda Ridgeline emerges as an excellent choice for individuals seeking a truck with ample space for gear without opting for a full-size truck. Its unique design sets it apart from other trucks, making it an appealing option.

Designed with versatility in mind, the Honda Ridgeline has different driving modes that are beneficial in various weather conditions. Its agility, spacious interior, and array of features contribute to its overall appeal.

An attractive feature of the Ridgeline is the standard Intelligent Variable Torque Management™ AWD System, eliminating the need for an additional cost to access an AWD system. This inclusion enhances its performance and traction, which is particularly useful in Colorado’s diverse terrains and weather conditions.

The fuel consumption of the Honda Ridgeline is commendable, with an efficiency rating of 18/24/21. While it may not match the power of a full-size truck like the F-150, the Ridgeline’s 3.5L VTEC V6 engine, delivering 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque, proves more than adequate for daily needs.

For owners not requiring the capabilities of a traditional pickup truck, the Honda Ridgeline offers a satisfying and well-rounded solution, combining practicality with unique design elements.

Chrysler Pacifica

  • Class: 7 Passengers Minivans
  • Starting Price: $39,400 MSRP
Chrysler Pacifica AWD in Snow Pictures

Undoubtedly, the Chrysler Pacifica stands out as the best minivan available today, especially notable for being one of the few minivans, along with the Toyota Sienna, equipped with an All-wheel Drive (AWD) system.

The inclusion of AWD distinguishes the Chrysler Pacifica from the typical minivan, enabling it to navigate challenging roads, including snowy conditions, with exceptional capability.

The Pacifica’s comfortable interior, characteristic of a minivan, positions it as an ideal family vehicle for residents in Colorado. Negotiating snowy streets becomes a hassle-free experience, making it suitable for daily tasks such as commuting to the office or dropping off children at school during winter conditions.

With a starting price of about $40,000, the Chrysler Pacifica offers affordability and versatility.

The availability of AWD in the Touring L, Limited, and Pinnacle trim levels ensures that individuals seeking enhanced traction and performance in adverse weather conditions have suitable options.

Overall, the Chrysler Pacifica presents a compelling choice for families in Colorado, combining practicality, comfort, and all-weather capability in a minivan package.

Toyota Camry

  • Class: Midsize Car
  • Starting Price: $26,220 MSRP
Toyota Camry Pictures

The Camry is a great car for Colorado. It’s comfortable and efficient, with plenty of features to keep you safe on the road. It is a family sedan that can handle snow and ice well. The latest model comes with a selection of fuel-friendly engines to save money on your commute.

How can it handle Colarados’s snowy road?

It takes Colarados’s snowy highway by having an all-wheel drive. The Toyota Camry has some features that make it suitable for Colorado. One of those features is all-wheel drive, which helps with traction on slippery roads.

The Camry is also comfortable and efficient, which can help when you’re driving long distances in the snow. Another feature that makes the Camry good for Colorado is its fuel efficiency. With the new models, you can save money on your monthly gas bill.

One drawback of the Toyota Camry on snowy roads is that its ground clearance isn’t high enough, making driving difficult in heavy snow, although it’s good on light snow roads.


Do I Need an SUV For Colorado?

You don’t always need an SUV in Colorado, but it is the best bet. The state’s roads are well-maintained but also curvy and hilly in some areas. An SUV can handle these conditions better than most other types of cars.

So, an SUV is a good choice for a vehicle in Colorado. But, if a person does not need an SUV for their daily driving, they may want to consider a different type of car. The following are cars that are recommended when staying in Colorado.

What kind of car is best for Denver?

Because the roads of Denver are frequently covered in snow, a vehicle with all-wheel drive and adequate ground clearance is the best option. Aside from that, it is critical to consider several other car features for slippery Denver roads due to snow, such as Traction Control, Stability Control, Engine Block Heater, Heated mirrors, Winter Tires, etc.

Do I need a 4-wheel drive to live in Denver?

An AWD or even FWD car will be able to handle the streets of Denver very well. However, if you want to drive further into the mountains for a skiing or snowboarding trip, a 4WD SUV or truck is ideal.

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