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Moving to a House on a Hill Best Mid Size AWD Options

SaphireSaphire Posts: 19
edited August 14 in General

We live in a flat area but leasing another car this month hopefully and it will be living for the next year on a very hilly and snowy street. I recently encountered the hill for the first time and my relatively new highlander was making noises going up the hill. As soon as it was parked I had to put the parking brake on and was nervous walking behind it when it was parked facing uphill. Plus I (middle aged) was struggling walking up and down the hill because it was so steep.

Are there brands that I should avoid because their transmissions cannot take it? Looking at mid price AWD SUVs, Mazda CX5, Rogue AWD, Honda CRV, Altima AWD or Lexus UX250h or RAV4 AWD. Would consider other Japanese and Korean brands. Generally will not buy European cars. Considered Subaru but no deals in my area. I may buy the car at the end of the lease because the residuals are pretty good (I always say that but it never happens).

Will I be destroying the transmission in the first year? If I sound naive it is because I have always lived in a flat area. After a year or two the car will be returning to the flat area. If there is someplace that is better for this discussion, please point me.

Also if anyone has general tips on hill driving and loading and unloading while parked on a huge hill I would appreciate it


  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 167,139

    You should always use your parking brake, every time. No matter the grade. Setting your parking brake actually takes pressure off of your transmission.

    Also, the noise you hear is the AWD system working as designed. Going up and down steep hills won't damage your transmission.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • oldfarmer50oldfarmer50 Posts: 16,191
    edited August 14
    If it’s that steep and snowy get a Jeep Wrangler. Going up steep stuff is what it was made for. You could even put a plow on it and clear the hill on the way back down.

    The only transmission I would avoid would be a CVT.

    2019 Kia Soul+, 2015 Mustang GT, 2004 Chevy Van, 2000 Chrysler Sebring convertible

  • akanglakangl Posts: 3,708
    Living in Alaska for the past 30+ years and dealing with horrible roads, ice, hills, favorite vehicle of all time was my 2017 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, there was literally NOTHING it couldn't get through. I dumped it in the ditch more than once (my fault) and it always climbed its way out. Hills, snow, ice, nothing stopped it. Another good choice is a Jeep Grand Cherokee, the 4 wheel drive systems that Jeeps have are hard to beat.
  • SaphireSaphire Posts: 19
    Are CVTs that bad? We have a 2005 Ford that has it and it still lives!

    Interesting about the Jeeps, I was looking at the Cherokee. I tried the Compass but struggled to see out the back window. The wrangler is not comfortable for long trips but will look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee, they seem to have incentives on them now
  • texasestexases Posts: 9,330
    edited August 19
    Most important thing is to get a set of winter tires on rims, I used Tire Rack for that. 'All season' tires don't work nearly as well. I drove a FWD VW GTI for 12 years in Anchorage, didn't get stuck. With your hills a decent AWD should work fine with winter tires.
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