Dan M., Pewaukee, Wis.

The Toyota Sienna is the only minivan that offers all-wheel drive, so it gets our vote as most likely to succeed in the conditions you describe. Sienna’s all-wheel-drive system is the on-demand type that normally operates in front-wheel drive and automatically transfers some power to the rear wheels in slippery conditions when the front wheels lose traction. It automatically reverts to front-wheel drive when traction is restored at the front and, to save fuel, sends power to the rear wheels only when necessary.


All other minivans have front-wheel drive and standard traction control, which applies the brakes to one or more drive wheels when they lose traction and/or reduces engine power until the wheels regain traction.

That may be all you need most of the time, but the Sienna’s all-wheel-drive system temporarily provides more grip, though you have no control over when it’s engaged. You can turn off most traction control systems with a dashboard switch, and that lets you try to get through snow or up slippery inclines the old-fashioned way, by gunning the engine and attempting to power your way through.

Learn more

Answered by Rick Popely on August 8, 2011 in Toyota , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

Search Results

Ask.cars.com Search Results for


See if your question has already been asked and answered

Thank You!

Your question has been successfully submitted to Ask.cars.com. It will now be reviewed by our editors and we'll answer it soon if we think it's a useful question. You will be notified via e-mail when the answer is posted. Ask.cars.com tackles your questions about new cars and the car-buying process. Unfortunately we can't answer questions regarding:

  • Used cars.
  • Most aftermarket products.
  • Mechanical issues. You can visit our friends at Car Talk to discuss your mechanical problems.
Thanks for your interest.


Have our experts answer any of your questions about new cars.

Email us at tips@cars.com

Maintenance Advice
Get answers from the
Car Talk Community