If you live in a tropical climate, most of your vehicle purchasing concerns will be essentially the same as if you lived anywhere else – you want a car that looks good, offers decent gas mileage, and suits the passenger and cargo space requirements of you and your family. You are also, however, going to have to consider the best type of vehicle to drive when the rainy season hits, and you’re buffeted by all that wet and wind.
With tropical dwellers in mind, we have evaluated a number of used vehicles, and determined that your best choices come from the all-wheel drive family. Our top picks are the Toyota Rav4, Subaru Impreza, Toyota Sienna, Kia Sportage, and Toyota Matrix.
Toyota Rav4: This mid-size SUV has a reputation for performing very well in even the sloppiest weather. It is also a good-looking vehicle, and has several navigational features.
Subaru Impreza: The Impreza is not by any means the most expensive all-wheel drive (AWD) sedan on the market, but if you want a vehicle that can hold its own against even a BMW without the hefty price tag, consider this great car that will hug the road even in the worst tropical downpour.
Toyota Sienna: This minivan seats up to eight, or you can remove or fold down the seats for additional cargo space. Like the Rav4, it also has a reputation for superb performance in nasty weather.
Kia Sportage: This crossover is attractive, loaded with features, and offers anti-skid technology for even greater safety. The Sportage will get you where you need to go, and it performs very well under adverse driving conditions.
Toyota Matrix: The Matrix is basically a Corolla with a hatchback, and it delivers all the reliability that has been the trademark of the Corolla for the past 50 years. With AWD and anti-lock brakes, you can drive safely even in a downpour. Of course, you should take it easy just the same, since not everyone on the road is driving a Matrix.
When the skies cloud over and the rain pours down in tropical climates, you are always better off with an AWD. We recommend any of these five vehicles for superior handling and safety in inclement conditions.