Transcript of the video audio.
Compact SUV are the hottest segment in the auto industry. They are pitched as affordable, go anywhere mighty mites. But how well do these small All wheel drive SUV deal with the worst winter weather?

With our Connecticut Auto test center in winter's frigid grip, Consumer reports piloted three of the most popular compact SUVs still wearing their standard all season tires around our track to find out .

We performed straight line acceleration, braking, hill climbing , and cornering evaluations of a 2015 Honda CRV, Subaru Forester and Toyota Rav4. What we found is that not all AWD systems are created equal.

Vehicles reflect a complete system: their tires, stability control, and All-wheel-drive setup determine how well they perform in the snow. Our judgement reflect our actual experience over weeks of driving in different snow conditions, but there are variables in snow texture consistency and traction based on changing temperature as well as how many vehicles drive through the snow. That makes repeatable tests difficult to create. That said, we performed exhaustive evaluations over weeks of the worst winter in New England's recent history. We found a clear winner in our examination.

Acceleration test:

On the acceleration test from 0 to 60 miles an hour, all three vehicles were several seconds slower in the snow than an dry pavement, obviously, but while all three had nearly identical dry pavement acceleration times of around 9 seconds, there was a 2.3 second gap between the Forester and Rav4 when driving in the snow.

 2015 subaru forester acceleration comparison chartThe Subaru Forester accelerated in 12.1 seconds,
the Honda CR-V had a time of 13.3 seconds,
and the Toyota Rav4 was the worst with a time of 14.4 seconds.

Braking test:

As for braking from 60 miles an hour, the Rav4 and Forester were able to stop at about the same distance. It is still taking more than double the distance of what it would take to stop when braking on dry pavement, but the Honda CRV took 50 feet further to come to a stop.

The Toyota Rav4 was able to come to a stop after 391 feet. The Subaru Forester took second place with 406 feet , and the Honda CR-v was the worst with a total distance of 451 feet.

Hill Climbing test:

We also climbed a steep hill covered with fresh snow. Here the Subaru did remarkably better than the Honda and Toyota. The Forester's Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system allows a certain amount of wheel slip while climbing, which helped it maintain it's momentum in a pitch. The CR-V and Rav4 feel less responsive to a foot on a gas pedal.

Ultimate Driving test:

The real differences appeared when we drove the SUVs around our unplowed handling course. The Subaru cornered the way people expect an All wheel drive car to drive. We can feel the power directed to all foor wheels at different times to help stay on course. It felt well balanced, and allowed us to make mis corner adjustments without losing traction. Stability control wasn't overbearing but help when needed.

By contrast the Honda felt like a front wheel drive car. It required more driver input and would initially continue straight rather than steer through a corner. But it could be persuaded to rotate by lifting quickly off the throttle and giving it a stab of steering input. The stability control system prevented the SUV from spinning out, but ultimately the CR-V inspired less confidence than the Forester.

The Toyota was by far the least able in snow cornering. The Rav4 often didn't respond to steering, braking and throttle inputs, plowing straight through curves, and all-wheel-drive locking feature sense equal power to the front and rear wheels but it disengages at 25 miles per hour. The only solution that really worked was to slow down to a crawl before reaching a corner.

The Subaru Forester is the clear winner

But don't just take our word for it, in our survey of nearly 50,000 subscribers who drove for more than 6 days in the snow last year on their original all season tires, three Subaru vehicles including the Forester topped our list as best in snow. For more on all wheel drive vehicles performing winter weather check out

You can further your Subaru Forester research on reading what Consumer Reports has to say on the 2016 Subaru Forester. and also checking out these extra videos on Subaru performance.

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