Yeah I wouldn't either in DC. But if you live in an area with consistent winter driving conditions, you'll really need good winter tires. SUVs and AWD cars with all-seasons on litter the roads on any snowstorm day in the northeast winter zone. People don't realize that 4 wheels with no traction are little better than two, and that AWD may help you get going by using all the available traction, but it doesn't help you stop.All of my cars were on OE tires. I don't run summer/winter sets.
My GL's were quite reliable.
I'll disagree on tires - they make a huge difference. We would always opt for the F-150 over the XC90 in the snow. The XC90 was horrible with the OE Michelins. Then I bought a set of Nokian WR-SUV tires, and the personality of the car in snow changed completely. The Nokians made it very surefooted, and we always feel comfortable driving it.In today's world it's is more than the 4-wheel drive system and more than the tires themselves; it's the vehicle.
Think back on your driving history. My first car was an MG. Even with snow tires it was the worst. Once it even got stuck on level, hard packed snow. In grad school I owned a Datsun 510, a poor man's BMW. Had to have "the look" and installed wide tires. School in Utah in the winter with those tires was not a good choice, but that car got around just fine. The IRS perhaps? My VW was excellent in snow as was the reward I bought for myself, a new Carrera, but those had the help of rear weight. The Explorer AWD V8 was excellent with Michelin LTX M/S and much better than my XC90 which has the OEM all seasons - soon to be replaced with something better. My wife drives to work in a commuter car, a front wheel drive Focus with all season tires. Absolutely horrible in snow of any depth.
The point, of course, is, it's much more than the tires or the 4- wheel drive system and don't ask me why - it just is. We all know cars that are excellent in snow but not necessarily why. So look at the total package, don't go wide on the tires and if you drive half the year in a snow filled environment use dedicated snow tires for the snow period. It's my belief all 4-wheel drive systems today are pretty good, pretty quick to engage and will meet your requirements. It's the vehicle dynamics and let's not forget the driver - a very big influence.