Toyota Corolla In Snow & Winter Driving? (Explained)

For many, winter is a harsh reality that brings with it bitterly cold days and slippery surfaces that make driving treacherous.

The Toyota Corolla has a long history for being a reliable and safe vehicle.

But can it get you through winter? Let’s find out!

Here is the short answer to whether the Toyota Corolla is good for snow and winter driving:

While it doesn’t have AWD or 4WD, the Toyota Corolla has a plethora of features that boost traction and safety in winter driving situations. It comes with Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Assist, ABS, and Electronic Brakeforce Distribution for safer driving on winter roads. 

Is a Toyota Corolla Good in the Snow?

These days, most people don’t buy a sedan for winter driving. They’d rather get a pickup truck or an SUV. But SUVs and trucks can be expensive.

And you may not need a vehicle that big, particularly if you don’t have a large family or haul heavy loads.

You’d probably want to ask, ‘are sedans good in snow? More importantly, are Toyota Corollas good in snow?’ From what we can tell, it’s a yes to both questions.

Despite their low ground clearance, sedans are suitable for navigating snow-covered roads.

Sedans are well-proportioned and lower to the ground than, say, an SUV, thus they offer better control on slick, snowy roads.

In fact, having higher ground clearance increases the risk of rolling over while driving. It is common to see larger vehicles slipping on snow-covered roads and tumbling over.

The lower center of gravity means your Corolla sedan can hug the road closely, forestalling any chance of it rolling over.

However, the low ground clearance may be problematic if the snow is higher than average. In such situations, your Toyota Corolla could get stuck in snow, leaving you with no option except to tow it home.

How well your Toyota Corolla can handle snow depends on what type of snow you encounter.

A Toyota Corolla should have no problems handling the occasional light or medium snow. However, deep snow may present a problem for any Corolla model.

In this light, we’d advise getting a bigger Toyota model such as the RAV4 or Tacoma truck if your region gets thick snow regularly.

Make sure to also read our article on driving the Toyota Tacoma in snow and winter.

What Features Will Improve Winter Driving?

Winter driving is a different kettle of fish compared to summer driving. In winter, roads are slippery and present a higher danger of hydroplaning.

To navigate roads in winter, you need a car that guarantees stability and control on the slickest surfaces.

As you will find out, the Toyota Corolla has many of the aforementioned qualities.

Here are some features on the Toyota Corolla that improve its winter driving capabilities:

1. Traction Control System

This feature works by constantly monitoring the tires and providing extra traction and grip when it senses the tires slipping.

Usually, the TCS works in slippery conditions such as loose gravel or sand where tires can’t grip the surface properly.

But it is also valuable for navigating roads in winter, as it can prevent the wheels from slipping on snowy or wet surfaces.

2. Brake Assist

Braking on snow or ice is much harder than anywhere else. In fact, most drivers agree that braking distances are significantly higher on wet surfaces than on dry surfaces.

As you can’t quickly stop the vehicle, your chances of being involved in a crash or collision increase significantly.

The Toyota Corolla’s Brake Assist feature helps maximize brake power in emergency braking situations. This is helpful when trying to brake on slippery surfaces.

Brake Assist will reduce braking distance by up to 30 percent, allowing you to brake safely and quickly on snow or ice.

3. Electronic BrakeForce Distribution

This feature compensates for shifting weight during hard braking. It minimizes braking pressure on the wheels carrying the least amount of weight, allowing you to maintain control of your vehicle.

When you brake hard, especially on slick surfaces, your wheels can lock up from the pressure increasing the chances of losing control. The EBD prevents that by reducing brake pressure.

4. Anti-Lock Braking System

The anti-lock braking system is similar to the EBD system we discussed earlier. It works by using wheel speed sensors to prevent wheel lockup.

When it detects potential wheel lockup during braking, ABS pulses the brakes until the wheel in question rolls at the same speed as others. This ultimately prevents the vehicle from skidding off the road.

ABS is useful for driving in winter because it lets you apply maximum power required to brake on a slippery surface (ice or snow) without fear of wheel lockup.

5. Vehicle Stability Control

On snow and ice, the threat of losing traction and veering off-course while driving is real. The Vehicle Stability Control feature on the Toyota Corolla is designed to prevent exactly that.

The VSC uses data from the steering wheel sensors and anti-lock braking system (ABS) to detect wheel slippage and loss of control.

When the VSC senses that your Corolla is out of control, it reduces–or cuts completely; the power provided to the wheels.

It follows this up by pulsing the brakes on both sides to correct your car’s course. Both actions will keep your vehicle on-course and prevent it from skidding.

Also check out our article on where Toyota Corollas are made.

Does a Corolla Have Snow Mode?

The Snow Mode feature is common in many vehicles. The feature adjusts the engine and transmission, allowing you to launch a vehicle with minimal torque and power.

This way, it prevents wheel spin responsible for loss of control, especially on slippery surfaces such as snow.

Unfortunately, the Toyota Corolla doesn’t have a dedicated Snow Mode button like the Highlander or RAV4 SUVs do.

But even without the snow mode, the Toyota Corolla is still a mean beast on snow. The number of features that improve its winter driving ability is a proof of this.

Can You Install Additional Snow Gear on Corollas?

Sometimes, navigating snowy roads takes more than just having a good car. There are products designed to increase your car’s ability to tackle snowy elements.

Popular snow gear for vehicles including the Toyota Corolla include:

  • Snow chains
  • Snow socks
  • Snow tires

We do have lots of cargo space in the trunk of the Corolla so you can fit all this gear as needed.

All the aforementioned can very well fit on your Toyota Corolla. In fact, it is advisable to purchase snow gear as soon as you buy your car.

Particularly if you live in an area that gets snow year-round, snow gear will reduce the risk that comes with driving on snowy roads.

However, you must be careful when installing snow gear on your Toyota Corolla. For example, your choice of snow chain should match your tire size. Getting one that doesn’t fit your tire may cause problems while driving.

Similarly, if you are removing snow tires, have it done at a Toyota dealership or a reputed tire dealer.

Removing snow tires can affect your Corolla’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (if it has one), which can be an expensive problem to fix.

The same advice applies to snow socks and any other additional snow gear you want to put on your Toyota Corolla.

Also check our article on 11 Toyota Corolla statistics you should know.

How Much Snow Can a Corolla Handle?

The Toyota Corolla is a sedan with decent ground clearance at 6.7 inches. Naturally, that means you can drive on light to medium snow.

But it may not be wise to drive your Corolla in deep snow, except you want to get stuck and have your vehicle towed away.

To give an estimate, we’d say three to four inches of snow is about what your Toyota Corolla can handle. Anything more and you’re asking for snow to fill up your wheel wells, which will surely ground your car to a halt.

How Do Corollas Handle Low Winter Temperatures?

Because of various factors, many cars find it difficult to handle low winter temperatures and may not start on cold mornings.

However, the Toyota Corolla hardly faces any of these problems. In fact, your Corolla needs about 30 seconds to start, even in freezing temperatures.

However, your Toyota Corolla may fail to start on cold winter mornings because:

  • Your battery is dead or needs replacement
  • You’re using the wrong oil
  • You have water in your fuel lines

Please also read our article about how long Toyota Corollas last.

Can a Toyota Corolla Drive on Ice?

Driving on snow requires the ability to plow through heavy snow, something the Toyota Corolla isn’t particularly suited for.

On the other hand, driving on ice requires an ability to deliver traction and stability. With its low center of gravity and lightweight frame, the Toyota Corolla is good for driving on ice.

The low center of gravity increases stability while driving on slick, ice-covered surfaces. In addition, the low body mass reduces risk of a rollover crash, which is common on icy roads.

Does the Corolla Have 4WD?

The Toyota Corolla doesn’t come with four-wheel-drive and uses a front-wheel-drive (FWD) system instead. However, lack of 4WD doesn’t diminish the Corolla’s winter driving cred.

The FWD actually has good traction in slippery conditions because the engine’s weight rests on the front wheels, increasing road grip.

What About Older Corolla Models and Winter Driving?

Over the years, Toyota Corollas have improved their winter driving capabilities. However, this is not to say older models were unsuited to driving in winter.

In fact, many of the features that enhance winter driving on today’s Corollas were present in older versions.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS) was introduced in 1983; Brake Assist in 1997; and Electronic Brake-Force Distribution in 1999.

Do Corollas Need Snow Tires?

Yes, Toyota Corollas very much need snow tires to drive safely in winter. Summer tires are not fit for use for use in winter conditions.

And all-season tires, while better, won’t get enough traction in serious snow or ice.

If you plan to use your Toyota Corolla in winter, we recommend investing in a set of dedicated snow tires.

Can You Mount A Snow Plow On A Corolla?

Most snowplows are made for use on large-sized vehicles such as pickup trucks, ATVs, farm trucks, etc.

Installing a snow plow on a sedan like a Corolla is highly impractical and is something we’d advise against.

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