I have never had a problem getting to my ski destination with an AWD subi and All season tires. You just need to drive smart and not be in a hurry and anticipate what the other drivers might do.
If "drive smart" means drive slow, then all season tires work. Ski areas are the easiest places to get to. I've been at the mountain when the lifts opened hundreds of times, but I've never been to a ski area before the access road and parking lots were plowed. For a lot of people their own driveway is the hardest part of the drive. But if you want to make decent time on a 50 mile drive on an interstate, or pass the plows on the Thruway, or use county roads, or if you need to go over App Gap, snow tires beat AWD every time.
Regarding "Snow TIres", based on Consumer Reports I bought the Falcon Euro Winters as they were rated higher on dry pavement, but slightly worse in snow than something like the Blizzaks. Unless you're on unplowed streets all the time, you still want tires that can stop on highway pavement.
Road & Track ran a Focus RS around Michigan International Speedway a few years ago. Then they switched out the high performance summer tires for snow tires. The snow tires were 3% slower, which I'm thinking makes them 80% better than the tires on every crappy Subaru I have to avoid.
a used Subie will be more reliable then a used VW..
Thats a bit of a crap shoot. Having owned an Outback GT and a number of friends who owned 2008-2014 impreza hatchbacks, I can definitely say Subaru's Subarus quality control left a lot to be desired. Two people in those impreza hatches had catalytic converter failures, one right around 60k and the other around 80k. One friend with the 2014 impreza had to have Subaru do a long block replacement due to what sendup being numerous issues with the engine from nearly day one.
Based on him saying a Golf TSI, he's referring to a VW from the last 3 years, if not brand new. Id take VW's 1.8 Turbo TSI engine with an Aisin 09G transmission any day over Subaru's terribly aged 2.0 mated with a CVT.
To the main topic, I went from years with a 4WD/AWD SUV and car to a FWD's with snows, and I was blown away how well the snows made an impact and completely changed my perception. That being said an AWD with Snows is the holy grail.
But always remember that a car behind you is less likely to cause you problems then one in front of you
I worry about the guy behind me too. If someone stops short or if there is danger in front, and I know someone is behind me, I try to use up as much space as I can to safely stop, giving the guy behind me the best chance of not running into me.
Not sure if that is correct, but it is what I do.
"You just need to go at that shit wide open, hang on, and own it." —Camp