Car buyers want all-wheel-drive. We see this all the time as a frequent car-buying "requirement" in questions to our “Talking Cars with Consumer Reports” video podcast, as well as through strong sales. But all-wheel-drive (or four-wheel-drive) isn't a panacea for all wintertime driving hazards.

Extensive evaluations done last winter at our test track showed that all-wheel-drive can get you going, but being able to turn and stop is another matter entirely.

Much depends on having the proper tires; good winter tires vastly improve capability and safety in the white stuff. Turns out that all all-wheel-drive systems aren't quite created equal, as well. We compare and contrast how well the Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, and Toyota RAV4 fare in deep snow. Finally, we answer reader questions about Subaru manual transmission shifters and compare the Mazda3 and Mazda CX-3

As with the other Taking Cars, this episode is also available free through the iTunes Store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube.

Share your comments on this show below, and let us know if you need any advice for choosing a car.

Jake Fisher, Tom Mutchler, and Mark Rechtin
Jake Fisher, Tom Mutchler, and Mark Rechtin