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Top 10 Cars For a Rainy Day

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No one enjoys driving in the rain but few can avoid it. So we're recommending cars that make those wet roads easier to take. Your best weapons are good traction on slippery surfaces, ability to see potential hazards, and being clearly visible to other drivers. But there are other details that can make a drizzly day more bearable. As one who lives where rain is a frequent winter hazard, I'm pleased to suggest 10 "rainy day" cars that range from the serious to the whimsical. Umbrellas, anyone?

1. Subaru Legacy

Every Subaru comes with all-wheel-drive as standard equipment and if traction is important when the going gets wet, which certainly makes sense to us here in the Pacific Northwest, then the comfortable, well-fitted Legacy will keep you feeling snug and secure.

2. Jaguar X-Type

Like the Subaru, you get all-wheel-drive in the junior Jag. But as a bonus comes leather-lined luxury, a sexy V-6 engine, and that Jaguar image. Jags raced in the rain to win the world's longest and fastest endurance races. Which says something.

3. Volvo S40

In Sweden, traction on slippery surfaces is paramount. Snow, not rain, is the enemy, but what is snow except frozen rain? We recommend the all-new compact S40 sedans and V40 wagons for their safety and performance.

4. Toyota Echo

At the opposite end of the price scale, the Echo provides a secure environment with high-rise visibility. Why throw away hard-earned dollars when this little guy, though never intended to win beauty awards, can comfort you in any weather conditions?

5. Cadillac CTS

Much as we're reluctant to recommend a car whose styling we uh, don't much care for, the Cadillac CTS is a safe haven when the heavens open up. You'll get needed traction from a very sophisticated suspension/braking/steering system.

6. MINI Convertible

Rumour has it that MINI USA is requiring new purchasers to sign a contract with a clause by which the new owner promises to keep the top lowered at least 90 percent of the time. Exceptions include washing; driving in the rain at less than 25 miles per hour; after hair-plug surgery; or when the temperature is lower than 32 degrees F.

7. Infiniti Q45

With visibility at a minimum, superb headlights come to the rescue. Though sometimes it's better to reduce lighting to avoid glare, when maximum visibility is required the Infiniti Q45 has more candlepower than a 747 on final approach.

8. Chevrolet Monte Carlo

White is the most visible color in misty conditions. So which car looks best in white? Asking that question is tantamount to starting WW3 but we'll pick this one because the Monte Carlo's sculptured highlights reflect lighting in a way that flat surfaces don't.

9. Volkswagen Passat With 4Motion

Aside from the Passat's handsome exterior, classy interior, and optional 4Motion all-wheel-drive, it comes with an appropriately named Monsoon sound system that makes rainy traffic less of a hardship. "Singing in the Rain," unfortunately, is not programmed into it.

10. Rolls-Royce Phantom

Any car that comes equipped with an umbrella gets our vote, even if the sticker price would buy a middle-class house. When the wet gets wetter, let the chauffeur take the wheel as you and your lady sit back and share a single-malt Scotch in that magnificent interior.

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