Re: No alternative
I used to drive a Mazda 6 estate. Nice car, but suffered from appalling road noise. It finally met its end when the corner of an articulated trailer scraped across the bonnet while it was (legally) parked. I was rather shocked to see how flimsy it was.
As far as snow handling goes, despite FWD, the Mazda got stuck on the ramp of an underground car park in the Alps. I had to buy snow chains to get out, and even with those I spun 180 degrees at the first bend in the pass. Mind you, the AWD SUV in front of me was basically skating down.
The Mazda's replacement, a BMW 5 Touring was indeed a little difficult in snow. The worst bit is going uphill, when the weight of the engine causes the front to slide down, while the rear wheels continue up (this at about 10 mph). The car ends up straddling the road, which is embarrassing if there's anyone else there. At this point there's nothing for it but to pray you can complete the U-turn without driving into the ditch, go back down, and find another route.