I live in Iowa and I have owned many rear wheel drive cars. I've never had a problem driving them in the winter. The IS has traction control so it should be safe to drive on wet roads as long as you don't drive like an idiot. Besides, in most large cities, the salt trucks are out on the roads as soon as it starts to snow and so there are only a handful of days during the year when there actually is any snow accumulation on the roads. Also, four-wheel-drive is useless on icy roads. I had an Explorer and I slipped on a patch of ice and went off the road and flipped over several times before landing sideways in a farmer's field.