And don't forget the cabin air filter, if present. And if not, some heater cores can plug ON THE OUTSIDE with debris or mold, those items should be inspected to ensure that the air is flowing THROUGH the heater core and not around it. Same with the air intake ports usually at the base of the windshield, clear of ice and snow.
Bigger engine = faster warmup. Our Honda V6 is warm after about 1 mi of driving. Our Subaru Boxer 4 takes 3 or more miles before it starts to warm up. Another issue is heat if you live in an extremely cold climate (like N Ontario or Minnesota). In that case a vehicle with dual heaters is best (minivan or SUV) because the second heater is warming cabin air, and not the outside air you need to keep your windshield from fogging. When its -30F outside, even warmed outside air feels cold.
Not true. My Sienna 3.5 V6 is by far the worst winter vehicle I had. Not only that engine takes forever to warm up (even with block heater) lack of insulation in the roof makes heating rear compartment really difficult if car was parked outside for some time (airport). I was expecting fast warm u of an engine considering size, but that was not the case. Not only that, it dissipates heat super fast after it is parked.
When I had a company car, and live 2 blocks from a 4-lane highway, I would just jump on the highway at full throttle with it locked in 2nd gear...would get warm in under a mile, no matter how cold. Never had any engine issues...or oil burning ever. This was the famous 3.8L chevy...love those engines.
Smile, it increases your face value 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth mod heavy (my DD) 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio TI Sport (wife's) 2011 Silverado Crew Cab LT 6.2L/6spd (tow pig) 2007 Nissan Xterra (trail toy)
Get a remote start system. I installed one in my 06 mazda 3 a month after a bought it and it truly makes a difference, not only in winter but also in summer. Now I only use it during summer since I live in CA.
And it's not like you have to run it for a long time. I usually remote started just before putting on my coat, boots and getting ready to go out. It was usually less than 5 minutes, but helped a lot in getting heat sooner.
2015 Grand Caravan 3.6L - 35k miles. 2006 Mazda 3 2.0L - 186k miles
Re: Finding a good "cold weather" vehicle?
It's probably more complicated than that, but in general, I'd expect the opposite to be true. Smaller engine has to work harder to get you going, so it should be generating more heat and warming up faster.