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Old 11-14-2014, 08:18 AM
 
90 posts, read 84,687 times
Reputation: 55

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Hello all,

First of all, I want to apologize if this has been gone over a million times! I recently bought a brand new 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan (last February) and I love it! I have 3 kids and 1 one on the way , and the van has done everything that I need it to do...that being that it's very spacious and fits my entire family, and belongings, comfortably. The seats even fold down completely flat to haul things, and overall it's been a solid, dependable van (so far).

The only problem I've ever had with this van is the fact that it's not 4WD or AWD- back in February it was between a brand new Caravan or a lot older Explorer with 4WD. We did look at all the options (I know the Sienna's come in AWD) but I hated the looks and price tag of the others.

We chose the new car because 1) we needed the space (wasn't in love with the 3rd row in SUVs), and well we could get one off the showroom floor for $20k all out.

Now that winter is closing in it's got me thinking. We haven't had the van long enough to test it in the winter...Snow tires seem to be extremely expensive (upwards of $1,000 for all 4). and I'm starting to wonder how good this thing is going to be in the snow. We also live in a very hilly area....and it snows quite a bit (Massachusetts).

I've been watching car reviews on YouTube of the Dodge Durango and Ford Explorer...and I'm thinking to myself "Wouldn't it be nice not worry about the weather, and still fit my whole family" Dependable, Capable, Safe...etc. Do it all.

Can anyone share there opinion? Does anyone have any experience in the snow in a van, or better yet has anyone gone FROM a FWD van to a 4WD SUV and can compare?

I feel really stupid trading in a van that's not even 1 year old because I'm worried about the snow...I'd love to get both, but the money isn't there yet.

Thanks for any and all opinions!
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: NY
8,992 posts, read 14,187,334 times
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I cannot speak about that van in particular, but years ago I was driving around a 92 Pontiac Trans Sport FWD minivan which was terrific in the snow. Minivans tend to have good clearance, long wheelbases, and some weight to them which all help a lot for winter traction. You should be fine for the most part without AWD.

If you do not like it after getting some miles under your belt in the snow with it, then invest in the snow tires. $1000 does sound pricey for a quality set, so shop around. Either way, your regular tires won't be receiving wear while the snows are on, allowing them to not need replacement as fast. That helps mitigate the added expense in the long run.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:25 AM
 
675 posts, read 1,214,949 times
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I don't have significant experience with a FWD minivan in the snow to give you direct comparison, but it is almost certain that the snow tires on the van will be better than all seasons on the AWD vehicle. Not to mention, even though the snow tires might be $1000, you'll take a much bigger than that loss on the 1 year old minivan. You'll also extend the life of your non-winter tires. This one is really a no-brainier in terms of cost and functionality, go get snow tires.

PS - this is coming from someone who owns an AWD SUV, that I love, but I started there...
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Prosper
6,268 posts, read 12,101,075 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z28lt1 View Post
I don't have significant experience with a FWD minivan in the snow to give you direct comparison, but it is almost certain that the snow tires on the van will be better than all seasons on the AWD vehicle.
That's highly debatable, and most likely wrong IMO. Snow is one thing, but ice is another, and snow tires won't do a damn thing on ice. In that case, you need more drive wheels, and AWD is superior to 2WD for traction in every instance.

That being said, a minivan's weight is primarily over the drive wheels, so it won't be bad to drive in the snow, it should be very predictable. My father's FWD minivan functions fine in snow in most situations, but on ice he's had to park it on the street several times over the years because he can't get back into his garage (driveway has a pretty good incline to it.)

All of my vehicles on the other hand are AWD, and we've never had problems getting around in snow or ice.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:48 AM
 
189 posts, read 245,862 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by z28lt1 View Post
I don't have significant experience with a FWD minivan in the snow to give you direct comparison, but it is almost certain that the snow tires on the van will be better than all seasons on the AWD vehicle. Not to mention, even though the snow tires might be $1000, you'll take a much bigger than that loss on the 1 year old minivan. You'll also extend the life of your non-winter tires. This one is really a no-brainier in terms of cost and functionality, go get snow tires.

PS - this is coming from someone who owns an AWD SUV, that I love, but I started there...
I have to disagree and I really don't want to start snow tire fwd vs all season on awd

If you have hilly areas awd will be your best bet. I got rid of my fwd because of the hilly conditions and my new awd with all season was amazing.
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Old 11-14-2014, 08:50 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
6,964 posts, read 5,183,151 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shadwell10201 View Post
Hello all,
I feel really stupid trading in a van that's not even 1 year old because I'm worried about the snow...I'd love to get both, but the money isn't there yet.
It is stupid to trade it in this soon. The dealer is going to offer between $14,000 and $16,000 on trade, for something that will lose the same amount of money when you drive it off the lot.

Snow tires aren't cheap, but they are the $1,000 dollar fix to potentially losing $10,000 between depreciation on two vehicles (your van on trade in and depreciation on your new 4wd.) And here's the thing; snow tires will do more for your family and their safety than 4wd (do you even know how to use 4WD?) Snow tires work when you take your foot off the gas and hit the brakes. 4WD doesn't.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:33 AM
 
90 posts, read 84,687 times
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Thanks for all the replies! So the consensus seems that the Van should do OK in the snow...and I should probably invest in some snow tires. I was worried about the back end of the van, it's very light and I'm afraid it will fish tail all over the place. Anybody have any experience with that?

As far as trading in the van, yes...I know it's crazy. I don't want too obviously, but it got me thinking. As far as depreciation, what's the difference?.....Either way I'm going to LOSE. Now or later, I'll never get what I owe anyways. No one ever does, on any vehicle. The dealership always screws you regardless.

Also, in my opinion 4x4 or 4WD is FAR superior to FWD or AWD (minus Subaru). Regular AWD doesn't seem wonderful in the snow...Don't have any experience with Subaru's AWD system, but I do know it's superior to "regular" AWD.
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:45 AM
 
189 posts, read 245,862 times
Reputation: 225
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadwell10201 View Post
Thanks for all the replies! So the consensus seems that the Van should do OK in the snow...and I should probably invest in some snow tires. I was worried about the back end of the van, it's very light and I'm afraid it will fish tail all over the place. Anybody have any experience with that?

As far as trading in the van, yes...I know it's crazy. I don't want too obviously, but it got me thinking. As far as depreciation, what's the difference?.....Either way I'm going to LOSE. Now or later, I'll never get what I owe anyways. No one ever does, on any vehicle. The dealership always screws you regardless.

Also, in my opinion 4x4 or 4WD is FAR superior to FWD or AWD (minus Subaru). Regular AWD doesn't seem wonderful in the snow...Don't have any experience with Subaru's AWD system, but I do know it's superior to "regular" AWD.
Winter tires and driving slow and careful should be fine for you.

Don't forget to include the awd that is imo better than Subaru and my choice for awd: quattro
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Old 11-14-2014, 09:59 AM
 
Location: 4222'55.2"N 7124'46.8"W
4,837 posts, read 9,230,811 times
Reputation: 2878
As long as you drive safely - brake earlier than usual, don't speed, etc - then you will be fine. Just think about all the minivans you see toting families around all over the Boston area. If it were a problem driving them in snow then you wouldn't see every other family driving one here. It's not like a RWD sports car or anything. We're talking about a very heavy FWD vehicle here.

If you feel after the first few snowfalls that you don't feel safe, then go ahead and get a winter wheel package. It will cost $1200 one time and it will last you around 6 years because you only drive on them half the year. That's still A LOT cheaper than trading in a 1 year old minivan and buying an AWD vehicle.

For me personally, we put snow tires on my wife's AWD SUV because she didn't feel comfortable driving on all-season tires. Her sudden acceleration and stops could've gotten her killed as she slid through a stop sign a few years ago into a busy road. Now she can stop on a dime with her snow tires.
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Old 11-14-2014, 10:09 AM
 
Location: 4222'55.2"N 7124'46.8"W
4,837 posts, read 9,230,811 times
Reputation: 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by shadwell10201 View Post

Also, in my opinion 4x4 or 4WD is FAR superior to FWD or AWD (minus Subaru). Regular AWD doesn't seem wonderful in the snow...Don't have any experience with Subaru's AWD system, but I do know it's superior to "regular" AWD.
This topic should be a new thread on its own, but Subaru is regular AWD. You can't put it into 2WD. Most other AWD systems you see are normally 2WD and the other drive axle will start spinning when the car senses it needs to be turned on.
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