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Old 07-16-2009, 02:15 PM
 
Location: Chicagoland area
535 posts, read 1,695,601 times
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Default Are RWD cars that much worse during the winter?

I'm a teen driver (17) and will soon be getting my grandad's old Camry. He told me to help pick out some cars for his replacement. Of course I'll be driving it from time to time, so it would be to my benefit to pick out something I like as well .

I came across the Pontiac G8. It's decent on gas, offers a lot of power, and is very sporty. The main problem I can think of is it's RWD. I've never driven a RWD vehicle before so I don't know the driving differences, but I've always been told RWD cars are horrible for the winter. Living in the Chicago area, winters get pretty harsh; however, I've seen plenty of RWD cars all around, so it can't be that bad, right?

Does anyone have any experience with RWD vehicles in the winter? Are they really that much worse than FWD? All responses are appreciated.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:17 PM
 
Location: Purgatory (A.K.A. Dallas, Texas)
5,010 posts, read 7,782,930 times
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I think you would be better served by a car with less power or AWD, particularly being new to driving and in a place with a harsher winter.

Yes, a RWD car with a good amount of power can very easily get away from an experienced driver in the winter.
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
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well with modren features like traction control and ABS brakes RWD is not that bad just get some good winter tires and put some extra weight in the trunk over the rear wheels and you should be fine also take it to a parking lot and pratice regaining control when the rear end breaks lose and you should be fine anyway goodluck
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Old 07-16-2009, 02:57 PM
 
Location: Newport Beach, CA
131 posts, read 242,655 times
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A good set of winter tires is all you really need now. My previous car (mazda rx-8) had some very fat tires for the vehicle, and would be a little bit skittish in the rain even. A good set of winter treads will alleviate any problem during inclement weather, even if put on the same size stock wheel. I don't think I ever got stuck in the snow again, even though I had to drive very slowly.

Don't bother with all seasons if your car is lightweight and rear drive... you'll just waste your time spinning your tires.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:08 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
9,211 posts, read 12,505,196 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geekygisela View Post
A good set of winter tires is all you really need now. My previous car (mazda rx-8) had some very fat tires for the vehicle, and would be a little bit skittish in the rain even. A good set of winter treads will alleviate any problem during inclement weather, even if put on the same size stock wheel. I don't think I ever got stuck in the snow again, even though I had to drive very slowly.

Don't bother with all seasons if your car is lightweight and rear drive... you'll just waste your time spinning your tires.
yeah I get the same hydroplaning in the GTO I run 285's in the rear and the rear end is all over the place in the rain but sometimes that makes it fun to drive.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Outside DC
89 posts, read 267,945 times
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Short answer is yes, especially a torquey sport oriented one. Long answer is RWD can be fine, and many people got around with them for years before FWD and AWD were popular. Depends on how good of a driver you are, what tires there, and the specific conditions encountered. Still, a FWD and AWD will of course generally be better
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:13 PM
 
19,057 posts, read 21,756,773 times
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I miss RWD in the winter! There are things you can do with one that you cannot do with a FWD car.

Donuts. I love going to an empty parking lot and cutting donuts. You can do them in a FWD car, but you'll likely puke when you're done.

Stopping fast on ice. If you're not going too fast you can put a RWD in reverse if the rear is coming around and it will snap right back to center. Even if it's not you'll stop quickly. I only used this at stop signs and lights and when no one was behind me (they'll rear-end you).

The main thing to remember in any car on snow and ice is slow and steady. If you give the car enough gas to spin the tires you just started creating smooth ice under the tires. On hills especially get your speed up before the hill and if you can keep a steady pressure on the gas pedal. You'll find yourself passing all sorts of vehicles that are spinning their tires like mad thinking that will to get them where they're going. It won't.

I agree with GTOlover's advice.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:26 PM
 
3,467 posts, read 6,397,142 times
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My experience with rwd in the winter is that its best to have winter tires. Modern cars have stability and traction control, and with a couple of bags of sand in the trunk, I've seen rwd cars with winter tires drive in snow all season long without issue, but that doesn't mean it is necessarily the best option. The only thing fwd offers is extra weight over the drive wheels imo - its no better in the snow than rwd if you don't have proper tires.

I'd look at good awd cars like the 2010 Subaru Legacy for an older gent who needs a car - I'd put my grandmother in one. And remember, the tires are the only part of the car that touches the road - they matter more than what wheels are pushing the car along.
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:29 PM
 
Location: The Milky Way Galaxy
2,243 posts, read 3,665,910 times
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I run Bridgestone Blizzak winter tires on my Mustang come December-March and don't have any problems in 5in or less of snow. I put about 100lbs extra weight in the trunk too. The car isn't exactly factory stock either in terms of hp. But I can make it up hills good too. Anymore than 5 inches or so here in NJ I stay home from work that day
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Old 07-16-2009, 03:31 PM
 
Location: San Bruno, CA
5,090 posts, read 6,410,518 times
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A RWD car with some Blizzak's will be just fine driving in snow. I've know guys who have driven 450hp+ 300ZX's with the inherent boost creep you experience from a built turbo vehicle who have been able to drive without issue as long as your foot isn't too heavy.

On the other hand, there was a guy on my G35 forum who had an AWD Sedan that couldn't make its way up a hill because of poor tires.
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