U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-01-2010, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,594 posts, read 23,710,989 times
Reputation: 3505

Advertisements

I might be looking at getting a used minivan and was wondering if anyone has any good things to say about AWD models.

I've driven a FWD minivan for years and feel it's pretty comfortable, as well as I've been able to take it anywhere I want to go, including on rolling, damp grass covered slopes/grades in a friend's hobby farm. I know that AWD models are supposed to require more maintenance and use a little more gas, but I was curious if anyone has actually experienced any handling benefits to make these extra costs worthwhile.

I'd like to use it for camping and driving accessing some places 2wd's are not "supposed" (recommended?) to go.

*I know an actual 4x4 would work better, but I prefer the interior cargo space of a minivan;
all of which can be heated or air-conditioned with the factory vents, unlike a "capped" pickup-truck bed.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-01-2010, 06:35 PM
 
Location: Vancouver, B.C., Canada
10,902 posts, read 23,181,918 times
Reputation: 5314
go for a ford E-series full size van it is pretty much a 3/4 ton truck with real 4x4 capabilities
http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/2010/Ford/2010.ford.e-series%20van.20315548-396x249.jpg (broken link)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 07:06 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,305 posts, read 9,525,123 times
Reputation: 2944
We have a AWD Astro... thing is tank in the snow. However it is still a minivan, only about a foot of body clearance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTOlover View Post
go for a ford E-series full size van it is pretty much a 3/4 ton truck with real 4x4 capabilities
Do they sell those with the 4x4 from the factory?? I thought there was only aftermarket kits...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 07:16 PM
 
Location: Fly-over country.
1,765 posts, read 6,380,007 times
Reputation: 912
actually Mitsubishi and Toyota make a very popular mini-van that is 4WD, but i don't think they ever sold them in the US...

if you travel in the remote parts of various SE Asian countries, especially where there's tiny, muddy dirt roads and steep grades, they are wildly popular, second only to the toyota hilux. I saw one in the highlands of the RP (late 80s toyota van) that had pizza cutter 32" mud tires on it and about fell out. It looked awesome, but man I would not want to corner in that thing.

IF you wanted to drop some cash, go with Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans - Your Home Away From Home

Or maybe find a used one...... :-)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 07:52 PM
 
Location: Eastern Washington
14,242 posts, read 44,911,592 times
Reputation: 12823
How about an older VW camper van? Some of these had AWD. Westphalia.

I think the off-road capabilities of any sort of van are going to be way less than Jeep-like.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 09:18 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,594 posts, read 23,710,989 times
Reputation: 3505
Quote:
Originally Posted by caution View Post
actually Mitsubishi and Toyota make a very popular mini-van that is 4WD, but i don't think they ever sold them in the US...

if you travel in the remote parts of various SE Asian countries, especially where there's tiny, muddy dirt roads and steep grades, they are wildly popular, second only to the toyota hilux. I saw one in the highlands of the RP (late 80s toyota van) that had pizza cutter 32" mud tires on it and about fell out. It looked awesome, but man I would not want to corner in that thing.

IF you wanted to drop some cash, go with Sportsmobile Custom Camper Vans - Your Home Away From Home

Or maybe find a used one...... :-)
Those sportsmobiles look neat, but way out of my price range atm.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,594 posts, read 23,710,989 times
Reputation: 3505
One thing I learned driving this minivan is tires will make a bigger difference than a layman might expect.
This was when I bought "winter-tires" for it to use in place of "all-seasons."

It seems that car companies want to advertise that buying an AWD model makes all-seasons equally capable as a 2wd equipped with good winter-tires, but I know from experience that is just not true. Your cornering won't be helped much with AWD. Braking helped by AWD? Not at all.

From what I've read, the advantages to 4x4 over AWD is having a two-speed transfer case,
and with part-time 4x4 transfer cases supposedly needing less maintenance if you leave it in 2wd most of the time.
But I can imagine a new 4x4 from a car dealer with "highway tires" isn't impressively-capable in the mud and dirt either.
Which leaves me curious about places like national parks with "4x4-Only" roads.
Myself, I could see a 2wd vehicle outfitted with good offroad tires at least being able to "keep up" with factory 4x4's...
if not do even better.
Only distinct advantage I can think of is 4x4's tend to have more factory ground clearance.
What's the deal with "4x4-Only" roads?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2010, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Perth, Western Australia
9,594 posts, read 23,710,989 times
Reputation: 3505
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux Hauler View Post
We have a AWD Astro... thing is tank in the snow. However it is still a minivan, only about a foot of body clearance.
Have you ever had the chance to drive a 2wd/fwd minivan under imperfect conditions (wet roads? off pavement?) for a reference to compare your AWD Astro?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2010, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Eretz Yisrael
21,364 posts, read 24,104,739 times
Reputation: 8869
I have a Oldmobile Silhouette (GM Venture) AWD w/Versatrak mininvan and I wouldn't recommend it. It holds the road well but the steering requires more work than a FWD. Even according to the manual its not a go everywhere vehicle (the manual states it will convert to FWD if its used too much and overheats). The minivan has automatic height adjustment. We've just had deep snow this week and it was basically useless because minivans in general have low clearance. I had a Subaru Legacy AWD at one time and it drove perfectly in any condition. I also have a Lexus RX AWD, most of the time it does as well as the Subaru. But when it comes to snow, Subaru is the best.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2010, 05:29 PM
 
Location: U.S.A.
3,305 posts, read 9,525,123 times
Reputation: 2944
Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdCanadian View Post
Have you ever had the chance to drive a 2wd/fwd minivan under imperfect conditions (wet roads? off pavement?) for a reference to compare your AWD Astro?
Oh certainly... the Astro AWD is immeasurably better in "imperfect" conditions.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Automotive
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top