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Old 01-05-2010, 09:33 PM
 
Location: Bozeman, MT
7 posts, read 19,435 times
Reputation: 15

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Hello,

I'm hopefully relocating to the Bozeman area in early 2010, and am wondering if I need to get an AWD vehicle. (I've already decided I'd get a Subaru Outback if I do.) I'll be living in Four Corners/Gateway area and working in Big Sky.

I've been to MT a few times in my '96 Nissan 200SX which has front wheel drive, and have driven through some rain/sleet and thick mud on some of your backroads. (By the time I headed home last year, my car had 1/2" of dry, caked mud covering the bottom 2/3rd of the car. )

I'm from Chicago so am familiar w/ snow and ice driving, but our roads are flat. If possible, I'd like to keep my Nissan for a few more years (mechanic says it's good for another 40-50K miles), but not sure that's doable in Bozeman/Big Sky. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 01-06-2010, 07:05 AM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,496,890 times
Reputation: 3535
Your car will be fine. Are you looking for an excuse to buy a new car ??????? Keep good tires on it.
If that's the case I bet the newer cars with awd may handle real good but still your old car should be OK. I'm still driving an old 85 pick up.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
1,154 posts, read 3,851,407 times
Reputation: 699
I lived in Bozeman with a FWD for nearly two years and I definitely had to take it very slow sometimes and still slipped and slid around a little bit (nothing major). I now own an AWD and appreciate it a lot - while it's not necessary it is certainly nice to have around these parts.

BTW if you are commuting between Four Corners/the Gateway and Big Sky you will go through those last 40-50k miles within 2 years most likely.
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Old 01-06-2010, 11:44 AM
 
369 posts, read 1,276,597 times
Reputation: 266
While the other two posters are not incorrect, Rickers is an old Montana Boy with lots of miles under his chassis! I think you'd be better off in an AWD vehicle. US 191 to Big Sky is one of the most dangerous highways in Montana and a slide around an icy corner could be disasterous. Subarus are very popular in Montana and while you are considering one, ook closely at the Subaru Forester - has a 5-star rating all around and is a little roomier than the Legacy Outback. Whatever you buy, be certain that it has stability control and ABS. I'm sure the Subarus do.

Personally I own a Honda Ridgeline and it's unbelievably secure on icy and snowy roads and serves as a very comfortable small pickup as well. But the Subarus are super too.

Good luck and stay safe.
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Old 01-06-2010, 02:14 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,023 posts, read 11,496,890 times
Reputation: 3535
My wife had a Subaru for a while and it blew my 4x4 Toyota pick up away on snow and ice. My truck is lifted with larger mud and snow tires and when the snow got really deep the Subaru would bog down while the pick up would still go. I drove it to the top of a fire lookout at the end of December once, grinding our way up the steep bumpy mountain road in 8 to 9 inch deep snow. The awd cars can't do that.
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Old 01-06-2010, 08:10 PM
 
Location: NW Montana
6,258 posts, read 12,587,428 times
Reputation: 3422
Yea for the Toys of the world.
My old one Toyota Tacoma 95 4x4, I miss it!
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:19 AM
 
Location: SW Montana
352 posts, read 983,258 times
Reputation: 232
Throw some good winter tires on and you should be fine. And since you're from snow and ice country, I'm assuming you know that there's a large difference between winter tires and all-season tires. Studded on your drive wheels never hurts.

But after six Subs over the years, I'm biased. If you remain here for very long, I'm betting you'll own an Outback. Utility + low cost of ownership + unequaled get-around capability. Just my 2...
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Old 01-07-2010, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Brendansport, Sagitta IV
7,328 posts, read 12,156,808 times
Reputation: 2595
Haha, that's like what I told my tenant... I am fine with my pickup. YOU are buying a Subaru AWD!

What folks are saying is ... there's a difference between "it can be done" and "it can be done comfortably". Just about any vehicle can get around if you really know how to handle snow and ice, and with experience you get so you don't worry about it. But it's easier when the drive isn't tense from start to finish, from constant fear of sliding off the road!
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Old 01-12-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Sheridan County, Wyoming
691 posts, read 1,447,250 times
Reputation: 610
I lived in gardiner for 10 years back in the '80's. FWD was all I needed.
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Old 01-13-2010, 03:29 PM
 
369 posts, read 1,276,597 times
Reputation: 266
Quote:
I lived in gardiner for 10 years back in the '80's. FWD was all I needed.
Gardiner and the Bozeman-Big Sky areas do not compare. Gardiner never gets as much snow as does Bozeman-Big Sky. Go for the AWD.
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