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Old 02-07-2010, 11:14 AM
 
10,329 posts, read 17,441,785 times
Reputation: 3296
Quote:
Originally Posted by doublenickels View Post
You need a four wheel drive vehicle for Chicago winters.

You absolutely do not. And a truck is just about the worst city vehicle I can think of. Where would you park it? You can't even drive pick-ups on a few Chicago streets (like Lake Shore Drive or any Parkway or segement of the Boulevard System).
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Old 02-07-2010, 11:29 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,278,248 times
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I suppose 4WD would help once in awhile when parking spots are snowed in but other than that I see no advantage to owning a 4WD vehicle in Chicago. And people without 4WD get in and out of parking spots anyway.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Chicago - Logan Square
2,747 posts, read 3,236,937 times
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I have an all wheel Volvo wagon that is great, I haven't had to dig out a space ever since I've gotten it.

That said, there are only 3 or 4 days a year that it is helpful to have - and just to get out of a parking space or through an unplowed alley. Once you're on the road you don't need the AWD at all. I did fine for years with a '78 RWD Volvo in Boston, New Hampshire, and Chicago. I just had to dig a bit before pulling out of spaces.

If someone is interested in getting an AWD vehicle, I wouldn't recommend anything larger than a Subaru or Volvo wagon. Larger than that is a pain to drive in the city.
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Old 02-07-2010, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Chicago, Tri-Taylor
2,088 posts, read 4,010,839 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lookout Kid View Post
You don't need 4WD or AWD in Chicago. People that insist that you do are hysterical, in my opinion. I'm from Wisconsin, which is noticeably more harsh in the winter, and have never felt the need to own a 4WD or AWD vehicle. FWD will do just fine 99% of the time. Just keep a shovel in the trunk from December through March. I would not recommend a rear-wheel-drive vehicle in the snow, however.

The most practical car for the city is a compact or sub-compact with a hatchback. You need to squeeze into tight parallel parking situations, and a hatchback is great for those occasional times you need to move a TV or chair or buy a toilet. If you insist on AWD, the Honda CR-V shares a short Civic chasis, but fits a ton of stuff and has optional AWD (though they are just a little too "cute" for this guy).
+1. You don't need 4WD in the City. Not even close. Get an economical small car and you'll be fine. We just had a whole thread on this in the suburban forum.

Should I buy a FWD or AWD crossover for the 'burbs?
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:22 PM
 
10,329 posts, read 17,441,785 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Attrill View Post
I have an all wheel Volvo wagon that is great, I haven't had to dig out a space ever since I've gotten it.

That said, there are only 3 or 4 days a year that it is helpful to have - and just to get out of a parking space or through an unplowed alley. Once you're on the road you don't need the AWD at all. I did fine for years with a '78 RWD Volvo in Boston, New Hampshire, and Chicago. I just had to dig a bit before pulling out of spaces.

If someone is interested in getting an AWD vehicle, I wouldn't recommend anything larger than a Subaru or Volvo wagon. Larger than that is a pain to drive in the city.
I love wagons. To me, they are a much better family car than a tippy crossover. I wish they were more popular.

I assume you have a Volvo XC-70? They are quite popular around here, I've noticed.
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:25 PM
 
10,329 posts, read 17,441,785 times
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I was reading recently that a FWD vehicle with snow tires performs better in the snow than an AWD vehicle with all-season radials. Of course, most people in the city don't have the space to store snow tires... Or to change the tires each season, for that matter.

There was another study that showed that people with AWD vehicles tend to be over-confident about their car's abilities in the snow, and therefore drive more recklessly. I wish I could find that article. The quote I remember is "All-wheel-drive does not equal all-wheel-stop".
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Old 02-07-2010, 01:46 PM
 
Location: Schaumburg, please don't hate me for it.
826 posts, read 780,495 times
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IMHO, AWD and 4WD are overkill for Chicago. They can be much more costly to repair if and when needed. I've driven FWD exclusively since 1986 and can count on one hand the number of times that I was stuck in snow. Never needed a tow, just had to think my way out of a snowpacked parking place a few times.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Chicago
35,926 posts, read 55,158,806 times
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AWD may be "overkill" if you're fine with FWD. But frankly I hate FWD, and RWD isn't practical as a year-round vehicle here -- traction control can only accomplish so much if you have to park on snow-covered side streets. So a car with AWD is a reasonable compromise as long as the torque isn't biased toward the front wheels. Whenever I've had AWD cars, I didn't "need" AWD most of the time, but I was sure glad to have it when I did need it. And I was glad to have it in conditions when FWD would have been adequate but only barely so.
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Old 02-07-2010, 02:44 PM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,278,248 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
AWD may be "overkill" if you're fine with FWD. But frankly I hate FWD, and RWD isn't practical as a year-round vehicle here -- traction control can only accomplish so much if you have to park on snow-covered side streets.

I wouldn't say not practical, not ideal perhaps but millions of people have done fine with RWD cars in Chicago. I learned to drive with my Old Man's 63 Impala and the 61 Biscayne of the fella I worked for after school. And the Biscayne was three-on-the-tree.
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Old 02-07-2010, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Schaumburg, please don't hate me for it.
826 posts, read 780,495 times
Reputation: 902
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drover View Post
I hate FWD
There is a definite downside to FWD (torque steer, uneven tire and brake wear i.e.). Catastrophic repair costs are just a personal phobia that I can't shake. Even warranties don't give me a fully secure feeling, because I've already had an automaker renege on a transmission issue more than once.
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