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Old 10-24-2013, 10:19 AM
 
Location: Cole neighborhood, Denver, CO
1,123 posts, read 2,327,874 times
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If you're commuting to Blackhawk, you want a true SUV (not an AWD car).

FWD and AWD with winter tires are fine for Denver snowstorms, but the mountains are a whole different ball game.
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,351,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dude_reino View Post
If you're commuting to Blackhawk, you want a true SUV (not an AWD car). FWD and AWD with winter tires are fine for Denver snowstorms, but the mountains are a whole different ball game.
What exactly do you think the difference is between an SUV and an AWD "car"? Clearance?

I'm not sure what you're comparing it to, but the ground clearance on my 2012 Outback is 8.7". A Jeep Wrangler has 10.5. How much clearance do you think people need to drive over snow? And how much clearance to you think an average SUV has?
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:55 AM
 
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Yes, it totally depends on where you live. If the roads are plowed and your driveway isn't a problem, then any car (4wd, fwd, awd, rwd) with good snow tires will work.

When I was snowboarding full time, I used to drive a Miata (RWD) and I lived in the hills above Summit County. I even got to loveland in the Miata after a big powder dump, only to find it was closed due to too much snow.

In my experience, most storms only drop 8" or less. Then you get the big ones that drop 1-3ft, so it's not like you're going anywhere in your 4x4 anyway.

Don't get me wrong though, there are times a 4x4 with lockers and big tires will get you through something a AWD forester won't. But those days are usually few and far between for most of us. Obviously a lot depends on your driveway and which way your driveway faces.

One of the biggest drawbacks to AWD is most do not have low-range. Only really a problem for those of us who drive manuals though.

Anyway since this thread is 6 years old, I'm sure the OP has it sorted.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:37 PM
 
2,253 posts, read 5,838,130 times
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Wink Snow and that capable

Since this thread reopened, will mention a few things about snow and vehicles.

A former roommate had a Subaru wagon that was ancient even then, and that thing seemed near invincible in the snow. Without having driven one, I presume the more modern Subaru's do fine in the snow as well, and thus their prevalence in mountain communities and other snow areas.

I've also driven 4x4 pickups in the snow, and while quite proficient on some mountain path in low gear, not at all what I would want on the road. For one, there is a higher center of gravity. Also more mass, which might help in some situations, but definitely hurt in others.

Those trucks were older vehicles, not as refined as newer models being supposedly more accomplished. Many newer vehicles are, with traction control and so forth. Even late model 2WD with dedicated winter tires. None of which negates front wheel drive being preferable, with AWD better, and—unless using one's vehicle as a snowplow—likely better than most 4x4's in the refinement of the proportioning, etc.

But specs are not everything, and there seems as much an art in how ingredients are combined in a vehicle as the nuances of driving in snow. Not all vehicles are created equal in snow ability, AWD or not, even of the same brand. Those interested will do some research and, beyond all marketing, make sure their choice will get the job done.
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Old 10-24-2013, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,351,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
A former roommate had a Subaru wagon that was ancient even then, and that thing seemed near invincible in the snow. Without having driven one, I presume the more modern Subaru's do fine in the snow as well, and thus their prevalence in mountain communities and other snow areas.
I have two of them (2000 & 2012 models) so I can speak to that too. The first year here I used my 2000 outback with 3-season tires and pretty low clearance and it did horrible and I slid all over the place for the fist half of the winter. The I went to the store and got some real snow tires and the thing was like a tank. I would go to an empty lot and try to get the thing to slide and it just wouldn't I never had any problems since then. With my 2012 model, it came with good 4-season tires which were still on there. It does great too and has higher clearance, but I can still feel a little more traction when stopping and turning quick in the snow/ice (which I always avoid during normal driving anyways) using the 2000 model, due to it's better tires and lower center of gravity. I've driven friends trucks and a jeep in the snow to compare and I didn't think they were any better than either of my outbacks. But I agree with that point about needing lower gears in some situations.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:45 PM
 
1,368 posts, read 2,454,619 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dude_reino View Post
If you're commuting to Blackhawk, you want a true SUV (not an AWD car).

FWD and AWD with winter tires are fine for Denver snowstorms, but the mountains are a whole different ball game.
Not really, drove my ford focus up to the mountains all the time, never had an issue.
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Old 10-25-2013, 04:58 PM
 
8,317 posts, read 25,103,855 times
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Not even the best 4WD can do very well in snow that is much deeper than the minimum ground clearance of the vehicle. Period. So, ground clearance is the name of the game if one is driving on anything other than a recently plowed road. Subaru Foresters and Outbacks (both AWD) have proven popular in snow country because they combine AWD with good ground clearance (better than a number of 4WD models) and reasonable (though not outstanding) fuel economy. Now, for driving rough, nasty roads--in winter or otherwise--a "true" 4WD with good ground clearance and a transfer case equipped with low range is necessary.

Most people driving around Colorado these days (especially the metro "city-slickers") don't see much of either of the above circumstances. For them, a front-wheel drive car with decent winter tires should be more than adequate. I live and drive where winter driving conditions occur frequently, and, even for me, I drive my front-wheel-drive car much more than I do my 4WD in winter. The 4WD's I use for work and pleasure get far more use in the spring, summer, and fall when I use them to get in and out of rough-road backcountry locations not accessible in an ordinary 2WD vehicle.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:10 PM
 
Location: Santa Monica, CA
64 posts, read 82,182 times
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Default Actually...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gionje View Post
Would an AWD or a SUV be recommended for snowy driving conditions? I may be moving into the area between Denver and Black Hawk( for daily work commute to Black Hawk) Coming form a person who's only owned front wheel drive smaller vehicles... any recommendations for me..specific vehicles from experience?

Thank you!
SUV and AWD are not different categories, really. An SUV is a type of vehicle and AWD is a capability an SUV, sedan or sports car can have. That said, the answer is: NEITHER. THe most important aid to winter driving is SNOW TIRES, no matter what type of vehicle you drive, and no matter if it's AWD, FWD or RWD. Also, good TIRE CHAINS.

A lot of people buy AWD vehicles thinking they will make them invincible in the snow, only to discover, as they wait for the tow truck by the side of the road, they were wrong.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:35 PM
 
601 posts, read 839,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Telzey View Post
SUV and AWD are not different categories, really.
Huh?
I've lived in the mountains going on 20 years now. Nobody uses chains except delivery trucks and buses.
OP listen to jazzlover, he knows what he's talking about. Clearance and snow tires are what's important.
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Old 10-25-2013, 05:55 PM
 
Location: Wyoming
9,170 posts, read 16,524,951 times
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Most cars on Denver's streets are standard front-wheel-drive sedans with all-season tires. With a little common sense, they do just fine 98-99% of the time. For those other few days, awd, 4x4s, snow tires, chains and track vehicles will get you further and deeper before you get stuck.
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