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Old 05-24-2007, 02:10 PM
Location: Western NY
43 posts, read 147,346 times
Reputation: 35



I am in the process of looking for a new home and Colorado is in the running, so I read the forum to get whatever I can out of it.

I have a completely silly question, but one that has been on my mind... I have a great little Toyota - front wheel drive - good gas mileage - yada yada yada - but how do the smaller cars function with the Colorado terrain? I obviously would not be going 4-wheelin' with the thing - but there are mtn. passes on the highways and interesting weather patterns.. Do people in Colorado drive little cars?

The areas of interest for me are around Ft. Collins and then possibly west in the Glenwood Springs/Carbondale area. I would prefer the Colorado package of mountain town and friendly neighbors, but being single and a teacher I am not sure what I can afford. I will be spending some time out there this summer to find all this out...

As I said.. silly question, but I wondered..
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:12 PM
2,755 posts, read 11,768,765 times
Reputation: 1464
There's a lot of other posts on this topic, so do a search. I think the consensus is that 4WD is a "nice to have", especially in the mountains, but by no means required -- lots of people have 2wd.
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Old 05-24-2007, 02:19 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
Reputation: 33083
Lots of people drive small cars. I drove a front wheel drive Ford Fiesta around as a visiting nurse for a couple years. My DH has a Toyota Corrolla. He has at times taken it to the mtns. You absolutely do not need a Jeep or any type of 4 wheel drive vehicle if you stick to the roads. If you want to go 4 wheeling, that's a different story.
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Old 05-24-2007, 03:58 PM
Location: Colorado Springs
1,312 posts, read 6,920,069 times
Reputation: 710
I've driven small cars, trucks a Suburban and have had my Honda Accord since 1996. As long as you keep good tires on, you're good to go.

I had a boyfriend that lived up in Keystone, he drove an old beat up Honda as well.

I used to tool up to Breckenridge all the time in my VW Jetta and before that in my CRX...

Besides, with gas prices, it's much more economical. If I could afford it I would get either a Civic hybrid or a Accord hybrid.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:03 PM
Location: IN
20,854 posts, read 35,976,422 times
Reputation: 13304
Post All Wheel Drive

Or if you want something that has AWD I would recommend a 4 cylinder Subaru. I know some people who have a Subaru and they say that they are good reliable cars. Also, a 4 cylinder AWD consumes far less gas than a 4WD car. Typically, a Subaru AWD 4 cylinder would get 20-25 mpg in the city and near 30 mpg on the highway.
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Old 05-24-2007, 04:10 PM
8,317 posts, read 25,865,640 times
Reputation: 9139
Most people who own 4WD's are "Main Street four-wheelers" in the local jargon. They drive a 4WD because it's "cool" not necessarily because they need it. (They probably have to get out the owner's manual to remember how to put it 4WD.) When gas goes $4.00+ this summer (it's just about there in some Colorado locales already), some of those people are going to have to park.

If you are driving mountain backroads or winter driving in the mountains constantly, then a 4WD is nice. I used do a lot of both, so I own a 4WD that I bought used years ago. I don't use it as my "daily driver" though. For that, I use a relatively economical car. The car has front-wheel-drive and traction control and will do about 95% of the driving that I do. The 4WD is for about that other 5%.

For my $.02, Fort Collins is a nice town with some nice mountains nearby. I would avoid Glenwood/Carbondale like the plague. An overpriced resort area with underpriced salaries for the living costs there. (And, I am a former Western Slope resident--I still don't like Glenwood. Used to be nice town. No more, in my opinion.)
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Old 05-24-2007, 05:05 PM
11,256 posts, read 43,439,794 times
Reputation: 14942
The "Jeep" is needed only if you're going 4-wheeling off road.

On road, it's a miserable handling vehicle with a very poor reliability record ... check CReports and you'll see how badly they fare compared to many other vehicles. They're almost the bottom of the list.

If you're just driving on the roads, virtually every front wheel drive car available for the last 15 years will do very well. If you want to push the envelope of nasty weather driving, especially black ice ... then an AWD car will do a bit better. Subaru is my choice today, but I've driven 80's vintage Audi 4000CS sedans for many 100's of thousands of miles and with super results (and all turning in 28-30 mpg on the road).

You also do not need a 4x4 pick-up unless you're towing a trailer or heavy load. They're actually not as good handling on the ice as the AWD cars, and my Subaru Outback went everywhere the 4x4 trucks did this last winter in the snow on the roads. If I couldn't get through some of the drifts, neither could the 4x4 pick-ups ....

OH, and if you can get a job that pays you a livable wage in Glenwood .... go for it.
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Old 05-25-2007, 09:53 AM
Location: Western NY
43 posts, read 147,346 times
Reputation: 35
Thanks to all for the info..

I've been to Denver - South to Colorado Springs - West to Brekenridge - and a lot of points in between. I feel I need to see more. I love the mountains.. I am a small town girl from Western NY and a teacher as well. With my summer I am going to start in Spokane, hop over to Seattle, then head South to see the western slope to fly back from Denver. Any suggestions on must see ? I know that's a wide open question!
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Old 05-25-2007, 11:01 AM
Location: The 719
14,586 posts, read 22,434,680 times
Reputation: 13877
Default Sorry honey, I had to wreck that Honda.

http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p133/mcgowdog/Patti.jpg (broken link)

My 4WD gets 18 MPH. You need a 4WD to get up my cousin's driveway.

I've got a philosophy that I picked up along the way; "I'd rather have a gun and not need one than to need a gun and not have one."

If you're a woman, then you don't understand. Think of 4WD like you would shoes. Wouldn't you opt two more legs if it meant you could buy twice the shoes? Women buy shoes not because they need shoes, but to keep other women from getting those shoes.

Am I right or am I right?
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Old 05-25-2007, 12:17 PM
5,748 posts, read 10,767,999 times
Reputation: 4502
I don't think you have anything to worry about, but if you are really concerned, I'll put in another vote for a Subaru. We bought a used 4wd version a couple of years ago. My spouse is a tech consultant, who has to report in all kinds of weather. It's not sexy, but it's a great vehicle and it has relatively good gas mileage. If you buy a used one, have it thoroughly checked by a mechanic for problems. The first one we brought home had a cracked block, which I understand is not uncommon. The dealer replaced the car with the one we have now, and we haven't had any problems with it.
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