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Old 09-10-2011, 08:58 PM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,883 posts, read 102,281,764 times
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OP: No, you don't "need" an SUV, or any kind of 4WD car. We came here in 1980 with a 10 year old RWD Camaro and a FWD Ford Fiesta. We took many trips to the mountains with these cars (usually the Fiesta) and I was a visiting nurse and used the Fiesta for my work. We've had several other cars in the past 40 years, and did not get an AWD until 2003, when I was no longer driving for work. I will say, they're nice; I like mine (Honda CR-V) and if you're driving to the Springs frequently, one might be helpful. Monument Hill can be pretty dicey, even when there's not much snow in Denver or Springs.
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Old 09-14-2011, 04:09 PM
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I have lived here for 6 years and have an 11 year old FWD car, which has been fine for the most part. I take it skiing (on fair weather days), etc... I will admit there have been a few days that have been rather hairy trying to navigate around and my next car (whenever that will be!) will be some type of AWD sedan. I have been looking at the Audi A4/A5. I'm not sure how all of the AWD/4WD cars compare, but anything will be better than my old FWD for sure
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:45 PM
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I drive a plain old FWD sedan and last year - my first in CO - I had some white-knuckle times getting down from skiing on I-70 in bad weather. The highway crews don't always keep I-70 clear of snow and ice during a storm like I think they should, especially given the huge amount of traffic. This year I don't think I'm going up if there's a chance of heavy snow. So one advantage of either snow tires or 4WD might be flexibility in going up to the mountains, especially since the weather can be unpredictable. (I did see an SUV shoot off the road into the median after hitting ice, though, so maybe false confidence in the power of 4WD?)
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Old 09-17-2011, 06:44 PM
Location: Denver 'burbs
21,843 posts, read 23,069,424 times
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It would be impossible to keep the roads completely cleared of snow and ice in all locations, all the the time...If you live here and drive, it would be good to get used to driving in the snow. Regardless of what some people think, 4WD or AWD is not a substitute for careful and knowlegeable driving. Neither will help you stop on an icy surface if you are driving too fast. It seems to be a common misconception of people who move here from non-snowy climates. Just buy the biggest SUV you can afford and keep driving just like you do on flat, dry pavement...
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Old 10-22-2011, 05:55 AM
Location: Earth
4,506 posts, read 5,468,767 times
Reputation: 4935
Default C'mon people, tell the truth!

Truth is we all ride horses everywhere...that or monster trucks! Snow is five feet high year round except a few days in August!
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Old 10-22-2011, 08:06 PM
Location: Denver/Boulder Zone 5b
1,344 posts, read 3,222,441 times
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Originally Posted by Cyborgt800 View Post
Truth is we all ride horses everywhere...that or monster trucks! Snow is five feet high year round except a few days in August!
Ha! OOOORRRRR. A Mazda3.
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:26 AM
171 posts, read 483,589 times
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My wife and I own three cars: a RWD 400hp sports car with summer tires, a Toyota Highlander with AWD and all season tires, and a 16 year old Honda Civic with all seasons. Obviously, the RWD doesn't leave the garage if there's even a hint of snow on the ground. I actually prefer driving the civic in snow because the thing is so dang light that it seems to stop faster than the Highlander . My problem isn't usually getting going - it's stopping on-time.
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Old 10-23-2011, 03:06 AM
Location: In the middle...
1,253 posts, read 3,027,247 times
Reputation: 1821
Talking SUV or AWD

Originally Posted by Karoe View Post
I have accepted a job in Denver and will be moving there next week. I must purchase a vehicle right away, and I am wondering if I should purchase a 4-wheel drive. I will make frequent trips to Colorado Springs, probably once a week or so, so I am seriously considering a purchase of a very safe SUV. I would appreciate hearing from the locals regarding driving conditions and vehicle suggestions.
I have lived here since 1980 my first few vehicles were rear wheel drive...and I always had to put weight on the real axle in bad weather (snow storms, especially bad storms) to get around. Always carry kitty litter for traction and a portable shovel for emergency digging out.

I stopped at the rest area between Castle Rock and Monument Hill after a good snow. I had a Nissan 4x4, even put in low range she still needed a little more help, so I got out the kitty litter. Worked like a charm and she crawled right out. Had that been rear wheel drive, I would have had to have been towed out either by a good Samaritan or tow truck. Either way, kitty litter, portable shovel and 4x4 low range, got me on my way in no time and I was not late for my appointment (most important.)

It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. I have had FWD and they work ok, for the most part but I would NOT buy anything here (Denver Metro) unless it was 4x4 or AWD. We don't get a lot of extreme weather here in Denver but when we do...OH BOY...DO WE!

***EDIT***4 Wheel drive DOES NOT mean four wheel stop. 4 Wheel drivel means once you have stopped, it will get you going again.***End Edit***

Weather can be extreme all around the metro area Cheyenne, WY all the way south to Trinidad, CO (I-25 corridor.) I-70 can be just as extreme from the Kansas border to the Utah border.

(You need to always be prepared, like a small survival kit-carry warm clothes, blanket, extra water, food, candles, matches/lighter and empty can (to burn candle in.) You can purchase them premade or make your own. They can be simple or as much as you want or need. You just have to remember, when traveling in the mountains, mother nature (especially in winter although breath taking beautiful, she is unforgiving...relentless and MUST be respected. I am not telling you this to scare you, it is just a friendly reminder.

As far as what type of vehicle, that will depend on your taste, budget and how green (gas mileage) you want to be. You can go for the big SUV (Suburban type tanks or something as small as a Mitsubishi Evo (AWD) somewhere around 290HP and it is a little higher off the ground than a Honda Civic SI. (faster and AWD, too) then there are Subaru's but you have to be careful here, they tend to have a little more push than balance in their AWD.

You can go for luxury with the Ford Tarus SHO AWD, great power with the EcoBoost, great sound system...

Again, just depends on what you like and what fits YOU! Personally, I am an midsize SUV with two large dogs that I haul in the back she works great in the rain or snow, we can go off road. If I want to take a fire road or shelf road in the mountains, I can climb it. She like a Billy-goat...and she is flex-fuel capable.

Hope that helps! Welcome to Denver!!! May I say, we are not all crazy, the altitude has a little to do with it (lack of oxygen is like sleep deprivation...the longer you go without it, the worse you get!!!)
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