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Old 12-14-2018, 05:26 PM
342 posts, read 906,360 times
Reputation: 580


I am in the unexpected position of having to buy a new car . Years ago when I first moved to CO, I lived in the mountains. I had a little Honda Accord that I loved, but my mother convinced me it wouldn't make it up there and I got a Subaru, so I've never driven in CO without AWD. My hometown got about 8 inches of snowfall yearly. One simply did not drive in snow, ever for any reason. I have no idea what driving in snow without AWD is like or how much that's even helping. I'm always VERY slow and careful.

Part of me would love to go back to a Honda Accord or maybe even a Civic. Does not having AWD make that much of a difference? Even though I've been here for almost 10 years, I still HATE driving in snow and don't want to have trouble or have to worry about it every time it snows. So far I've slid just a few times when driving, thankfully never into anything. I know snow tires could be an option- but we don't really have that many bad snows here in Denver. It seems kind of silly to get them here vs. in the mountains.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:30 PM
Location: Aurora, CO
6,550 posts, read 10,254,632 times
Reputation: 9796
Unless you're regularly in the foothills or mountains during the winter, AWD is not necessary. I drive an old Honda Fit that does just fine 99% of the time.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:43 PM
Location: Aurora Denveralis
8,561 posts, read 3,001,676 times
Reputation: 12765
I would rank it fairly highly if you're going to continue to live here or any other place with frequent variation between rain, slushy icing and snow.

But good ice-rated all-season tires are almost as good if you're smart enough to stay out of really bad driving conditions. Plan on replacing the OEM tires with something like GY WeatherReadys.
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Old 12-14-2018, 05:51 PM
738 posts, read 394,347 times
Reputation: 1174
AWD is great and I wouldn’t drive in Colorado without it. During one of the recent small storms, I was driving up a small hill. There was a front wheel drive Fiat and a rear wheel drive Mercedes that could not make it up the hill. They were in the right lane both spinning their wheels. I casually pulled around both and continued on my way. Peace of mind.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:30 PM
11,256 posts, read 43,359,526 times
Reputation: 14917
there are many drivers who can competently use RWD and FWD cars in the metro area during the winter months, most have extensive winter driving experience and know the limits of their cars' abilities and their skillsets.

But there is a reason why cars such as the AWD Subaru are as popular as they are around here …

when the inclement conditions get really nasty/slick/black ice, the AWD is a significantly easier car to drive and get around. For many drivers, the capabilities are the difference between getting around without incident or potentially getting stuck.

Do consider that driving in the winter months is more than just your own ability to get around. It's not all that infrequent that you may find having the AWD capabilities allows you to deal with traffic and accident avoidance … situations that may be beyond your control. The poster above points out just one of those situations where others weren't able to get around and their AWD car continued on it's way.

If your snow/slick driving experience here has been in the AWD Subaru, you will likely find that cars without it won't be as capable on some days or may require a lot more attention to your driving technique than the Subie. As well, the Subie can get around quite well on "all season" tires, while you may find that a FWD car doesn't until you install dedicated winter snow tires for the season … and take them off at the end of the winter season because the soft winter tire compound wears very quickly on dry roads in warmer weather.
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Old 12-14-2018, 06:56 PM
5,339 posts, read 7,206,910 times
Reputation: 5099
AWD is not necessary if you live along the Front Range, but if you hate driving in snow as you said, and you sometimes must, you might prefer having AWD for a bit of additional security. It is a nice to have that can be quite handy. But you certainly don't have to have it to get from point A to point B on all except the worst road condition days.
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Old 12-14-2018, 07:31 PM
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,937 posts, read 6,545,853 times
Reputation: 7421
Nope. AWD is great but it doesn’t help you stop. Get good tires.

AWD Doesn't Matter - Your Tires Do
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Old 12-14-2018, 08:44 PM
24 posts, read 11,384 times
Reputation: 33
This has been my experience....

FWD with traction control and snow tires > AWD with seasonal tires > 1985 Lincoln Mark V with bald tires
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Old 12-14-2018, 10:31 PM
Location: Denver, CO
958 posts, read 1,265,319 times
Reputation: 1056
Just get snow tires.
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Old 12-15-2018, 09:47 AM
Location: Denver via Austin
3,113 posts, read 6,492,937 times
Reputation: 3526
It’s all-wheel drive, not all-wheel stop. Unless you’re at a stoplight, facing uphill, in the early morning after a snow shower, it won’t make much of a difference in my opinion. AWD is for people who off-road regularly. With all the money you save by not buying an unnecessary feature, you could get great winter tires.

For what it’s worth, manual transmissions are great when driving on slick roads.
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