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Old 10-11-2011, 01:14 PM
 
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I have a wonderful old Camry wagon which must be a front wheel drive. I've moved to an area where we might get some snow and ice less than 10 days a year, but I want to be a little paranoid in my next purchase. I'm pretty much set on the Honda CR-V 4WD, but in researching further, it looks like an AWD would be an improvement over my front wheel drive and good enough. In what conditions will/will not an AWD help?

 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:25 PM
 
Location: Full Time: N.NJ Part Time: S.CA, ID
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Modern AWD systems will do everything you'll need it to 'on road', in fact, i typically recommend AWD to unfamiliar drivers as it requires no driver input.

Unless you're going to be actually offroading, AWD will not be an issue. Tires are your biggest concern, make sure you've got tires for snow and ice.

I think the CRV *is* (what i would consider) AWD, not 4WD.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:35 PM
 
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Just about any AWD car platform based vehicle ... Audi, Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Volvo, MB, BMW ... will outperform a truck-based 4x4 on icy roads.

The 4x4 suspension is targeted to an "off-road" use, while the AWD's are targeted to "on-road" use.

Given the limited exposure you're anticipating in your new location, most FWD cars are an excellent choice and even a AWD vehicle would rarely be needed. Balance this against the fact that an AWD vehicle has a complexity and fuel consumption penalty compared to the FWD vehicle which will meet your needs.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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You don't "need" either.

Getting an AWD would be overkill, getting a 4WD would be well... whatever ranks above that.

That being said, I drive a symmetrical AWD (50/50 power distribution) in Dallas, TX, so who am I to speak, but that was more that the car was available at the good price, not the AWD system.

But yeah, you don't need AWD nor 4WD, but if you absolutely feel like you do, an AWD will suffice.

Out of curiosity, why do you think you need either?
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:43 PM
 
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Front wheel drive creates a false sense of security due to its superior straight ahead traction on snow and ice. This traction can also be created by the addition of 400 pounds of sand bags in the trunk of a rear wheel drive car. But neither is a good idea on ice and snow.

All wheel drive, however, is a good choice for a person who will not have to confront serious road hazard conditions. It will be safer than front wheel or rear wheel drive for the average person.

Most AWD is really one wheel drive - just the computer choosing the correct wheel.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:51 PM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
6,109 posts, read 10,771,290 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheViking85 View Post
You don't "need" either.

Getting an AWD would be overkill, getting a 4WD would be well... whatever ranks above that.

That being said, I drive a symmetrical AWD (50/50 power distribution) in Dallas, TX, so who am I to speak, but that was more that the car was available at the good price, not the AWD system.

But yeah, you don't need AWD nor 4WD, but if you absolutely feel like you do, an AWD will suffice.

Out of curiosity, why do you think you need either?
Well, if it's patchy icy and even just a bit of an incline FWD or RWD can easily stop in its tracks with the one wheel not having traction spinning helplessly. Traction control should help this but electronics can only do so much. Having said that the few days that that might happen you just stay home or avoid hills haha- or snow tires, but that seems foolish for a few days a year.

Some AWD systems are so based on the original drive wheel's platform that they have a hard time shifting enough torque to the wheels that have the traction and providing the umph to get you going. Not so with a Subaru. You certainly don't need 4WD and that is really only available on trucks.

Talk about needlessly having AWD cars for the area- we have two Subarus in San Diego lol. I just like how they handle-(and the turbo) and we do make it to the mountains a few times a year.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:52 PM
 
430 posts, read 1,687,361 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheViking85 View Post
You don't "need" either.

...

Out of curiosity, why do you think you need either?
Because last season during the inch or so of snow that stuck to the road, my Camry seemed to slip around a little. From reading the responses, that could have been simply because I don't have appropriate tires?
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Full Time: N.NJ Part Time: S.CA, ID
6,114 posts, read 12,445,182 times
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tires play a huge role. i've done wonders in 2WD (well, 4x4 vehicles in 2wd mode) with just dedicated snow tires.

For what its worth, i've owned a long string of AWD Audis in Southern CA ... i don't think there is anything wrong with that.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 01:58 PM
 
10,135 posts, read 27,303,329 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by T. Damon View Post
Well, if it's patchy icy and even just a bit of an incline FWD or RWD can easily stop in its tracks with the one wheel not having traction spinning helplessly. Traction control should help this but electronics can only do so much. Having said that the few days that that might happen you just stay home or avoid hills haha- or snow tires, but that seems foolish for a few days a year.

Some AWD systems are so based on the original drive wheel's platform that they have a hard time shifting enough torque to the wheels that have the traction and providing the umph to get you going. Not so with a Subaru. You certainly don't need 4WD and that is really only available on trucks.

Talk about needlessly having AWD cars for the area- we have two Subarus in San Diego lol. I just like how they handle-(and the turbo) and we do make it to the mountains a few times a year.
i like the engineering of the Suburu AWD and also like their superior ground clearance. Actually, that may make the most difference in heavy, midwestern snow.
 
Old 10-11-2011, 02:03 PM
 
2,861 posts, read 3,815,783 times
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There are many threads on this and related subjects (especially all season vs snow tires) on C-D and other fora. Try searching and googling for many opinions.

It will depend on many factors, since you say '10 days' a year front wheel drive and decent tires should be OK, unless
  • you live in very remote/hilly areas
  • you MUST travel under all circumstances, instead of staying or working from home until the roads are passable
  • you must drive long distances in the bad conditions
  • the drivers' skill and experience
Snow tires are better than all-season in snow and ice regardless of the drive system, but usually for are recommended and the twice a year changeover can be a pain and costly as well as rough on the tires and wheels...many people get by with just all seasons tires (depending on the items above and the margin of comfort/safety they prefer)

Bottom line is 'it depends'.... (you will get many opinions on this...one other thought is to talk to people who live in the area you are going to live in and see what they do).

(PS: I own both an Audi ad Subura AWD as well as a FWD Saab and there is no comparison between either AWD and the FWD in true snow/icy conditions, especially when equipped with snow tires).
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