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Old 08-09-2008, 03:40 PM
 
2 posts, read 11,722 times
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Hi folks,

My wife and I will be relocating to Portland and buying a new car. We'll be buying a Toyota Rav4, and we're wondering: should we buy a 2WD or AWD (all-wheel drive)?

We'll spend the vast majority of our time in town, but we'll make occasional trips to a family cabin in the Moosehead Lake area (bi-monthly in Winter, monthly in Summer). To get there, we take some dirt/gravel roads that aren't TOO steep, but sometimes can get a little rough.

Will we need all-wheel drive for the snow in Portland, or the roads in Central Maine?

Bonus question: When visitin Portland I see tons of Outbacks (no surprise), and a good number of CRVs, but almost no Rav4s. Does anyone know why I don't see more Rav4s?

Thank you!
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Old 08-09-2008, 03:47 PM
 
874 posts, read 1,847,042 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DanK987 View Post
Hi folks,

My wife and I will be relocating to Portland and buying a new car. We'll be buying a Toyota Rav4, and we're wondering: should we buy a 2WD or AWD (all-wheel drive)?

We'll spend the vast majority of our time in town, but we'll make occasional trips to a family cabin in the Moosehead Lake area (bi-monthly in Winter, monthly in Summer). To get there, we take some dirt/gravel roads that aren't TOO steep, but sometimes can get a little rough.

Will we need all-wheel drive for the snow in Portland, or the roads in Central Maine?

Bonus question: When visitin Portland I see tons of Outbacks (no surprise), and a good number of CRVs, but almost no Rav4s. Does anyone know why I don't see more Rav4s?

Thank you!
In town we are fine with our minivan. I did go a block further in bad storms to get home up Congress street only because they clear it first. No idea about the country roads. My experience is that snow and ice on grave aren't so bad but mud can be tricky.
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Old 08-09-2008, 08:10 PM
 
Location: God's Country, Maine
2,054 posts, read 4,556,223 times
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Moosehead isn't the end of the universe.
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:07 AM
 
Location: 43.55N 69.58W
3,231 posts, read 7,428,338 times
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Hi Dank987,

Welcome to the Maine forum!

IMHO, yes you will want at least AWD. 2WD just doesn't cut it in snow and slush. You'll find yourself in the ditch in no time. 4WD is only needed if you're going to find yourself on unplowed roads or deep mud. Or of course if you do happen to end up in a ditch. Sometimes even then you might need a tow to get out. Nothing handles well on ice covered roads.

AWD is going to handle the best on regular roads in any weather.

I don't know much about the Rav4's except my 83 yr old aunt in Waterville drives one! When they first came out I heard a rumor that they weren't well liked to due their being so light weight. I don't know if there's any truth to that.

The Subaru Outback is a great car that handles well in winter conditions and Subarus last forever.

Enjoy your new home in Portland.
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Old 08-10-2008, 03:51 PM
 
Location: Laguna Woods, CA
198 posts, read 351,841 times
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Either is a good idea if you are going to do a whole lot of winter driving...especially if you live in the country.

WARNING.....don't get a false sense of security driving a 4 X 4 or an AWD. They are no better on ice than is a 2 wheel drive. I can't tell you how many times I saw 4 X 4 SUVs off the road. The 4 X 4's take some getting used to...but ice is ice...it takes no prisoners.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,223 posts, read 60,947,942 times
Reputation: 30093
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanK987 View Post
Hi folks,

My wife and I will be relocating to Portland and buying a new car. We'll be buying a Toyota Rav4, and we're wondering: should we buy a 2WD or AWD (all-wheel drive)?
I think that you will be fine with front wheel drive.

We live 3 1/2 hours North of Portland and we have not seen any need for 4WD yet.



Quote:
... We'll spend the vast majority of our time in town, but we'll make occasional trips to a family cabin in the Moosehead Lake area (bi-monthly in Winter, monthly in Summer). To get there, we take some dirt/gravel roads that aren't TOO steep, but sometimes can get a little rough.
That may require 4WD or AWD.



Quote:
... Will we need all-wheel drive for the snow in Portland, or the roads in Central Maine?
No.
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Old 08-10-2008, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,223 posts, read 60,947,942 times
Reputation: 30093
Quote:
Originally Posted by L-88 View Post
Either is a good idea if you are going to do a whole lot of winter driving...especially if you live in the country.

WARNING.....don't get a false sense of security driving a 4 X 4 or an AWD. They are no better on ice than is a 2 wheel drive. I can't tell you how many times I saw 4 X 4 SUVs off the road. The 4 X 4's take some getting used to...but ice is ice...it takes no prisoners.
From my observations, in this area, and entirely on pavement, Front Wheel Drive seems to be the best.

I have cheerfully driven by 4WDs who were stuck in the ditch, while our Front WD vehicles have not had any slippage at all.

[obviously not to say that our vehicles have never slipped on ice, but that I have not landed in the ditch so far as a result]

I do have a 4WD vehicle, which can be great for off-roading.

4WD operators do commonly think that they can do greater feats than they can, and they end up in the ditch as a result.
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Old 08-10-2008, 09:26 PM
 
8,767 posts, read 18,565,800 times
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You all realize of course that long before there were any 4X4's and AWD cars or even front wheel drives people drove all over the place with regular rear wheel drive cars and trucks. They even went so far as to venture into the wilds of Greenville ....in the winter!!
Plowed roads which have been sanded are not a problem for any vehicle. Packed snow gets greasy without either sand or salt. Ice is a problem for any vehicle 2wd or 4wd unless you have studded tires. Ground clearance is much more of a problem than the drive system. Too high you end up top heavy and roll overs are a real threat. Too low and you will not be able to crash through unplowed driveways or where town plows have blocked driveways and parking lots with snow ridges. Light cars do not do well in snow. 2wd pickup trucks are just about the worst thing you can drive in snow unless you weight the back down significantly. 4wd in a pickup truck makes it just about as good as a front wheel drive car. Off road is a whole different ballgame. The 4wd pick up is a pretty good choice here.
We have driven Saabs since the 80's. They are a fairly heavy mid sized sedan. Coupled with a set of four studded tires and you will be hard pressed to find a winter surface that will give you much trouble. Just don't get the Aero as we found out they are too low to the ground!
I'm with forrest here. AWD and 4WD are not necessary in Maine. They do give yahoos and the inexperienced a false sense of security. You'll see them blow by you on a snowy highway and half the time you'll pass them when they spin out into the median strip! You need to learn to drive in snow. If you can't feel the slipping you will never learn how to react. AWD and 4WD keeps you from learning how to drive in snow.
That said If I had to run a pick up truck in the winter I would not attempt to run a 2WD as they are completely useless unless the traction is very good. In fact I think any rear drive pick up without 4wd is pretty useless just because of that light rear end.
Just be smart about things. If you're going out in a storm or for a longer trip where you may encounter difficulties make sure you have an emergency survival kit in the trunk. Candy, blankets, flares, a flashlight, cell phone, and a collapsible shovel are good. Water will freeze and may break open in your bag so don't bother with it. Some hats and extra socks are good to throw in a small bag and leave there. Don't waste your energy trying to dig out a car that is stuck to the frame in snow. You will not be able to dig it out. Wait for help and stay dry. If the car will run, be sure to clear the tail pipe before you run it for heat. If you don't the car will probably not run long and you risk the buildup of carbon monoxide.
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Old 08-10-2008, 10:07 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
37,223 posts, read 60,947,942 times
Reputation: 30093
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maineah View Post
... That said If I had to run a pick up truck in the winter I would not attempt to run a 2WD as they are completely useless unless the traction is very good. In fact I think any rear drive pick up without 4wd is pretty useless just because of that light rear end.
I can not express how many times this last winter, I saw people pull out in front of me [from a driveway / parking lot / side road] onto the road that I was traveling on, and immediately fishtail.

2WD vehicles both pickup and cars, they want to jump out into traffic in front of me, so they are gunning their engine, spinning their rear tires.

If it works, great!

If they do manage to get out onto the roadway without me having to brake for them, great!

But fishtailing out into the on-coming lane of traffic is even more dangerous.

Any time that your vehicle is sliding sideways, you are not in full control of your vehicle. And yet the same folks keep doing this. Each time they pull out onto the road way. They do it when someone is coming, and they over rev their engine, spinning their tires as the rear of their vehicle slides out across one lane and into the opposite lane of traffic.
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Old 08-18-2008, 07:04 AM
 
Location: Bangor Maine
3,440 posts, read 6,515,979 times
Reputation: 4049
In the 70s and 80s we drove to Greenville to ski at least a couple times a month and never had a 4WD just an ordinary Ford Sedan. In those days the roads were in much worse condition and never had a problem.. I see lots of Rav4s around - no lack of them here.
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