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post #1 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:16 AM Thread Starter
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AWD, hype or a must have

Read an interesting article the other day about new cars and how they are marketed. They brought up a really good point that I thought I would throw out there. AWD, 4WD were reserved for pick-up and work trucks just 10+ yrs ago and now it seems that makers make you feel like you are putting your safety at risk without this option on regular family vehicles and small suv's. One thing that stuck out in my mind that took me back in time was when the author spoke about the cars we all learned on. Rear wheel drive, disc brake only up front, no anti-lock etc. Yet we still managed to drive in winter storms and make it around town. Today there are some good safety standards on cars that really help, anti-lock brakes and some sort of traction or stability. But is AWD really worth it in the city? Is it worth the 1200-3K up cost and 1-3 mpg less? For sure helps resale though.
I have never owned a AWD but always thought it would be a cool option but the author brought up some good points, is it really worth the costs, weight and mileage for the 1 or 2 storms we get? Fyi, during the blizzard last year I actually rode around in my corolla for the hell of it at 1am and never got stuck. Thoughts? (Lambo's, R8's and Porsche don't count, they actually extract extra track performance from their systems with 500+hp and are not driven year round)

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post #2 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:22 AM
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Not a must have, but worth the peace of mind. Just my opinion

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post #3 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:24 AM
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It makes it fun to drive in a blizzard!
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post #4 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:26 AM
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post #5 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM
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No need . I agree with the author , for the two or three storms a year , its not an issue .

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post #6 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM
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Of course it's just a nicety, we don't live in Alaska or the mountains. You could probably ride your bike in the snow if you were careful enough, but would you want to?

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post #7 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:33 AM
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Just keep in mind AWD/4WD is good for getting moving, but doesn't really help you when it comes to stopping. Sometimes may give drivers too much confidence that they now have AWD, ABS, 10 airbags, etc etc.

Hell I've driven my mid engine 91 turbo MR2 in the snow which did surprisingly well with GOOD tires. But thats similar to driving a FWD car with the engine in a different place. With the same car with summer tires, it won't move in 2" of snow.

I'd spent the dough on some winter tires before AWD/4WD. It is nice to have, but wouldn't call it a "must have"
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post #8 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:34 AM
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Drove my rear wheel drive Tacoma X-Runner through all the storms we got last year. Winter tires and about 200 lbs of sand in the bed and it was fun as hell to drive. Never got close to being stuck or out of control (unless I wanted to be).

This winter I drove my 335i with snow tires all winter, but it's not really a good comparison since we didn't get much snow. Learned I had to turn off traction control though or it won't let the tires spin, therefore I couldn't accelerate anywhere.

So I say AWD is overrated in the areas we live. Now if we were talking about somewhere with more elevation changes or that got more snow, then you could easily make an argument for it.

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post #9 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:55 AM
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AWD is not just for snow and rain...in a way it dummifies driving the car as it's way too easy to drive fast. Launches are boring as their is way too much grip.

Next car definitely wont be AWD, but I wont do RWD with snows either so have a beater for the winter if you want a real sportscar.

I mostly went with AWD this time around because LSD is not available.
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post #10 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:56 AM
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Just keep in mind AWD/4WD is good for getting moving, but doesn't really help you when it comes to stopping. "
this^

i have an AWD car and i have never gotten stuck in any of the storms we have had in the past 3+ years. however, you will see my ass sliding up and down the street when im braking though.

AWD is nice in terms of acceleration and movement from the stopped position...but in terms of braking, it does nothing.

would i pay for AWD again? depending on the price, yes. and like the OP stated, it adds value in terms of resale. its it necessary to have AWD? IMO...no.
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post #11 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:57 AM
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hype

ive got a fwd with no traction control and have had no problems with the snows weve gotten since i bought it, I also switch to a dedicated snow/winter tire for the wintry months and that alone makes a huge huge difference..

with gas prices these days and the MPG penalty you pay for having AWD a second set of tires is paid for pretty quick in the additional efficiency

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post #12 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 10:13 AM
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Tires and ground clearance make more difference than which wheels drive the car. I got stuck every snow storm due to "all season" tires and lowering my car. Switched to dedicated winter tires, haven't been stuck since and I'm sitting about 3" off the ground.

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post #13 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 10:16 AM
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I had an AWD for the last 9 years. And I love it. Is it a must, absolutely not. But I didn't buy it because of the safety issues. It's so fun do drive it, especially in winter. But maybe it's so much fun cause it works with two LSD and winter tires ...

I think that when it comes to safety it's much better to invest in winter tires then in AWD. I'm still amazed what people actually drive on all season tires in winter, often with almost no thread.

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post #14 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 10:44 AM
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AWD is a nice "option". I've driven an awd in the snow. Yeah it was "easier".
Did I feel I needed it or was it a must have for me? Absolutley, NOT.

My thought is that if you can't drive in rough weather conditions, you shouldn't have a license.
Common sense is the main factor of this whole equation. Many people are so thick headed that they don't get the concept of slowing down, give yourself some extra room, leave earlier to make it on time, etc.
They have their heads so far up their own ass' or on cell phones that they get into trouble before they realize it.
Then they have the nerve to blame it on the car. LMFAO....idiots.

My opinion is this, and it's just that, an opinion. Is that there are circumstances that require 4wd or awd.....you live in an environment that CONSISTANTLY measures their snow in feet, you live in mountainous type regions with a daily offroad treks, if you consistantly have to tow heavy loads, etc etc.
But when I look at this, I think.....where in this equation does a car come into play? NOWHERE!! These are all jobs for a truck
All wheel drive on cars is just a marketing gimmick for morons that probably shouldnt be driving.

This is just my humble opinion.
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post #15 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 12:00 PM
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I like AWD for year round stuff in Chicago. My RDX is brainless and great in the winter. Boring as crud, but it goes through everything. In chicago all you need is FWD for 90% of conditions. I learned on RWD and still drove one in the winter from 2002 to 2008. Not getting stuck in any conditions is nice, but not a necessity. I'm not planning on going back to RWD for a winter car.

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post #16 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 01:10 PM
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Keep in mind that most AWD cars (with the exception of many Subaru) are FWD until slip conditions are present. Either way it's like heated seats, makes the winter days easier to pass.

Snow tires make 10x the difference that a drivetrain could.

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post #17 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 01:27 PM

 
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If its a matter of money then snow tires are the way to go. Its a much cheaper alternative to AWD.

That being said...there is nothing more fun in the winter than driving in the snow in a high horsepower AWD car with snow tires. You can launch the car from a light in 3 inches of snow and accelerate like normal. Snow tires are the only way to improve braking.

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Nothing compared to the Toyota Tundra, huh??
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post #18 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 01:30 PM
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AWD is not just for snow and rain...in a way it dummifies driving the car as it's way too easy to drive fast.
Totally agree. I can drive my car way faster than my skill allows simply because it fixes all my mistakes easily.
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post #19 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 01:39 PM
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Eh its all about the driver and knowing what your car can and cannot handle.

Driving wise, Ive driven my 240 RWD for the last 2 winters, there are times the ass will kick out on a turn in rain or snow. Parking wise, sure you get stuck, but thats when you park smart and know the back tires are the ones moving you.

Awd will help you maybe 2-3 times a year, in those rare opportunities you park on a hill of snow.

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post #20 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 02:03 PM
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Keep in mind that most AWD cars (with the exception of many Subaru) are FWD until slip conditions are present.
Don't forget BMW!
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post #21 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 02:16 PM
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I got awd in my current car. I opted to get awd instead of rwd. I got stuck last year, but that was because of ground clearance.

I guess it depends on the car. My g35, I should of gotten the rwd version. If it was a subie or Audi, I would opt for their awd.
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post #22 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 02:32 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting input. In Chicago and the surrounding burbs it sounds like everyone agrees with the idea the author had. Now if you lived in ski country or in a rural area that is another story. Sounds like a small fwd suv with the extra ground clearance and maybe some snow tires is a better option than the awd version in this area, save on gas, weight and cost. Kinda diggin' the new fwd Mazda CX-5, same mpg as my current car but shit loads more room and pretty attractive too. Maybe somewhere down the line. I really like having no car note for the last 3+ yrs.

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post #23 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 02:52 PM
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you can search for my posts about AWD.


TDS rips on stupid poseurs with their ricers that have AWD. "yo dawg, my ricer can turn a corner better" then tds post up pics of subarus that went off the road into a ditch.
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post #24 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 03:21 PM
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Don't forget BMW!
and volvo

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post #25 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 03:23 PM
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Is it essential: No, especially if you can compare how much the feature costs on the same car without AWD. For me, it's not worth paying more that $2500 for this option. Also, you have to consider the lost space inside the vehicle.

I had it and loved it on my Subaru Outback and my WRX. But those cars are competitively priced compared to their non AWD cohorts.

We recently purchased a Honda minivan which had the AWD option but the option was a lot of money. Also, the seat folding configuration changed because the additional mechanicals on the underside. It just didn't make sense. Maybe in Oregon.

All that said, I lived in Chicago for 15 years in 4 different addresses and without AWD it was painful to extract my car from the spot in winter.

Address A (Gold Coast): Rear side, uncovered car port behind 12' wide brownstone, 2 spots
Address B (Uptown): Attached parking surface lot
Address C (Lincoln Square): L shaped corner building with gated parking in rear. Enter through adjacent driveway into alley.
Address D: (Jefferson Park): Detached 2 car garage opening to alley.

Ease of parking: In every case except the surface lot in B during a snow storm and the weeks following when snow is piled 3-6' high directly outside of your garage you will be VERY happy with AWD. Keep in mind, my property was 25' wide and my garage was 22' wide. All the snow in the alley behind my garage needed to fit in the 1.5' space on either side of my garage because there wasn't anywhere else to put it. My little Honda Fit had a lot of trouble navigating the alley. If you think it gets better with time (as the snow melts) don't kid yourself. This creates nice little ice tracks down the alley and the AWD helps you when backing over them in order to rear-end back into your garage.

Also, and mostly this is for the Chicago folks, you have to consider street parking. When relatives visited for the kids birthdays in Feb I kept a bag of sand and a shovel close by to dig out their Camrys because the pitch of the street combined with the ice dams the plows create when they push the show against parked cars would always get my visitors stuck.

My AWD Outback never had problems extracting itself from on street parking in these conditions.

Another story is the time I took my WRX to the Aragon Ballroom in Uptown and lucked out finding on street parking on Kenmore a block away. As I was parking a giant gust of wind hit the car and I simply slid on the ice sideways right into the spot. Unfortunately, both in front of me and behind me there were vehicles with 6" of snow on them and looked like they hadn't moved in months. I got out and realized I'd have never fit in the spot without that gust of wind because I was bumper to bumper with the cars in front and behind me. Needless to say, with the AWD I was able to get out in 6 maneuvers even though I was on a solid slick of ice.

So for me AWD is worth it in the city if it doesn't add too much to the cost of the car.

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post #26 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 06:52 PM

 
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Quote:
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Don't forget BMW!
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Originally Posted by JRSMAIL View Post
and volvo
All AWD setups are either FWD or RWD bias until there is excessive wheel spin on one end. Some of the faster production cars like the GTR or the 911 turbo are almost exclusively RWD. Only 30% of the torque is actually transferred to the front wheels

4wd is a different story. Its either on or off, when its on turning is a bitch and the drivtrain will bind at full lock or near it.

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Nothing compared to the Toyota Tundra, huh??
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post #27 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 07:28 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JRSMAIL View Post
and volvo
Mine is FWD until it senses slippage, then it locks the center diff. Not good for performance, but this is better than most OEM LSDs for snow. I'm not sure if Volvo has changed this since the P2s, though.

I went AWD and snow tires. If you're going to have a dedicated car for winter, might as well be AWD.

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post #28 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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All AWD setups are either FWD or RWD bias until there is excessive wheel spin on one end. Some of the faster production cars like the GTR or the 911 turbo are almost exclusively RWD. Only 30% of the torque is actually transferred to the front wheels

4wd is a different story. Its either on or off, when its on turning is a bitch and the drivtrain will bind at full lock or near it.
Not always true. This depends on the differential used. And since Volvo locks the center diff, that means 100% of torque goes to both front and rear when it is engaged or it is 100% FWD with no torque to the rear when disengaged.

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post #29 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 07:46 PM

 
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Not always true. This depends on the differential used. And since Volvo locks the center diff, that means 100% of torque goes to both front and rear when it is engaged or it is 100% FWD with no torque to the rear when disengaged.
I was only speaking in terms of the gtr and 911 setups. Every AWD system is a little different.

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Nothing compared to the Toyota Tundra, huh??
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post #30 of 62 (permalink) Old 04-17-2012, 09:15 PM
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Mine is FWD until it senses slippage, then it locks the center diff. Not good for performance, but this is better than most OEM LSDs for snow. I'm not sure if Volvo has changed this since the P2s, though.

I went AWD and snow tires. If you're going to have a dedicated car for winter, might as well be AWD.
I have a 99 V70 XC and it well spin all four in snow as I don't have traction control on mine. I have taken out the shaft going to the rear to make it only fwd but its a pain in a$$ as the mpg did not really change.

Newer Volvo's are as you described.

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