Automotive

Why so many people think they need AWD/4WD?

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  • Feb 16th, 2016 5:18 pm
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2008
860 posts
137 upvotes
Blainville

Why so many people think they need AWD/4WD?

With the current generation snow tires, except if you drive in very badly maintained road do you really need AWD?

I went hunting with a FWD suv and ground clearance was an issue but never traction, who the hell go drive in 1 feet of mud with there car/truck to need awd?

So why so many want AWD, is it like a placebo effect that they think will make them safer on the road?

When I go south in the US, I see a lot of AWD unibody SUV, I just don't get it, they will never be able to use it.

The only thing I see is fun factor in fresh powder, but that's not really a need, just a plus
410 replies
Sr. Member
Jun 5, 2011
856 posts
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LONDON
most new AWD systems are pretty gimmicky but most of the features on new cars play into the fears of new car buyers. Some argue, AWD is actually bad for it give drivers a fake sense of safety so they don't slow down or drive cautiously enough when the weather is bad.

my parents never have had an AWD car. They have never gotten stuck either. The best advise they gave me when i became a new driver; "if it looks bad out, just stay home". I only travel if its a must, otherwise I just stay home. Rarely is there a multi day period where roads are just atrocious, usually its bad for one night, then the plows and salters get it cleared. I would rather not deal with getting stuck/paying for repairs/driving super slow everywhere/etc.

Snow tires are somewhat gimmicky as well. Snow tires are not necessarily optimized for ice conditions and vis versa.
Sr. Member
Dec 25, 2012
636 posts
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Ontario
not true. I have personally felt the difference in start to go traction with AWD vs FWD. I see cars spinning their tires and laugh because they can't get traction like my vehicle can. Stopping is another story, AWD doesn't do any better when stopping on an icy road - that's when having good tires is better.
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Oct 13, 2009
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Iqaluit, NU
RWD shenanigans in winter ftw
Deal Addict
Jul 7, 2007
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AWD isn't needed. Just like seatbelts, false sense of safety. Imagine how safe you'd be driving if you weren't wearing a seatbelt.
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Jun 8, 2003
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Scarborough
OP, we just purchased a RAV4 LE FWD (is just called LE in 2016), AWD is gimmicky like other mentioned. Subaru Froster is the best in AWD, but I'm not into Subaru. Consumer Reports had an article on it, Honda CRV and RAV4 didn't do well in their test.
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Aug 10, 2015
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Elgin, ON
I just drove home an AWD vehicle last night. The only problem was, it came with summer performance tires. The tires are comically bad on the winter road conditions. I will be installing snow tires tonight.

We were not specifically shopping for AWD, and would be using snow tires regardless of drivetrain configuration. However, AWD is a nice bonus. One of the intersections we deal with regularly requires stopping, then starting on an incline. The extra traction of AWD certainly helps a vehicle get moving when things are slippery. Also, the main street naturally gets plowed before the street we live on, so sometimes you have to break through a bit of a snow bank from the plow to enter the main road. Again, AWD really helps there.

It's added performance and piece of mind. It can help you get through the worst, when you might stay home otherwise.

Oh, and my 4x4 truck has gone many places a 2WD cannot.

Image
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Dec 23, 2015
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Newmarket, ON
If you live on a small street that doesn't get plowed/salted often, it's useful to have AWD and snow tires. You should see how often people on my street get stuck trying to enter their own driveway.
Banned
Dec 20, 2015
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not GTA
just fun factor...drifting in the ATS on winter roads with AWD

and the 30cm+ we had monday...my ATS if FWD and snows would have gone nowhere...far too low and too light...would just sit on snow and spin...just as my past 3 FWD vehicles did with snow tires...
Banned
Dec 20, 2015
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not GTA
Oh..and follow my wife's Forester with michelin snows up to Haliburton someday with your FWD and snows.....then you will understand
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2008
860 posts
137 upvotes
Blainville
micromen wrote: not true. I have personally felt the difference in start to go traction with AWD vs FWD. I see cars spinning their tires and laugh because they can't get traction like my vehicle can. Stopping is another story, AWD doesn't do any better when stopping on an icy road - that's when having good tires is better.
Yeah but, let's say you are at a red light on a 50kph road, the awd will be in front fast when the light is green, but in the end, you don't save that much time and it's only when the snow has not been removed properly.

I drive a honda odyssey and honda accord currently, and so far this winter, I only had 2 days when the traction control was activated, so I could not accelerate at my usual pace.

I think subaru AWD system is fantastic, but is it something we need, not at all but it sure is fun.
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Aug 10, 2015
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bnssucks wrote: Oh..and follow my wife's Forester with michelin snows up to Haliburton someday with your FWD and snows.....then you will understand
Well, if the Forester breaks the trail, it's much easier to follow.... Just sayin' :)

But yeah, I get your point. My in-laws live in Smiths Falls, and they certainly get more snow than the GTA. The back roads were quite icy around new years when we were there last.
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Dec 23, 2015
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Ottawa, ON
Oh..but you have to admit the place in the picture is not a place that most people drive to anyway, unless of course you are live in or are into some hobby that takes you out there.
rkjredflag wrote: I just drove home an AWD vehicle last night. The only problem was, it came with summer performance tires. The tires are comically bad on the winter road conditions. I will be installing snow tires tonight.

We were not specifically shopping for AWD, and would be using snow tires regardless of drivetrain configuration. However, AWD is a nice bonus. One of the intersections we deal with regularly requires stopping, then starting on an incline. The extra traction of AWD certainly helps a vehicle get moving when things are slippery. Also, the main street naturally gets plowed before the street we live on, so sometimes you have to break through a bit of a snow bank from the plow to enter the main road. Again, AWD really helps there.

It's added performance and piece of mind. It can help you get through the worst, when you might stay home otherwise.

Oh, and my 4x4 truck has gone many places a 2WD cannot.

Image
Banned
Dec 20, 2015
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not GTA
rkjredflag wrote: Well, if the Forester breaks the trail, it's much easier to follow.... Just sayin' :)

But yeah, I get your point. My in-laws live in Smiths Falls, and they certainly get more snow than the GTA. The back roads were quite icy around new years when we were there last.

Yes..certainly if we lived in GTA we would likely not bother with AWD..
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Aug 10, 2015
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ma23kids wrote: Oh..but you have to admit the place in the picture is not a place that most people drive to anyway, unless of course you are live in or are into some hobby that takes you out there.
Sure, I'll admit the off road driving is for pleasure, not necessity. But, it's still worth noting that my truck is unstoppable in the worst snow storms we get in the Golden Horseshoe.
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Apr 24, 2014
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An RWD vehicle with good snow tires will perform better than an AWD vehicle with summer/all-season tires.

It really comes down to the tires in my opinion.
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Jul 7, 2007
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hybrid09 wrote: An RWD vehicle with good snow tires will perform better than an AWD vehicle with summer/all-season tires.

It really comes down to the tires in my opinion.
Of course it comes down to tires. A civic with properly inflated tires will be faster than a Buggati Veyron with a flat tire.

Its all about the tires.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2008
860 posts
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Blainville
I have to admit that we only have 7-8 ft of snow per year around where I live, that's why we don'T really need AWD truck.

What makes me laugh the most, is when I go to Florida and people tell me they need awd because when it rain, they still want to be able to go to the groceries store....
Banned
Dec 23, 2015
29 posts
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Ottawa, ON
Smith Falls hardly get any snow compared to Ottawa, unless of course they are out in the boonies? Glad your spouse is glad they got out of there and moved to St Catherines instead? A the end of the day, it all comes down to the person behind the wheel and their rationality / sanity. Many truck drivers drive like idiots
rkjredflag wrote: Sure, I'll admit the off road driving is for pleasure, not necessity. But, it's still worth noting that my truck is unstoppable in the worst snow storms we get in the Golden Horseshoe.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Jan 1, 2008
860 posts
137 upvotes
Blainville
Zero Hope wrote: Of course it comes down to tires. A civic with properly inflated tires will be faster than a Buggati Veyron with a flat tire.

Its all about the tires.
Also, a lot of AWD driver think there AWD system make them stop a lot better...

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