Originally Posted by NikAmi
anybody else want to weigh in?
I also live in PA, and after a depressingly increasing number of years have concluded that three things matter. They are tires, tires and tires. AWD certainly gives better acceleration, but in all other respects handling comes down too, literally, the rubber meeting the road.
As far as safety is concerned, this comes back to the point that AWD does not help one stop or turn. Good traction for the purposes of steering and braking comes primarily from good tires. So if safety is the number one concern, get good winter tires. After that, if getting up steep hills is a concern, add the AWD.