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      08-21-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
NikAmi
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Is AWD really necessary?

Hi guys. I live in PA and we get a decent amount of snow here. I have been driving a monster SUV with full time 4WD (Toyota LandCruiser) for the past few years and even with that, I have fish tailed quite a few times. I am getting a new car soon and I was wondering if you guys thought that AWD would be worth it? I read an article in a magazine recently that mentioned that stability and traction control systems were getting so advanced that AWD wasn't a requirement anymore. Can I get away with a RWD car in this area of heavy precipitation or should I spring for the AWD? Considering I have never owned a RWD sports car before, I am leaning towards that end of the spectrum, but safety comes first so...
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      08-21-2007, 11:17 PM   #2
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Yeah it's definitely worth while. No traction control system can compensate for the lack of AWD. Why not have the best of broth worlds and get an AWD sports car? Look into an Evo or STI... or if your budget allows go for a 911 4S.
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      08-22-2007, 12:20 AM   #3
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Can you get away with a RWD car? Of course.

As long as you're smart and invest in good winter rubber, you could probably get away with driving a Vette year round.

AWD does exactly what it's supposed to; it gets the power to the wheels. But it takes more then AWD to make a good winter vehicle. Chances are the reason your Landcruiser was fish-tailing is because you have shitty "all-season" tires on there. Just like you could have the best snow tires in the world (and AWD), but on a patch of solid ice they're worthless.

Basically this is what you can expect in order from best performance to worst:
AWD + snow tires
AWD + all seasons = RWD + snows
RWD + all seasons

What about taking the money you would have spent on the AWD, and investing it in a winter driving school (on any car control school for that matter).
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      08-22-2007, 02:18 AM   #4
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thanks for the input guys. i'm still leaning towards the RWD but now I think I'll throw some proper winter rubber onto the factory rims. what type of school would you recommend? my dad has been wanting to go to the skip barber school for years. would that be a good idea?
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      08-22-2007, 06:13 AM   #5
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I know I sure have been enjoying the AWD in my 328xi coupe all week in this rain we've been having in NJ. My old M3 would have been all over the road with the water filled ruts. In the dry, I don't even really notice that it's AWD. I am hoping that it's at least as stable as my X-3 in the winter too.
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      08-23-2007, 01:51 AM   #6
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anybody else want to weigh in?
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      08-23-2007, 09:46 AM   #7
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RWD with proper winter tires will be more than sufficient. And if you can, get a narrower width tire since that will help with grip. Just don't think you can drive the same way you could on dry roads, which is a common mistake many people make. I mean, c'mon, it's still snow on the roads!!!

If you use basic common sense you'll be just fine.

Oh, and don't forget about FWD cars. They actually perform better in the snow than RWD cars. It's a lot easier to PULL something on snow than it is to PUSH.

So the list should actually be:

AWD + Snow tires
FWD + Snow tires
AWD + All season = RWD + snows
FWD + All season
RWD + all seasons
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      08-23-2007, 10:11 AM   #8
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I used my BMW this past winter. Shut off all the computers and go back and forth to dig yourself out.

BMW also has 50/50 weight which is so good. Other cars, I'm not sure. The Passat I use to drive was horrible in the snow. FWD.
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      08-23-2007, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdc View Post
RWD with proper winter tires will be more than sufficient. And if you can, get a narrower width tire since that will help with grip. Just don't think you can drive the same way you could on dry roads, which is a common mistake many people make. I mean, c'mon, it's still snow on the roads!!!

If you use basic common sense you'll be just fine.

Oh, and don't forget about FWD cars. They actually perform better in the snow than RWD cars. It's a lot easier to PULL something on snow than it is to PUSH.

So the list should actually be:

AWD + Snow tires
FWD + Snow tires
AWD + All season = RWD + snows
FWD + All season
RWD + all seasons
Yeah, I didn't include FWD, since I don't consider that an option... who wants to drive one of those.
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      08-23-2007, 12:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NikAmi View Post
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.
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      08-23-2007, 01:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 010101 View Post
Yeah it's definitely worth while. No traction control system can compensate for the lack of AWD. Why not have the best of broth worlds and get an AWD sports car? Look into an Evo or STI... or if your budget allows go for a 911 4S.
the problem with those is that they come with performance tires so it's like you don't have awd in snow!

but yeah, i've driven AWD in snow as compared to FF. much more scarier in FF than in AWD even though i did slip once or twice with AWD anyway
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