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Fwd explorer in winter

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Old 07-24-2011, 01:23 PM   #1
Burtdiesel
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US Fwd explorer in winter

Looking for some feedback from fwd owners experiences in winter weather. Any issues? Wish you ordered awd? I read two posts from people deciding whether to purchase fwd or awd and didn't see any actual feedback from owners of fwd explorers. I live in ct and have ordered a fwd ex but am having second thoughts. But I don't want to buy awd and add the extra weight if not needed. All of my driving experience has been in fwd cars focus/ passat etc. Not sure if a large fwd suv behaves worse in winter weather(snow/ice)
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Old 07-24-2011, 01:31 PM   #2
BrianDye
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Tires can make the world of a difference. I hear amazing things about the Bridgestone Blizzaks. My uncle had a 4x4 F250 that wouldnt make it up the neighborhood road (pretty steep incline), no matter what he tried (2wd, 4hi, 4low etc), but my stepdad has a Crown Vic with those tires, and made it up the street no problem.

I know FWD is better than RWD in the snow, but cant really vouch for it, as the only vehicles ive driven in the winter is my AWD, or my old automatic AWD.




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Old 07-24-2011, 02:35 PM   #3
vulnox
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Originally Posted by Burtdiesel View Post
Looking for some feedback from fwd owners experiences in winter weather. Any issues? Wish you ordered awd? I read two posts from people deciding whether to purchase fwd or awd and didn't see any actual feedback from owners of fwd explorers. I live in ct and have ordered a fwd ex but am having second thoughts. But I don't want to buy awd and add the extra weight if not needed. All of my driving experience has been in fwd cars focus/ passat etc. Not sure if a large fwd suv behaves worse in winter weather(snow/ice)
An SUV with FWD should handle the snow a lot better than your former cars because it has a good deal more weight on the front tires, aiding traction. My parents live in Michigan, and have had two FWD Edge's. Those things were tanks.

The reason I went with AWD instead of just FWD though even though I know FWD will work is that we are planning to make some long trips between where we are now in Kansas and back home to MI, and during the winter in some instances. I didn't want the 4x4 for simple forward momentum from a stop reasons, but to be sure the vehicle could adapt during long highway drives to adverse changes in road conditions. I wanted it more for added safety than just getting to the store.

In either case ice can still ruin your day, and tires make a huge difference. My dad had a 1999 F-250 with just rear wheel drive, but it had these michelin tires that went through anything. Even during one of michigans worst snow storms.

I think you will be happy either way. In our case we just wanted to be over prepared, but that's the key thing. Being over prepared vs. Being well prepared. It's up to you if a $2000 gamble is worth possibly not needing it. Since we had A plan, it severely reduced our gamble.

Good luck either way, we are on our 3rd day of ownership and are finding excuses to drive it whenever we can. We love it!
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Old 07-24-2011, 02:48 PM   #4
2TimingTom
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My wife drives a Saturn VUE (FWD) with Michelin X-Ice tires in the winter. To be quite honest, while my Explorer accelerates better in the snow due to the 4wd, I'd rather drive the VUE (or have winter tires on my Ex) in the snow.

Yes, tires make all the difference. A FWD anything with good winter tires will be better, IMO, than a 4wd vehicle with general "all"-season tires.




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Old 07-24-2011, 03:50 PM   #5
harlenm
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Got my new Ex yesterday, and this is my first SUV in about 7 years. My wife has an AWD Acura RDX, and both my front wheel drive sedan's with snow tires that I've had previously would run circles around that in the snow.

Hopefully the Ex does good, but with 20" rims it might need a good set of winter tires anyway.
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Old 07-24-2011, 04:03 PM   #6
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Got my new Ex yesterday, and this is my first SUV in about 7 years. My wife has an AWD Acura RDX, and both my front wheel drive sedan's with snow tires that I've had previously would run circles around that in the snow.

Hopefully the Ex does good, but with 20" rims it might need a good set of winter tires anyway.
I replaced my 20" Hankooks with Yokohama Parada Spec-X tires the day I picked it up. While the Spec-X has a slightly more aggressive tread, I am still weighing the option of replacing the 20" wheels with the base model 17" steel wheels for winter tires.
Welcome to the Forum harlenm.




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Old 07-27-2011, 06:23 AM   #7
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Burtdiesel, per my PM:
hi, i picked up our FWD late march, so we really did not have opportunity to try it in snow yet. Somedays I wish I would have gone with AWD, just to have AWD, but other days I am convinced I did a good, sound decision.
FWD pros:
-less initial cost
-less long term maintenance (important if you are keeping long term, like us)
-better MPG
FWD cons:
-not "AWD"
-claimed "torque steer" which we haven't experienced, since we do not do hard WOT's anyway

We have gone through about 10 michigan winters with FWD passats and we really did not have an issue, but in winter we always stick to paved roads anyway. I guess if you are on dirt roads in winter with a slight grade, then probably AWD is best.
Just depends want you want or need.
I think this is the key thing here, my guess is some people are buying the AWD on a "want" basis, not necessarily on a "need" basis.
Hope this helps
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:35 AM   #8
GTMD
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Tires are the answer.My first set of radials in the early 70's proved to be the best thing since sliced bread,seemed unstoppable on rwd.First 4x4,89 Ranger,used it twice in 3yrs.I found out it wasn't worth a darn on ice,spun around 3 times.First FWD,93 Taurus Sho,I tryed to stick this vehicle in over 6in of snow and could not do it.
I have had a few 4x4s and very seldom used it.The lower fuel economy,upkeep and cost do not pay off for me.We live in southern Ohio and see quite a bit of snow and the fwd vehicles have yet to fail us.Our 2011 Explorer seen some snow in March and preformed without a problem and it is great on gas.
I won't knock awd if you feel you need it, but for everyday use on the highway,I feel fwd does the job
I have been driving for 49 yrs and drove 66 mi round trip 6 to 7 days a week for 26 yrs.I was stuck it snow one time in 1965 in a new Mustang.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:49 AM   #9
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I picked up the FWD as well. At first, kind of wanted the 4WD.
Although, I was able to get all of the options that I wanted, and was at 35K. Not to mention, wanted to keep the gas bill down.

Not too worried about winter driving, since I will be driving between Texas and California.

But, my concern is taking the Explorer to the Sierra Nevada mountains.
It sounds like having proper tires is the answer.
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Old 07-28-2011, 11:56 AM   #10
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I really wish the feedback was that the FWD was more than adequate new to ford...may rationale for going FWD was similar to yours as I have not had issues with FWD cars in the past even lacking snow tires...also I was cross shopping minivans which would have been FWD anyway.
The oddessy was 17/27 vs the explorer at 17/25 but the odyseey has the variable cylinder management which makes it feel like a dog on the highway and the explorer has the option to tow more weight should i find the need to buy toys...I guess it is fords cheaper minivan(forget the flex). FWD/AWD decisions, decisions...i am still leaning FWD with snow tires/rims...
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:39 PM   #11
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AWD/4wd buys you the ability to do what better in the snow? Accelerate. Once you get going, AWD/4wd doesn't really do a whole lot- it might help to keep you going with minimal wheel spin, but I don't think this is a safety concern.

When in the snow do most accidents occur? While starting, cruising or stopping? Usually it's the lack of ability to stop that gets people into trouble in snow. If you have AWD/4wd or FWD, you still have 4 tires on the ground/snow and each tire has it's own brake (caliper/pad/rotor or cylinder/shoe/drum) controlling it. So it doesn't matter what is in the drivetrain (it could be in neutral) when you're braking on snow. At that point, it's all about the tires (where the rubber meets the road).




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Old 07-28-2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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decisions, decisions...i am still leaning FWD with snow tires/rims...
If you do get winter tires, check with your insurance company to see if they offer a discount for that. My insurance company gives a 5% reduction in the cost of the yearly insurance premium.
Welcome to the Forum.




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Old 07-28-2011, 02:34 PM   #13
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burtdiesel, one more "pros" factor for the 4WD is the "coolness factor" of having the Terrain Managment System, FORD has done an excellent job on marketing this feature. Whenever the ex commercials run on TV and show the TMS dial knob for different settings, my kids ask: Daddy, does our ex have that?

Another "pros" factor can be resale value, as it will perceived to be more desirable compared to FWD. To me this is a non-issue, since I plan to keep this vehicle for a long time!
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Old 07-28-2011, 04:03 PM   #14
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There is the coolness factor of the terrain management.

For me it's a non-issue. Since the type of off-roading/rock crawling that I like to do, involves a wrangler or atv. I would be a bit nervous taking an 2011 Explorer on the Rubicon.
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Old 07-28-2011, 08:35 PM   #15
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One extra thing to consider is leasing. If you lease it, the residual value on the 4x4 was 2% better than the FWD. When pricing ours out, even with the added cost of the 2wd, it only raised our payment one dollar to get 4x4. We don't normally lease and I know not everyone does, but if you do lease it makes it a much easier choice.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:27 PM   #16
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I guess I am primarily concerned with getting stuck...that would be where 4wd would help...although the xplorer is heavy adding more traction to the fwd. I would think trying to move that mass up a hill that has snow would prove more difficult than a car.
In terms of resale, I keep my cars until they aren't worth anything...that is why i am stressed on the awd vs fwd. This vehicle would be in my driveway for 10 to 15 years. As of now I think I'm going fwd with snow tires. Less drivetrain complexity hopefully equals less problems...lighter...less gas... one or two times a year I may need to drive in snow that hasn't been cleared yet...I'm sure I can make it without getting stuck...I think the tire comments are spot on...bad tires=going nowhere
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:34 PM   #17
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4X4 is good in snow but bad on ice. I had a FWD Toyota Tercel w/studded winter tyres in front; never let me down in ANY type of weather-
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #18
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As of now I think I'm going fwd with snow tires.
You won't regret it.




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Old 08-10-2011, 10:57 PM   #19
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CAN Winter tires

Agree with most comments that tires are the main thing here.

Question is, what winter/snow tires have people been putting on their Ex?

I just bought my AWD XLT last week and will want to put winter tires on this fall (I always did so even before it was the law here in Quebec).

Anyways, would appreciate feedback on any experience with respect to winter tires.

Also, I'm considering buying another set of alloy wheels, instead of rims. They seem to be less expensive than before and it the steel rims I got for my other cars seem to rust quite a bit (they put a lot of salt/calcium on the roads around here...). Any thoughts?
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Old 08-11-2011, 10:45 AM   #20
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Agree with most comments that tires are the main thing here.

Question is, what winter/snow tires have people been putting on their Ex?

I just bought my AWD XLT last week and will want to put winter tires on this fall (I always did so even before it was the law here in Quebec).

Anyways, would appreciate feedback on any experience with respect to winter tires.

Also, I'm considering buying another set of alloy wheels, instead of rims. They seem to be less expensive than before and it the steel rims I got for my other cars seem to rust quite a bit (they put a lot of salt/calcium on the roads around here...). Any thoughts?
I am leaning toward the Yokohama Geolandar I/T G072 for Winter. On 1010tires.com, customers have given it a 4.3 of 5 rating. I have the Yokohama Parada Spec-X tires on my 2011 Limited now and although they seem to have a fairly aggressive tread pattern, they are not a Winter tire. Looking to put the base model 17" steel wheels on the Limited. They should fit but the dealer wants to try one first to confirm. The 17" tires are much less expensive than the 20". Will also consider the BFGoodrich Winter Slalom KSI.
They do not seem to be available in the States.




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