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FWD vs. 4WD

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Old 09-29-2011, 02:17 PM   #1
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FWD vs. 4WD

I live in the Washington DC area. What are thoughts on the need for 4WD. It does not snow that much, but when it does it is a mess because nobody handles it correctly. Additionally, we would be taking trips to WVA for skiing, hiking, etc... in the winter. Do you think this would justify the additional cost of 4WD? Or is a 2012 Explorer with FWD and good tires good enough.

Thanks!
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:29 PM   #2
calb
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I live in the Washington DC area. What are thoughts on the need for 4WD. It does not snow that much, but when it does it is a mess because nobody handles it correctly. Additionally, we would be taking trips to WVA for skiing, hiking, etc... in the winter. Do you think this would justify the additional cost of 4WD? Or is a 2012 Explorer with FWD and good tires good enough.

Thanks!
I got 4WD and I'm in Toronto Canada, but travelling to snow belt area and we do get a fair amount of snow. That being said even I have a hard time justifying 4wd (though I did get it, just because!).

If you are looking at just dollars, snow tires are a far better investment, and 4wd is only of value if there is heavy snow that causes you to lose traction. Not much help for handling, per se. There are other electronic niceties that help out in slippery road conditions.

I don't think you really need it, but its always nice to have
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:35 PM   #3
shoeman
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Prior to my new X FWD I have owned FLEX FWD ,and ESCAPE AWD. When driving the Flex I never had a REAL issue with it being FWD. Moral of the story being if you drive careful in rough weather, you will be fine with FWD. It all comes down to being a careful driver or a road jockey.
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Old 09-29-2011, 02:36 PM   #4
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I live in MoCo in MD right next to DC and I have 4WD on mine. I ended up having to use it last winter when one of the streets didn't get plowed. If you are going to do recreational stuff, you best get the 4WD with tow package. Knowing how congested DC gets sometimes, FWD might be better for you in the long run in terms of MPG.

Of course, it all depends on your preferences.




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Old 09-29-2011, 02:45 PM   #5
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I have a FWD Saturn VUE (different vehicle, yet similar at the same time). I live in the Denver, CO metro area. I have good winter tires for it (Michelin X-Ice). Never had any issues. And I've taken it to the mountains during snow storms to go skiing.

4wd helps you to get going, but winter tires help you stop.

And winter tires are better even on dry pavement than all season tires when its cold out.




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Old 09-29-2011, 02:51 PM   #6
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we went FWD because back in March it was the only configuration available at dealerships without having to wait 8+ weeks.
We have been in 10 Michigan weathers with FWD passats and never really have the issue.
Do I miss the "coolness" factor of the Terrain Managment System? Yes!
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Old 09-29-2011, 03:16 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by hellcat12345 View Post
we would be taking trips to WVA for skiing
If you're heading to Snowshoe, Timberline, or Canaan...I strongly suggest 4WD. We're over there 8 - 10 times a season and lack of 4WD is a non-starter.
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:06 PM   #8
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If you're heading to Snowshoe, Timberline, or Canaan...I strongly suggest 4WD. We're over there 8 - 10 times a season and lack of 4WD is a non-starter.
This is my wife's concern. I have never really been a big skier so don't have much experience with road conditions in these types of areas. Is 4WD really needed or is just a nice luxury? Are the roads really that bad that you would get stuck? I have been able to find a 2012 FWD with all the options I want at the price I want, but it is not a 4WD. I don't want to get in a "I told you to get 4WD" conversation from my wife in the future. I feel I don't need it, but the above poster makes it seem like I do?
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Old 09-29-2011, 05:39 PM   #9
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Like I said- I have a 2wd FWD VUE with winter tires AND live where it tends to snow "a couple" times a year. Never had any issues.

When do you get into trouble driving in snow? Starting out? Sometimes. 4wd helps, but being FWD with good tires (and good tires doesn't mean all-season tires necessarily) gets you mostly there. What about stopping? Have you ever hit or nearly hit something or stopped much further than you wanted because of snow? Most likely. All cars have 4 tires. All cars have 4 wheel brakes. It's the tires that make the difference. And yes, winter tires really do make that big of a difference.




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Old 09-29-2011, 05:52 PM   #10
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Are the roads really that bad that you would get stuck?
Yes. The back side of Snowshoe is particularily bad getting up the mountain (4900 ft). Dedicated snow tires and cables might be OK, but maybe not. 4WD is something you don't want to regret not getting.
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Old 09-29-2011, 06:13 PM   #11
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It really depends on the conditions you will be encountering in your region. I got the fwd version because I would rarely need 4wd assistance in my region in winter, we mostly deal with ice and slush, not deep snow, and I don't go off-road. I do love how 4wd vehicles can launch from a dead stop in snow, far superior than fwd in that regard.

My biggest concern in winter is black-ice. I find that hitting ice patches with fwd is easier to handle, with some 4wd systems Ive found the rear end kicking in icy conditions which can be scary. When I had my 4wd Escape I was always concerned with the rear end kicking out when power was transferred between the front and rear. Perhaps the systems today are a bit better in that regard combined with all of the stability control systemsthat I didn't have on my Escape. For my driving I find fwd is more than sufficient but everyone has a different need.

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Old 09-30-2011, 02:15 AM   #12
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Just get the 4x4. From the sounds of it, it seems like your going to regret not going with it.




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Old 09-30-2011, 09:55 AM   #13
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Towing a boat is another reason for AWD. FWD and a heavy load with an incline on slippery terrain is a no go for these trucks.

I echo all comments that state winter tires/FWD > all-seasons/AWD. Winter tires are really wildly grippy in the cold/snow. If you've never driven on them, it's hard to imagine the confidence you (and your loved ones) will have.




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Old 09-30-2011, 12:30 PM   #14
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Smile

You could follow my method - Do a very thorough analysis of Pro's v. Con's with FWD v. 4WD including typical driving conditions, off-road driving %, safety/peace-of-mind, significant additional cost, etc..

Then convince yourself that, given all of these factors, you absolutely do NOT need 4WD.

Then get it anyway !!!






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Old 09-30-2011, 12:47 PM   #15
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You could follow my method - Do a very thorough analysis of Pro's v. Con's with FWD v. 4WD including typical driving conditions, off-road driving %, safety/peace-of-mind, significant additional cost, etc..

Then convince yourself that, given all of these factors, you absolutely do NOT need 4WD.

Then get it anyway !!!






I think you answered your own question when you posted that you didn't want to have the "I told you to get 4wd" conversation with your wife.
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Old 09-30-2011, 01:41 PM   #16
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i think you answered your own question when you posted that you didn't want to have the "i told you to get 4wd" conversation with your wife.
+1
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:20 PM   #17
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I live in Mo County also like someone else posted , we got a FWD ...4WD would have been nice but I couldn't justify the price and the MPG to go with it for what amounts to 2-3 months out of the year of light snow at best in this area and it will be mostly a commuter car for the wife....but it sounds like you should go with 4WD.
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Old 09-30-2011, 04:38 PM   #18
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I live in Mo County also like someone else posted , we got a FWD ...4WD would have been nice but I couldn't justify the price and the MPG to go with it for what amounts to 2-3 months out of the year of light snow at best in this area and it will be mostly a commuter car for the wife....but it sounds like you should go with 4WD.
What are you talking about Willis? I live in Prince William County, which is south of you by 50 miles or so, at least once a year my wife and I are glad we have 4wd (currently Jeep evaluating Ex) - If you will recall this past winter there was at least 1 snow storm where you wouldn't have gotten home with FWD or been stuck until the thaw.... Also 4wd is a confidence builder on wet roads ..
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Old 09-30-2011, 05:12 PM   #19
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well u just said u r goin skiing therefore snow and hills. i would definitely get one with 4wd. or even an awd. fwd will do good in the snow, however, if u get into some serious snow and hills (which is always possible) the fwd wont do much of anything when ur bottomed out to the frame in snow. thats when u would hit the 4wd button or lever and get out of that mess quick and easy. trust me, its not fun pushing a big truck out of a ditch or drift in the cold. especially when its unexpected and your ill equipped. if your paying a lot of money for a brand new explorer u might as well get one with 4wd. i think u would regret getting a fwd. remeber that your gonna be well over 5000 pounds once u count for people and equipment and a full tank of gas. thats a lot of weight for just two front tires, especially in bad weather.
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Old 10-01-2011, 03:54 AM   #20
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I went with the AWD for boat launching. I don't have any winter concerns, as I won't be driving it.

Last edited by JETZ; 10-02-2011 at 12:36 AM.
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