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Debating FWD vs. 4WD in Massachusetts

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by bnh1971, May 17, 2012.

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    1. bnh1971

      bnh1971 Member

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      Hi Folks,

      I'm looking at ordering a new Explorer but am debating whether I should get FWD or 4WD. I live in central MA where we do get snow but I've always managed to get around fine in my FWD sedan. I have trouble justifying paying $2K for 4WD that will get used a handful of times each year. I'm also wondering what the real life gas mileage difference is between FWD and 4WD. Any information would be appreciated.

      Thanks.
       
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    3. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Welcome to the Forum bnh1971.:wavey:
      I've been driving for almost 50 years. Most of that time was with RWD cars and FWD, some with Winter tires, some without. For the past 11 years my vehicles were 4WD Highlanders (10 yrs) and the AWD Explorer. All were driven with dedicated Winter tires when required. I like the added stability the AWD system provides in all seasons when required. I plan to stay with AWD vehicles in the future even if they aren't SUV's. It is a growing trend by most manufacturers now. If you regularily tow, I think the AWD may provide better performance depending on what you tow and where you go.
      My trips are usually short ones so I wouldn't be the best to give you mileage figures. This has been discussed many times on this Forum and perhaps you may be able to get some info by doing a search for those threads.
      I am sure that other members will be more than happy to jump in and contribute their opinions as well.

      Peter
       
    4. HughCares

      HughCares Active Member

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      In my opinion, FWD and a good set of dedicated winter tires is suffcient. I agree with you that the cost for AWD (especially in Canada) is not worth the additional expense (or maintenance costs for that matter) for the handful of times it may be used. If you are in a high snow belt area, then it may be a worthwhile consideration. Yes....resale value may be a little higher when the time comes....but you also have to factor in the additional prchase expense, the additional maintenance costs and also the additional fuel costs you laid out. I almost ordered one with AWD, but in the end for me....it just didn't make sense and wasn't worth the additional expense......
       
    5. Sedition

      Sedition Engine Repair Guy Elite Explorer

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      Are you planning on running it on the beach ever?
       
    6. Bill #5 Explorer

      Bill #5 Explorer Well-Known Member

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      Why get AWD????????

      2 words to also consider:

      1) Re
      2) Sale

      Not to mention rainy days, too. It does rain in Mass, right?
       
    7. VinceL

      VinceL Well-Known Member

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      I second the rainy day comment. Before I got my Subaru, I can't tell you how many times I had to stay home because it was raining outside. As soon as my FWD car would touch pavement, the wheels just couldn't get any traction, just spinning and spinning. It couldn't even get down the driveway. It was simply horrible. :D

      Seriously though, living here in Houston, snow is not much of a problem (other than the rare ice storm), but intense thunderstorms, tropical storms, and hurricanes can be. I have not seen a difference between the FWD, AWD, and RWD cars I have driven while the roads are wet. Have I noticed a difference with various tires? Oh yeah, big time. Like others have said in this thread, and I agree with them totally, tires are an important factor, and can often enhance the capabilities of a simple drive, or negate the advantages of a complex one.
       
      Last edited: May 18, 2012
    8. spitfisher

      spitfisher Active Member

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      I agree with the dedicated snow tires, i am familiar where you live and if you are not towing, not off roading and don't have a steep driveway or a steap area where you commute. You should be fine.

      However the dedicated snow tires should be bought in fours, not twos, extra rims will make the job go easier for install, and save some money on mount and balance etc. those tires and subsequent life and cost will likely be + $1200. More with rims.

      Seems like a wash if its only 2000 difference. However if I wasn't towing a boat occasionally i would have gone the FWD, I live along the coast of New England.
       
    9. drober30

      drober30 Active Member

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      It's important to remember that this is AWD so even in summer when it's raining you will have extra safety of the AWD system.
       
    10. bnh1971

      bnh1971 Member

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      Mileage Delta and Resale

      Resale value is not a big concern for me . I typically drive a vehicle into the ground. The current sedan I'm driving is a 2001 with 203K miles.

      My bigger concern, with gas prices probably not going down, is the mileage hit for 4WD vs. FWD.

      Also, does the towing package have any effect on mileage? In the past, I believe some of the towing packages changed the gear ratios.

      Thanks for the feedback so far.
       
    11. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      According to Ford.com website the difference is 1 mpg looking at the 3.5L V6. Figures shown are 17 city / 24 hwy / 20 combined (FWD), 17 city / 23 hwy / 19 combined.
      Don't forget that although the AWD vehicle, it is basically FWD unless conditions cause it to engage the rear wheels for time to time.

      Peter
       
    12. rwolson

      rwolson New Member

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      Il wade in my opinion. I live in Mass in the 495 area. Wintertime, I find roads plowed in some roads while others, no way. I'm driving an Edge now, but sure appreicated the 4X4 on my two Explorers. Also, I live on a hill.

      I find the AWD beneficial. I'm not spinning and slipping going down the road like a lot of other drivers during the snowstorms. I find AWD helps during the rain storms too.

      I see you live in Central Mass which means you see more snow than me; I'd go for the AWD. Also, if needed, snowtires.
       
    13. boss377

      boss377 Active Member

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      Also consider that you get 100%-plus of the $$-delta back in resale, plus you won't have as many people hang up on you when you tell them it's a front driver.
       

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