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Old 10-14-2021, 10:51 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by ember1205 View Post
Many of the SUV's have "High Performance" all-season tires, which basically means you should view them as summer tires.
Those same SUV drivers are probably shocked when my Camaro accelerates from the stop light in 3 inches of snow as well, or better, than they do.
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:30 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by JamesNoBrakes View Post
AWD gets you moving. While that's not a huge concern in most places, in some places, like here, it makes all the difference.

Just starting in an intersection on ice, frost, compacted snow (which is ice) or snow can be next to impossible without studs on a RWD car like this. True winter tires can help, but the disadvantage with the weight bias really hurts you. Throw an incline in there, even very slight, you'll just sit there spinning wheels. Manual trans helps a bit to help feather the clutch and short-shift, but again, just starting is usually half the battle here in Alaska. Once you are rolling, then it's about braking and cornering, but all sorts of little things throw a wrench into your plans, like a vehicle ahead that slows down where you have to come to a stop or nearly a stop, and now you have to accelerate again. You also need momentum for some places and inclines. With RWD, hitting the gas doesn't do anything but spin or brake the wheels. I was at an intersection a couple years ago, making a left turn onto another road, when a car came sliding and spinning through the intersection against the red light. I was in my AWD BMW and I hit the gas, which let all four of my studded tires claw the surface and launch my car out of danger. That's the **** we have to be prepared for. Or if someone behind you is locking up and about to rear-end you. You might be able to slowly feather the clutch with RWD and winter tires on ice, but you won't produce the acceleration rate you need to get out of harm's way.

So yes, in some places AWD makes a huge difference. IMO, it's mostly the vehicles that don't have a lot of weight on an axle. Most light cars, some trucks, as the vehicles get heavier, less of an issue.

There's a slight advantage with engine braking, it brakes all the wheels, rather than the rear two, this can help you maintain traction.

If I lived in Texas and I had to daily it every day, I'd throw some good wet AS on for winter. They would do well enough if you get a little snow if you are careful.

The problem is ice storms really just F-everything up. I go to Texas at least every 3 months, was stationed in Fort Sill and I've been in both places for some nasty ice storms. There is no safe driving in freezing rain, unless you are on studded tires. Back when we had a bad ice storm in Texas a few years back on a work trip, I had to thaw the car out for a few hours to get ice to come off of it, and then I drove to the airport. I was real careful and just feathered the throttle, etc. There were no cars on the freeways or byways. There were parts of cars strewn everywhere though, a bumper here, a wheel over there, total Armageddon scene.

Many places down south get snow get snow on warm ground and it turns to slush, then it's just about penetrating the slush, but wet slush can be just as bad as glare ice, where nothing really grips enough. If they don't get this, they'll have the sun come out and bake the roads and remove the ice from the cleared portion. Unless you are at ski-resort elevation, it's typically never a lasting issue or reason to get AWD.

If you go far enough north, like up in Fairbanks, when it drops to -20 and colder on ice and snow, traction actually goes way up with winter tires. It's more like driving in the dry at that point. That's when you truly don't need studded tires anymore, since the surface is more like sandpaper. But if you try normal tires, they are like hockey pucks and you just go spinning out.

But back to freezing rain, we get that a lot here too. We get more and more warm storms with the pacific ocean warming and a warm "blog" that hangs out in the gulf of Alaska, but due to our sun angle, the ground remains cold, so anything that falls as rain, turns to ice. Then there's freezing fog, which we get too, and lastly, frost. Most places don't get cold enough or high pressure enough to get frost on the roads, but we do, and that's what "black ice" is. The effect is very similar to freezing rain. In all of those conditions, you are basically pretty F-ed unless you have studded tires. Winter tires help a little...but you gotta slow WAY down to like half of the speed limit or less, again, unless you are running studded.

FWD is fine for most conditions, your weight is on the axle, where it should be for accelerating traction. It's infinitely better than RWD with the engine in the front.
This may all be true for The Great White North, but seeing as the OP states they are in Texas, answers have ben curtailed to apply to his situation. Yes, ice and snow can happen in Texas (it can happen anywhere), but as few times as it does occur, very few people could justify the expense of a new car just to get AWD for the handful of days you may run into ice and snow.

Most people that live in areas of the USA that get ice and snow a few times a year either run all-season tires or drive extremely cautious. If OP feels these 2 options are not good answers for their situation, then I and many others, recommend a snow tire. If OP won the lottery, or likes to buy needless things, then AWD would be perfect for you.
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:42 AM   #31
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This may all be true for The Great White North, but seeing as the OP states they are in Texas, answers have ben curtailed to apply to his situation. Yes, ice and snow can happen in Texas (it can happen anywhere), but as few times as it does occur, very few people could justify the expense of a new car just to get AWD for the handful of days you may run into ice and snow.

Most people that live in areas of the USA that get ice and snow a few times a year either run all-season tires or drive extremely cautious. If OP feels these 2 options are not good answers for their situation, then I and many others, recommend a snow tire. If OP won the lottery, or likes to buy needless things, then AWD would be perfect for you.
There are a number of areas in Texas that regularly experience all four seasons.
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Old 10-14-2021, 11:55 AM   #32
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Lots of good advice above already. I'll just add just a few short points based on my experience driving in MN winters for 30 years.

AWD will help you accelerate quicker, good quality tires will help you brake quicker.
Normally, in a snow/ice event braking will be much more important.
Driving skills and knowing how to react to your vehicle are most important of all.


Until AWD became ubiquitious on SUVs I had never owned one.
I've never owned true snow tires, but I always invest in near the best quality all-season tires (Goodyear AquaTred years ago, Goodyear Assurance more recently, my current set is a Michellin something).

My daily driver is a FWD Equinox and I've driven through freezing rain, on ice, and through several inches, probably nearing a foot of snow. Prior to that I had a Malibu, with lower ground clearance, but oftentimes cars drive as good, sometimes better through snow due to lower center of gravity. How often do you see SUVs on their side in the ditch when conditions are bad?
My wife's vehicle until recently was an AWD Traverse with same/similar tires and that is my choice for ski trips to Colorado, but more for the size (carrying more gear/skis) than for the AWD.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:00 PM   #33
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Same here. REAL Western MA, not that Springfield / Worcester crap. lol

Drove a '90 Toyota Pickup 4x4 to the top of Greylock over Thanksgiving weekend through close to 2' of snow on the roads. Tried the same with a friends Wrangler and it was similar but we didn't make the summit (tree across the road stopped us).

'90 Storm GSi, '90 Toyota Pickup 4x4, '96 Tacoma 4x4, '97 F150 4x4, '97 Explorer 4x4 w/ Auto four wheel drive

Moved to Southern NH. '00 Ram 4x4, '02 Maxima, '00 Tacoma 4x4, '06 TL

Moved to CT and have owned a bunch more since then. The TL was actually fine in the snow even though I lived on a pretty large hill. Even the Storm was decent in the snow and I passed quite a few 4x4's climbing out of downtown areas on my way home plenty of times.

Absolute WORST vehicles in the snow - towing (enclosed snowmobile trailer) with anything with "All Wheel Drive" that was actually a front-drive vehicle with rears that kick in "as needed".
haha, I was other side of Springfield, in Easthampton. Still a shit show from time to time, but none of that crazy high altitude nonsense... Noooo thankyou.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:00 PM   #34
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Last winter’s ice storm and snowmageddon here in central Texas convinced me that I must have a winter vehicle. My commute to work is 94 miles round trip thru the hill country. Been looking online at AWD crossover SUV’s for less than 20k. They’re going fast! My question is whether or not AWD is really necessary for these conditions because the pickings r slim. Is FWD sufficient? Thanks in advance

How hilly is your region? As others have mentioned, the biggest advantage of AWD over FWD is that AWD is much better at accelerating from a dead stop in inclement conditions. So if you forsee yourself getting stuck on hills, AWD will provide an advantage.



Otherwise you'll be fine with FWD.


Get winter tires regardless of whether you go AWD or FWD.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:31 PM   #35
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How hilly is your region? As others have mentioned, the biggest advantage of AWD over FWD is that AWD is much better at accelerating from a dead stop in inclement conditions. So if you forsee yourself getting stuck on hills, AWD will provide an advantage.



Otherwise you'll be fine with FWD.


Get winter tires regardless of whether you go AWD or FWD.
Well, Texas...

But yeah, my point above wasn't so much that "AWD only gets you going", it's that if you are really driving on snow/ice (not just penetrating to the pavement below or a plowed and actually dry surface), there are a myriad of situations where the AWD helps you, not just starting, but accelerating almost everywhere, given that a RWD car with less than half the weight on the axle is about as bad as it gets. Lots of little situations and emergencies you can't plan for where you need to be able to move forward at least briskly, not spin the wheels. But yes, that is only if you are truly driving on snow and ice.
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Old 10-14-2021, 12:50 PM   #36
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Nopenopenope. Staying in the house. When the weather is going to be bad, I make sure I have enough dip, and my wife has enough coffee. Then we stay home for the 2 days. My wife can and will drive in snow if needed, but we do what we can to make sure it's not needed.

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Old 10-14-2021, 01:51 PM   #37
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haha, I was other side of Springfield, in Easthampton. Still a shit show from time to time, but none of that crazy high altitude nonsense... Noooo thankyou.
LMAO.. Used to drive between Amherst and the Berkshires with that little Geo Storm in all kinds of weather. Route 9 over the higher terrain like Windsor and such could get pretty interesting at times.
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Old 10-14-2021, 01:54 PM   #38
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Nopenopenope. Staying in the house. When the weather is going to be bad, I make sure I have enough dip, and my wife has enough coffee. Then we stay home for the 2 days. My wife can and will drive in snow if needed, but we do what we can to make sure it's not needed.

Georgia style. French toast, make more kids, more french toast later.
^^^ I like this man
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:05 PM   #39
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^^^ I like this man
Over the last ten years in my house, I would go pretty much nowhere once the snow started to fall until the storm was completely over. I'd wait until the town plow truck went by and THEN I would head out to clear the driveway, around the back of the house, rake the roof, etc. So, the number of times I would drive in the snow was almost zero.
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:41 PM   #40
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LMAO.. Used to drive between Amherst and the Berkshires with that little Geo Storm in all kinds of weather. Route 9 over the higher terrain like Windsor and such could get pretty interesting at times.
Lived in Amherst for awhile, commuting to Windsor, CT. Worked in Windsor for 15yrs before transferring to Knoxville. Used to be at Mark's Classic Car Cruise every monday! I was up in MA a couple months ago and managed to catch one. Was the only thing I'd look forward to on Mondays!

Man... had a couple 4 hour drives home when the snow would hit. I remember CT asking people being off the street because of the threat of a huge storm one day. Work told us to stay home. Ended up being sunny. 1' the next day or something ridiculous, sitting at work hating life lol
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:43 PM   #41
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Lived in Amherst for awhile, commuting to Windsor, CT. Worked in Windsor for 15yrs before transferring to Knoxville. Used to be at Mark's Classic Car Cruise every monday! I was up in MA a couple months ago and managed to catch one. Was the only thing I'd look forward to on Mondays!

Man... had a couple 4 hour drives home when the snow would hit. I remember CT asking people being off the street because of the threat of a huge storm one day. Work told us to stay home. Ended up being sunny. 1' the next day or something ridiculous, sitting at work hating life lol
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Old 10-14-2021, 02:46 PM   #42
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Last winter’s ice storm and snowmageddon here in central Texas convinced me that I must have a winter vehicle. My commute to work is 94 miles round trip thru the hill country. Been looking online at AWD crossover SUV’s for less than 20k. They’re going fast! My question is whether or not AWD is really necessary for these conditions because the pickings r slim. Is FWD sufficient? Thanks in advance
Can't believe central Texas requires AWD. Last year's storm was, what, a 100 year storm? FWD should do it.
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