AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

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Blue456
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AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

Thanks to previous thread on sequoia vs sienna and some research on my own I am leaning forward towards getting a minivan as opposed to an SUV for our next family car. It really now comes down to Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. I really like the way Honda Odyssey looks but I like Sienna more for its AWD. However ultimately the biggest problem we have is up state NY snow. Does anyone in here has experience driving front wheel drive vs forward wheel drive in heavy snow? Would you discourage me from getting Honda Odyssey due to FWD and my geographical location?

FYI, of course we always have snow tires and a shovel ready in the trunk.

Update: So I went into dealership and checked out Odyssey and Sienna. Oh boy, Odyssey looked like a toy car, super small, narrow and short and very close to the ground. My wife said it feels like we are sitting on the floor. Sienna actually looked much better in person than in pictures. The dealer said that he is out of Sienna's AWD for 4 months and I must give him $500 today and he will try to secure this vehicle for me. Go figure....
Last edited by Blue456 on Sat Apr 03, 2021 2:40 pm, edited 4 times in total.
pb1996
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by pb1996 »

both cars offer AWD models
Jack FFR1846
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I'm a bit east of you in Massachusetts. For several years, I drove a Ford Fusion on 4 snows. It was garbage and during heavy snow, I did get stuck or nearly go off the side street mainly because of the low ground clearance. I came away realizing that I could have a million wheel drive, but if snow is pushing against the floor of the car, I'm done.

Personally, in "real" snow, if you actually have to drive in it, an SUV with ground clearance is much better than a van. Look at the actual specs for ground clearance. A Subaru Ascent has more than many large SUVs. Look at the actual numbers.

Now, if, like my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road, then you could have a one wheel drive (what FWD reverts to) with bald tires because it's just sitting in the garage.
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:02 am both cars offer AWD models
Honda Odyssey 2022 does not. Where do you see that?
upstate90
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by upstate90 »

I live in upstate NY as well. I have had cars with FWD and snow tires that are ok for a lot of the time. I now have AWD SUV that is way better, but I have to have that since I have to go to work regardless of the weather. If you can stay home and not have to drive in crappy weather then a FWD would be acceptable, but since you live in upstate NY I would recommend snow tires either way.
onourway
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by onourway »

Small differences in location can make a huge difference in how much snow you see in upstate NY. Some areas see 50 inches. Some get 300. That said, nearly everywhere has plenty of plow capacity so for on-road driving 2wd and snows is fine 99.5% of the time. Big reasons to go AWD would be if you live on a property with a steep driveway or where snow drifts regularly; in that case 4wd is largely for your convenience so you don’t have to park the car at the end of the driveway and walk in.
pb1996
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by pb1996 »

Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:27 am
pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:02 am both cars offer AWD models
Honda Odyssey 2022 does not. Where do you see that?
Honda Pilot has AWD. Your post asks about Sienna vs Pilot, not Sienna vs Odyssey.

I'm in the same boat, considering minivan in snowy northeast. My neighbor said her Odyssey with Snow Tires sucked in the snow (she even spun out on the highway with them), so I am leaning towards AWD minivan (Sienna vs Pacifica) vs AWD SUV...
onourway
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by onourway »

pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:35 am
Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:27 am
pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:02 am both cars offer AWD models
Honda Odyssey 2022 does not. Where do you see that?
Honda Pilot has AWD. Your post asks about Sienna vs Pilot, not Sienna vs Odyssey.

I'm in the same boat, considering minivan in snowy northeast. My neighbor said her Odyssey with Snow Tires sucked in the snow (she even spun out on the highway with them), so I am leaning towards AWD minivan (Sienna vs Pacifica) vs AWD SUV...
A spin on the highway is not something that AWD would mitigate. As relates to how normal people drive on public roads, AWD helps you get going from a stop. That’s it.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Silverado »

Spent a winter in Watertown, NY driving a FWD Mercury Mystique once when my truck was in the shop for a couple months (long story...) It was fine, no issues, and I had about a fifteen mile commute.

I’d put drivetrain type on the list, but probably down a couple positions.
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:35 am
Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:27 am
pb1996 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:02 am both cars offer AWD models
Honda Odyssey 2022 does not. Where do you see that?
Honda Pilot has AWD. Your post asks about Sienna vs Pilot, not Sienna vs Odyssey.

I'm in the same boat, considering minivan in snowy northeast. My neighbor said her Odyssey with Snow Tires sucked in the snow (she even spun out on the highway with them), so I am leaning towards AWD minivan (Sienna vs Pacifica) vs AWD SUV...
Sorry. Early in the morning. I meant the Odyssey.
dbr
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by dbr »

If you are going to equip with snow tires and you are picking between two more or less equal choices except one add AWD rather than FWD it seems like a no brainer to choose AWD. What are you giving up -- the cost, something else? Why is the Odyssey enough of a consideration to not just rule it out?

The issue of ground clearance is also worth considering.
UpperNwGuy
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 am my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road
I share your father-in-law's approach to driving in snow.
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

dbr wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:01 am If you are going to equip with snow tires and you are picking between two more or less equal choices except one add AWD rather than FWD it seems like a no brainer to choose AWD. What are you giving up -- the cost, something else? Why is the Odyssey enough of a consideration to not just rule it out?

The issue of ground clearance is also worth considering.
We like the Honda features a lot more.
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:12 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 am my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road
I share your father-in-law's approach to driving in snow.
Unfortunately we need to pick up kids from daycare regardless how much it snows.
dbr
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by dbr »

Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:20 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:12 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 am my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road
I share your father-in-law's approach to driving in snow.
Unfortunately we need to pick up kids from daycare regardless how much it snows.
Which asks how they got there in the first place. But if you are locked in to having mobility no matter what in a snowy climate I doubt minivan type vehicles are the best choice at all. The difference between a little more capable minivan and a little less capable minivan is not a lot. There is also a big difference in what is required if you are located in a rural setting or are driving entirely in the city. It is easy to get spooked about snow and think you need more than you do.

An obvious choice that is a "tank" for this requirement would be an AWD Expedition or a Tahoe. I also wonder what you think of the Subaru Ascent.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by tibbitts »

I lived for a long time in upstate NY including part of that time in the Adirondacks. Like most people for much of the time I had RWD with 2, or arguably 1, wheel drive. It wasn't a problem 99% of the time, including for the years I commuted. The biggest problem was stopping, and that wouldn't have been assisted in almost any case with any different drive system, although I do wish antilock brakes had existed then: I do believe that newer technology would have helped with maintaining control in general, not just for reducing braking distance. Obviously with a better drive system you're better off, but possibly also more likely to attempt some routes you wouldn't otherwise, so I'm not sure the odds of difficulty is much different in a practical sense.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by tibbitts »

Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:20 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:12 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 am my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road
I share your father-in-law's approach to driving in snow.
Unfortunately we need to pick up kids from daycare regardless how much it snows.
Is your daycare actually open in any kind of weather?
teCh0010
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by teCh0010 »

Ground clearance comes into play. The Odyssey has 4.5 inches, the pilot has 7.3.

I’ve had an AWD pilot on all seasons out in 8in of snow without problem, but at some point you will start to have problems with elevation change and plowing or snow pushing up on the floorpan and taking the weight off the front wheels.

If you absolutely have to drive in over 6in of unplowed snow the odyssey probably isn’t your vehicle.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by teCh0010 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:42 am I lived for a long time in upstate NY including part of that time in the Adirondacks. Like most people for much of the time I had RWD with 2, or arguably 1, wheel drive. It wasn't a problem 99% of the time, including for the years I commuted. The biggest problem was stopping, and that wouldn't have been assisted in almost any case with any different drive system, although I do wish antilock brakes had existed then: I do believe that newer technology would have helped with maintaining control in general, not just for reducing braking distance. Obviously with a better drive system you're better off, but possibly also more likely to attempt some routes you wouldn't otherwise, so I'm not sure the odds of difficulty is much different in a practical sense.
The new trucks with anti lock + stability control + a computerized snow mode are night and day vs old RWDs in the snow. Especially if you chunk 300 pounds of sand / salt bags over the rear axel. We kept an 88 2wd Chevy pickup around for “truck stuff” until 2018 when too much had finally rusted away. We borrow my dads 2wd GMC now if we need it, throw it in snow mode and just moves on with no drama.
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:49 am
Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:20 am
UpperNwGuy wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:12 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 6:07 am my Father in law, who does have an all wheel drive SUV, but doesn't go anywhere if there's snow on the road
I share your father-in-law's approach to driving in snow.
Unfortunately we need to pick up kids from daycare regardless how much it snows.
Is your daycare actually open in any kind of weather?
It is not and it does close but where we live we can have sudden snowstorm that can quickly add several inches of snow.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by lazydavid »

Get snow tires regardless (single most important safety factor, regardless of vehicle), but I agree the Odyssey is a far more compelling vehicle overall than the Sienna, so I wouldn't let its comparative lack of AWD dissuade you if that's what you really want.

I live in the Chicago suburbs, so somewhat less snowy than you, but just as unpredictable, and my daily is a RWD sedan. It drives fantastically in the winter on snow tires, the only time I've ever had a traction issue is when the snow got deep/dense enough to lever all 4 wheels off of the pavement.
SpaniardInChicago
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by SpaniardInChicago »

Live in Chicago and I see so many people finding stupid reasons to drive an AWD because it gets snowy sometimes.
What really makes the difference is not AWD or 2WD; its the tires. Snow tires make the whole difference.
I would take a 2WD car with snow tires instead of AWD with summer tires, any day.
I do drive a Ford Fiesta 2WD with snow tires in Chicago.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by JackoC »

teCh0010 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:54 am Ground clearance comes into play. The Odyssey has 4.5 inches, the pilot has 7.3.

I’ve had an AWD pilot on all seasons out in 8in of snow without problem, but at some point you will start to have problems with elevation change and plowing or snow pushing up on the floorpan and taking the weight off the front wheels.

If you absolutely have to drive in over 6in of unplowed snow the odyssey probably isn’t your vehicle.
Yeah a couple of posts have mentioned. 'Upstate NY' (which to us natives of the City starts north of Westchester :happy ) is a huge area with people in a great variety of situations. Some people don't absolutely have to drive during or right after heavy snow. Some people drive on level suburban/urban roads that get plowed right away. Where our daughter lives, not that far up but in a 'cold pocket' in the Hudson valley, rural, hilly, gravel road the last fraction of a mile, you need an AWD high ground clearance vehicle (SUV, pickup) with snow tires, and it's still possible to get stuck. One can quibble with the word 'need' by pointing how rare AWD vehicles were decades ago and that even in such areas lots of people use to drive RWD sedans/station wagons. But according to today's choices, AWD high ground clearance fitted with snow tires in winter is the obvious one for her particular area and situation.
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gr7070
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by gr7070 »

AWD >>> FWD

While AWD truly is unnecessary for most situations, were I to live in 250" snow country again I'd be getting it.

AWD is far, far better and doesn't cost that much to acquire or maintain.

This is a non-issue to me, as it (2wd) wouldn't even be a consideration. That's while recognizing it's not a true need, but the luxury is worth it.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by tibbitts »

One of the limiting factors with minivans in the snow might be their proximity to the ground. I know with the Caravan up through the current (final, apparently) generation there are fairly inexpensive kits to lift them a couple of inches. I'm not sure if there are equivalent products for other brands or models, or for non-truck-based SUVs.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by brewbaker »

We lived on a hill in a moderately snowy area of the NC states. Had AWD on minivans from the first time I could get it and never got stuck using all-seasons. Strongly recommend AWD for any snowy area. Good luck.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by edge »

Winter tires are more important if it gets very cold where you live. All seasons will freeze up and behave like ice skates.

But a couple of general things

1). Don’t get RWD only car to use if it gets cold and snowy
2). Be aware if you get AWD if the car is primarily fwd or rwd. Some high end awd sports coupes/sedans are rwd biased for better handling but this can be ‘interesting’ on snow. If you have one of these cars (as I do) you must get winter tires (I have a smaller winter wheel and tire set 18 inch vs 19 inch for my summer tires Michelin PS4S).
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Pigeon »

Also in upstate NY, with lots of snow. I can’t speak to those specific vehicles, but my most recent car is a Forester after a lifetime of front wheel drive cars with good snow tires in winter.

Having AWD is much, much better. I would not go back. Even if you don’t have to drive in the snow most of the time, sometimes I find it unavoidable and sometimes snow is much worse than expected.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by ElJefeDelQueso »

Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:55 am Thanks to previous thread on sequoia vs sienna and some research on my own I am leaning forward towards getting a minivan as opposed to an SUV for our next family car. It really now comes down to Toyota Sienna and Honda Odyssey. I really like the way Honda Odyssey looks but I like Sienna more for its AWD. However ultimately the biggest problem we have is up state NY snow. Does anyone in here has experience driving front wheel drive vs forward wheel drive in heavy snow? Would you discourage me from getting Honda Odyssey due to FWD and my geographical location?

FYI, of course we always have snow tires and a shovel ready in the trunk.

Update: So I went into dealership and checked out Odyssey and Sienna. Oh boy, Odyssey looked like a toy car, super small, narrow and short and very close to the ground. My wife said it feels like we are sitting on the floor. Sienna actually looked much better in person than in pictures. The dealer said that he is out of Sienna's AWD for 4 months and I must give him $500 today and he will try to secure this vehicle for me. Go figure....
AWD is so nice in the winter. It is at the top of the list for me as a requirement. I would not consider a 2WD vehicle.
newyorker
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by newyorker »

Awd... not even a brainer
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Watty
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Watty »

Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:55 am Does anyone in here has experience driving front wheel drive vs forward wheel drive in heavy snow?
I live in an area where we don't get much snow but when we do I have noticed that lots(most ?) of the vehicles in ditches are all wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicles that people were overdriving for the road conditions.

You need to be realistic about about what to expect with AWD.

AWD might help you get up a snowy hill but it will be very little use when you are coming down that hill.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by 30west »

Here in Minnesota we solved this problem ny having a 2wd Sienna for its overall utility and our 2nd car was a AWD CRV. If the weather got real bad, the van stayed in the driveway till the roads were plowed. But with all season radial tires the Siena actually drove pretty well in a few inches of snow. Mind you it's pretty flat where we live. Ground clearance was key to getting out of our driveway after the plows came through, but rarely mattered once on the road. And the forcasts are so accurate that we could plan out our snow event transpotation stragy the night before. Once the kids are in school will they ride a bus or are you still going to drive them? Can you work from home on bad weather days? Sometimes we would carpool with another family with a SUV or Jeep on really bad days. How have you managed till now?
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by cockersx3 »

We have had both the 2WD and AWD Sienna in New England winters. The AWD wins, hands down - it's not close. The 2WD Sienna would not maintain traction even with low amounts of snow on the ground, but the AWD handled it fine. Wife is the primary driver, she said it was a night and day difference.

I would never own a 2WD minivan anywhere where it snows. If you need to wait for 4 months to get it, then wait - it is worth it.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by stoptothink »

Watty wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 11:22 pm
Blue456 wrote: Sat Apr 03, 2021 5:55 am Does anyone in here has experience driving front wheel drive vs forward wheel drive in heavy snow?
I live in an area where we don't get much snow but when we do I have noticed that lots(most ?) of the vehicles in ditches are all wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicles that people were overdriving for the road conditions.

You need to be realistic about about what to expect with AWD.

AWD might help you get up a snowy hill but it will be very little use when you are coming down that hill.
I have lived in a mountainous area that gets snow 4-6+ months of snow a year (in the mountain west) for most of the last two decades, never once had an issue with FWD cars with snow tires and we're very outdoorsy (snowshoe a few hundred miles each season). But ask my mom, brother, and sister (all with Subarus) about issues (ie. accidents) they've had in the snow although they've lived in this same area (combined) less time than I have. I agree, be realistic about what AWD actually does and consider what situations you may be in where it would help; I've never personally been in one in probably ~150K miles driven in the snow.

Can't tell you how many times I've been in a similar situation; driving up or down some snow covered mountain just fine in my FWD car with snow tires, passing Subaru's and Tacoma's off the side of the road because they thought snow tires weren't necessary with four drive wheels or they were not driving appropriate for the conditions.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Spring garden »

It doesn't matter. Remember the "*WD" stands for "wheel drive" not stop. If you are in conditions where a 2wd doesnt have traction to go but a AWD does, do you really think you should be driving? That AWD may go but it won't stop any better assuming the same tires. The safety problem isn't trouble going, it's trouble controlling/stopping.
Spend the money on dedicated wheels and snow tires.

When I lived just across the border with heavy lake effect snow the prius with snow tires was able to get up steep driveway a few times that the AWD with stock tires could not, which prompted the purchase of snow tires for AWD.

IMO AWD leads to unfounded confidence -> crashes.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by rebellovw »

AWD for me - I'll be getting a Subaru Forester soon. My son will get getting our Land Cruiser which I'll greatly miss.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by TomatoTomahto »

Spring garden wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:45 pm It doesn't matter. Remember the "*WD" stands for "wheel drive" not stop. If you are in conditions where a 2wd doesnt have traction to go but a AWD does, do you really think you should be driving? That AWD may go but it won't stop any better assuming the same tires. The safety problem isn't trouble going, it's trouble controlling/stopping.
Spend the money on dedicated wheels and snow tires.

When I lived just across the border with heavy lake effect snow the prius with snow tires was able to get up steep driveway a few times that the AWD with stock tires could not, which prompted the purchase of snow tires for AWD.

IMO AWD leads to unfounded confidence -> crashes.
Maybe some of the physicists on BH can help me out, but I thought that on a curve you needed to be accelerating against the forces that are trying to keep you going in a straight line. I would imagine that AWD would be better than 2wd at this.

Fwiw, I am a belt and suspenders person, and have both AWD and snow tires. This is the case on my Tesla that has independent motors and control of each wheel and on my wife’s Cayenne, which has not only AWD and snow tires, but 4 wheel steering. As an aside, I didn’t think I’d be as impressed with 4 wheel steering as I have been; awesome.
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
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akblizzard
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by akblizzard »

First, here’s my street cred...where I live there was snow/ice on the road continually from last Nov until last month.
Second, AWD is a no-brainer.
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by wolingfeng »

AWD is probably better in some situations assuming both Odyssey and Sienna have good snow tires. I live in WNY, so also gets plenty of snow... my Odyssey performs fine with the snow tires. Obviously I always drive cautiously when it’s snowing and never try to go off road. For day to day driving in the winter, think about where you would be driving most of the time. Also besides AWD and FWD, there are some major differences between the two brands. Odyssey has much worse fuel economy... but you can take out the second row to have a really large flat area for moving and transporting large item etc. I rarely took out the second row seats... but used a couple of times and it definitely helped when you need it. And I do like the second row being able to slide, making it easier with car seat installed. But otherwise I would go with Sienna because of the better fuel economy and the option of AWD. Good luck, exciting to get a minivan ;)
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Blue456
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Blue456 »

wolingfeng wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:47 pm AWD is probably better in some situations assuming both Odyssey and Sienna have good snow tires. I live in WNY, so also gets plenty of snow... my Odyssey performs fine with the snow tires. Obviously I always drive cautiously when it’s snowing and never try to go off road. For day to day driving in the winter, think about where you would be driving most of the time. Also besides AWD and FWD, there are some major differences between the two brands. Odyssey has much worse fuel economy... but you can take out the second row to have a really large flat area for moving and transporting large item etc. I rarely took out the second row seats... but used a couple of times and it definitely helped when you need it. And I do like the second row being able to slide, making it easier with car seat installed. But otherwise I would go with Sienna because of the better fuel economy and the option of AWD. Good luck, exciting to get a minivan ;)
I live not too far from you. Thank you for the info.
T4REngineer
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by T4REngineer »

It should come down to which you prefer, either one you should get dedicated winter tires if you are trying to make safety a #1 priority and in that case they will both perform to level that should be more than acceptable for your use. Considering the ground clearance of a minivan you are not looking for a solution to push through 18" of snow but to prevent loss of control on slick roads from slush/ice and without a doubt dedicated snow tires are the way to do that, long before AWD vs FWD should come into question.

PS I would go with the Sienna AWD hybrid - BA minivan if I say so myself :sharebeer
Spring garden
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by Spring garden »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:01 pm
Maybe some of the physicists on BH can help me out, but I thought that on a curve you needed to be accelerating against the forces that are trying to keep you going in a straight line. I would imagine that AWD would be better than 2wd at this.

My recollection of physics is the same as yours re acceleration, but I don't think the AWD reduces risk of skid with cornering beyond what you get from ESC and traction control. I am not sufficiently intelligent to explain why. I do trust consumer reports, although perhaps it is confirmation bias.
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/201 ... /index.htm
ronocnikral
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by ronocnikral »

I live in the denver area and seek out snow storms for skiing. We have a fwd sedan vehicle w/ hakkapelitta tires and landcruisers. If I'm being honest, i cannot tell the difference on maintained roads in a snow storm. Our street also doesn't get plowed and we have no problems getting up or down in any vehicle. In fact, i got caught in the sedan without snow tires last october during that southern storm coming back from new mexico.

Depending on storage space, a set of dedicated snow tires on rims (approx $1000) is cheaper than awd features. Of course, theres the storage issue and then the pita component of taking an hour every 6 months to get them switched out.
JackoC
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by JackoC »

Spring garden wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 3:54 pm
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:01 pm Maybe some of the physicists on BH can help me out, but I thought that on a curve you needed to be accelerating against the forces that are trying to keep you going in a straight line. I would imagine that AWD would be better than 2wd at this.
My recollection of physics is the same as yours re acceleration, but I don't think the AWD reduces risk of skid with cornering beyond what you get from ESC and traction control. I am not sufficiently intelligent to explain why. I do trust consumer reports, although perhaps it is confirmation bias.
https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/201 ... /index.htm
That link doesn't directly address the question, that I can see. Basic ESC systems (on all new cars for some years now) use differential braking on the individual wheels, and sometimes automatic throttle reduction. Some AWD (and RWD) systems use differential engine torque to enhance cornering stability. The latter can have greater ability to prevent or arrest loss of control. That's clear in some comparisons of high performance cars in high speed dry pavement turning, like Porsche 911 4S (AWD) v 911 S (RWD) (and not just because 911 has a rear engine, also true in the other similar comparisons, that one is just particularly close to apples v. apples otherwise). How much it helps in snow conditions in SUV's or minivans depends on the system and conditions, but it can, and torque vectoring AWD systems aren't limited to high performance cars.

One issue with better handling of AWD is though over confidence. Often 'consumer protection' type journalism downplays the advantage because a driver can overestimate the advantage and go enough faster to negate it. Many comments on web boards reflect that mentality too, saying AWD is only important to get going in snow but all the problems comes when you have to stop. But that's not entirely true. It can also help on curves, depending.
GreatLaker
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by GreatLaker »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:01 pm Maybe some of the physicists on BH can help me out, but I thought that on a curve you needed to be accelerating against the forces that are trying to keep you going in a straight line. I would imagine that AWD would be better than 2wd at this.
My dad taught me to accelerate out of a curve. That was back when cars were RWD and a few utility vehicles were 4WD. Most RWD vehicles will oversteer when accelerating around a curve, which helps them turn. On the other hand, most FWD vehicles will understeer around turns, and accelerating just makes it worse. With AWD it depends on the front/rear bias. A lot of small SUVs and CUVs are based on FWD platforms with most power going to the front wheels, so their basic handling mimics FWD vehicles, with understeer. Some sporty AWD sedans are based on RWD vehicles with more torque going to the rear wheels, so their basic handling is like RWD vehicles with power oversteer. Some sophisticated AWD systems have torque vectoring that can allocate torque to the inner or outer wheel. So accelerating around a turn they will put more torque to the outside rear wheel, pushing the car around the turn.

But really, in snow you have so little traction there's no sense using some of it up by trying to accelerate around a turn. Enter the turn at a slow enough pace so you can keep constant speed, neither braking or accelerating to stay safe.

I have an AWD sedan that normally has 75% of the torque to the rear wheels, but can go to 50/50 in slippery conditions. If I apply power early in a turn it will understeer. If I apply power late into a turn it will oversteer, which can be fun doing race car style turns in snow. But something that has to be done slowly and carefully and rarely used.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by TomatoTomahto »

GreatLaker wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:32 pm But really, in snow you have so little traction there's no sense using some of it up by trying to accelerate around a turn. Enter the turn at a slow enough pace so you can keep constant speed, neither braking or accelerating to stay safe.
I didn’t mean accelerating as in “begin to go faster,” but accelerate as in “deviate from a straight line by adding lateral motion; ie take a curved path rather than a straight path.”
I get the FI part but not the RE part of FIRE.
ubermax
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by ubermax »

Audi quattro AWD with good all seasons is sufficient for most driving situations in the snow .
dbr
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by dbr »

I don't know if people want to attend to the difference between "all weather" tires with severe snow rating compared to "all season" tires.

For those who aren't going to change out to winter tires every year the all weather tire might be a better compromise than all seasons -- or not.

No one disputes that the optimum tire for snow and ice conditions is a winter "snow" tire.
GreatLaker
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by GreatLaker »

dbr wrote: Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:06 pm I don't know if people want to attend to the difference between "all weather" tires with severe snow rating compared to "all season" tires.

For those who aren't going to change out to winter tires every year the all weather tire might be a better compromise than all seasons -- or not.

No one disputes that the optimum tire for snow and ice conditions is a winter "snow" tire.
I have Nokian WRG3 all weather tires. They are good in all conditions, much better in winter and slush than all-seasons, although not as good in snow as a dedicated winter tire. They are noisier than summer tires and I have heard they have shorter life. If I had a daily commute in a snow zone, and had to be places no matter what the weather I would get winter tires, but with the luxury of staying home when it snows a lot I find them to be a great choice.
emoore
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Re: AWD vs 2WD in up state new york

Post by emoore »

ronocnikral wrote: Sun Apr 04, 2021 4:23 pm I live in the denver area and seek out snow storms for skiing. We have a fwd sedan vehicle w/ hakkapelitta tires and landcruisers. If I'm being honest, i cannot tell the difference on maintained roads in a snow storm. Our street also doesn't get plowed and we have no problems getting up or down in any vehicle. In fact, i got caught in the sedan without snow tires last october during that southern storm coming back from new mexico.

Depending on storage space, a set of dedicated snow tires on rims (approx $1000) is cheaper than awd features. Of course, theres the storage issue and then the pita component of taking an hour every 6 months to get them switched out.
I'm in the Denver area too and pulled a few AWD and one sedan with snow tires out during this last big storm. Streets weren't plowed and we got over 2 feet. Used my old 4Runner with mud & snow tires. Really hard to get stuck in that thing.
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