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  #1  
Old 03-24-2013, 02:48 AM
sixto's Avatar
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So Much for AWD

The myth of the all-powerful all-wheel drive - Yahoo! Autos

Quote:
However, my experience—hard-earned from wrecking more than one AWD vehicle during snow-handling tests for a tire company—is that AWD is counter-productive when the roads are slick. At the same time AWD doesn't improve your handling, it does offer an overly optimistic sense of available traction, and it provides the potential to be going so much faster when you need to stop. (Note to those from warm climes: Snowbanks are not puffy and cushiony.) The laws of physics mean a vehicle's cornering power is the job of the tires and suspension.

...

If you're looking for the peace of mind in knowing that you'll be able to get home if an unexpected snowstorm hits, AWD may be a good choice for you. However, if you think that AWD will help your car better grip slippery corners or dodge an indecisive squirrel, you're sadly mistaken. A good set of snow tires is a better investment if you live where it snows frequently or if the highway department is poor at plowing roads.
So why are Subarus so popular in coastal California?

Sixto
87 300D

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  #2  
Old 03-24-2013, 02:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixto View Post
The myth of the all-powerful all-wheel drive - Yahoo! Autos



So why are Subarus so popular in coastal California?

Sixto
87 300D
Stigma/flocking......? That's gotta be it.

Unless you need/are assisted by AWD - you don't need it. It inspires confidence in the right road conditions, which is where it is worth it's weight in gold.
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:48 AM
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About fifty years ago someone pointed out to me that four wheel drive only gets you four times as stuck. After watching a number of Yahoos around here driving 75 on snow covered roads and then winding up in a ditch later I can see the wisdom in that statement.

When Audi came out with the Quattro back in the early 80's they made it clear the reason was not for slick road traction, it was for dry road traction. They were trying to come up with a way to put 300 HP through a front wheel drive system and finally gave up on it. So they just used the quattro system they had developed for truck use and found that would not only allow a small truck to get around in snowy condition but would also put power down where it could find any grip at all.

By the way... With the quattro system they had then if you were in really slick conditions and the car could get no grip at all the tires would not spin. They would just not move since they had to have some grip in order to activate the system.
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  #4  
Old 03-24-2013, 09:47 AM
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in the last 2 big snowstorms of all the vehicles i saw in the ditch.out of probably 50 maybe 5 were 2 wd the rest were all AWD or 4wd.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2013, 10:02 AM
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When we have 10" of fresh snow (with existing ice on the pavement) on my unplowed alley at 7am - more than likely will get stuck with my snow tire equipped M3 and my wife's Outback will breeze through.
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2013, 11:08 AM
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An old Beetle works well in the snow, ditto a 911.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2013, 12:54 PM
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Having driven an AWD vehicle in the snow (Audi 5000Q), I can say this article is baloney. I had snows on both my FWD Jetta and AWD Audi, and the Audi cornered better, moved off from a stop better, and seemed to steer better too. Of course I also know how to drive in the snow, so I didn't push it. But it was amazing how I simply couldn't get the car stuck.



That was in Michigan. Here in Virginia there is definitely less need for AWD.

-J
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2013, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmerich View Post
An old Beetle works well in the snow, ditto a 911.
Also the Hillman Imp and my 1980s Honda Civic did quite well which was quite surprising for a front wheel drive car...
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2013, 01:02 PM
Pooka
 
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Something I found rather amazing was a 2006 Impala with traction control.

Got stuck in a real live blizzard north of Tulsa about seven years ago and I covered 40 miles with no trouble at all. Of course this is mostly prairie land with no big hills, but I never lost traction.

I think one of the important things is to remember you are driving in snow and to act like it.
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  #10  
Old 03-24-2013, 01:20 PM
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Common sense > AWD
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  #11  
Old 03-24-2013, 03:50 PM
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I take issue with the statement that a AWD with all season tires will fair worse than a 2WD with winter tires. Duh! I think if you are going to make a comparison make all things equal other than the item you are comparing. If you are comparing 2WD v AWD then put them all on the same tires and the same car (if offered in 2WD and AWD form) and see which is better.

I find it difficult to believe that a are with all 4 wheels turning will not fair better than a car with only 2 wheels turning in identical circumstances. Sure there are the squishy parts behind the steering wheel who think it makes them superman but we are not talking about the squishy parts, we are talking about the advantages of AWD v 2WD.

I'll wait for a real test of the systems instead of relying on this seemingly biased article.
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  #12  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compu_85 View Post
Having driven an AWD vehicle in the snow (Audi 5000Q), I can say this article is baloney. I had snows on both my FWD Jetta and AWD Audi, and the Audi cornered better, moved off from a stop better, and seemed to steer better too. Of course I also know how to drive in the snow, so I didn't push it. But it was amazing how I simply couldn't get the car stuck.



That was in Michigan. Here in Virginia there is definitely less need for AWD.

-J
The Audi cannot "corner better" as cornering capability is only a function of the friction of the tires and not whether the tires are driving or not. If you Audi cornered better, the Audi had winter tires on it.........otherwise the statement is false.

Of course it moved from a stop better.........it has four wheels driving it.

If it "seemed to steer better", again, it points to better tires on the front wheels. The driving rear wheels don't affect the steering in the slightest.

I agree that it is more difficult to get the car stuck. However, the article never claimed otherwise.
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  #13  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Carlton View Post
The Audi cannot "corner better" as cornering capability is only a function of the friction of the tires and not whether the tires are driving or not. If you Audi cornered better, the Audi had winter tires on it.........otherwise the statement is false.

Of course it moved from a stop better.........it has four wheels driving it.

If it "seemed to steer better", again, it points to better tires on the front wheels. The driving rear wheels don't affect the steering in the slightest.

I agree that it is more difficult to get the car stuck. However, the article never claimed otherwise.
If you are driving on an uninterrupted piece of ice the statement would be true but that is rarely the case. Typically the roads I have traveled on have patches of ice/road intermixed so if a car with AWD has a tire that hits a patch of good road it can give a bit of added traction and movement where a 2WD would not.

AWD cannot create traction where none exists and I have not seen claims other wise. All things being equal, the AWD will have a better time of it than a 2WD car.
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  #14  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by compu_85 View Post
Having driven an AWD vehicle in the snow (Audi 5000Q), I can say this article is baloney. I had snows on both my FWD Jetta and AWD Audi, and the Audi cornered better, moved off from a stop better, and seemed to steer better too. Of course I also know how to drive in the snow, so I didn't push it. But it was amazing how I simply couldn't get the car stuck.



That was in Michigan. Here in Virginia there is definitely less need for AWD.

-J
Why does the car look like it has camo on it?
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  #15  
Old 03-24-2013, 04:52 PM
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From having driven my 300SD through now 10 michigan winters, I can see AWD is pointless vs. real good snow tires. Considering the 300SD has an open diff, its amazing. I have never gotten stuck with it, and I have driven through some crazy stuff! I attribute it to: snow tires, weight of the vehicle, and ground clearance/suspension of the vehicle.

With a limited slip or lockable diff it would truly make the 300SD unstoppable in most conditions. This past winter I had people who would over confidently follow me through snowy curves in their non-snow tire equipped vehicles, only to spin out and crash in my rear view mirror. As well as when I was following people and they would spin/slide off the road ahead of me, and I drove right on through with 0 issues.


Our 300E doesn't have snow tires (yet) and the few times I drove it in slick conditions it was horrid, as is my 190d (no snows also). The tire by far makes the largest difference of all.

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