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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
yes, I searched, and can't believe I didn't find a thread...

ok, I'm not really interested in the collective opinion of the best vehicle:) but I'm wondering for the purposes of getting to and from work/getting kids to school etc, is a 4 wheel drive vehicle a really good idea? Or would a fwd car and some top of the line snow tires cut it?
How about trail access, is it very useful to be able to off road to trailheads? I realize if I get sucked into skiing/snowboarding, the 4wd would be nice, but I'm trying to keep my hobbies requiring thousands of dollars in gear to just the one...

thanks
 

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batorok-
I grew up here and, while I don't 4WD recreationally, I will always have one.
There seems to be one or two storms/year where I am glad to have 4WD just to be able to get our of my neighborhood (where the plows don't go).
 

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batorok said:
I'm trying to keep my hobbies requiring thousands of dollars in gear to just the one...
I've tried and failed so good luck with that. :thumbsup:

Answers will vary but I own a Tacoma and find 4WD to be a boon around here not only for snow but for summertime access to trailheads and camping. If you are only concerned with snow, you could probably get away with a front wheel drive car with all seasons + chains. A suburu is also a pretty good option. They definitely seem like the most vehicles around here for good reason.
 

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Been here all my life and a fwd with snows has always been fine. I have never had an issue or been stuck, but I think that if you can't get around in fwd with snows you probably shouldn't be out on the roads anyway. 4WDs and AWDs just seem to give people the "nothing can stop my awesomeness" mentality and cause all the wrecks because they drive too fast.
 

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I have 2 vehicles, one a large truck with 4wd (fits 7 bikes over the tailgate) and a subaru (AWD, 2 racks on the roof). While its not needed for trail access anywhere around here, its nice for the snow. Sure you can get by with a FWD car. But if you are in the market for something, make sure it can get you out in the snow. And now that I think about it, every single person i ride with has a truck except one, who has 2 subarus, but his bikes are worth WAY more than his cars.
 

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SkaredShtles said:
Minivan. /thread
:nono:

AWD Minivan:thumbsup:

I have owned FWD cars and they seemed to do just fine with a good pair of tires. I have never had snow tires; my cars always did just fine with all seasons.

BUT, my last three cars have been AWD and I have also owned 4wd Suburbans and/or Expeditions. I currently have a 4wd Suburban and an AWD car. I much prefer the feeling of stability that the AWD/4WD gives me.

It really is a personal preference. Do you have to have AWD/4WD? No, but it sure does give peace of mind after a heavy snow or when you have to travel the backroads to go camping, biking, or hunting.
 

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mtbklutz and other Tacoma owners... how are they in wet/snowy conditions?

I have a 4-Runner but REALLY want a Tacoma for obvious bike/gear carrying reasons, but I was talked out of it by a friend who said they were terrible in the snow. Thoughts?

batorok -- personally I recommend a 4WD w/ clearance. It opens up a whole new world of camping options, especially places like Moab and Western Slope. Even the (not always so) little stream at Oh Be Joyful in Crested Butte has flooded more than one Subura!
 

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Spinone said:
:nono:

AWD Minivan:thumbsup:
Those things get even worse mileage than pickup trucks generally... :nono:

I have owned FWD cars and they seemed to do just fine with a good pair of tires. I have never had snow tires; my cars always did just fine with all seasons.
You should try a FWD minivan with good snow tires. ;)
 

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Spinone said:
:nono:

AWD Minivan:thumbsup:

I have owned FWD cars and they seemed to do just fine with a good pair of tires. I have never had snow tires; my cars always did just fine with all seasons.

BUT, my last three cars have been AWD and I have also owned 4wd Suburbans and/or Expeditions. I currently have a 4wd Suburban and an AWD car. I much prefer the feeling of stability that the AWD/4WD gives me.

It really is a personal preference. Do you have to have AWD/4WD? No, but it sure does give peace of mind after a heavy snow or when you have to travel the backroads to go camping, biking, or hunting.
Try some good winter tires (in the snow) on any of your vehicles and then get back to us on how adequate your all seasons are. You won't believe the difference in stopping distance.

And for camping, you have to decide if it's really worth it to haul around a thousand pounds of extra mass everyday for the few times a year you'll be using it. It wasn't for me. But that was also before I realized how good of a shuttle vehicle my truck would've been... :idea:

1 more vote for fwd/ awd with 2 sets of tires (summer/ winter).
 

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Awd

All the way. Cars get stuck "on the front range" with as little as an inch of snow--it seems anyway. I've mostly had AWD subarus, and we now have a subaru and a highlander. FWD without snow tires are really not very good in the snow, or on ice.
 

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jimmy said:
All the way. Cars get stuck "on the front range" with as little as an inch of snow--it seems anyway. I've mostly had AWD subarus, and we now have a subaru and a highlander. FWD without snow tires are really not very good in the snow, or on ice.
Yup, Subarus handle a lot better than most fwd cars, on dry roads or snow... I just don't like how fwd cars feel or handle. I'd rather have rwd than fwd snow or not.
 

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While theoretically it would be nice to have AWD on *every* car... the gas penalty is really significant. And will get more so as time goes on and gas goes up up up.

So... FWD, two sets of tires, and some chains.
 

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Rigid in Evergreen
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I'm assuming you live and drive on roads that are plowed regularly, but I see way too many people doing just fine in FWD cars in the winter throughout Colorado to ever say you "need" AWD or 4WD for winter driving... I'd assume they probably have studs and/or snow tires though, so that's a bit of added expense / hassle twice a year to do the swap and store the extra set of tires (but if you live somewhere where you actually "need" a AWD / 4WD for winter driving, I'd say you should probably be considering snow tires anyway).

With regards to mountain biking and outdoors stuff, if you're going to stay on the beaten path, then you'll be fine... but when I moved to Colorado, the first thing I proceeded to do is rip the rear bumper off my VW Passat trying to get to the "perfect" campsite (and it was the perfect spot :D)... since then I've always had a vehicle with excellent approach and departure angles.
 

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SkaredShtles said:
While theoretically it would be nice to have AWD on *every* car... the gas penalty is really significant. And will get more so as time goes on and gas goes up up up.

So... FWD, two sets of tires, and some chains.
Not so much... check Subaru's mileage compared to the competition, they are doing better than some fwd cars in the same class.

My WRX is getting close to the same mileage as my parents Mazda 3.... I avg 25 driving fast, 27-28 driving normally. Low 30s is possible on a flat highway.
 

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davec113 said:
Not so much... check Subaru's mileage compared to the competition, they are doing better than some fwd cars in the same class.
Yes - but remove the AWD from a Subaru and you get an immediate (significant I'd wager) improvement. You used to be able to get a Subaru with a 2wd/4wd option. I wish they still did it. :mad:

My WRX is getting close to the same mileage as my parents Mazda 3.... I avg 25 driving fast, 27-28 driving normally. Low 30s is possible on a flat highway.
Just imagine what it would get if it was 2wd. :ihih:
 

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At a minimum you should have a fwd drive car and then put on some studded snow tires for the winter. That seems to allow people to handle most the in-town driving.

Personally, I love my Jeep Liberty. That thing is like a tank.

The biggest mistake 4x4 drivers make is thinking that the 4x4 will help them stop....
 

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CrimsonFox said:
At a minimum you should have a fwd drive car and then put on some studded snow tires for the winter. That seems to allow people to handle most the in-town driving.
Studs are overkill for in-town driving IMO. Save the expense (and the road surface) and just get good snow tires. Studded tires are recommended if you're driving on glare ice a lot but let's face it... for in-town on the Front Range we hardly see any bad conditions that last much more than a couple days. That winter a couple years back non-withstanding. :D

Totally agree with the stopping point. Our Subaru accelerates better than my van in snow and ice... but the snow tires on the van win hands-down in stopping distance. Even with the much higher curb weight...
 

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After growing up here, the only time I've ever been stuck was in my Outback with all (no) season tires on it--but that was in an 18" deep drift so not much any car would be able to do.

Most of my winter driving has been with FWD cars and studded snow tires (currently a Civic Hybrid). I don't have any problems with that setup on major roads that are plowed regularly (i.e. I-25, I-70, local highways, and arterial streets in town). On side streets, it will do fine on 6" of fresh snow, but after that, you're out of clearance. The big benefit to studded snow tires (on FWD or AWD) is the stopping ability. I don't worry much about icy conditions because I know I'm going to be albe to stop. I calculated an 11% impact to my gas mileage when using the studs (mpg geek).

For those rare times when you get stuck out in deep snow, a higher clearance, AWD/4WD vehicle is amazing though. My wife has a Mariner Hybrid and it will plow through just about anything. The problem here is stopping though--even good no-season tires are next to worthless on ice. My vote would be to have an FWD with snow tires, and call it a snow day if you're concerned--you know that most of your co-workers are going to do the same thing.
 

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SkaredShtles said:
Totally agree with the stopping point. Our Subaru accelerates better than my van in snow and ice... but the snow tires on the van win hands-down in stopping distance. Even with the much higher curb weight...
Not necessarily. With the exact same tire, a light vehicle can stop quicker than larger ones. Think of inertia. Smaller cars don't have as much mass, therefore won't continue on ice like a larger on will.
 
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