Honda HR-V Forum banner
1 - 20 of 22 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I haven't seen a thread yet on the merits of AWD vs FWD with traction control and snow tires. So I'm starting one.

I assert that AWD is totally overblown for normal people on snowy roads. I assert you're perfectly safe and in control with FWD and stability/traction control as long as you mount snow tires. Putting snows on IS a nuisance, but I point out that you can have the snows mounted on cheap steel wheels and save your pretty alloys from the nasty chemicals.

Let the AWD wars begin! I'm hoping to learn something from the discussion.

ps: I've lived in the snowy north for 60 years with FWD. Never got stuck once.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
402 Posts
I'll play.( says Devils advocate).
Don't awd models have stability and traction control also?How could having 2 extra drive wheels be anything but an advantage in low traction conditions.?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, I'd assume they definitely have the same controls. And you could put snows on an AWD, though I think very few people actually do that.

Maybe I should change the question, since I think you just definitively answered the original question (of course 4 wheels are better than 2). So permit me re-phrase it. Are two wheels with stability and traction and snows "good enough" if it keeps $1,500 in your pocket, makes your car lighter and less mechanically complex, and gives you slightly better mileage? I don't know. I had a few AWD vehicles, but I never personally perceived any benefit in the snow (I always have winter snows on my FWD).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
615 Posts
I think that it partly depends on what the winter conditions are like in your area. If you get tons of snow, you might want to go with the AWD, but if snow isn't a huge thing in your area then the FWD will be sufficient.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
I've lived in the snowy north for 50 years with FWD. Haven't gotten stuck, but I've coasted into a few snowbanks in my day, and there have been a few icy hills that have been touch-and-go. I've also hydroplaned on highways and surface roads in rainy weather. I live in an apartment with no storage, so tires have to live on the car.

I am all over the AWD in the HRV. Weather patterns are clearly changing, and the Northeast is getting way more precipitation than it used to, year-round. I want a car that grips the road a bit better, and has a little extra weight to it. I don't need real off-road capability; I just want to be able to turn safely on slushy corners, or keep going up icy on-ramps. The AWD's level of traction control is perfect for me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
547 Posts
I've lived in the snowy north for 50 years with FWD. Haven't gotten stuck, but I've coasted into a few snowbanks in my day, and there have been a few icy hills that have been touch-and-go. I've also hydroplaned on highways and surface roads in rainy weather. I live in an apartment with no storage, so tires have to live on the car.

I am all over the AWD in the HRV. Weather patterns are clearly changing, and the Northeast is getting way more precipitation than it used to, year-round. I want a car that grips the road a bit better, and has a little extra weight to it. I don't need real off-road capability; I just want to be able to turn safely on slushy corners, or keep going up icy on-ramps. The AWD's level of traction control is perfect for me.
You make good points here regarding the Northeast winters. It's making me see why more than a few NYC-area Honda dealers are just getting AWD models.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
738 Posts
All winter driving really comes down to is your tires and how you drive in it, a lot of people don't know how to drive in winter conditions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
All winter driving really comes down to is your tires and how you drive in it, a lot of people don't know how to drive in winter conditions.
That's why I love living in NC, when we see a drop of snow the whole city closes down. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
Yes, I'd assume they definitely have the same controls. And you could put snows on an AWD, though I think very few people actually do that.

Maybe I should change the question, since I think you just definitively answered the original question (of course 4 wheels are better than 2). So permit me re-phrase it. Are two wheels with stability and traction and snows "good enough" if it keeps $1,500 in your pocket, makes your car lighter and less mechanically complex, and gives you slightly better mileage? I don't know. I had a few AWD vehicles, but I never personally perceived any benefit in the snow (I always have winter snows on my FWD).
Yes, I absolutely think they are good enough and I've never owned an AWD vehicle here in Denver and have never been stuck. Even climbing mountains in some snow, I've always been just fine. However, the mentality here is that we MUST have AWD, so I won't buy a vehicle with FWD here if it's offered also with AWD. It won't sell well in the aftermarket and will likely be auctioned off and sent to the Midwest or other area. So, a large part of my decision is not based on what I need, but rather on what the market demands. I'll have much better luck selling an AWD vehicle on my own when the time comes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
I've lived in the snowy north for 50 years with FWD. Haven't gotten stuck, but I've coasted into a few snowbanks in my day, and there have been a few icy hills that have been touch-and-go. I've also hydroplaned on highways and surface roads in rainy weather. I live in an apartment with no storage, so tires have to live on the car.

I am all over the AWD in the HRV. Weather patterns are clearly changing, and the Northeast is getting way more precipitation than it used to, year-round. I want a car that grips the road a bit better, and has a little extra weight to it. I don't need real off-road capability; I just want to be able to turn safely on slushy corners, or keep going up icy on-ramps. The AWD's level of traction control is perfect for me.
I have had winter tires on steel rims for the past seven years. Once the weather starts running below 7 deg. C (45 F) they go on. I store my off-season tires at my Honda dealership.

There is a new breed of tire now starting to enter the market. 'All-Weather' which combine the advantages of both all-season and winter tires. Yes they are snow flake rated and claim high mileage. Some day this type of rubber may be original equipment and we won't need to change tires when winter arrives.

Winter tires for me should be legislated in cold climates (Quebec it is law). They stop much quicker in all cold conditions (7C / 45F) when compared to all-season. All-season should be renamed 3 season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,059 Posts
I live in Denver as well. I spent the past year driving a RWD 5-speed convertible. So, yes I do know how to drive in bad weather. I put brand new all season tires on my 1996 z3 last May, and drove in rain, snow, slush and dry conditions. My previous car was a 2004 Accord V6. I never got stuck, but I also never pushed it to go out when it was just plain silly. My motto has always been if I need AWD, I probably shouldn't be on the roads. All that being said, I'm going with AWD. Why? When you're driving 450 miles between Denver and Albuquerque, or Denver and Wichita (525), in the middle of winter, it is nice having that extra margin of control when the roads get dicey. Yes, I could do it in a FWD car. But, I've done it in both and at highway speeds, the AWD just has a bit more grip when that sudden snow or ice patch comes along. Oh, and there are paths into fourteeners that you will have to hump an extra 3-4 miles in to if you don't have AWD. My bride's CRV makes it just fine, and I've seen lots of other cars turn back or just get stuck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
I've driven FWD small cars in the Wisconsin winters all my life. The old Dodge Omni & 82 Nissan Sentra wagon were the best (narrow tires that were on 80's cars helped as well). My '07 Fit worked in light snow, But nothing like those old 80s compacts. I got stuck in grocery store parking lots multiple times in 2013. Got a cheap used '01 Escape (4WD) after that for winter driving & that thing is like a freekin' army tank. WORLD of difference. Takes off & stops like the roads are dry. Stunning the difference - can't say that enough. Gas mileage is atrocious though.

I've never tried AWD, but speaking for the 4WD on the escape vs. FWD on the Fit; absolutely night and day. Deep snow, no obstacle, start and stop on a dime. In the Fit with snow on the ground, it's a dangerous prospect turning left out of lots or driveways if there's any traffic & plan your stop a mile in advance to avoid sliding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Funny you mentioned the merits of skinny tires in snow. Reminds me of a day from the 70s in PA. I was in my Karmann Ghia with narrow tires, rear wheel drive, and an engine in the back. I literally plowed through foot high snow no problem. My little VW was actually plowing snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
389 Posts
Everyone assumes your only hazards will be snow and ice. Think Mud.....

I remember getting a Ford F-150 stuck on a flat field after it rained. I needed the field to dry out before I could retrieve the truck. In a case like mine, even a locking differential would have helped.

Dirt roads get pretty mucky in the rainy season.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11 Posts
I went from an awd volvo v50 w/all seasons to a fwd saab 9-5 with snows. Saab was way better than the volvo in upstate ny snow. I now drive an awd Element with snows on steelies during winter. It has better grip in the snow than the saab/volvo. To be fair I never put snows on the volvo which ended up being a lemon.

That said the snows and steelies weren't free. So take the $1,500 savings and subtract the cost of snows. Then the mountings twice a year. If you buy steelies subtract that. If you're in an area that prefers awd subtract that if you plan on getting rid of it. Haven't done the math but I'd think gaining 2-3 mpg would take a while to gain some large 'savings'. As for the mechanical complexity of the awd. If it's similar to the Elements it will likely be unproblematic with occasional fluid changes. It's a pretty simple system.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
371 Posts
Everyone assumes your only hazards will be snow and ice. Think Mud.....

I remember getting a Ford F-150 stuck on a flat field after it rained. I needed the field to dry out before I could retrieve the truck. In a case like mine, even a locking differential would have helped.

Dirt roads get pretty mucky in the rainy season.
Snow, ice, mud and temperature. All-season tires harden up when temperatures falls below 7C (45F). That's why they are now referred to as winter tires. No matter if you are FWD or AWD you brake and handle better with winter tires in the cold in all road conditions.

You can usually get your best deal on a mounted set of winter tires at the time you purchase your vehicle. If you are going to have the vehicle for any length of time you would be buying a set of tires anyway. For the safety factor alone why not get two sets of tires and share the wear between them.

I am seriously thinking of getting the optional rims and having the factory tires mounted on them. I'll have winter tires put on the factory rims. In our case we won't have to think about tires for 6-8 years.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
389 Posts
When only one wheel is spinning, mud will stop you cold (even in warm weather). On our farm, you had better not venture off the gravel road after rain. You will get stuck as your car sinks into the soft ground. Two of our friends have needed to be towed out due to pulling onto the field (for extra parking).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28 Posts
I live in ND and we have LONG winters. I also live up a fairly steep curved driveway out in the country. Our front wheel drive vehicles have to take a run at the driveway if it is the slightest bit slippery or iffy conditions. (and it scary if they don't make it and have to try to back down and try again!) Our 4 wheel drive vehicles have AUTO 4 wheel and that kicks in but with my CRV I stop at the bottom of the hill, pick up the mail and paper and drive right up the hill. I would never go back to FWD here either and don't want to mess with changing and storing tires either. I never want to return to FWD and studded snow tires either. They are hard on the asphalt driveway. My 08 CRV will become a college car this fall and I am hoping to get the new HRV or a new CRV.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
The most important thing is the type of tire, and snow is way better than all season.
And not only for snow, but for rain , ...
So first buy a good tire then if you have the possibility buy awd because it can raise your car security even on a simple curve where you can close more easily, and if you have an unexpected obstacle that force you to make a risky maneuver, you have more control on the car stability
 
1 - 20 of 22 Posts
Top