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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just wondering everyone's opinion on getting AWD or FWD.
I know it's a matter of personal preference and personal need,
but what are your arguments for one or the other?

Thanks!
 

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There's just gotta be other threads about this......but here goes anyway. :binky:

I like them both. I was surprised to see that almost all the Acadias on the lots in Central PA were AWD. I thought the FWD would have some representation. FWD on a heavier vehicle should still provide excellent handling even in adverse conditions. It's slightly lighter and allegedly gets slightly better gas mileage too. Also, costs less, which is very, very nice. BUT........with AWD, it's peace of mind. It isn't even used much, something like a 90-10 system I believe, but it's there just in case. With a family and northeast conditions it's always nice to have peace of mind, and it might even be worth the extra couple grand. :thumb:
 

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This is a simple choice. It's great if you need it, but if you don't, it's waste of money. The mileage will not be as good and there will be more things to go wrong. I have it because where I live we get some deep snow. If I didn't need it I wouldn't have it.
 

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Yes, but is it simple to define "if you need it?" Where is the line drawn?
 

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Although I have yet to take delivery of my 2009 Acadia, I decided to order the AWD package because of where I live and what I anticipate the actual need to be. Chicago, as I am sure you are aware, sometimes has brutal winters with a considerable amount of snow. Having been the owner of a 2003 BMW 5301, and although the rear wheel drive is exceptional on dry/wet road surfaces, several feet of wet snow is a whole different animal. :D

Previously I owned a 2001 Dodge Durango that I could drive anywhere, anytime, regardless of weather or road conditions. It gave me outstanding service (with the exception of a rear axle issue that occurred occasionally) and confidence that when I would hunt off road, drive into sanddunes, backtrails, and into a considerable amount of water, I could be assurred that I would reach my destination. ;)

My other half has owned two Dodge Grand Caravans over 15 years. Although the models she owned only came in FWD, the traction and control through snow and rain was exceptional. She was easily able to negotiate snow and rain, where I, on the other hand, could not (referring to the BMW). When large amounts of snow fell in Chicago, I can not recall a time when she got stuck (which says a lot about FWD). However, the additional benefits of AWD on the Acadia give me more confidence in the vehicle and a belief that it will be more dependable in adverse conditions. :)

I realize that I can not expect the same performance from the Acadia as with the Durango, but the availability of the four wheels will give my family and me additional traction and control in potentially dangerous conditions. I will have more confidence that we can reach our destination more safely without giving too much thought to whether or not snow or rain will be a major factor. ;)
 

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I, too, am from the Chicago area. While most major roads in the burbs are tended to in a timely manner, the snows can be quick, deep, and frankly something you don't want to get stuck in.

I drove a 2 wheel drive Blazer for 10 years. Rear wheel drive, mind you. During those winter conditions I felt it was the most unsafe vehicle out there and said I'd never buy a 2-wheel, rear wheel drive vehicle again!

So, how did I end up in an Acadia FWD? I read posts on this forum and others that while an Acadia FWD might not be as nice as an AWD in snow/ice, it does respond quite well. For me anyway, it's a whole different car than the Blazer including the center of gravity. Plus, it's front wheel drive. If stabilitrack provides any help, it's more than my Blazer had.

I'm a brand new owner, so I can't speak from experience in the snow. I may kick myself this winter just as I did with the Blazer (and each winter after that)... and ask myself "why in the world didn't you cough up the extra few grand on 4WD/AWD?" From what I am hearing, the experience in the Acadia will be a lot different than my Blazer, so I'm throwing the dice and hoping that it'll be just fine.
 

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No real point in AWD to be honest not even up here in the land of snow and ice LOL. I have never had an AWD/4WD vehicle and honestly never ever felt the need for one. Not to mention the added cost of the AWD system for upkeep and extra fuel used while driving an AWD vehicle. IMHO unless you are living in the Yukon or someplace like that AWD is just a placebo that people seem to mistake for safety. Most people in AWD and 4WD vehicles tend to drive worse than normal figuring it will protect them from anything and that isn't the case.
 

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DSNY FN said:
No real point in AWD to be honest not even up here in the land of snow and ice LOL. I have never had an AWD/4WD vehicle and honestly never ever felt the need for one. Not to mention the added cost of the AWD system for upkeep and extra fuel used while driving an AWD vehicle. IMHO unless you are living in the Yukon or someplace like that AWD is just a placebo that people seem to mistake for safety. Most people in AWD and 4WD vehicles tend to drive worse than normal figuring it will protect them from anything and that isn't the case.
I defer to you to a point, DSNY FN. Since you do live in a climate that is more severe than ours, I'll grant you that you probably have a better perspective on the necessity of having AWD. However, in my much limited experience (my former Durango as an example), having the 4 wheel or AWD system works better for me. Is it an illusion or a "feel good" belief that may not be based on hard evidence or data? Perhaps. But given my actual, on-the-gound personal experiences in the snow and rain down here in Chicago, I feel relatively confident in my choice. Admittedly, an additional $1K for that option is not exactly peanuts, but confidence in the vehicle I drive is important, and any amount of additional safety features that I might be able to include in a $40K vehicle in which I transport my family is not inconsequential either.

As for my driving habits changing because of the real or illusional benefits of AWD . . . My profession and my experience over 40+ years of driving in all conditions, climates, and types of vehicles does not equate with the theory that a perceived increase in the number of mechanical safety features on a vehicle will now somehow trump common sense and sound judgement in it's operation.
 

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I bought a FWD for my wife simply because of the expected extra MPG during her commute. I now wish I would have gone with an AWD. Reading the various forums on gas mileage, I see many cases where AWD drivers get better gas mileage than we do with our FWD even though my wife drives with a light foot and it is relatively flat where we live. Our conditions we live in (northern CA) don't necessarily justify AWD. But, there have been times when I wished I did have AWD. Mostly this is when I need to pull out quickly into traffic. Any slightest bit of a heavy foot will spin the front wheels. I've had many FWD cars and it usually takes a large amount of the right pedal to spin the wheels.
 

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I went with AWD for a simple reason; I want to be able to drive any day, regardless of conditions. We do get a lot of snow from October to March, and I would prefer to simply drive more cautiously in adverse conditions instead of scrapping a trip all together. With studded winter tires and the right attitude (AWD is not failsafe, and does not mean I am endowed with God's slippers) there is really nowhere you can't go. I also do some very very light off road duty (fishin' and all that) so the AWD is nice if I encounter muddy conditions, or trail snow.

FWD is a great alternative if you don't need the safety net, especially in a vehicle this big. Again, with a good set of winter tires (studded if you go all the way) FWD is pretty darned good. However, just about every winter in a FWD vehicle I've had, I've gotten stuck at least once, where AWD would have given me the nudge to keep going.
 

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AWD is a form of insurance...you never know when you might need it. There have been a couple occasions where the AWD got me through mud that I don't think FWD would have been enough (first gear...TC off...right pedal on the floor). If you don't think you'll need it don't get it. As with just about everything it's personal preference.
 

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detnick said:
DSNY FN said:
No real point in AWD to be honest not even up here in the land of snow and ice LOL. I have never had an AWD/4WD vehicle and honestly never ever felt the need for one. Not to mention the added cost of the AWD system for upkeep and extra fuel used while driving an AWD vehicle. IMHO unless you are living in the Yukon or someplace like that AWD is just a placebo that people seem to mistake for safety. Most people in AWD and 4WD vehicles tend to drive worse than normal figuring it will protect them from anything and that isn't the case.
I defer to you to a point, DSNY FN. Since you do live in a climate that is more severe than ours, I'll grant you that you probably have a better perspective on the necessity of having AWD. However, in my much limited experience (my former Durango as an example), having the 4 wheel or AWD system works better for me. Is it an illusion or a "feel good" belief that may not be based on hard evidence or data? Perhaps. But given my actual, on-the-gound personal experiences in the snow and rain down here in Chicago, I feel relatively confident in my choice. Admittedly, an additional $1K for that option is not exactly peanuts, but confidence in the vehicle I drive is important, and any amount of additional safety features that I might be able to include in a $40K vehicle in which I transport my family is not inconsequential either.

As for my driving habits changing because of the real or illusional benefits of AWD . . . My profession and my experience over 40+ years of driving in all conditions, climates, and types of vehicles does not equate with the theory that a perceived increase in the number of mechanical safety features on a vehicle will now somehow trump common sense and sound judgement in it's operation.
Not a knock against you or your decision at all I just see way too many people up here that get an AWD or 4WD vehicle that think they are suddenly incincible because they have a vehicle with that option and tend to drive way to fast for the conditions etc. In our 98 Malibu 3.1 FWD that has been lowered and never a winter tire on teh thing I have been stuck a total of 1 time since we got the car 10 years ago. Thus my feeling of never needing it in any condition we have driven in and weather has never stopped us from taking a trip anyplace. Even in 2003 when we drove to Florida and hit Ohio and it was all ice from an earlier rain storm and then a sudden drop to below freezing. People were pulling off the road all over the place we just kept on motoring through.
 

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I can appreciate what you are saying. In fact, I agree that people should not alter their driving habits or focus just because they have access to mechanical engineering that is supposed to improve their safety.

Your reference to having driven along icy roads while others may have been forced to pull over perhaps illustrates the different driving abilities of each individual and the type of vehicle they are using. I certainly would feel more comfortable with a vehicle that remains stable on the road and allows me to control the steering, speed and brakes without concern. Either way, the driver's ability and experience play a major role.

Feeling confident and secure in operating your personal vehicle, along with considerable driving experience, goes far to ensure ones safety.
 

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detnick said:
I can appreciate what you are saying. In fact, I agree that people should not alter their driving habits or focus just because they have access to mechanical engineering that is supposed to improve their safety.

Your reference to having driven along icy roads while others may have been forced to pull over perhaps illustrates the different driving abilities of each individual and the type of vehicle they are using. I certainly would feel more comfortable with a vehicle that remains stable on the road and allows me to control the steering, speed and brakes without concern. Either way, the driver's ability and experience play a major role.

Feeling confident and secure in operating your personal vehicle, along with considerable driving experience, goes far to ensure ones safety.
I agree 100% and far too many people get to feel like a 4WD vehicle makes them invincible no matter the conditions which is a hazard to all of us on the road.
 

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You'd think that we don't get a lot of winter weather here in Oklahoma; however, we got alot of ice last year. The FWD Acadia did a great job! It got around a whole lot better than my pickup (even with the tire cables). As many of you know, ice is tougher to drive on than snow, except when the snow is exceptionally deep. Other than idiots around me, I felt no anxiety at all when driving this vehicle in winter conditions.
 

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For me, it is all in the tires that come with the vehicle or if you can haggle over changing out the tires you prefer for your climate.
I elected the factory 18's on our 07 as I liked the tread design for more bite in snow conditions. Also, the over all ride might be a little smoother. There are many tires rated M/S, but I really have to examine the tread design for best snow bite. With the FWD cars we have owned, I have never gotten stuck. 98 Grand Prix plowed through 10+ in Blizzard conditions and was stupid at the time! Drove 65 miles. This Acadia of ours with the factory 18 inch tread design, snow was no problem for my wife 2 and from work. Again, it is all in the tread design if you are not going with full snow tires all around. Winter, my pony has 4 Blizzak snow tires and tracks 50% better than if kept my General RT's, M/S tires on with 200 lbs in the trunk. FWD or RWD, I have never had a problem in SNOW.
For severe snow conditions, I would feel comfortable, with 4 Blizzak snow tires, on my FWD Acadia. Again, in selecting a high mileage M/S tire, I always look at the tire tread design for snow tracking first and then water displacement second. My Mustang, no question I have to have 4 Blizzak snow tires on their own rims. This is my take in having the right tires and i have no problem with FWD. Snow season here, I see mostly 4WD Chevy Trail Blazers and the like down the embankments. It is up to the individual what they want, FWD or AWD, then make sure you have tires with the tread pattern that best suits your priority weather conditions. Some will want high mileage tire for non snow conditions, some will choose tread pattern for water dispersement first, and when winter season rolls around, mount 4 snow tires. Tires are where it's at and to drive per condtions. IMO, of coarse. :thumb:
 

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I would not purchase AWD if I lived in the southern US. If you live anywhere in the northern part, I'd buy it. It pays for itself with one use. You live or plan to spend time in the mountains...fugetabout it...AWD is the way to go...Eisenhower pass is hilarious to watch cars sliding backwards trying to get up the pass...of course, that is if you're not fuming at their incompentence causing you a 5 hour commute (normally 2).

But as it has been said. Any blizzard will show more 4x4's stuck or turned over in the ditches than 2wd cars. That's not a knock on AWD, that's a knock against the driver. The reason there aren't as many 2wd cars stuck is because they stay home...

But...I've owned plenty of FWD cars and never had a problem. You just know what it can handle and it what is can't. With AWD, people sometimes over step what even AWD can handle.

And it helps to have plenty of snow experience...if you don't have it...and you experience snow 3-4 per year, I'd get AWD...you're just an accident waiting to happen. Majority of accidents in Denver area are not caused by natives, but transplants.

People have also mentioned the AWD advantage with boat towing.
 

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Jake_99 said:
I would not purchase AWD if I lived in the southern US. If you live anywhere in the northern part, I'd buy it. It pays for itself with one use. You live or plan to spend time in the mountains...fugetabout it...AWD is the way to go...Eisenhower pass is hilarious to watch cars sliding backwards trying to get up the pass...of course, that is if you're not fuming at their incompentence causing you a 5 hour commute (normally 2).

I agree Jake_99. On flat wintry terrain all things being equal there probably isn't a great deal separating the traction of AWD or FWD. However during my wintry commute to work I have observed cars sliding backwards on certain
steep passes while AWD and 4WD vehicles kept going.
 

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My SLT 2 AWD is supposed to arrive this week. Even though I have been driving 4x4 for the last dozen years, did consider the FWD. Major reasons I stayed with the AWD were:
1. Thought of actually stopping and putting chains/cables on.
2. Potential of problems with cable/chain clearance.
 
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