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AWD vs FWD


richy
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Help a motorcyclist out please! 

 

Apparently the time has come to buy one of those 4 wheeled coffins so I can ferry the kids about. I don't have much driving experience, although I have a couple of decades on two wheels in everything from snow and ice to tropical storms. 

 

I'm not looking for a true 4x4 for offroading, I'm considering if it is worthwhile to get an AWD to deal with the Hawai'i specific road dangers. In no particular order we have insane thunder storms, roads occasionally being covered in 2-3 inches of mud and pebbles, drunk tourists, drunker and or tired locals, tree branches on the road but luckily no ice (although we do get hail storms which are not fun on a bike). There will also be some driving on 'unimproved' roads, i.e. mud roads with stones driven into the top in most places, and 60 year old beat up road surface, but no jeep esque back roads.

 

I've played about with 4x4's in my youth but never an AWD. I know there are costs to awd, both the initial cost, maintenance and fuel economy but I'm curious how much it would help with our road conditions. I pretty much have to be out no matter what the conditions, I can't do the stay at home and wait it out thing. I'm also used to pretty decent acceleration (circa 6-7 seconds to 60) which I have found very useful here, far more so than home which limits what I am going to buy (crv, rav4 etc are out). Right now a highlander is top of the list with a forester 2.0T in second place. Next years pilot redesign might be a contender if they make it a bit narrower.

 

I know AWD won't help with lateral traction much if at all but it should help a little with driving out of a problem or a sudden loss of traction on one side. 

 

I will be test driving everything but unfortunately they don't let you test it in crazy conditions or by bombing around the back road to Hana. Just wondering what your experiences with AWD are. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Obviously as the kids are going in it safety is a huge concern (and youd be amazed what vehicles dont do well in crash tests, ford escape, rav 4 etc) and reliability is important given repair costs here are silly. 

 

Thanks in advance!!

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We have a 13 Honda pilot awd its great in snow, mud and lose gravel. Got it October and have over 20000 miles and love it. Also it's a Honda Holds it vaule, great track record, room for 8, awesome ride, for the size great fuel mileage. Not saying any of the others are bad , but we have friends with a highlander and they have had transmission issues, and they say it handles poorly : a lot of body roll in turns and curves. I have seen a few pic of the 15 pilots they look bad ass.

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We have a 13 Honda pilot awd its great in snow, mud and lose gravel. Got it October and have over 20000 miles and love it. Also it's a Honda Holds it vaule, great track record, room for 8, awesome ride, for the size great fuel mileage. Not saying any of the others are bad , but we have friends with a highlander and they have had transmission issues, and they say it handles poorly : a lot of body roll in turns and curves. I have seen a few pic of the 15 pilots they look bad ass.

 

Thanks, the I have had a play with a Pilot and it is WIDE:) Maybe 4 inches wider than the highlander. Its an awesome vehicle and on the mainland I would buy one, hell if they shrink the width an inch or two on the new version it will be right up there with the highlander on my list. Sadly there are a lot of places here where width is an issue (both roads and parking), the scooby is on the list because it is something like 8 inches narrower than the pilot and 4 inches narrower than the highlander. 

Thanks for the heads up re reliability, was that the awd or fwd transmission they had issues with? I know the 2014 has been tightened up to reduce that wallowing and diving which was pretty intense. I have to admit I put Honda and Toyota above most other non luxury makes for reliability.

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I know a lot of people who have impreza's(standards, wrx's, and a few sti's). They handle beautifully and are a bit more fun to drive than most sedans. One of my friends has a '12 impreza and the only repairs he's had to do other than general maintence, was replacing the splash guard after he hit a raccoon. He's put 48K miles on it since he bought in from the dealership, this includes road trips all over. Even one from MO to Florida, so it hasn't been gentle oh I just drive it around town driving. We live in an area with lots of rural crappy condition roads, and rock roads and it handles it like its just more asphalt.

 

Edit: They just got a brand new Forester about 2 months ago also. That thing is the most comfortable SUV I've been in(for the back row of seats), it also has a nice amount of carrying room in the back. They've been averaging 36 mixed highway and city miles in it.

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Edited by kojitsari
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Thanks, the I have had a play with a Pilot and it is WIDE:) Maybe 4 inches wider than the highlander. Its an awesome vehicle and on the mainland I would buy one, hell if they shrink the width an inch or two on the new version it will be right up there with the highlander on my list. Sadly there are a lot of places here where width is an issue (both roads and parking), the scooby is on the list because it is something like 8 inches narrower than the pilot and 4 inches narrower than the highlander. 

Thanks for the heads up re reliability, was that the awd or fwd transmission they had issues with? I know the 2014 has been tightened up to reduce that wallowing and diving which was pretty intense. I have to admit I put Honda and Toyota above most other non luxury makes for reliability.

they have a awd highlander. The pilot is wide but that's where the room comes into play. It has a awesome turning radius tho. What is a Scooby?
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I'm considering if it is worthwhile to get an AWD to deal with the Hawai'i specific road dangers. In no particular order we have insane thunder storms, roads occasionally being covered in 2-3 inches of mud and pebbles, drunk tourists, drunker and or tired locals, tree branches on the road but luckily no ice (although we do get hail storms which are not fun on a bike).

 

4 wheel drive or even 10 wheel drive wont help you with drunk tourists, drunk and tired locals and tree branches on the road.  everyone gets severe thunderstorms at times.  we all know what the responsible and safe thing to do during these storms are, i dont have kids but i can imagine it is even more important if you are trucking kids around.  You may truck on during these storms but you have to worry about what else is out there as far as debris and crazies out on the road...both of which 4 wheel drive will not matter.

 

We get a lot of snow here.  You will always see folks who are new to 4x4s flying around the roads during a storm and hey, thats great...you get awesome traction.  But...AWD or FWD does not help you stop.  they find this out when you come up on them in the ditch.

 

I feel like you may be putting AWD and four wheel drive up on a pedestal more than it should be.  For what it may be worth, I have been driving the past 13 maine winters in a small 4x2 pickup truck without any issues.  I recently picked up a used Volvo and i still prefer my rear wheel drive truck versus the front wheel drive volvo in the snow.

 

It would surprise me if many in Hawaii even have a 4x4.  Is it really even popular there, outside of those who do serious off roading?

 

The problem i have with All wheel drive cars is that you cant just replace one or two of the tires if something happens.  You need to do all at once which can add to the cost big time.

 

Ive never been to hawaii so i may be missing something but if the reasons you listed above are the extent of what you will experience i would just buy a car that meets your needs elsewhere (space, reviews, safety, etc) over AWD unless you get a screaming deal.

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they have a awd highlander. The pilot is wide but that's where the room comes into play. It has a awesome turning radius tho. What is a Scooby?

sorry subaru :) guess thats a euro thing :)

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sorry subaru :) guess thats a euro thing :)

I think its more of a people who own Subaru's thing, I've heard it before too(only from those who've owned a few themselves though). Honestly I have to say I have a FW drive Kia spectra that I drive and I do notice a difference in bad weather over driving one of my friends Subaru's. Especially snow, the AWD just seems to hold to the road better. The only plus I have with my car is I get 48mpg highway to his 40ish(he's modified his a bit to be more fuel efficient though).

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

 

 

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4 wheel drive or even 10 wheel drive wont help you with drunk tourists, drunk and tired locals and tree branches on the road.  everyone gets severe thunderstorms at times.  we all know what the responsible and safe thing to do during these storms are, i dont have kids but i can imagine it is even more important if you are trucking kids around.  You may truck on during these storms but you have to worry about what else is out there as far as debris and crazies out on the road...both of which 4 wheel drive will not matter.

 

We get a lot of snow here.  You will always see folks who are new to 4x4s flying around the roads during a storm and hey, thats great...you get awesome traction.  But...AWD or FWD does not help you stop.  they find this out when you come up on them in the ditch.

 

I feel like you may be putting AWD and four wheel drive up on a pedestal more than it should be.  For what it may be worth, I have been driving the past 13 maine winters in a small 4x2 pickup truck without any issues.  I recently picked up a used Volvo and i still prefer my rear wheel drive truck versus the front wheel drive volvo in the snow.

 

It would surprise me if many in Hawaii even have a 4x4.  Is it really even popular there, outside of those who do serious off roading?

 

The problem i have with All wheel drive cars is that you cant just replace one or two of the tires if something happens.  You need to do all at once which can add to the cost big time.

 

Ive never been to hawaii so i may be missing something but if the reasons you listed above are the extent of what you will experience i would just buy a car that meets your needs elsewhere (space, reviews, safety, etc) over AWD unless you get a screaming deal.

 

4x4 and AWD is seriously popular out here. If you check out the local dealerships (excluding ford) they cant keep 4x or awd models in stock, but theres loads of fwd models. Honestly it's lack of real experience thats causing me to ask. I'm happy being out on the bike in anything, I've had one minor accident at ~5mph in 25 years, but cars are pretty new to me so apologies if its a dumb question. I know theoretically what awd should help with but reality can be very different. I know it cant help with braking etc but I was curious about how it helped in real world situations such as cornering at a sensible speed (say 20mph) and theres standing water on the road but under the water is a load of mud and gravel, is having driven rear wheels or the ability to cut power to the inside wheels going to help with stability? On a bike its fine, feet down and carry on. Apologies if I phrased my question badly, I wasn't trying to state it would mean I could drive in that, just curious if it would help to any meaningful degree. As odd as it sounds I am a little concerned that bikes have made me too indifferent to poor conditions as you can throw them around and you need far less road so you can change your line a lot, plus you can drop your feet and get through anything.

 

Thank you for calling me on the stopping distances, again spoiled by bikes I think :) 

 

Hawai'i has been an odd experience driving wise, I do find myself needing to get the hell out of the way frequently. Either a swift stop off the road, heavy braking or lane changing or accelerating out of a situation. If AWD is not a significant advantage then honestly that works in my favor as I can get a hell of a deal on those lots full of fwd's no one wants. I thought it would also help on some of the back road, like the road to Hana via Kaupo which is basically a mud track for about 5 miles, in rain it is very hard to pass in a car. I've done it on the bike but I looked like a mud goblin, the mrs has done it in a car but only with the occasional stop and push and at very low speeds (beyond cautious slow) and shes a hell of a driver. There is another route but its full of tourists and takes even longer (in good weather the tourist route is 3 hrs, the back route is about an hour and 15 if I'm in a spirited mood and its dry).  

 

Given the feedback I think the best bet is to wait and see what Honda do with the Pilot then see what deal I can get on a fwd.

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4x4 and AWD is seriously popular out here. If you check out the local dealerships (excluding ford) they cant keep 4x or awd models in stock, but theres loads of fwd models. Honestly it's lack of real experience thats causing me to ask. I'm happy being out on the bike in anything, I've had one minor accident at ~5mph in 25 years, but cars are pretty new to me so apologies if its a dumb question. I know theoretically what awd should help with but reality can be very different. I know it cant help with braking etc but I was curious about how it helped in real world situations such as cornering at a sensible speed (say 20mph) and theres standing water on the road but under the water is a load of mud and gravel, is having driven rear wheels or the ability to cut power to the inside wheels going to help with stability? On a bike its fine, feet down and carry on. Apologies if I phrased my question badly, I wasn't trying to state it would mean I could drive in that, just curious if it would help to any meaningful degree. As odd as it sounds I am a little concerned that bikes have made me too indifferent to poor conditions as you can throw them around and you need far less road so you can change your line a lot, plus you can drop your feet and get through anything.

 

Thank you for calling me on the stopping distances, again spoiled by bikes I think :)

 

Hawai'i has been an odd experience driving wise, I do find myself needing to get the hell out of the way frequently. Either a swift stop off the road, heavy braking or lane changing or accelerating out of a situation. If AWD is not a significant advantage then honestly that works in my favor as I can get a hell of a deal on those lots full of fwd's no one wants. I thought it would also help on some of the back road, like the road to Hana via Kaupo which is basically a mud track for about 5 miles, in rain it is very hard to pass in a car. I've done it on the bike but I looked like a mud goblin, the mrs has done it in a car but only with the occasional stop and push and at very low speeds (beyond cautious slow) and shes a hell of a driver. There is another route but its full of tourists and takes even longer (in good weather the tourist route is 3 hrs, the back route is about an hour and 15 if I'm in a spirited mood and its dry).

 

Given the feedback I think the best bet is to wait and see what Honda do with the Pilot then see what deal I can get on a fwd.

It does help with cornering, if you know what you're doing you can take a impreza(or similar) around 40mph gravel roads going 95-115 without an issue. That's part of the reason AWD sedans are so popular for rally cars. If you've got the time I'd go to all your local dealerships and test drive all the options they have that meet your checklist of wants/needs. There's nothing like hands on experience :).

 

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Yeah getting stuck in mud or sand or snow is no fun. It's a great feeling just putting my 4runner in 4wd and driving right out of a pinch. Muddy and Sandy Hawaii sounds like a good place for awd.

 

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A buddy of mines has an impreza and that little thing is a beast.  So much fun to drive on a daily basis and can handle all sorts of weather related situations.  

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I would say look into the awd just for the reason that you will not have to think about it.  If you have wheel spin the awd will kick in.  Second recommendation would be a 4x4 that has auto 4x4 setting.  I'm not sure how well a fwd suv type vehicle would to in muddy conditions.  Seems like there would be a lot of dead weight for the drive tires to drag thru the mud.  

A decent set of tires makes one heck of a difference as well.

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Go for the Forester. I doubt you'll find anything that makes you happier if you want great driving dynamics. Along with safety that can't be beat. Don't forget the EyeSight option if you're already planning on 2.0XT.

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Not knowing what your budget or size requirements are I would recommend the new Jeep Cherokee. It has a decent amount of room, great gas mileage and excellent AWD capability for less than 30 k.

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I have had around 17 vehicles and around 3 million miles on them combined (I have only been driving for 12 years). We get rid of them around 200,000 miles. All I can say is no matter if you get AWD, 4x4, FWD or RWD tires are the most important. If you get an sports car you will have a hard time getting an all around good tire. I would recommend the Contiental extreme Contact dws. This is the best tire in my opinion for a sports car. If you are getting an SUV there are a lot more choices out there that are a good tires. For an SUV I would recommend Firestone Destination LE2 this is a newer tire but by far has out performed many other tires I have had.

 

Good luck on your choice.

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My personal choice would be a Forester.  Subaru's are great when it comes to handling in all conditions and reliability. I am currently driving a '97 Outback with 356,000 miles and it's still running strong.  It drives great in deep snow, but I can't speak much about mud.  I have had times when the snow was so deep that when the door opens, it is actually pushing snow.  I have yet to find another company that can compete with Subaru AWD. 

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Not knowing what your budget or size requirements are I would recommend the new Jeep Cherokee. It has a decent amount of room, great gas mileage and excellent AWD capability for less than 30 k.

The new cherokee's are nice but the one thing I hate about it is the gas mileage is horrible.  Now of course there are different trim levels but the one I rented last summer was the high end model with every feature you can get and while I loved it, the gas mileage was horrible(both highway and city driving), but it does have a huge gas tank though.

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Subarus and in particular Foresters are very popular here in the Black Hills.  I drive an Isuzu Trooper, because I need real off road capability about 3-4 times per year.  And that mandates more clearance and 4WD LOW for my usage.  Otherwise, I think the new Foresters are really sharp.

 

Robert

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Subarus and in particular Foresters are very popular here in the Black Hills.  I drive an Isuzu Trooper, because I need real off road capability about 3-4 times per year.  And that mandates more clearance and 4WD LOW for my usage.  Otherwise, I think the new Foresters are really sharp.

 

Robert

Random off topic question, is your Trooper equipped with TOD (Torque on Demand)? Or was it one of the earlier models using the standard Isuzu 4X4 system?

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Random off topic question, is your Trooper equipped with TOD (Torque on Demand)? Or was it one of the earlier models using the standard Isuzu 4X4 system?

 

I have the Borg Warner TOD system.  Works great.  But you can disengage the auto system and put it into 4 LOW when necessary.  I have one of the last Troopers ever off the assembly line.  I will keep it until it blows up.

 

Robert

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I have the Borg Warner TOD system.  Works great.  But you can disengage the auto system and put it into 4 LOW when necessary.  I have one of the last Troopers ever off the assembly line.  I will keep it until it blows up.

 

Robert

I figured, it's been an amazing system in the 03 Axiom I have.

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I figured, it's been an amazing system in the 03 Axiom I have.

 

I've always wanted an Axiom.  Quirky little rigs.  If they had a normal stereo, I would have bought one last year.  I'm quite an Isuzu fan.  I miss my 2001 VehiCross.  It also had the TOD system.

 

Robert

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I've always wanted an Axiom.  Quirky little rigs.  If they had a normal stereo, I would have bought one last year.  I'm quite an Isuzu fan.  I miss my 2001 VehiCross.  It also had the TOD system.

 

Robert

My father always wanted to get a VehiCross, he still kicks himself to this day over not buying one. I just wish the Axiom had been an 04, first vehicle under $100,000K with Direct Injection. Does your Trooper have an LSD on the rear axle like the Axiom? Between Saab, Isuzu, and Suzuki, I've had high standards set for the vehicles that will replace them. Subaru seems to me to be the only thing that can live up IMHO.

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