AWD vs 4WD vs 4x4 - SUV or Crossover?

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by supersonic, Sep 30, 2016.

  1. My lease is almost up and I was thinking about getting an SUV. I've been asking around and it seems SUV owners are a fanatical crowd. I'm mainly interested in snow/ice performance. I might do light off-roading just because I own one, but that wouldn't be a determining factor.

    Is AWD the same as 4WD? If 4x4 better or worse than any of those? Why should I care about a crossover vs 'real' SUV?

    Bfun must own one, living in Colorado.
  2. it all depends on how many letters you need. with AWD, you get 3 letters.. preference is key here. with 4WD, you get 2.. and of course, 4x4, you just get one. you just have to think of the decisions you'll be in. will you need to buy a vowel? how often will you need it? does jet fuel melt steel beams?
  3. Difference is mostly marketing but 4x4 is typically switched on manually and all 4 wheels have power. You'll mostly see that on truck frame vehicles like a Toyota 4 Runner and Ford F-150. Get this if you plan to have 1 or more wheels in the air, drive over 8 inch obstacles, in 12 inches of mud, or be a manly man. All other types are a computer controlled power distribution system. The computer decides which wheels get power. A good computer system can do a lot better on snow and ice than full time 4x4 since it will stop spinning wheels to get traction again. These are usually on car frames and have a smoother ride but minimal off road capabilities. Typically they have independent suspension which is bad for off road. Not super bad but just worse than real 4x4.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  4. AWD comes with a free vowel so it's a slicker deal. Information overload has made me indecisive. I've been at it a month and it seems the pragmatic choice is the Subaru Forester. But it's iconic status as a geriatric lesbian wagon is a turn off. Beyond that there is no clear cut 'winner' until you hit the obscene price points. Cars seem much more straight forward...
  5. When I first moved to New England, I had a 4x4 and later switched to an AWD Subaru. I can tell you from experience in all kinds of the worst road weather imaginable that AWD is better than 4x4 for typical city/highway driving. Gets rid of the "floating" feel and hydroplaning when you really have a lot of rain/snow under the wheels.
  6. I've never seen a Subaru that didn't have a dog and a bag of weed in it.

    I've been driving 4x4 for about 20 years but I also got a crossover and it is better for most people. My mom switched from crossover to a Toyota pickup 4x4 and doesn't like it as much. 4x4 are also limited to 65mph and can't turn for shit when locked in. But I've also gotten to places most people can't go.
  7. My Nissan Murano has AWD. It's helpful in the rain to keep from hydroplaning.
  8. I'm on my 4th Honda/Acura car. Never had a major problem and their durability has allowed me to be recklessly lazy with upkeep. I'm a little apprehensive about trading that in for a feature I may only need 10 days of the year. The reviews indicate the Honda AWD systems suck balls. The only good one is in the Acura MDX. But I'd rather stay in at the sight of a snowflake than pay $65k for a SUV.

    What do you guys think of the Crosstrek? Does this look like a SUV or station wagon? I don't want people to think I bought a station wagon...

  9. Subaru has more demand than supply so car lot selections are small. If you want a special feature you may have to order your car. It may also be difficult to find service centers in small towns. Aside from that they're fine but I don't know much else about them other than they're realy popular in Colorado.
  10. If you think about it, the sedan design doesn't really make sense. Why lower the frame of the car where the storage is? So regardless of whether it's an SUV, wagon, or crossover, that type of design is better overall...which is why it's so popular now.
  11. I didn't realize how in demand SUV's were. There were no deals to be had for Ford Escape or Subaru Crosstrek. The Wrangler was one of the most uncomfortable cars I've driven. I don't think the design has been upgraded since WW2 and seem super pricey for amenities.

    Acura let me extend m2m for up to 12 months. I'm gonna hold out for a winter sale of some SUVs.
  12. That basic ruggedness is also it's appeal to many. My Mom used to have one. It was lot's of fun in the summer with the top and doors off. The winter sucked. I remember snow would actually blow into the car through a small gap between the windshield and roof. The heater sucked and could barely keep the windshield clear of ice. That was a long time ago but I don't think they've changed much. I knew a guy that bought one a few years ago and traded it in about 6 months later.
  13. Well we got our first snowfall tonight. Only about an inch but it was fresh. I bought asymmetric tires where it's half mud and snow pattern, and half regular all season. A huge flop. Tractin control kept activating on acceleration and ABS on deceleration.

    I am wondering if the "sports" Crossovers with their low profile tires will do any better even with AWD.
  14. I think I've only seen tires like that around here for high performance street cars of which there are very few. I'm no expert but those 1/2 tires seem like a a bad design. All season tires are pretty much the norm here for any car and most trucks will switch to an all-terrain tire when they replace the factory tires. Some people run snow tires but all-seasons are usually good enough. My first car actually had studs and I would never recommend that unless you live on ice all year round.

    -15 right now. I'm not going outside.
  15. Forgot to mention... I saw 2 accidents last night. Both were 4x4 trucks... I guess they didn't engage their 4x4 system. One got flipped over, the other ended up on a off-road embankment with the back wheels in the air. Needless to say 4x4 is OUT!
  16. Likely scenario: "Yeeeeehawwwww, I've got four wheel drive! Ain't no weather can stop me! Look at all those wussies in the slow lane pissing in their panties! Yeeeee…..oh shit."
  17. These look interesting.

  18. Can you turn off traction control? It actually makes driving in the snow far worse when it is on IMO. I used to turn my traction control off in the winter when I still lived where it snowed. In fact, if I had the option, I would have turned off ABS as well. ABS is good for the average person, but I had more much experience without it and could safely pump stop faster than the ABS could stop me.

    To answer your original question in the thread, the big difference between AWD and part time 4WD (4x4) is the durability of a transfer case. AWD doesn't have a transfer case, which means it can be engaged all the time of dry roads and is more fuel efficient, but it also means that if you stress out the system, there is risk of it being electronically disabled by the vehicle to prevent damage. Part time 4WD should not be left on all the time, however it can take a lot more abuse. It also uses more fuel because the power being sent to the wheel is more constant than a sophisticated AWD system.

    A very good example of this is the Jeep Renegade. Its a re-badged Fiat, and it uses AWD rather than 4WD. Take it offroad, get stuck in some mud or sand and you may find the vehicle cutting your acceleration to avoid damage, right in the middle of you trying to free your vehicle.

    General rule of thumb is that if you mostly want extra traction on roads and some dirt, AWD is the way to go. Its also the better option for fuel economy. If you plan on doing any travel offroad, a traditional part-time 4WD system is the better option.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  19. Hate traction control. Pretty sure it's almost gotten me killed more than it's saved me. I'd have to turn it off every time I start the car so I don't bother with it. As for ABS I'd say the old systems were crap and maybe dangerous but I haven't had any complaints with newer cars.
  20. Modern systems are more efficient and I've gotten comfortable with them. However, I still think I could handle the car better in ice and snow without ABS. However, slamming on the brakes in the rain is a whole other topic.

    I agree though, that traction control is shit. My current car doesn't have the option to turn it off, but luckily the system rarely kicks in and isn't aggressive, so I tolerate it. My previous car had a button on the dash and I would leave it off entirely.