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Old 09-24-2009, 09:28 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by dcb View Post
a small fwd handles waayyy more than most people can imagine, just takes practice. Also safer on slippery/icy conditions than 4x4 or rwd. And if it is small there is a very good chance you can unstick it yourself should it lose interest in the tarmac on some usually harmless corner by the field or whatever.

Keep some guiness on hand for the %0.2 of the year that you actually are snowed in

I'll agree with the FWD can do more in snow and ice than some realize. I will disagree (from my own point of view and perspective), that FWD is not always safer than a 4WD or RWD... For those unfamiliar with winter driving, perhaps. Even Subaru gets a lot of traction selling their AWD as a safety thing for winter. But, I can get my Jeep through snow that my Neon wouldn't stand a chance in. In my oh so humble opinion, it all comes down to driver training and education. I have a choice in my Jeep of RWD, which can be a bit spooky all by itself (or fun). But I can also choose between AWD and locked 4x4. I spend most of my street/highway snow driving in AWD. But once stuck, I shift into locked 4x4. But again, my opinion, and my own experiences. With my Jeep, I've pulled out more RWD than FWD, but more FWD than AWD/4WD...

I am contemplating the purchase of a very abused late 90s Impreza, no turbo. Strictly as a winter beater, and as a summer desert toy. Mechanically it is not in too bad of shape. But there isn't a straight panel on the body and some small rust areas. I know the owner, and it was used by various teens learning to drive, but it was at least maintained fairly well. Might be a fun alternative.

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Old 09-24-2009, 01:57 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I drove a subaru legacy AWD wagon for 4 years. I put Blizak snows on every winter. I could drive with impunity until I was pushing substantial snow with the air dam and bumper.

But, I grew up in Iowa driving old crap rear wheel drive stuff with bad all season tires, so the subi was like magic. I rarely broke 26 mpg with it.

On the really bad days, I'd drive the 4wd one ton ford truck, lift kit, with the hubs locked. It got 7 mpg, so I didn't drive it much. In my experience, a driver with good skills in a front drive with blizak snow tires will get in less trouble than an inexperienced driver with 4wd, who thinks they're bullet proof.

My current ride in an 04 jetta, also with blizzak snows in the winter. It does very well in the snow if you respect the limitations. And it routinely gets somewhere in the high 40's mpgs.

You're much more likely to find a cheap beater front drive econobox that would do 99% of anything you'd ever need, AND with good FE. For that other one percent, buy a winch or stay home that day and drink hot chocolate.


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Old 09-24-2009, 09:55 PM   #13 (permalink)
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4th generation Civic wagon was made with AWD, and got good FE.

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