Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Transportation/driving
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 13.09.2017, 19:56
Newbie 1st class
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Location: Basel
Posts: 20
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
SWISSgoose has no particular reputation at present
AWD or front-wheel drive?

We're looking at buying a small station wagon. Should we spend extra for the AWD model?

Note: we just moved to Switzerland (Basel), but have plans to travel to the mountains occasionally during winter.
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 13.09.2017, 20:05
fatmanfilms's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Verbier
Posts: 15,181
Groaned at 230 Times in 202 Posts
Thanked 12,544 Times in 7,052 Posts
fatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond reputefatmanfilms has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
We're looking at buying a small station wagon. Should we spend extra for the AWD model?

Note: we just moved to Switzerland (Basel), but have plans to travel to the mountains occasionally during winter.
It's really no big deal wither way, personally I prefer RWD on a larger car with winter tyres, I spend loads of time in the mountains. In 22 winter seasons I had a 4WD once, I only ever got stuck with chains twice both times in FWD as it just digs in until car is touching snow.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank fatmanfilms for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 13.09.2017, 20:18
HIAO's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Bellevue
Posts: 819
Groaned at 2 Times in 2 Posts
Thanked 1,921 Times in 526 Posts
HIAO has a reputation beyond reputeHIAO has a reputation beyond reputeHIAO has a reputation beyond reputeHIAO has a reputation beyond reputeHIAO has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

I have a Mazda CX3 and like many AWD, it's usually 2WD and applies power to all 4 wheels when necessary.

I find the choice of winter tyres to be more important for mountain trips.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank HIAO for this useful post:
  #4  
Old 13.09.2017, 20:22
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: Zurich
Posts: 100
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 87 Times in 45 Posts
TexasT is considered knowledgeableTexasT is considered knowledgeableTexasT is considered knowledgeable
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

I'd say FWD. Overall, the costs of purchasing, running and maintaining an AWD is higher than a FWD.

I guess the thing to remember is that getting moving (FWD, AWD and RWD) is just half the story. When it comes to the most important part - emergency braking and stopping on ice and snow all are equal.
Reply With Quote
The following 3 users would like to thank TexasT for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 13.09.2017, 20:25
JagWaugh's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Eglisau
Posts: 5,587
Groaned at 37 Times in 36 Posts
Thanked 10,467 Times in 4,136 Posts
JagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond reputeJagWaugh has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

I'm with FMF. FWD is fine the vast majority of the time. The big killer is when there is so much snow that the floorpan ends up sitting on it. Conditions like this are fairly rare, and when they do happen it won't much matter if you have front, rear, or all wheel drive (Ground clearance is the issue).

I drove an Alfa GTV 2.5 for about 5 years when I first arrived. Never got stuck, but it was touch and go a few times crossing a pass (which they closed shortly after letting us through). I had chains, and we passed a few SUVs who were stuck (we passed them very slowly, by that point it was clear that if I stopped I would struggle to get moving again).

If you're not used to snow, or driving in 3 dimensions, then AWD might help, but you're better off to learn to handle the weather, and the 3rd dimension.

Take a skid course, and a winter driving course. Worth the price in gold.
__________________
If everyone you know agrees with you consistently, they are either not listening, or not capable of critical thought.
Reply With Quote
The following 4 users would like to thank JagWaugh for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 16.09.2017, 09:27
robBob's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 692
Groaned at 17 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 463 Times in 274 Posts
robBob is considered knowledgeablerobBob is considered knowledgeablerobBob is considered knowledgeable
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

After driving Subarus for years I decided to get a FWD. What I like is the better mileage. What I hate is that the tires always spin on quick accelerations from a dead stop especially on hills. Design defect IMO. Next car will be a 4wd for sure. Also 4wd is just not for winter driving. It also works in the summer even on dry roads. Make a difference! My Subarus never had traction control and never needed em.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 16.09.2017, 09:40
Ace1's Avatar
A singular modality
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Engelberg & near Basel
Posts: 6,260
Groaned at 184 Times in 134 Posts
Thanked 9,714 Times in 4,310 Posts
Ace1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

I first had a 4wd car (Volvo V70XC) in 1999 just before we moved over here, and am definitely a fan. Currently both our cars are sporty 4wd models, now 7 and 9 years old respectively, one a roadster and the other an estate (station wagon) and I would never consider going back to 2wd for normal use.

Why? Well, I like driving. Enthusiastically. Yes, a significant amount of our mileage is in the mountains and in winter, and the extra traction (and stability, on occasion) is nice, but even so I wouldn't say it's necessary to have 4wd. And without proper winter tyres it's a complete waste of time for winter driving. Nonetheless I'd recommend it - it just makes things that little bit easier and more fun.
__________________
Introduce yourself!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 16.09.2017, 09:56
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 5,391
Groaned at 185 Times in 144 Posts
Thanked 11,281 Times in 3,794 Posts
k_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

we have a place in the mountains. the road is narrow and quite steep. so we have a awd car, also to avoid having to mount chains every time we drive up or down.

i must say that i'm pretty impressed by the system it feels like it pulls you up the mountain with no drama at all.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 16.09.2017, 10:10
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Japan
Posts: 119
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 185 Times in 70 Posts
Plau Deri is considered knowledgeablePlau Deri is considered knowledgeablePlau Deri is considered knowledgeable
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

If I had the choice, I'd prefer the 4x4 over FWD. And for snowy winter drives I would prefer a lighter car over a heavier car. Had a big old Grand Wagoneer once and the little Suzuki Jimmies would run circles around me on the way to the top

Also, I'd look for good ground clearance and accessibility of the wheel wells for easier mounting of snow chains.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 16.09.2017, 10:24
Ace1's Avatar
A singular modality
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Engelberg & near Basel
Posts: 6,260
Groaned at 184 Times in 134 Posts
Thanked 9,714 Times in 4,310 Posts
Ace1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond reputeAce1 has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
Also, I'd look for good ground clearance and accessibility of the wheel wells for easier mounting of snow chains.
In all my years of mountain driving in 4wd cars with winter tyres I've never once needed to fit my chains. And anyway there are several chain systems which don't need you to get your hands dirty accessing the inside of the wheel. These are like the ones i have, albeit mine being nearly 20 years old now.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 16.09.2017, 10:29
robBob's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 692
Groaned at 17 Times in 8 Posts
Thanked 463 Times in 274 Posts
robBob is considered knowledgeablerobBob is considered knowledgeablerobBob is considered knowledgeable
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Another question is Automatic or shift. IMO shift is better for winter driving or any driving for that matter. By the way the new Golf Alltrack looks like a fun little wagon.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 16.09.2017, 10:31
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Zug
Posts: 694
Groaned at 25 Times in 21 Posts
Thanked 778 Times in 356 Posts
xkcd has a reputation beyond reputexkcd has a reputation beyond reputexkcd has a reputation beyond reputexkcd has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

AWD is also great in heavy rain. I believe Swiss highways do not drain off rain as quickly as most parts of the German Autobahn. AWD and traction control pretty much allows you to tackle most puddles without any skidding.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 20.09.2017, 22:32
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Zurich
Posts: 228
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 249 Times in 96 Posts
eairicbloodaxe has an excellent reputationeairicbloodaxe has an excellent reputationeairicbloodaxe has an excellent reputationeairicbloodaxe has an excellent reputation
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

15 plus years AWD experience. Then 6 years FWD. Now AWD again (Mazda CX3's like an earlier poster)

IMHO tyres make the biggest difference. My FWD (Mazda 6) performed better on Winter tyres in snow than my 4WD (Mitsubishi Evo 8) did on Summers in snow.

But stick Winters on 4WD and you are the overall winner. Which is what I have for the new Mazdas (UK and CH).

Regards


Ian
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 20.09.2017, 22:46
Treverus's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: SZ
Posts: 10,067
Groaned at 235 Times in 197 Posts
Thanked 18,139 Times in 6,622 Posts
Treverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond reputeTreverus has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Treverus for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 21.09.2017, 13:45
Don Molina's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 673
Groaned at 19 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 950 Times in 406 Posts
Don Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
AWD is also great in heavy rain. I believe Swiss highways do not drain off rain as quickly as most parts of the German Autobahn. AWD and traction control pretty much allows you to tackle most puddles without any skidding.
Most unnecessary use of AWD one could describe. If you told me a car would struggle on the backroads driving spiritedly, I'd agree.

But cruising on the autobahn, if the puddle hits you and you aquaplane, forward traction is the LEAST of your problems.



Quote:
View Post
After driving Subarus for years I decided to get a FWD. What I like is the better mileage. What I hate is that the tires always spin on quick accelerations from a dead stop especially on hills. Design defect IMO. Next car will be a 4wd for sure. Also 4wd is just not for winter driving. It also works in the summer even on dry roads. Make a difference! My Subarus never had traction control and never needed em.
It's not a design defect. It's weight transfer (i.e. physics).
Some designs are more suited to some tasks. FWD is a better and safer choice for 99% of drivers and cases. Uphill burnouts is the counter-balance.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Don Molina for this useful post:
  #16  
Old 21.09.2017, 14:10
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 5,391
Groaned at 185 Times in 144 Posts
Thanked 11,281 Times in 3,794 Posts
k_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond reputek_and_e has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
Most unnecessary use of AWD one could describe. If you told me a car would struggle on the backroads driving spiritedly, I'd agree.

But cruising on the autobahn, if the puddle hits you and you aquaplane, forward traction is the LEAST of your problems.





It's not a design defect. It's weight transfer (i.e. physics).
Some designs are more suited to some tasks. FWD is a better and safer choice for 99% of drivers and cases. Uphill burnouts is the counter-balance.
it would be interesting to see some evidence that proves that FWD (or RWD) is safer than AWD.

Last edited by k_and_e; 21.09.2017 at 15:11. Reason: RWD - not AWD
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 21.09.2017, 14:16
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 6,928
Groaned at 61 Times in 55 Posts
Thanked 10,051 Times in 4,520 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
IMHO tyres make the biggest difference. My FWD (Mazda 6) performed better on Winter tyres in snow than my 4WD (Mitsubishi Evo 8) did on Summers in snow.
n


Why do people think 4WD is a substitute for winter tires?
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #18  
Old 21.09.2017, 14:17
aSwissInTheUS's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Zurich area
Posts: 6,928
Groaned at 61 Times in 55 Posts
Thanked 10,051 Times in 4,520 Posts
aSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond reputeaSwissInTheUS has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
it would be interesting to see some evidence that proves that FWD (or AWD) is safer than AWD.
Not safer. But AWD is at least as safe as AWD.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank aSwissInTheUS for this useful post:
  #19  
Old 21.09.2017, 14:18
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 20,896
Groaned at 1,090 Times in 857 Posts
Thanked 23,477 Times in 11,216 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

We have a cabin in the woods, only 200m of private road BUT said private road has a couple of sections that are mostly rock due to erosion, and it's quite a pain with FWD only, even when dry and no snow/mud (going uphill, down is no problem in FWD mode with either the Maverick or the Panda 4x4)

Tom
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 21.09.2017, 15:29
Don Molina's Avatar
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Zurich
Posts: 673
Groaned at 19 Times in 13 Posts
Thanked 950 Times in 406 Posts
Don Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond reputeDon Molina has a reputation beyond repute
Re: AWD or front-wheel drive?

Quote:
View Post
it would be interesting to see some evidence that proves that FWD (or RWD) is safer than AWD.
FWD is inherently a stable configuration since the front wheels are pulling the car.

RWD is inherently an unstable configuration since the rear wheels are pushing the car.

4WD (which is 4-wheels all the time) is quite neutral

If you want to see the above in practice, take your phone and start pulling it, pushing it, and then pulling and pushing at the same time. See what is more stable.

AWD depends on the implementation, as AWD means that all wheels are driven only when the primarily-driven wheels are slipping. If the primarily driven wheels are the front, then the car is more a FWD and vice versa.

Also if the 4WD is not symmetrical, then FWD bias makes it more stable, and so on and so forth.


All of the above are reflected in the geometry settings of the suspension for each layout (toe angles for example).


Now, the FWD, due the nature of the design tends to undesteer. That means, that if you go too fast in a corner the car will not steer and go straight on (figuratively).
That is the safest thing a car can do at the limit, as:
  • the medicine to understeer is to get off the gas, a natural reaction for even the most inept driver
  • even if the understeer is terminal (i.e. you're having an accident), it's much safer to hit something straight on than in any other direction. Crumble zones and most passive safety features of a car are designed for such collisions

that is also why ALL "civilian" cars, i.e. cars that everyone will buy, are designed to understeer at the limit. Because UNDERSTEER IS SAFE.

This is increasingly the case with sports cars as well. It turns out that just because people want to buy one car, doesn't mean that they know how it should be driven. Greatest example is the Honda S2000, that began life as an oversteering madman, and then became a much more sedate (and boring?) animal in a mid-cycle refresh.



Source:
a bunch of mates and I used to design and build from scratch actual prototype race cars that would do 0-100 in 3.5s and hit way over 1g in the skidpad. Some of them work in championship winning F1 teams now
__________________
Nothing is fool-proof to a sufficiently talented fool
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Don Molina for this useful post:
Reply




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rear wheel drive? Corbets Transportation/driving 98 01.08.2013 08:50
Rear wheel drive cars in Swiss snow SamM Transportation/driving 40 11.06.2013 10:28
Need a garage to straighten front wheel(s) AleksandrN Transportation/driving 2 05.06.2012 22:30
Rear wheel drive in snow? gc2011 Transportation/driving 62 29.09.2011 09:14
Do I need an all wheel drive vehicle? ground Transportation/driving 35 22.11.2009 21:59


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 13:04.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0