Join the Car Talk Community!

Discussion Rules

Welcome to the Car Talk Community!

Want to ask a question or join the discussion? Great! Join now.

Sign In Register

4 wheel drive with all seasons vs. front wheel drive with snow tires

Long story short- I am driving through the White Mountains this weekend and there is supposed to be some winter weather. I have two car choices, or 2008 Toyota corolla with snow tires on it or a mid-size suv (rental so I don't know make and model yet) 4 wheel drive with all seasons. Any suggestions or opinions out there?
Tagged:
«134

Comments

  • edited December 2013
    If you rent, you are at the complete dependency on the tires on the rental. But, you may not be stuck with all season tires. IMHO, you just may find a rental Awd with AT tires. All seasons wuld be too big a compromise if they had too many miles which you have no control over. Go over to the lot. Take a tire gauge and your smart phone and check reprorts from Tire Rack or oters on the spot when you look for a car. Otherwise, if you aren't willing to do that reaserch, stay with the Corolla. But, Awd with decent AT or snow tires are the ultimate choice.
    A 4Runner for example, should have them standard.
  • I'd take a Corolla with winter tires. It is going to be very cold so fill up your windshield washer tank with premium no freeze solution - that's the orange stuff.
  • Take the Corolla, as other suggest. You'll also save money!
  • I would go with the dedicated winter tires. In my experience snow traction can vary a lot with all season tires. I had a 2000 Blazer 4wd, with Uniroyal Cross-Country all season tires, traction was not that great in either two or four drive. With Firestone Destination LEs the Blazer had better traction in 2wd than the Uniroyals in 4wd.

    Ed B.
  • edited December 2013
    There are too many variables not to at least investigate finding a rental SUV with AT tires especially if it has a snow flake emblem on it. If the Corolla has to carry much of a load, in very deep snow it will be useless with it's low clearance. Snow tires aren't magic, though they are preferable to all seasons on the same vehicle. I have had AT tires that were every bit as good as the snow tires on another 4wd. And, for mountainous potential snow driving, NOTHING beats Awd/4wd with tires with good snow traction. In mountains, Awd aids handling when driving up hills. With fwd, even with snow tires, in dealing with hills you have to drive too fast just to make a hill. Slow and steady is the advantage of 4wd with good traction tres. In parks that require chains for snow with2wd , 4wd vehicles with good tread AT ( not necessarily snow tires) are often exempt. As cold as it's going to be, I don't want to be stuck.
  • Thanks for all of the advice everyone. The car that I usually drive is a Toyota Rav4 with great snow tires- perfect for these conditions. Unfortunately about a ton of ice fell off of my neighbor's roof right onto the hood/windshield/front bumper so I only have our other car, or the rental. The rental place told me that, by law, they can't put snow tires on their vehicles, so they only have all seasons. I don't think that the snow is going to be too deep, I will be on well traveled roads, so I think I will probably go with the Corolla. Thanks again!
  • edited December 2013
    Best of luck in your travels.

  • "The rental place told me that, by law, they can't put snow tires on their vehicles"

    I would love to see the text of that...law.
    Hint: It almost surely doesn't exist, except in the minds of the folks at the car rental place who are trying to rationalize the condition of their fleet.

  • The corolla with snow tires should do just fine, drive carefully
This discussion has been closed.