AWD or 4WD for long driveway

I find myself in need of a 4WD or AWD to get out of our long uphill to the road driveway. Hubby now doing chemo for stage 4 and we may not be able to wait for help clearing the driveway. Which one–AWD SUV ( considering Highlander) or 4WD (considering Ridgeline)?

In Which State Are You Located ?
Near What City/Region ?

Did you just move in or has this driveway recently become a problem ?
What are you currently driving ?

I sympathize with you and pray that all goes well…Sometimes when your health is compromised, you feel you need more security in your transportation. The Awd car based SUVs from Toyota, all have a locking feature that turns it into a defacto 4wd for deeper snow. So, I would reckoned the Hylander for comfort. The Ridgeline and pilot have similar drive trains with an off road switch and my neighbor’s wife’s Pilot does well in snow too. All are capable enough and should work well. So, modern Awd from Honda and Toyota work in both modes.

If you get Awd, be sure and get snow tires for the winter change over as well. You will need them as your acceleration capability is maintained in Awd in snow and you will need the xtra traction for turning and stopping.
So yes, if you feel more secure with Awd as you may be without help, definitely considered it ! You are in a situation where transportation anytime is a must and a perfect candidate for Awd with uphill and snow.If you think the snow might be deep, higher clearance of an SUV rather then a carawd is a must. You have made two good choices for your options.

I’m sorry to hear about your situation.

How deep could the snow be? How steep is the driveway?

My understanding is that Subaru and Audi have the best AWD systems. I think the Toyota and Honda systems are pretty decent. In most cars you’d want to turn off any traction control systems when you’re really scrambling to climb.

As mentioned above, snow tires will make a noticeable difference as well.

What is your current car? How many miles per year are you driving? If you yearly miles are about 5000 or so; I’d consider putting winter tires on the car and leaving them on all year. I put Michelin X-Ice winter tires on a Honda Civic and found they are quiet, ride smooth, handle well, and are great in snow and ice. Your current car with good winter tires might be just fine.

If you get AWD or 4WD either are good for snow. If your driveway is steep you should put winter tires on these vehicles too. Some AWD and 4WD come with really bad tires as far as winter driving is concerned. Getting AWD or 4WD doesn’t really mean the vehicle will handle snow very will if it comes equipped with lousy tires for winter. Tires for these cars are selected for smoothness, and a nice ride out of the showroom over good traction in snow and ice.

I am in eastern South Dakota in a city on I29. We need to travel to Sioux Falls. Have lived with this driveway for 35 years but hubby was always up to using the walk behind snow blower.My current car is a FWD Toyota Sienna which I love but it can’t make the climb to the road sometimes. I know they make the Sienna with AWD but I’m not sure it would be as good as an SUV. If we get the Highlander(or other SUV) I would replace the Sienna. If we get the Ridgeline I would replace a 1999 Cadillac with 70,000 (used to be my mother’s) and our 1979 Ford RWD pick up (used to be his father’s) which we basically just go to the dump with or lend out to people moving. I put 20,000 miles on( almost all highway miles) on the van and it has 125,000. It’s a 2006.

It is difficult to explain with words things like this. There are too many variables to make it easy to make a recommendation until we have a chance to see and feel what it is really like and for us to make a good recommendation.

Get a SUV with real 4WD. With the snow you can get in that area I would trust nothing else. Get the best snow tires you can get on it.

We’ve got a cabin out that way and am familiar with that freeway. I really don’t know anything about AWD or 4WD but seems to me you will have more issues with freeway driving on that stretch of road than just getting out of the driveway. I would pay attention to the road clearance as much as anything. A lower AWD may not give you a high enough clearance to get through the heavy drifts and snow. I think maybe an AWD would be better on the freeway. I’ve seen a lot of SUV types in the ditch due to driver over-confidence and their high center of gravity. Plus, while I usually don’t see the need for winter tires, this may be a case where you really do need them for the long drive in bad weather to Sioux Falls. With winter tires though you will need another set of wheels and tires, need to store them during the off season, and get them to the tire shop to put on. In the larger cities, some shops will store the tires and wheels for you to make switching easier. Good luck. We used to throw rabbits on the basketball court when Augie played Brookings.

Toyota 4Runner is a popular choice in other countries that have rugged terrain; you might look at one of those, too.

Where the OP lives when it snows it snows! I have been on I29 when the snow drifts were 2-3ft across all lanes. Also keep in mind the winds. I would want a heavy SUV with 4wd and the best snow tires I could get.

Bing, We remember you Augie Doggies that threw the rabbits on the court here in Brooking (class of 68 and 69)! Storage of extra tires is not a problem. The clearance issue is what makes me think Ridgeline.

I have a couple of a quaintenses who transitioned from traditional trucks to a Ridgeline and they couldn’t be happier with them. They carry a surprising amount of weight, handle like a car, good passenger space and do well in tough conditions. They do have a locking rear differential which performs very well in tough going…
You may find they ride and handle well enough to use more then you intended.

Tires ,
ground clearence,
and Momentum !

Yes , get all the speed you can… when you can… and it’ll carry you through some stuff that might otherwise leave you stuck.

Any of those choices sound good if given good ground clearence.

Before it becomes imperative…
before next winter…
and while he can still assist …
YOU really should learn the operation of the snow blower.

Then you could get the good exercise it will provide
have the driveway generally maintained on a regular basis
be completely able and capable when needed.

Similar household duty sharing came slamming us in the face a couple years ago when I was hospitalized and my wife was on the phone daily asking for the ‘‘how to’s’’ of the chores I did.

At this stage, I feel OP could correctly make a choice not to operate a snow blower on a drive with steep enough incline to require 4wd. We have a tough drive way and there is no way I would want my wife to operate a dangerous and heavy piece of equipment like a blower that could stall or clog at he bottom of a hill. If her dear husband is not able, I suggest they hire it out. When I was laid up for months, I did not expect my wife to do the chores she was not physically prepared to do. The last thing they need is the primary caregiver having an accident with dangerous equipment she is not familiar with. Some of us have been using table saws, operating blowers, chain saws , weed wackers, brush cutters and lawn mowers since we were big enough and feel comfortable around any machinery…and some have not. IMO, it’s not the time when hubby is in need of care she should not have that added burden unless it were a normal job. She will be doing enough domestically and in other ways.

Class of 70 and 72 but wife’s cousin was ROTC up there in 68 I think so give him a hard time. Looks like a Ridgeline it is. A walk behind blower should be pretty easy to handle but if you lose control, just let go of the handle and it’ll stop.

Sure, if nothing goes wrong, you don’t have to turn in tight quarters, your not on the side of a steep drive and your big enough to leverage it. Flatlanders find them easy to muscle around; living on hills, not quite so easy. It’s all about the terrain and your size. Most start with a plug in, but if you’re a 60 plus year old women, how many can restart if It stops with pull cord…no, hire it done.