AWD vs FWD in a minivan


#1

I am wanting to know how much better the traction will be in a minivan for fwd vs. awd. I have always preferred to get an awd car. But I need a minivan and Toyota is the only company with an awd minivan. The issue is that it only comes with their top of the line model. A $12,000+ difference between their baseline.



So is it that much better


#2

where do you live? alot of snow to deal with. have you checked subaru? they have some decent sized vehicles that could suit your needs. if you dont live in a very bad weather state then i would say no, not worth the 12k diff.


#3

I was surprised to learn that the Sienna is indeed the only AWD minivan still on the market. I had to verify it here: http://ask.cars.com/2007/06/awd_minivan.html Dropping AWD doesn’t seem prudent, but that’s the fact. I guess AWD vans just didn’t sell well enough to be worth the expense of keeping them in the lineup. That said, perhaps you should consider a used Caravan, Town & Country, or perhaps even an AWD Sienna. There are still good used ones out there. $12k is a lot of $$ on top of what is already a rather pricey vehicle.


#4

We have an '02 AWD Chrysler Town & Country minivan and love the way it runs in the snow. I use the Blizzak tires in the winter. You should be able to find a good used one for a reasonable price if you want to go that route. I think the AWD was available up to 2004.


#5

What about the Subaru Tribeca? Isn’t that more or less a minivan?

I would not pay $12,000 for AWD unless you get LOTS of snow where you live. I have an AWD vehicle, but the fuel penalty is making me rethink my need for it, considering it doesn’t really snow that much in my area.


#6

Somehow, some way, we all managed to survive winter in the days before AWD became as common as vinyl roofs, er, in-dash CD players. Get the front wheel drive version. If you’re worried, in winter switch over to snow tires. It was Car and Driver, I believe, that a few years ago did a test, comparing an AWD car with all-season tires to a RWD car with snows. The snow tire version dusted the AWD under all snow/ice conditions. Remember, the ONLY advantage of AWD is that (with identical tires) it helps you get started off better. Once you are rolling, the 2WD version is better – better for fuel economy, and better for stopping (it’s about 200 lbs lighter). A full set of snows, pre-mounted on rims for easy changeover, is maybe $600 and will last about four years of average driving, then $400 for the next set of tires. Snow tires, a light foot on the accelerator, a little common sense about speed and positioning, and you’re mobile year round. Z

P.S. If you don’t believe me about the 2WD being better than AWD once underway, next big snowstorm, just compare the number of SUVs that slid into the median (or other vehicles) with the number of normal vehicles. You’ll find the SUVs as well represented there as they are on the road. Actually, more, since they’re heavier and once they slide they’re harder to get back under control.


#7

You should be fine with FWD no matter where you live. If the roads are so bad that you need 4WD, you should not be out anyway. Exceptions would be if your job is in emergency services or you want to ski when snow is so bad that schools or work are called off.


#8

The AWD Sienna is equipped with run flat tires, there was no room for a spare due to the center differential. From what I’ve heard run flat tires are very expensive and wear out quickly (~20-25k miles).

I drove my wife’s 2006 Sienna (FWD) to work after an ice storm and it held the road fairly well with the stock all-season Dunlops. She had a harder time driving my 2000 Blazer 4wd to her job that day. Four wheel drive only helps you get started, once you’re moving it’s up to the tires and the driver to stay on the road.

Ed B.


#9

P.S. If you don’t believe me about the 2WD being better than AWD once underway, next big snowstorm, just compare the number of SUVs that slid into the median (or other vehicles) with the number of normal vehicles. You’ll find the SUVs as well represented there as they are on the road. Actually, more, since they’re heavier and once they slide they’re harder to get back under control.

Apparently, there are a lot of people who still are not clear on the concept that all cars have 4-wheel brakes. All wheel drive helps you get out of a ditch, it does nothing to keep you out of it.