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AWD vs FWD on snowy interstate

Honda CRV (awd) versus Toyota Avalon (fwd)
On an interstate drive, mostly level during snowy weather, is AWD substantially safer?
Specifically, the main threat is spinouts. Real bad with RWD but that is not in this discussion.

Duplicate thread .

No, it is not.

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With all-season tires on everything, the edge would go to AWD

With winter tires on the the FWD, and all seasons on the AWD, the FWD would probably be all you would need

Winter tires on AWD and winter tires on FWD, the advantage shifts back to the AWD, though either would be more than adequate.

RWD with winter tires is not bad at all for mid/moderate snow. My F-150 came shod with winter tires (they’ll be changed out for some A/T’s in spring), we had a foot of snow fall a month or two ago, and I really didn’t need 4WD to get through unplowed roads.

@cdaquila Carolyn , would you like to combine Melott’s 2 threads ?

With equal tires the only advantage for the all wheel drive would be is if the snow gets deep enough where the increased ground clearance comes into play and then if it gets higher still the AWD would provide greater forward traction.

BIG advantage? - NO.

But AWD is better. FWD with decent all-season in most parts of the country are fine. Wife has been driving that setup for almost 30 years and well over 700k miles and NEVER EVER had an a problem that left her stranded or put her life or kids in danger. We use my AWD when visiting relatives in Upstate NY during the winter months or skiing in NH or VT.

Are snow tires better? Yup. Are they needed? For 99.99% of the country - NO. Boston is the 10th snowiest city in the country and snow tires are NOT needed around here. Most of the time driving during the winter months in the Boston and Southern NH area you are driving on clear dry roads. Good All season tires are better suited for those road conditions.

I would phrase it that AWD is better at getting started, but there is no difference when stopping, where differences in tires affects both.

So a FWD with good tires will outperform an AWD with poor ones.


What about on ice? Is there an AWD advantage on ice?

Only in starting, you MIGHT have a very slight advantage on corners or curses. But stopping—no.