In market for a vehicle and have looked at both Chevy Traverse and VW Routan. There’s many features I like about both vehicles. My question is about how they handle in snow living in MN, winters can be brutle. My purpose driving vehicle is for road trips and as a Mom around town.(No off roading) Is AWD necessary to handle road conditions in winter weather?
You tell us. If AWD is necessary, then every car that is driven during the winter must have AWD. I suspect that is not the case. There are two problems with driving in the snow. One is getting going and the other is staying safe. Of the two it is staying safe is by far the most important. AWD or 4WD will help you get down the road and they may help you get out of the ditch, but they will not help you avoid going into the ditch to start with. There is one thing that helps for both. A good set of winter tyres will not only help you get down the road, but most important they can help you stay on the road. The most important tool you have is your own good judgment. If it is unsafe to drive, don't drive. When you stop to think about it, chances are the trip is not really worth your life. Most of the cars you see don't even come with AWD so most of the people on the road are getting by without it. Yes there are a few cases where AWD is useful for those who may live at the end of a long unplowed road if you must be able to get out. However think about it. How often have you been in a situation where you really needed to get somewhere as if your life depended on it? Think about it, going out is risking your life if the roads are really that bad.
AWD is not intended for off-road as much as tougher on road conditions. It is also for helpful on winter days and makes driving much easier. There is a little penalty in fuel on modern vehicles (usually 1MPG).
Is it necessary, no. I will state The VW Routan/Dodge Caravan(close cousin) however are not at great handling winter conditions on the stock all-seasons. I would give them a poor especially if loaded up given my experience with relatives vans.
Like another poster stated adding winter tires is the safest thing on ice & snow by a far margin coupled to common sense.
Hey, It’s Still Snowing In MN, Right ? Isn’t That Where They Hope That Summer Falls On A Week-End ? Why Not Head To Your Friendly Dealerships When The Weather Is Horrific And Take Some Vehicles For A Spin ? (Sorry, Poor Choice Of Words.)
If you are concerned enough about winter driving, your answer is you need winter tires. FWD mini vans with winter tires are good snow vehicles.
AWD with winter tires is better but there are extra maintenance, repair, and higher fuel costs to consider. You pay a lot for the benefits of AWD over the life of the vehicle. AWD could be necessary if you live on a poorly plowed road that is steep, have a steep driveway, or you need to go out in blizzard like conditions to work (ie nurse, doctor, or EMT).
From your description of your driving pattern, FWD with winter tires is best balance of safety and costs for you.
People have the less MPG stuck in their heads with AWD. It is just no longer true if look up EPA figures.
Case in point:
AWD Traverse 16city/23 highway
FWD Traverse 17city/24 highway
I recently test drove a FWD Travese but after finding the minimal MPG difference skipped it. Not worth it, also resale is very poor as 2wd/FWD(oxymoron) SUV in my area is highly undesirable.
AWD or 4WD will help you get down the road and they may help you get out of the ditch, but they will not help you avoid going into the ditch to start with.
You keep saying that Joesph…And all I can say is you’ve NEVER EVER driven a 4wd/awd system in your life…Because you have no idea what you’re talking about.
4wd or AWD will significantly help you from keeping out of ditch…SIGNIFICANTLY. You have far more control when in 4wd. The ONLY problem is some people who own a 4wd or awd vehicle think they can still travel the roads like it was summer. That’s when they run into problems…But if you drive in a sane matter…a 4wd or awd system GREATLY IMPROVES your ability to drive in the snow…We have a very good fwd vehicle and my 4wd 4runner…I’ve driven them both when the roads were covered with snow…there is no question…absolutely NONE…the 4runner will keep you on the road and getting you to your destination better then ANY fwd vehicle equipped with the BEST snow tires available.
Yes there are a few cases where AWD is useful for those who may live at the end of a long unplowed road if you must be able to get out. However think about it. How often have you been in a situation where you really needed to get somewhere as if your life depended on it
I agree with you here…Here in southern NH and even MN…there just isn’t enough snow to justify buying a 4wd vehicle or awd system for driving in the snow. For those days that it’s really bad outside (all 4 of them) just stay home. But if you live in the White Mountains or around the Great Lakes (where they get HUGE amounts of lake effect snow) then those really bad days could be 30 or 40 of them a year. Personally I wouldn’t be able take 30-40 vacation and sick days to stay home when the weather is bad (thus the need for 4wd or awd in those areas). Most of those areas won’t even close school unless there’s 12" or more of snow (we close at 6")… they’d have school into July if they did.
Good Point About The Resale If Somebody Doesn’t Drive Until The Wheels Fall Off. I Was Thinking That, Too. Seems Like People Would Expect This Type Vehicle To Have It, Especially In MN.