CRV Part Time 4WD?

I live in the midwest where it snows in the winter and want an AWD car. And I want a Honda. The CRV has something called Real Time 4WD where the system detects wheel slippage and sends power to the rear wheels as necessary. Is this good enough? I’m guessing not as good as a real AWD. Anybody got one? Comments? I don’t mind spending the extra dough - I just want it to work.

The front tires have to spin a bit before rear wheels start pulling.
Knowing this and driving accordingly they do real good.
Are you looking at new or used?

" Is this good enough?" – for what? Driving in the snow, yes; plowing streets, no. All AWD systems (Audi, MB, BMW, Subaru, Honda, Toyota, etc.) all have a torque split system where some some torque goes to the front axle and some to the rear. The split varies between manufacturer and model. Anyone of which will serve you well. Whatever you buy, take it out the first snowy/icy day to an empty parking lot. Drive around, spin doughnuts, drift it and get a feel for how it handles. Put on four good winter tires and enjoy!


You are right. Not only that but not a sufficient amount of torque is sent to rear wheels in conditions that require it. Hill climbing when loaded example. Having said that, their deficiencies are out weighed by their stellar reliability and traction is still suitable for all but most extreme conditions. My daughter’s CRV does not perform quite as well in snow as my RAV but I still wouldn’t hesitate to own one because of their other virtues as performance in slippery conditions is still miles ahead of any FWD as long as you include good winter tires. See Consumer Reports for out standing reliability, road test and customer satisfaction.

Thanks, everybody, for your comments. I guess I’m just wondering how much better it would be than my little Civic, which does pretty well, but way too light for good snow traction. We have a lot of hills here too, which is a pain in the snow. It does sound like good winter tires would be a worthwhile investment. Would I just store them during the summer and change to regular tires then?

Yep. Ideally, you get the winter tires on a separate set of rims and then it usually only costs the price of a tire rotation to have them changed over.

One other thing to keep in mind with the CRV versus the Civic is that one of the major problems with the Civic in the snow is just the low ground clearance. In this regard, even a 2wd CRV would probably be better.

My experience in snow driving is that FWD is fine until the snow is so deep that the car can’t run over it without getting stuck. Snow tires are 20 to 40 times less expensive than a new (to you) car, even a used one. I live in Central Maryland, where we don’t get 2-foot snows very often. But I have been able to drive in the 12"+ snows without ever getting stuck in over 40 years of driving.

I appreciate your experience in driving in snow, but real snow country involves long term cold weather with significant frost build up where snow not only stays much longer but finds the ground itself under the snow much more slippery and harder to deal with, unpaved roads being the worst. Western mountains of Maryland would qualify. 2wd with winter tires can cope well. For many though, the security of AWD and winter tires is without match by 2wd cars in these conditions especially where hills and the necessity to travel exist. Coping may not be enough for these people. These people have to weigh the added expense against the added safety. CRVs are more than sufficient.

How about a Forester? Better AWD than the CRV, about the same price. Also needs winter tires, of course.

You know, a Subaru would be my second choice, (or possibly a Toyota Matrix) but my two Hondas have just been so good, I’d really like to stay with them. Also here there are more Honda dealerships for convenient servicing.

Maybe I should just drive all three and see which I like best. Currently I’m considering hanging on to the Civic for one more winter and maybe getting snow tires for it.

That sounds like a good plan. I drove my fwd VW GTI 12 years in Anchorage, never got stuck, had winter tires on rims.