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Do I Need All Wheel Drive?

I am thinking of leasing a 2009 Volvo S40. I’m moving to Boston and want a car that is on the smaller side, safe, decent in bad weather, and nice but not too flashy. The base model only comes with front wheel drive. Some friends have told me that I should really get AWD, but that ups the lease price by 100 dollars a month. Do I really need AWD or is FWD enough? If I do need AWD, any suggestions for similar cars that would be a little less expensive with the AWD option?

In your situation I’d look at Subarus, Impreza or Forester.

Boston averages only 40" snow a year. There is no need for 4wd at all. Any decent fwd with snow tires will be fine.

Less expensive car with AWD is Subaru Legacy or Impreza.

Given your locale of Boston you definitely will be fine with FWD. AWD is helpful but not worth the $1200/year given you will only get the benefit about 2%-4% of your driving time. If FWD does not work for you purchasing a set of winter tires/rims (~$600-$700) will last the life of your lease at least.

Most people in Boston do not have AWD or 4WD. Unless you are an emergency worker you don’t need it. If the weather is really bad, you’ll stay home anyway.

You Need AWD Like I Need Tap Dance Lessons

Where I live we average 130" of snow annually. I live 10 miles from the closest store and 20 miles from town. I always drive FWD and use only regular all-season tires. I’ve never been stuck or off the road.

I don’t lease and never will, but does your choice have any significance on the turn-in at the end of the lease? Does one or the other benefit you then?

It’s very rare in Boston for the streets to get so bad that you wouldn’t be fine with 2WD. The city generates so much heat that it’s usually just a mess down there when we up in NH are getting snow.

Now finding parking…that’ll be a whole 'nother problem!

I’m going to both agree with everyone who says you don’t NEED AWD in Boston, and still suggest that getting it in a reasonable-cost vehicle like a Subaru (not a Volvo) would be a reasonable thing to do, because 1) you’re getting a new car no matter what, right? and 2) If you’re asking, you must not have much snow-driving experience, so the added help of a good AWD system like Subaru’s would be worth it. Mandatory? No, but why not?

No, but if you want 4 wheel drive there is the Suzuki SX4, looks great in silver, and less then 17 grand.

Yeah, but that wasn’t the OP’s question. The question was should he lease his Volvo with AWD.

The temptations to respond with opinions on leasing and on Volvos are just too great…must resist…must resist!

TSM-if we followed your reasonable advice, we’d have 2 responses per question! Where’s the fun in that? :wink:


“Do I really need AWD or is FWD enough? If I do need AWD, any suggestions for similar cars that would be a little less expensive with the AWD option?”

Someone did not read the last sentence. ( :

Is your company going to pay for the lease? I’d buy if you are paying for it yourself.

Thanks for all your responses. They were really helpful!