I’m moving from Southern California to Western New York (yes, I’m leaving 70s and sunny to go to winter weather). I can take one of 3 cars: 2011 BMW 328i (rear-wheel drive), 2007 VW Passat Wagon 3.6L 4motion (with about 70K - this is now the kid-car), or 2005 Acura TL (with just over 100K and starting to show its age). I don’t want the kids to get the BMW but we’re nervous about the having the oldest and least reliable of our cars while away at college and driving on the freeways. Question 1: Which car should I take? Question 2: If I take the BMW, will I be okay without 4-wheel drive? Anything else?
I vote for the Acura.
If you were to put 4 good winter tires and give yourself time to develop winter driving skills, you’d be okay in the BMW…but it will never be as good of a winter car as the others. The BMW will have a tendency on slippery surfaces to want to spin around. The rear will want to slide away.
Sell thw BMW, leave the Passat for the kids, and bring the Acura. There’s no reason whatsoever why the Acura if it’s been properly maintained should not easily have at least another good 100,000 miles left in it.
The BMW should have excellent traction and stability control and 50/50 weight distribution ; they are not like rwd of old will not present the problems described. With a little extra weight in the back and 4 winter tires, the car should be OK. It may even be as good or better then the Acura when you become accustom to it in winter driving. The low ground clearance will be the real issue and may make picking and choosing travel times necessary, but no more then the Acura. I would take the BMW. If you find it still is too difficult for you by next spring, trade it for Subaru.
I think you’d have a better time with the VW and a set of winter tires, you could get by with the BMW but the VWs the ideal setup for long snowy winters. That’s what I would do (and I love BMWs).
The VW with 4-motion and winter tires would be an excellent car in the winter. Then the Acura with winter tires would be very good. The BMW with winter tires is OK.
Some areas of western NY get tons of snow especially around Syracuse. Some areas aren’t nearly so bad, but all of western NY will get snow. Areas north of Syracuse get lake affect snow and it adds up to 100+ inches every winter. Winter tires are a must for the BMW and highly recommended for the other cars too.
You might want to check for prices of winter tires for all of these cars. Some BMW’s have no flat tires and some very wide and expensive sizes. You can go to the tirerack.com web site and research winter tires prices for your cars.
Rochester NY, here…
I’m a bit confused about the move – you are moving but leaving the kids behind with your surplus cars? And you can only move one car?
The BMW would not be impossible in the snow, especially with 4 good snow tires. After all, people drove in the snow with RWD for 80 years. Just drive at a decent speed. Most accidents in snowy weather occur when people overdrive their equipment. I’ve lost control in AWD vehicles so it is not a magic bullet.
Plus, if you sell the BMW you will take the biggest hit in terms of depreciation. It’s worth a lot less now than when you bought it.
If you decide to sell the Beamer, think about bringing it out here with you, I’ll bet you can get a better price since you can advertise it as a California car (no rust, no salt).
The Acura is probably a good daily driver, and if you anticipate getting in an accident or two as you adapt, you’ll want the car that is least valuable, cheapest to insure and repair. You might ask your insurance agent for New York rates before you decide.
And in all cases, if you can afford it, get a good set of snow tires. They make any car handle better than “all weather” tires.
Some areas of western NY get tons of snow especially around Syracuse. Some areas aren’t nearly so bad, but all of western NY will get snow.
That’s an especially good point. Would you care to share some additional info, such as the town or zip code where you will be moving, and commuting?
Here’s a map that may be of interest,
Are you moving to Western New York, or are you visiting? How long to you plan to stay? I get mixed messages when I read your post. Where and when are the kids going away to college, and why aren’t they going to make the trip with you?
What kind of safety equipment (traction control, stability management) does the BMW have? If it comes fully loaded with TC, SM, and ABS, it might be the best choice, especially with four good winter tires.
If you take the BMW, you can probably still get around, but it won’t be great. I agree with the others that you should plan on getting good winter tires (probably from Tire Rack already mounted on steel wheels) and adding weight to the back.
Don’t forget that the Acura should be due for a timing belt about now. You don’t want to procrastinate on replacing it.
You don’t need to be apologetic about moving to New York. 70s and sunny every day would bore many people to tears. The four seasons each have their own charms.
Some areas of western NY get tons of snow especially around Syracuse.
When did they move Syracuse to western New York? I must have missed that in the newspaper!
When did they move Syracuse to western New York? I must have missed that in the newspaper!
If you’re in SoCal, everything west of Manhattan is “Western NY.”
Hi, everyone. Thanks for your thoughts. Here are some of your answers. First, the personal ones: I’m relocating for a job (jobs here are scarce and there’s a fantastic one there); I’d be living and working in Rochester; net yet sure about indoor vs outdoor parking (it’s a rental apartment for now); the kids are in college and staying put; the husband is staying put, too, so he gets a car, the kid at a car-friendly school gets a car and I get a car.
As for the existing cars, the BMW has run-flat tires right now and I know that they’re expensive. I’ve had trouble finding the right size tires for the VW. Because of its weight it requires XL. Michelin was changing their design for this size tire so it’s got Continentals on it right now and, thus, I’m a little concerned about finding the right size snow tire. The Acrua is due for a timing belt in about a month or two.
I grew up in Canada and although I’ve driven in snow it’s been a long time. Good point about the clearance of the BMW.
Oh, and while weather is overrated, I do miss snow. I’ve always said that there are 2 things, though, that I hated about it - shoveling it and driving in it.
The other thing, of course, is that Rochester actually knows how to handle its snow, so in any given winter there are only a handful of days when you will be driving on fresh snowy roads. Most of the times the roads are salted and clear. You may want to avoid renting a house or half-house in the city itself, unless you can take the bus to work. Those streets are narrow and the last to get plowed out.
If the choice is between the FWD Acura with snow tires, and the 4WD VW with all-season tires, I’d call that a wash. It sounds like you want the VW, the BMW to hubby and the Acura to the college kid – that makes sense to me.
A “fantastic” job in Rochester? Has to be UR or Wegmans
If you have personal fears and “hates” about driving in the winter, awd is the answer. My wife feels the same way and awd with 4 winter tires give her an element of security that NO 2wd car can approach when commuting to work in snow. This, if you drive them sanely. The 4 motion or an awd trade in for more reliable make could work.
Before you hit the road, make a few phone calls to local wreckers (junk-yards, auto recyclers, whatever they’re calling themselves today). You may find some steel rims to fit your vehicles, and armed with a set of those, mounted with a regular set of snow tires, swapping them is a relatively simple matter. My parents do it (mountains of NH) and it costs them less than $25 to get them swapped. Of course, they have to store them, too. If you move back, you should be able to sell them, snow tires mounted, and make back some of your money.
With the new information, I think you should leave the BMW for your husband, and you should take the Acura to Rochester.
Enjoy getting to watch the Bills on local TV. They’re on fire!
Don’t hang your hat on the Bills still being on fire in November.
Yep, the Acura would be ok, too. For either one I would order a set of winter tires pre-mounted on steel rims from tirerack.com, I used them for my tires/wheels when I lived in Anchorage. They can set up delivery to a tire store/garage near you new apartment, so it’s pretty painless. I’m sure they have winter tire/wheel sets for any of your cars.
I used to work with a company in Rochester. They referred to the end of July as 2 weeks of bad sledding. The good news is that Rochester is not in the top 10 fora annual snowfall in the US. The bad news is that it’s #11. The average snowfall is 92.3 inches. I’d take the Acura. It’s got FWD, it is the oldest, and Acuras are quite reliable. Since it is the oldest car, any damage to it while you get used to winter driving would not bother you as much as it would with a new BMW. And unless you are an emergency worker, you won’t have to drive in the worst weather.
My original thought was hubby takes the Beemer, I take the VW and the kid gets the Acura once the 100K check is done. But it sounds like consensus is that the Beemer stays put, I take the Acura to Rochester (add: snow tires w/steel rims) and kid keeps the VW. This way if the Acura gives me trouble, as an experienced driver I’ll know what to do (versus the less experienced kid).
The apartment is in the city. The good news is that the walk to work is about 20 minutes (about a 10 minute drive with traffic lights) so if the roads are treacherous but the walking is passable then I can still get to work. I guess if the roads are bad then the walking will be, too…
Not, not UR or Wegmans (though I did find their flagship store on Monroe - what a place!).