Used Car Recommendation - AWD Sedan

winter

#1

I live in Minnesota and have a 2000 Mazda Protege five speed manual transmission and all season radials. It is terrible in the snow or any slippery weather.

1. Would snow tires make a noticeable difference? OR

2. If not, what used car (sedan version) is recommended to have better traction? Should I look for

- front wheel drive with electronic slip differential (for better mileage); or

- all wheel drive not so good mileage; and

-which make and model?


#2

1-Good snow tires would make a HUGE difference. I drove a Rabbit GTI for 12 years in Anchorage with studded snow tire and never got stuck or slid off the road. Go to TireRack.com to research snow tire packages for your car.
2-I’d go for a Subaru for reasonable cost and good AWD. But you still need snow tire.


#3

Winter tires (the term snow tires is not used anymore) will make a very noticeable difference in both the ability to get going, and the more important ability to stop on slippery winter surfaces. They will also help your car to track straighter when you corner, as long as you realize that they do not allow you to ignore the rules of physics. You still need to leave very long following distances between you and the car ahead, and you still need to hold your speed down, even with good winter tires.

If you want even more control, then an AWD car with winter tires is even better. In a few weeks, I will mount my Michelin X-Ice tires on my Outback, even though it has AWD, ABS, Traction Control, and Vehicle Stability Control.

There is no substitute for having maximum control of your vehicle–especially when avoiding the jerks who speed past you in their top-heavy SUVs. The only consolation is that they will be upside-down in a ditch when you pass them a few miles down the road.


#4

Somebody smart recently said somewhere that AWD just makes you go faster but does not make you stop faster. I think that summarizes nicely the argument for winter tires even with AWD. I believe that AWD is very overrated for everyday purposes. A nice front-wheel drive car with good snow tires will do the job sufficiently well. And it’s much cheaper.


#5

Putting four winter tires on your Protege will probably make a substantial difference and would cost much less than another car.

If you decide you need an AWD sedan, there are lots of Subaru Legacys and Imprezas on the market. You should still put winter tires on them. AWD is not a substitute for proper tires.


#6

Tire type and condition are paramount for winter drivability…even with awd or 4x4. I have proven this to myself on a 92 Explorer. The right tires AND the 4x2 frame of mind allows me to rarely need 4x4. On a smaller car like the protege try for snow tread or other zig-zag treaded tires. the zig-zag channel between treads with sufficient space between to self clean will give better bite without the need for awd. Don’t spin your tires in snow or ice, stop the spinning and try again slowly to give the tread a chance to grab. Gain speed & momentum when appraoching a hill ( traffic permitting ) so as to not need to accelerate while on the incline. Carry winter emergency supplies in the car at all times, including a tow strap and ( an idea I saw here a few weeks ago )a gallon jug of sand to help others help you if needed.
Good tires first…cheap insurance.


#7

That’s all you need to know…

“Somebody smart recently said somewhere that AWD just makes you go faster but does not make you stop faster. I think that summarizes nicely the argument for winter tires even with AWD. I believe that AWD is very overrated for everyday purposes. A nice front-wheel drive car with good snow tires will do the job sufficiently well. And it’s much cheaper.”

AWD I would argue is not over rated…I assume you have lived with AWD in snow country to make this statement ?.

Otherwise, I will agree they may not be needed if your diving habits don’t require it. The truth is in the question…if you’re a late night winter traveler in snow country, which would you prefer: a well prepared 2 wd sedan or a well prepared awd sedan. It’s all in your driving habits.