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AWD vs. FWD in an SUV

I live in the Chicago area where we can receive anywhere from very little snow during the winter to over 60" in any given year. I am considering purchasing a new Volvo XC60 and while I understand the basics of having AWD, I like the gas mileage on the FWD even better! Any words of wisdom to help me make my decision?

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I recommend you using a Dowsing rod. It is 100% Nerd approved to work on anything.

Naturally the inclusion of more moving parts – transfer case, another drive shaft, another differential and more axles mean more friction/drag on the engine. If you’re a cautious and experienced driver than AWD isn’t necessary. But in the case of non-American automotive engineering (though I will tip my hat some to Ford’s export only models) I don’t see the AWD impact on mileage to outweigh the performance and safety benefits that Audis can give you. Just my two cents.

Test drive the XC90 and the XC70 with AWD before you make your final pick. I really liked the 2008 XC70 AWD Turbo in the snow when I had it for a loaner car while my S40 was getting oil changed. I own a 2006 S40 T5 AWD and love it! Only thing I cannot learn are AWD and turns….I tend to slide a bit. GOOD LUCK!

AWD = Best option in snow and ice prone areas (better than 4WD option – because 4WD has to be engaged when weather is deemed bad – black ice doesn’t wait for you to decide)

FWD = best option for MPG – better in snow than a RWD because the motor weight is sitting on the drive wheels (unless you’re driving an ol’ Bug)

RWD = Best option for donuts and fishtailing fun.

4WD best for off-roading but only because 4WD option is built into vehicles that are built for off-roading.
Great Winter Tires – more valuable than all of these drive modes.

A competent and reasonably safe driver – even more valuable than the good tires (but just barely (tires make all the difference))
I’ll keep buying my AWD cars and trucks – because ’grandma’s house is down 850 miles of lake effect snow blown icy highways and I’ve got important things in the back that need to get there in one piece.

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