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AWD vs 2WD

What's with all the AWD hate on Jalopnik/Oppo? Seems like there's a huge number of people who have it in their heads that AWD doesn't help at all during the winter and that 2WD with snow tires is infinitely superior in every respect. I really don't get it. I bring up the point that AWD will give you better traction for acceleration in snow and ice and then someone comes along and says that's irrelevant. How is it irrelevant? The entire POINT of AWD and 4WD is to increase traction during acceleration. It's why the systems were invented in the first place. Anyone who has lived in a snowy climate during snow months should be able to understand what it's like trying to climb a steep driveway that's covered in snow and ice without AWD or 4WD. I recently got snow tires for my FWD car (my first time on snow tires ever) and it will not out-accelerate my AWD car on all seasons in the snow and ice.

Does AWD give you better stopping and turning performance? Absolutely not, but it gives you equal ability to accelerate and brake. Our cars use all four wheels to stop because four wheels have more traction than two. Why wouldn't we also want all four wheels for being able to accelerate? I'm not talking about being able to speed. I'm talking about simply driving at all. Merely pulling away from a stopsign on a slight incline becomes a measure in careful throttle modulation when you're in a 2WD car, snow tires or not. In many cases you simply cannot move your car at all on a snowy hill or incline without it, snow tires or not.


Now, there are certainly idiots out there who buy an AWD or 4WD car and believe it makes them invincible on the road, and I totally get why people bash AWD in that respect, but it makes no sense to adopt a "2WD with snow tires is always better" mentality. Yes, a 2WD with snow tires will be safer with regards to braking and turning than AWD + all seasons, but it is not the end-all be-all like some people make it out to be. With that being said, I would rather be in 2WD + snow tires than AWD + all seasons, but AWD and 4WD have their merits which should not be discounted.

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