QOTD: Which Model Needs to Get a Grip?
Tuesday morning, as a fresh dumping of snow blanketed your author’s region, we discussed a crucial (and obvious) ingredient for safe winter driving: winter tires.
Far less crucial for day-to-day safety, though still valuable, is another automotive feature — one that regularly sees new car buyers slap down several thousand dollars extra at the dealer. In many cases, the feature immediately goes to drivers’ heads, instilling them with a foolish overconfidence in their vehicle’s mastery of the laws of physics.
We’re talking about all-wheel drive/four-wheel drive.
On the first slick night of the season, following barely an inch of the slippery stuff, the degree to which AWD/4WD tricks drivers into feeling like Superman was made abundantly clear by a very crowded on-ramp. Crowded, but not moving. As I passed the ramp, heading home late one night, I could see three premium crossovers doing what all-wheel-drive premium crossovers shouldn’t. Sitting motionless, costing their owners money.
It seems the first driver didn’t anticipate the vehicle’s lack of grip while navigating the tight curve, leading to a spinout. The second driver, piloting a very similar vehicle, was apparently unable to stop in time, leading to an expensive steel kiss. The third driver, obviously trailing the first two a little further back, didn’t make contact, but the road condition was not sufficient for the driver to bring the CUV to a safe halt. No, this one left the road and headed off into the bush, where it sat dejected, unable to extract itself.
Four-wheel traction did nothing to help prevent this crack-up, but grippier tires and reduced speed could have saved the day. Still, when the snow grows deep and the time it takes to claw your way up to speed grows longer, all two-wheel-drive vehicle owners long for extra traction. For all four of their vehicle’s wheels to work as a team. For the ability to pull and push all at once.
So, today’s question is this. With so many vehicles in our crossover-heavy world offering four-wheel motivation, which model’s missing out. Which vehicle offered only in two-wheel drive needs an AWD sibling?
There’s a few obvious suggestions. For example, the popular Kia Soul doesn’t have an AWD option, and seems to sell quite well without it. The recently introduced Toyota C-HR also shuns a rear differential. The upcoming Nissan Kicks? Front-drive only. But maybe your suggestion is less obvious. Perhaps your desire for AWD isn’t motivated by the thought of driving in deep snow — no, you’re thinking of powering through that bone-dry corner without oversteer or understeer, leaving all others in your dust.
Let’s hear your suggestions.
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