By on November 26, 2018

2013 Scion FRS navy winter - Image: © Timothy CainI’m beginning to worry that many vehicles I once fervently desired to own will never again appear on my shortlist of possible daily drivers.

These vehicles, from the Volkswagen Golf GTI and Ford Fiesta ST to the Audi S4 and Porsche Macan and numerous others in between, possess one of two common traits. Their internal combustion engines send power either to the front or all four wheels.

I don’t want to be that guy; I don’t want there to be any hint of sounding like this. You know the kind of guy I’m talking about: a real, living, breathing version of the 14-year-old forum addict who, never having driven any car of any kind, suffers all manner of teenage angst over the very notion that BMW sells all-wheel-drive M cars while scolding Ford for emasculating the Mustang GT350R with electronic aids.

But a hard-hitting winter manifested itself early on Prince Edward Island, and I’m worried that the fun quotient exhibited by a 2013 Scion FR-S could never be replicated by a front or all-wheel-drive car.

Who’d’ve thunk that winter, a snowy and bitterly cold early winter at that, would be the event that (potentially) precipitates long-term FR-S ownership?

It’s not as though I acquired a low-mileage 2013 FR-S with the intention of holding onto it until my children grew old enough to drive it, as I did with a 2004 Miata that I sold 13 months after buying it. Recognizing my personal shortcomings and scanning past purchases – the 13-month Miata, the 3-year Honda Odyssey, the 3-year Kia Sorento, a 2-week Honda Civic many moons ago – made me realize the FR-S would likely hang around for a bit and then depart in favor of something different.

As summer turned to fall, with below-average temperatures and rainfall totals that made the Island’s potato harvest a nightmare, miserable weather made me appreciate the Miata/FR-S switch.Margate PEI winter - Image: © Timothy CainThen, seemingly in a moment, the bizarrely wet autumn that turned everything to muck became a frigid winter that turned everything to frozen tundra. A quick switch to winter tires allowed me to beat the snow by a couple of hours, and then I was ushered into the unknown.

Oh, it wasn’t completely unknown. I’d driven plenty of rear-wheel-drive cars in the winter, including a fun week of icy roads in a 2015 Ford Mustang. But I’d never lived with a rear-wheel-drive car in the winter, let alone a tail-happy 2+2 drifter like the FR-S. I’d yet to fully experience a proper PEI winter, either, as the winter of 2017/2018 was pitifully light on snow (or dirt, as many Islanders call it.)

Yet here we are in late 2018 with multiple significant snowfalls, temperatures cool enough to leave some less-travelled roads partially covered in snow and ice, and no sign of abatement. Far from letting me down or sending me sideways through every intersection (unless so desired) the FR-S simply highlights the benefits of balance. Officially, the Toyobarus are 53/47 cars – that’s 53 percent of the weight on the front; 47 on the rear.

But there’s more to balance than a pair of numbers on a spec sheet. Balance also relates to ride quality that’s on the tolerable side of stiff, steering that’s accurate and perfectly weighted, a reasonably well-modulated throttle, and to a friendly clutch and short-throw shifter that make unexpected gear changes uneventful.

This is not to suggest that I can blast through drifts like a 4Runner, nor do I expect to drive home from work when accumulations, well, accumulate faster than expected. That’s what coworkers with ride height are for. In all other scenarios, however, my right foot is the controller of how much traction I want to possess. And yes, on the right road or in the right parking lot, I often wish to break traction, and I wish to do so all evening. That is one of the benefits of balance.

Balance, of course, is not something that goes hand-in-hand with every jacked-up pickup truck, the truck that’s too often driven by an individual who doesn’t recognize that multiple extra car lengths are required to come to a halt and that the truck’s centre of gravity is miles high. Nor is balance the first word that comes to mind for Ford Escapes, shod in all-season rubber, that can’t climb the hill out of Hunter River.

“But it’s an all-wheel-drive ess-you-vee!”

To be fair to my old vehicular wishlists, stuffed with fun front and all-wheel-drive vehicles, it is only November. For all I know, and against all odds, this winter could turn into a copy of 2014/2015, when roads near my current homestead were often impassable, to say the least. I could live to regret this commitment I’ve made to a low-slung rear-wheel-drive sports car.

Or, if the prevailing sensations predominate, the FR-S will be second in an unending line of RWD daily drivers.

Hot hatches? Fuggedaboutem. S-badged Audis? Who needs ’em. Hi-po SUVs? Perish the thought.

[Images: Timothy Cain/TTAC]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Driving.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram. No, the pictured tracks from 11.18.2018 were not created by the FR-S.

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51 Comments on “Winter Is Only Solidifying My Desire to Drive Rear-Wheel-Drive Cars for the Rest of Time...”


  • avatar
    kosmo

    IMO, it is darn hard to have more fun than snow driving in an underpowered, stickshift, snow-tired, RWD car!

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Sadly most of our young generation will never experience the joy of hooning a rwd vehicle in snow and ice. Since I grew up in Cleveland, and got my driver’s license in the 60s, I feel like I got a double portion.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenn

      ‘Same here: Got my license in ’68, and living just outside Detroit, would get up early on Sunday mornings before the snow plows would arrive (heavy snows were frequent) to take my father’s Chevy Nova out to practice drifting. The reflexes I learned in those early and fun experiences have helped me for the rest of my life, even though I rarely see snow, now.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      indi500fan, every year large numbers of rwd pickup trucks get sold. Lots of overstear opportunities in large parking lots.

  • avatar
    Boff

    It’s all fun and games until you come to a hill. (Not relevant to PEI or, thankfully, to where I live with my two RWD sleds).

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      RWD is superior to FWD on hills. The hill moves the weight to the back. I loved my E-Class wagon in the winter. Way superior to any front wheel drive car.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        My parents development was on top of a hill with a curve in it. I used to have to go up it backwards in my VW quantum to put the weight on the drive wheels to make it up in bad snow or icy conditions.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        What type of tires were you using. Most testing that I have read suggests the opposite, that FWD is superior, with the engine over the ‘drive’ wheels’ Much like a Beetle had superior traction to front-engine RWD vehicles.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Yes I recall during my college years a snowstorm that came in just as the Winter Break was ending. I was at home and my vehicle (1987 Olds Cutlass, 307 V8, RWD, positrac) and my sisters vehicle (1982 Chevy Celebrity, Iron Duke, FWD) were sitting in the driveway and buried up to their bumpers in snow. Both facing the same direction, both both wearing Firestone all-season tires.

          After the storm abated my father and I went to the driveway (compacted gravel) to free the vehicles from the snow. I started defrosting my Cutlass and he started to work on sister’s car. After the windows were clear he hopped into her car and backed up OVER the slightly icy snowdrift into an open space. I tried mightily to free the Cutlass but had to grab a shovel and dig it out.

          That settled it for me.

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          For normal driving weight over the drive wheels (fwd cars, old beetles) it would be better. But when going up a hill the weight transfers rearwards taking the weight off the driven wheels in a fwd car. so by going up backwards I had the weight transfer and the engine weight all working for me.

          The tires were all season Michelin tires in size 185 on a 13 inch rim if I recall.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            It takes a REALLY steep hill to make up for the front weighted balance of an FWD car with the engine transversely mounted ahead of the front axle…

            When clawing for traction, there are also benefits from driving the steered wheels.

            Bugs and 911’s (back when the latter had rotors small enough to allow for snow appropriate tire sizes), did go up hills well. Just about well enough to get to the top, before they went off rear-first, on the way back down….

            Awd has to such an extent taken over rallying, even in Scandinavia, that it’s hard to find modern examples. But I’d be surprised if Sven and Olaf would pick rwd over fwd, even in properly snowwy winter hillclimb events, if they were gunning for the best time in a 2wd class, assuming road like limitations to the size and kind of studs they could fit (Once you get to snowmachine levels of traction, rear drive is likely better than belt up front, skis in the rear….).

        • 0 avatar
          Jagboi

          My experience with a FWD Saab and a RWD Jaguar wearing the same tires says that FWD is superior every time.

        • 0 avatar
          S197GT

          real-world experience here:

          in 2007 rented a cabin in the smoky mountains at the end of a steep/narrow uphill asphalt drive. we were driving my wife’s newish nissan versa (fwd). this was november and lots of leaves had fallen during a rain shower. tried to go up the hill and front wheels just spun after about half way; had to carefully back it down. after numerous attempts i drove it up backwards with no issues.

    • 0 avatar
      Boff

      AWD >> FWD or RWD is what I meant.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Having never owned a AWD or FWD car I’ve used RWDs to go skiing for the last 30 years. The road to the hill approximately a 5 miles series of switch backs most with 10% grades plus a 13% and the final one is 15% (according to the signage going the other way). VTrans does not plow this road after 8pm so my trips are usually unplowed. Yes I carry chains but I rarely use them. Good snows, good balance allow my to maintain a good speed and climb the hill.

      I did get stuck and was putting chains on the XR4Ti in 8 inches of fresh snow while locals were snowmobiling on the road (their trailer broke and were waiting for a tow). Still if I have trouble the AWD three season tire crowd is also in trouble. Last year I started tackling the road with an automatic no where near as fun.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        I would take good winter tires and RWD over all seasons and FWD and when the weather is bad, I do.

        • 0 avatar
          S197GT

          have done that. in an ice storm AWD means crap. my wife insisted on driving our CX-9 AWD with all seasons so i bought some winter tires for her BMW 330i RWD and… wow, not even close. i’d take the RWD and winter tires every time.

          now her 330i w/out winter tires? a disaster… and it had the continental DWS extreme contact tires that were so well-reviewed for winter use; in the context of all seasons at least.

  • avatar
    ScarecrowRepair

    My daily driver for 29 years was an ’86 MR2. Original engine died at 473K miles, old age and a head gasket and corroded freeze plugs and a tranny that should have been leaking like a sive but somehow managed o struggle on.

    Replacement engine only lasted 60K miles. After two head gaskets, the connecting rod knock knock was the end, I gave it to the mechanic who had kept it running so long, and eventually settled on a Mazda3 primarily because stick shift and my boss had had one for three years and was happy.

    Nice shifter and all, but it took me a while to realize how much I missed that rear wheel drive. Then my job changed, I only drove it 3000 miles the last year, and I sold it. Rely on my truck alone now. I miss having a good stick shift and clutch, I miss getting good mileage, but it’s rear wheel drive, and that makes up for a multiple of sins.

  • avatar
    mikey

    I passed my road test in February 1970 , driving a 64 Biscayne 6 cylinder 3 on the tree. Today I still live in Southern Ontario, and use a 15 EB Mustang as a daily driver.

    I do run Michelin X winter tires, and use a gentle right foot. This will be winter number 3, and Ive never experienced a problem ..yet.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    The old “Box” B-bodies were very stable in the snow but in NW Ohio we didn’t have to deal with many hills. When I actually wanted to blast through drifts I was grateful for heavy FWD vehicles. Dad’s old 2nd gen Bonneville was a beast in the snow with wide all-seasons and the “fan blade” aluminum wheels that would “throw” the snow.

    My 2004 F150 Heritage 4×2 was good to throw sideways and was decent in the snow if I was the one blazing the trail. If the snow was compacted and icy, all bets were off.

    Give me 4wd, AWD, or a heavy FWD vehicle for poor weather.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      I had a ’79 Impala wagon with a 350, air shocks and a positraction rear end. It was clumsy in snow when empty, but with passengers and cargo aboard it was amazing. Better than FWD cars of the day on steep snowy climbs. And it drifted around corners with reverse steering as if that was totally ordinary driving.

      I’ve never had a car I felt was more stable driving at higher speeds on ice or snowy highways.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    When I was a young lad I drove a RWD manual transmission 3-series with winter tires during the snowy months. My (future) wife had a Subaru Legacy wagon with all-season tires. There was no comparison – the BMW was a more stable and sure-footed winter driver than the Subaru. If she had winter tires I’m sure the situation would have been reversed.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Tim, Yes it is fun in short doses. Having started driving in the early 70’s I drove RWD vehicles for years. When I started driving we used to take them to the closest mall on Sundays (yes the stores were all closed then in Ontario) and practice donuts, fishtailing, drifting, handbrake turns, etc.

    Would sometimes showoff our ‘driving skills’ on the road. Pseudo/pretend ‘rallies’ and even games of ‘car tag’ in the snow/ice/winter. Sure lots of fun, in short doses.

    But try commuting through the snow belt, or trying to get somewhere in ‘rush hour’ during a major storm, or driving through ‘hill country’ when on a strict timeline (yes I realize that PEI is basically flat) and the fun quotient wears off very quickly and you start to appreciate, the benefits of having power delivered to the front, or all wheels.

  • avatar
    gottacook

    Oh, I don’t know. I’ve only ever lived in the Northeast or upper Midwest, and I’ve long since had my share of rear wheelspin, carrying extra weight in the trunk, etc., during winter. Twenty years of large ’66 and ’67 Pontiacs. I’ve never driven a small RWD car (except for a few leg-cramped miles in an early Miata), nor a large one since fall 1994 (a week’s rental of a ’94 Thunderbird V8), so my perceptions are somewhat constrained by limited experience. But so are everyone’s.

    I have a lot more fun driving a moderately powered stick FWD or AWD car than I ever had in an overpowered automatic RWD one.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I don’t miss putting three 40 lb sandbags in the trunk of the old Oldsmobile.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Yes, I remember driving a Chevelle around the University of Kansas campus and having to throwing weight in the trunk and using the parking brake just to keep the rear wheels from slipping from idle on ice. Grip improves immensely with a couple friends sitting in the trunk. Much easier to get around town driving a front wheel drive car. Driving on ice with both front wheel drive and anti-lock brakes is almost relaxing when nobody else is on the road.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      Sounds like you never had proper winter tires.

  • avatar
    NG5

    I’ve enjoyed driving RWD in snow and hope to someday again, but also I have a fun FWD hatchback with four seats that can fully turn off ESC and a manual handbrake. It’s funny that you’d pick winter for the season to make that argument; I feel like I care much less that I can’t rotate my FWD car on throttle like a RWD one in low traction conditions when I can rotate it with braking and weight transfer. Going on a dirt road feels similar.

    One thing I like about FWD is that almost everything to do with traction, braking, steering, and power comes through the wheel. The wheels that get disturbed by too much power are the same ones that the steering wheel is connected to, so it provides a bit more “feel” about what’s happening if I’m getting stupid in low traction. An additional benefit is that the way to solve most problems with front-end slip is straightening the wheel and braking rather than counter-steering, and it makes it confidence inspiring to drive in regular bad-weather. As long as I’ve got a handbrake and don’t need to do donuts (which are inarguably fun), I don’t miss RWD in low traction conditions, and find FWD to have some relaxing driving benefits.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      In FWD car, on a slippery surface, no nannies, get some speed up, and a quick left-right flick equals instant left drift!

      • 0 avatar
        NG5

        I have heard of the technique but maybe it says something about my driving that I’ve never gotten that to work in my car yet. There’s a big big pebble-gravel lot without lamp poles or anything I regularly drive into where it’s easy to see the lot is empty and clear; I have tried there a few times at low speeds. I am never committed enough or crazy enough for that to work for me I don’t think haha. Maybe on a track at some kind of sanctioned event someday.

      • 0 avatar
        NG5

        I have heard of the technique but maybe it says something about my driving that I’ve never gotten that to work in my car yet. There’s a big big pebble-gravel lot without lamp poles or anything I regularly drive into where it’s easy to see the lot is empty and clear; I have tried there a few times at low speeds. I am never committed enough or crazy enough for that to work for me I don’t think haha. Maybe on a track at some kind of sanctioned event someday.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Precisely why I’m goiing to rally-fy my 4-door 510. Now, I just need to fix the lousy wipers, the lousy heat, the crashy ride, the open diff, the lack of any safety features…

  • avatar
    stingray65

    My 65 Stingray was very good in the snow the few times I got caught out in it. 53% of the weight over the relatively skinny rear tires, tons of low end torque, and limited slip diff, – put it in third, foot off the gas, ease the clutch out and off it went up steep hills. My BMW 2002 was also excellent in the snow with 165-13 all-season tires and the very torquey 2 liter and 4 speed – same thing just put it in third and it would chug up pretty much any incline – I surprised a lot of people at the ski slopes when I arrived in a RWD BMW that everyone said was terrible in snow. On the other hand, my first FWD car – Honda CRX Si was terrible in the snow – relatively wide tires and no low end torque, so had to rev the motor to avoid killing it, and then the wheels would start to spin and game was over.

    • 0 avatar
      Tele Vision

      I had a 4-hole Ford Tempo that was much the same: I could ease the clutch in while in second or third gear and climb any slippery or snowy road. I grew up in the country so I carried chains in all of my vehicles and, s’truth, the Tempo went through drifts like a Panzer tank with just chains on the front tires. Dunno what the fore and aft balance was but it was HEAVY on the nose. I needed 4X4 in my old Ford Truck, on pizza-cutters, to get to the highway in the same condition. The Tempo was, in nearly all other situations, woeful.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I’ve driven RWD, FWD and AWD with front and rear weight biases. Winter tires all round matter most. AWD comes next followed by 2WD with most of the weight over the drive wheels. RWD with a front bias is terrible. Maximum traction comes from AWD and a rear weight bias, i.e. Porsche 911 Carrera 4.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    In the age of TPMS, how do you deal with the changeover to winter tires? In days gone by, I know many people had different wheels, but I don’t see how that would work with TPMS.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      I believe FCA and Mazda have systems that will “learn” that new tires with the proper TPMS sensors have been fitted.

      I wish more manufactures would adopt that model.

    • 0 avatar
      lastwgn

      I simply purchase a dedicated winter tire and wheel package with TPMS sensors installed from Tirerack.

      • 0 avatar
        Vanillasludge

        Just did this for my 19 Mustang gt and it works perfectly.

        The car immediately recognized the new wheels and registered the correct tire pressures.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Let me just say I wish ALL companies would implement a system that actually can recognize new TPMS sensors without having a cable and a programmer.

          When I had the TPMS replaced on my 2010 Highlander the tire shop found that they had lost the cable for the equipment to get the vehicle to recognize the new sensors. I had to drive around with the TPMS light on for several days.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      On my SRX, the wheels with the Blizzaks don’t have sensors, so I have to push a dash button one time each trip to override the fail message. Not much of an effort. As for actual tire pressures, I check occasionally with a gauge.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Honda measures the rotational difference between the wheels using ABS sensors. No wheel sensors needed, but no pressure numbers on the dash, either!

  • avatar
    lastwgn

    I have lived in the Minnesota Twin Cities for over 18 winters. Prior to that it was Iowa winters for 10. In all but 4 of those 28 winters I have been in RWD cars with proper winter tires. 2 MN12 platform Thunderbirds, 2 Mazda RX-8’s, and now a Mazda MX-5 PRHT. The perfectly balanced RX-8’s were easily my best winter car ever. When the snow and ice started falling, even daily commuting I would much prefer the balanced RWD to the wife’s FWD or AWD Tribute or CX-5. Winter tires on a properly balanced and sorted chassis make all the difference for both safe driving and fun driving in my opinion and I have driven through all manner of ice and snow conditions over the years.

  • avatar
    Vanillasludge

    Experience has shown me that a rear driver with limited slip, riding on Blizzaks, is better than a front drive car on all seasons.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    Michigan: I grew up driving a 2WD pickup – a little light ’84 Nissan – and then a dog of a 1968 Firebird. My first car that I bought with a loan was a ’94 Nissan truck, again 2WD. The trick, back when no one ever told me about winter / snow tires, was weight in the back and a whole bunch of patience. And sometimes getting a running start to get up a steep hill. And a whole lot of praying.

    Since then I’ve owned a lot of FWDs, a few AWDs, and one 4X4. But a few years ago I just couldn’t turn down a RWD 2004 BMW 325i. The first snowstorm it got stuck 4x on just a short trip. Stuck to the point where people needed to help push it out of the slick stuff. Even small hills were too much for it.

    And then I put a set of Blizzaks on it. And then I never got stuck – and I mean never. The traction/stability control would keep the car tracking straight. Steering and braking also greatly improved over the hard as hockey puck all-season tires.

    Now I’m driving a 2014 Mustang V6 with Michelin X-Ice tires. First big storm was yesterday and I managed to get some driving time in, including an icy commute to work today. The rear end gets a little squirrely on ice/packed snow but the electronic nannies stop the worst from happening. With the winter tires on I almost feel a level of confidence I had with my Toyota T100 4X4.

    So far so good. I feel no reason to go back to AWD or 4WD or FWD again.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We have 2 RWD and 2 FWD vehicles. When there is snow coming down we take the RWD truck with Blizzaks on it. Sometimes you just have to hold it in a nice power slide for a bit on some of the low speed corners and our youngest has a blast. Then he was 5 we were going home in the FWD car after it started snowing and he wanted to power slide in the snow and I said it was front wheel drive. He responded “Well that’s stupid”.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Having had 3 RWD sports sedans prior to now, I was a firm believer in RWD/winter tires, but the past 4 winters have been so mild in KC, that those said winter tires would have turned to goo by Jan 1.I felt that my supercharged zhp and G37S were probably just as dangerous on X-ices or blizzaks at 60 degrees,as on all seasons in a snow storm.
    We just had the largest snow fall this past weekend in at least 3 years.Probably 5 inches or so. But the kicker is that it was over a 1/4 inch layer of ice, which we all know winter tires really don’t help that much.The day before it was 62 degrees F, I saw a 458, F type R, and a bunch of P cars stretching their legs. Maybe I just cursed the metro for the next decade , with a 3feet of snow a winter but it just seems like it’s just not that bad here.
    When I get to buy another RWD car, I’m leaving summer tires on them year round . I’ll just take the AWD Sienna.

  • avatar
    DelsFan

    Years ago, having moved from overseas to Central Illinois, I was thinking about an A6 quattro as my next sedan. Until I purchased a set of Continental Xtreme Winter Contacts for my (then) wife’s RWD (strike?) 6-speed (strike two?) Mercedes C230 Sport. WAIT!, her winter performance was spectacular, she could literally run circles around SUVs with the wrong (all-season) tires. Plus, ride noise and comfort were still 90% as good as with her Pilot Sport A/S “regular” tires! If she was not pushing fresh snow with her spoiler, she could drive anywhere. Happily, I wound up with a RWD 5-series BMW instead – a set of factory wheels off ebay and a set of Michelin X-ice winter tires and my performance on snow (and/or ice) was the same. Would you tell a guy running slicks in the summer (were it legal): “A FWD car will accelerate better in the wet (notwithstanding that cornering and braking will be crap no matter what) so you’ll be better off with a FWD car since you are running slick tires?” Then why use the same reasoning with FWD cars/SUVs running all-season tires in the winter? I’d rate the winter performance of a RWD car shod with all season tires about 2 out of 10, but with the all-conquering FWD car I’d suggest a rating of around… 2.5 out of ten. If conditions are not too bad, you can get started a little better with the FWD car, but braking and cornering will still be abysmal. Compare that with the 6-speed RWD Mercedes with winter tires which I’d rate at about 8 out of 10. Talk to any northerner with a sedan (with winter tires) and an SUV and ask them which car they’d take out after 2″ of fresh snow. They’ll all tell you their SUV with all-season tires is worthless compared to their sedan.
    I believe Tire Rack has a video of two BMWs stopping from 50 mph in light snow, one with winter tires and one with all seasons. Of course the BMW with the winter tires stops in about half the distance, but what is shocking is to watch the all-season tired BMW pass his motionless counterpart still traveling at 25 mph!
    In Germany, after November all cars on the road (including complete fleets of rental cars) are required to run winter tires – that is how much difference they make. The only reason we have torque steering vehicles that handle like a pig now is because of Congressional mandates to meed unrealistic CAFE regulations – so saving 100lbs and producing a car no one who knows or cares would want to drive is a last resort. Notice that Subaru’s sales are up year after year – at least their vehicles in the dry, which is 90% of my driving, have 40% torque NOT going to the tires I’m trying to steer with. The Outback (for example) isn’t a superior vehicle, but I’m also not paying $50K for an SUV that is a dog to drive! (My mom and two sisters bought Outbacks two years ago – three Outbacks in two months! Mostly because they are decent cars, reasonably priced, and there were no RWD alternatives.)

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