What is all-wheel-drive and is it right for you? Never fear, the Car Pro’s very own Jerry Reynolds is here to sort it out for you. And no it’s not just for off-roaders.
What is it?
Simply put, all-wheel drive is designed to help your car perform better in certain driving situations. It distributes power where needed to give the best traction, without any action taken by the driver.
Note the words “perform better”, because it’s more about performance than safety.
For instance, an AWD vehicle will drive better in snow, ice, or mud and allow you to go faster in those conditions too, not always a good thing. But here’s what it won’t do. It does not help you stop, especially on ice or on slippery road conditions.
Who should have it?
Well, AWD is a must for drivers in wintery climates where poor driving conditions are the norm.
Also if you are a serious off-road driver, four-wheel drive is going to be better for you.
If you live down south, in sunnier climates, it’s not a must, even though having AWD is not bad for anybody. Here’s why. Four-wheel drive vehicles generally sit up a little taller, giving drivers a better view of the road ahead, and enhance the driving experience.
What about cost?
Not too long ago… Only pricey high-end cars came with all-wheel drive, like Audi’s famous Quattro system. But the cost is coming down and it’s more common thanks to automakers like Subaru and its Symmetrical AWD. While AWD equipped vehicles cost more, usually you’ll get that premium back in resale value especially with the high demand for it.
Does it impact fuel efficiency?
In some models, you may lose 1 to 2 miles per gallon in fuel economy, but in other cases, there’s no loss at all when driving on roads that are dry.
So to sum things up, all-wheel-drive is great to have on any vehicle if you can afford it. For people who battle the elements often, Jerry thinks it is a must.
Jerry Reynolds, the Car Pro