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Old 09-21-2016, 04:38 AM   #1
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AWD vs. 2WD?

My wife and I are shopping for a new TV for our 2011 25' Flying Cloud. We presently have a 2007 Escalade AWD and have been very happy with it, but, with high mileage and all, want to replace it. We are considering a Yukon Denali or another Escalade.

We live in California and frequently travel through out the Sierras where we can encounter 6% grades and high mountain passes. My question is: Is there a towing advantage (safety or otherwise) between a AWD and a 2WD? We are leaning towards a 2WD which is about $5K less expensive than the AWD. Or, should we stick with a 2WD? Rain and/or snow is usually not an issue for us (at least in our current environment). Thanks for your advice.


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Old 09-21-2016, 08:26 AM   #2
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If your vehicle meets the towing specs, Try pulling with your current vehicle. High mileage, if well cared for, may be capable.. Just be prepared to upgrade if uncomfortable...
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:36 AM   #3
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I haven't found it necessary, plus you get a little extra payload capacity on the 2WD.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ktholin View Post
My wife and I are shopping for a new TV for our 2011 25' Flying Cloud. We presently have a 2007 Escalade AWD and have been very happy with it, but, with high mileage and all, want to replace it. We are considering a Yukon Denali or another Escalade.

We live in California and frequently travel through out the Sierras where we can encounter 6% grades and high mountain passes. My question is: Is there a towing advantage (safety or otherwise) between a AWD and a 2WD? We are leaning towards a 2WD which is about $5K less expensive than the AWD. Or, should we stick with a 2WD? Rain and/or snow is usually not an issue for us (at least in our current environment). Thanks for your advice.


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My personal opinion: I would always buy an AWD vehicle. Its more stable/safer in good/bad weather, whether towing or not.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:48 AM   #5
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Depends on where you intend to camp. If on dirt roads or dispersed camping, AWD or 4WD is a must. I have needed it on numerous occasions with the same sized trailer as yours.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:55 AM   #6
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AWD or 4WD is indispensable when you need it and justifies the expense and small possible decrease in MPG. Rarely if ever is it needed for actual towing at near highway speeds. Mine will not stay in 4WD above 35 MPH. I have used 4WD many times pulling out from muddy slick campgrounds and off road exploring. My Jeep is selectable but will automatically slip into a controlled AWD when conditions merit its use.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:56 AM   #7
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Only 4wd for me.
My first tow vehicle was 2wd. I got stuck in a campground on a slight incline on grass wet with dew. It did not sink down, just sat on top of the grass with wheels spinning. I had to wait for the dew to evaporate before I could get enough traction to leave. Had it been continuing rain instead of dew I probably would have needed someone to help with a pull to get out.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rostam View Post
My personal opinion: I would always buy an AWD vehicle. Its more stable/safer in good/bad weather, whether towing or not.
I'm a 4WD guy. But it's pretty much a well-established marketing myth that AWD is "safer".

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...snow/index.htm

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars...rive-15202862/
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:17 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BoldAdventure View Post
I'm a 4WD guy. But it's pretty much a well-established marketing myth that AWD is "safer".

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/m...snow/index.htm

http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars...rive-15202862/
This is off topic, but since you brought it up :-)

I'm an AWD guy, we are a Subaru family, and I have driven in snow pretty much all my life.

To conclude that AWD safety is a marketing myth based on these 2 links is premature to say the least. First off, not all AWD systems are created equal. I agree that AWD systems, that are basically 2WD until wheel slippage is detected, are not much of a benefit. I also agree that when it comes to braking, snow tires are what matter the most. However, full time AWD systems, like those found in Subaru or Audi, are indeed more sure footed in snow or rain (based on many years of personal experience), hence they are safer. They corner better in snow or rain too. There is a reason you see so many Subaru owners in the Northeast. They perform incredibly well in snow or rain, like no other 2WD, 4WD, or inferior AWDs.

As for towing, our rig seems to be on rails when a truck passes us at 80 MPH (I set the cruise control on 60 MPH and stay in the right most lane). I use a hitch many people consider "obsolete" and seem to get the performance of a PPP hitches. While there are multiple factors in play, IMO, some credit should go to the AWD system.

Disclaimer: These are my personal opinions based on my personal experience and are worth 2 cents.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:42 AM   #10
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AWD vs. 2WD?

Travel trailers are fair weather creatures. An Airstream is not an off-road trailer, strictly speaking. Thus, if one is a homeowner and vacationer, my thinking has been that 2WD covers the problems adequately given a limited slip rear-end and best tire choice. The exception for me would be if the county sheriff and local police equipped themselves with 4WD as a rule where I had said house.

For someone full time, the equation may differ. For someone living down a ranch road, same thing.

As to getting out of a slippery spot, the aforementioned drive axle option plus tires and a selection of boards gets my 17k combined rig underway. Between my grandfather, father and myself I can only recall a tow being required a half dozen times. Well past 500,000 miles (combined) traveling the past half century.

With this one ton, the occasional tow is nothing dollar wise in comparison to a 4WD version. With a car the numbers may be closer with AWD. Upfront expense, ongoing maintenance (thus reliability), higher fuel expense and component longevity all have a cost.

With a pickup, it's also a substantial performance downgrade on what matters most. I'd think, though, that an AWD car may or could be an upgrade.
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Old 09-21-2016, 12:29 PM   #11
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Thanks everyone for your input. From what I have read, there appears not to be a clear advantage of a AWD vs 2WD for towing, all other things being equal. I understand the advantages in rain and snow, but I am more concerned with towing up and down grades in clear conditions. I do like the extra advantage of a little better mileage and a little more cargo capacity with the 2WD.

As mentioned, I've had AWD in the past, which has performed well, but do not want to give up safety and performance if I go with a 2WD under the conditions I mentioned.
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Old 09-21-2016, 01:14 PM   #12
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With our Canadian winters, 4WD on our truck is a nice thing to have - especially as we live on a secondary road that gets a lower priority for ploughing. No matter how much snow we get I have no problem getting out of our residential neighbourhood onto ploughed main roads. Not always the cae for our neighbours.

As well, although it doesn't stop any faster and I drive cautiously in 4WD, when we head south in Feb. for warmer weather, we do at times drive in snowstorms and I feel a little safer with it.

If you don't face these conditions I suppose it is debatable whether it is worth the extra $$.


Having said that there are definitely times when camping that I have really appreciated it.

(1) pulling up steep gravelled campground roads when the back wheels start to spin and spit gravel back on the trailer - 4WD stops that.

(2) a few times I have been parked on grass and got involved with heavy rain when we were trying to depart. Even slight grades were a challenge on the wet grass. Again, 4WD comes to the rescue.


Certainly not necessary but nice to have and I guess one's financial situation would dictate.

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Old 09-21-2016, 02:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ktholin View Post
Thanks everyone for your input. From what I have read, there appears not to be a clear advantage of a AWD vs 2WD for towing, all other things being equal. I understand the advantages in rain and snow, but I am more concerned with towing up and down grades in clear conditions. I do like the extra advantage of a little better mileage and a little more cargo capacity with the 2WD.

As mentioned, I've had AWD in the past, which has performed well, but do not want to give up safety and performance if I go with a 2WD under the conditions I mentioned.
I drove 2wd in Michigan for years in all weather without a problem, but would never go without 4wd because my tow vehicle is my commute vehicle and missing work due to weather is not an option for me. It may not stop any faster (and that is debatable because all the 4wds I've owned actually do stop better for whatever reason) but it has saved my a** a couple times when someone was sliding towards me.

The only AWD I try to avoid are front wheel drive vehicles with an AWD OPTION. There's just nothing like a conventionally mounted engine, transmission, and drive shaft for reliability, ease of service, and ruggedness.
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Old 09-25-2016, 09:42 AM   #14
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You need AWD or 4WD. All it takes is needing it one time and if you don't, it could be a real safety issues. It could even be life or death. Any advantage in traction is the way to go, just like having the best tires.
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