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Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) #5356138 02/21/20 02:35 AM
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sh40674 Offline OP
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I drive a a truck so I get to enjoy 4x4.. my wife drives a 2wd fusion and wants an SUV. We decided on a used equinox or gmc terrain (2014-2017 probably). We live in iowa so we get the crap.. my major worry with her driving isnt the snow but the slick, icy, sleet and slushy roads... never owned a vehicle with snow tires, but I have awd so I know it makes a huge difference.. but on the flip side we can get a nice vehicle much cheaper if its front wheel drive.

Should we do a front wheel and throw some snow tires on next winter or awd? How much do snow tires help in the crud? Coin flip? She hasn't ditched a car yet(knock on wood)

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356142 02/21/20 03:10 AM
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I’d rather have FWD with winter tires over AWD with all seasons.


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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356143 02/21/20 03:16 AM
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Olas Offline
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for snow and ice, 2wd with winter tyres is equal to or better than 4wd with summer tyres. The 2wd on snow tyres becomes even more capable is it has an LSD over an Open diff, or else it becomes 1wd with snow tyres.

what gets me is how people who drive 4x4, off-road vehicles, think they dont need to slow down for snow because 'its a 4wd' and end up in a ditch.

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: Olas] #5356208 02/21/20 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Olas
for snow and ice, 2wd with winter tyres is equal to or better than 4wd with summer tyres. The 2wd on snow tyres becomes even more capable is it has an LSD over an Open diff, or else it becomes 1wd with snow tyres.

what gets me is how people who drive 4x4, off-road vehicles, think they dont need to slow down for snow because 'its a 4wd' and end up in a ditch.

There's no "equal to", FWD with dedicated winter tires is superior to AWD/4WD with summer tires. Here's a video testing this exact scenario.

What's probably understood though is that all-season tires will probably be used, not summer tires, in which case I'd still lean towards 2WD with winter tires, but that's mainly to escape having to deal with the mess of lower MPG, extra parts to maintain, etc.

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356225 02/21/20 07:51 AM
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Yes, If you want to have 2WD, then get good winter tires on separate wheels. We typically get lots of snow here in Western NY State along Erie & Ontario Lakes. And winter tires are a wonderful thing to have for that extra security. They do better in snow & ice...going & stopping.

My buddy had an '11 Equinox(from 2011-17) 2WD w/2.4L 4 cyl. He didn't want to mess with winter tires/wheels but, ultimately upgraded to an '18 Equinox 1.5L Turbo & AWD.

With his 2011 2WD and the OE Michelin Latitude, the winter traction was only OK. He then changed to Firestone Destination LE2 and the winter traction was much, much better. So, I would think that having dedicated winter tires will be awesome! laugh


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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356240 02/21/20 08:10 AM
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Let's be clear, winter tires are always recommended. But a great deal of people get by with AWD & A/S's just fine. Not sure how long you plan to keep the vehicle but an AWD may pay for itself in resale value.

I usually worry about additional repairs on AWD but it doesn't seem like we are inundated on this board with AWD-specific repairs. Many of the cute Ute's don't have the mpg penalty that they used to have, in AWD form.

You could always get a set of winters and swap them on well into winter. We did that this year, held out as long as possible. First few snows were handled just fine with all seasons--but wife was happy when the snows were on for the first "big" storm all the same. Run a good set of a/s for most of the year, swap on cheap set of winters for the worst of the weather. Probably well ahead of most doing that.


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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356244 02/21/20 08:12 AM
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I live in Iowa and I have been running winter tires on all of my cars since 1996, and would never consider AWD with all season tires, over any 2WD vehicle running good winter tires. There is nothing more fun than blasting by a big 4WD Bro truck with a Camry in the snow.


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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356260 02/21/20 08:40 AM
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Isn't Iowa pretty flat? The only advantage of AWD would be in over 6 inches of snow. How soon after a snow are the roads cleared?

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: JustN89] #5356280 02/21/20 09:06 AM
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A FWD with snow tires will get you by as good as an AWD with good all-seasons with good tread remaining. The weight of the car will help in the snow. The times I've driven through Iowa though it seems like you guys have more issues with ice than powder snow though.

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356297 02/21/20 09:26 AM
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I live in Iowa as well. My wife drives a ford edge fwd and gets along just fine in the winters. IMO, AWD is only actually needed a few days out of the year when we get the crappy snow/ice weather and we couldn't justify the extra cost.

I'd go with the FWD and use the money saved for a set of snow tires. Less maintenance in the long run due to the PTU and everything else that comes with AWD. Also with AWD, if you need to replace a tire, you should replace all of them depending on tread depth.

Snow tires make a HUGE difference and are worth every penny. I have a set of snow tires on our 5sp 2012 focus. Without snow tires, I slide all around just because the vehicle is so light and I would usually park the focus with any small amount of snow because I hated driving it in the winter. With the snow tires, there hasn't been a winter storm yet this year to where I couldn't make it to work with the focus. The winter tires have made the focus a more confident winter vehicle.

Originally Posted by Traction
I live in Iowa and I have been running winter tires on all of my cars since 1996, and would never consider AWD with all season tires, over any 2WD vehicle running good winter tires. There is nothing more fun than blasting by a big 4WD Bro truck with a Camry in the snow.

+1 on this.

Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: atikovi] #5356300 02/21/20 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by atikovi
Isn't Iowa pretty flat? The only advantage of AWD would be in over 6 inches of snow. How soon after a snow are the roads cleared?


Central and Eastern iowa is pretty flat. Western Iowa has some good hilly ground.

The flat areas in the winter are actually worse due to the snow always blowing across the roads and making it icy.

Road clearing depends on location. Interstates and main highways are usually cleared as its snowing and aren't too big of an issue (usually unless we have high winds with heavy snow fall). Rural roads that aren't highways are usually plowed within a day or two depending on how much snow and wind there was.

Last edited by volk06; 02/21/20 09:31 AM.
Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356324 02/21/20 09:59 AM
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The AWD only helps your traction in one direction. The winter tyres helps your traction in all directions. In Norway and Sweden you would loose your license if you don't have special approved winter tyres on anything that resembles winter roads.


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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356327 02/21/20 10:05 AM
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I've actually run into the opposite up here, I hate to call it hilly but it sure ain't flat. AWD + all seasons gets around better than FWD + snows. Go up a hill and the front tires unload. I still prefer having snows 'cuz steering and stopping is important--but I've seen my FWD+snows get stopped when AWD would blast right up the driveway, regardless of how worn out the all seasons were.


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1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356331 02/21/20 10:10 AM
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If you want the best and safest winter performance, you need snow tires if it's AWD or not.

AWD is only a slightly better in winter driving with A/S vs a FWD only with A/S. I've been down that road 3x with brand-new Subarus and several Nissans. My 2019 Nissan Pathfinder 4x4 has Toyo A/S's that are terrible in the snow. Regardless, like supton suggested, I'll still take AWD and A/S over a FWD or RWD with A/S.

I'm not sure how TPMS works on this range Equinox/Terrain, but that's another expense and hassle if you go the separate set of wheels/tires route. Some vehicles like FCA products are great in that they'll recognize and sync up to any new (OEM) sensors without any intervention. Others, like Subarus, will only store 4 sensors at a time, so every wheel/sensor swap requires programming.

Last edited by JTK; 02/21/20 10:13 AM.

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Re: Equinox/terrain.. fwd with snow tires or awd? (Iowa) [Re: sh40674] #5356351 02/21/20 10:42 AM
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Depends on plowing, roads and if you encounter hills.

If you drive into 6" deep driveways with ice underneath AWD is better because one of tires (AS or winter) finds traction and pulls you thru it. Winter tires typically find some traction but two front's on ice and back on dirt AWD with a/s wins.

FWD SUV's have terrible resale and sit if in your locale AWD is popular.

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