Is All Wheel Drive Worth the Extra Price?

All Wheel Drive (AWD) is a feature that is commonly included as an upgrade option in many Sport Utility Vehicles and Crossover Vehicles. One question that those in the market for a new vehicle commonly ask is “is AWD worth the price”? 

There are several pros and cons to owning an all wheel drive vehicle, so we will try to go over some of those here to help you decide if the cost of the vehicle is worth the benefits you’ll get out of it. 

Pros 

Here are some of the pros of AWD vehicles 

Better Tire Performance 

Because of the way the drivetrain works, an all wheel drive vehicle has superior tire traction performance. This is because power is sent to all 4 tires at once and allows the vehicle to get the most out of its usable traction. This means that the tires simply perform better because they are able to attune to the surface they are on better. 

This means that your tires will handle different conditions like rain and sleet better and hold firmly to the road in most circumstances better than a 2WD vehicle. Most high performance vehicles are all wheel drive because of this. Additionally, this extra traction and maneuverability can be the difference between getting in a car accident and safely steering away from danger. So for those living in a climate that sees a lot of rain, snow, and ice, an AWD vehicle is a must have choice to avoid a common cause of car accidents

Improved Stability 

Stability is an important part of safety and comfort while driving. As with tire performance, all wheel drive vehicles are simply better at handling the changes in the road than rear or front wheel drive vehicles. The differences may be minor for day to day driving, but for long trips and trips over different types of terrain, the difference in stability and ride comfort is much more noticeable and worth the price for many consumers. 

Traction and Safety Offroad 

Perhaps the biggest benefit to an all wheel drive vehicle is the fact that they have improved traction, maneuverability, and safety any time you leave a paved road. This means any time you travel to out of the way places like campgrounds and hiking trails, you have the right vehicle for the job. Other vehicles without AWD could possibly get stuck and that can be dangerous depending on where you end up. 

Cons: 

Here are some of the negatives of owning an all wheel drive vehicle 

Reduced Fuel Economy 

No matter what you do, when you have an AWD vehicle, your fuel costs are likely to go up. This is because the vehicle simply weighs more. This makes it use more fuel when you travel. Added to that is the fact that engaging the all wheel drive mode forces the vehicle to behave differently, which can make it burn more fuel to maneuver over terrain and other obstacles. If you are already concerned about gas prices, you will want to weigh this decision carefully. 

Less Stability and Use on Paved Roads 

Perhaps the biggest drawback to an all wheel drive vehicle is that unless you are using it for its intended purpose, to go offroad, you are basically not getting any benefits. The traction and stability of an all wheel drive vehicle really only applies when you aren’t on a paved highway, otherwise, two wheel or four wheel drive are just as good under dry conditions. 

Reduced Tire Lifespan 

Though the all wheel drive system helps tires perform better in certain conditions, it also helps them wear down faster because all of the wheels are being powered and moved independently, increasing overall wear and tear. You’ll generally be replacing your tires more frequently with one of these vehicles because all 4 tires must be replaced at the same time to avoid damaging your AWD system. . 

Conclusion 

There you have some of the pros and cons of buying an All Wheel Drive vehicle. Beyond the extra cost, the key thing to consider is how much practical use you will get out of the system. If you are a person who likes going off road to mountain hiking trails and other rough terrain, then this may be the ideal vehicle for you. Otherwise, many auto experts suggest renting a vehicle when you feel like heading off road, rather than buying one.

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