4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - entick
I am about to exchange my 1995 Audi A6 Estate for a newer car.
Having never had 4WD or traction /stability controls I am after some advice.

Basically I am after a reliable hatchback or estate which is occupant safe, economical and comfortable to drive. Ideally automatic but not necessarily. Budget up to say £12000 or so. New/2nd hand fine.
Fiesta/Polo too small.
I do not drive fast or aggressively, but most of my driving (15000miles / year) is on B roads and country roads.
Mostly only me in the car, but has to cope with kids,dog,bikes etc on occasions.
Badge of no interest, but have an excellent independant VAG service garage locally so that would be ideal.
Currently I struggle sometimes in winter with roads, especially in snow, and I'd really like to improve on this. Having said that I use budget tyres and have no traction control etc on current vehicle.

Whilst a 4WD (eg Subaru Legacy, Mazda M6 Sport AWD, A4 Avant Quattro, Passat 4motion, Golf 4motion) appeals, very few are diesel and fewer still automatic, hence poor economy and I'd imagine higher servicing due to 4WD.
I don't need the clearance of a 4*4 but wouldn't rule out say CRV or Rav4, just probably I think not as good to drive on road as the above cars.

So I was wondering (here comes the question at last) whether a car with Traction/Stability control plus decent tyres would be markedly less effective than 4WD for my type of driving/roads, given that I'd have more choice and better economy.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - tyro
For driving in snow, putting winter tyres on all four wheels is a more effective way of improving grip than having 4WD. (I live in a remote spot in the Highlands, and that is what I do.)

Evidence from surveys suggests that Skoda Octavia is probably about as reliable as anything VAG make, the diesels are economical, and the estate is a good size. An automatic is available, & it gets a 4**** NCAP rating for passenger safety.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Happy Blue!
Good tyres and traction control are where you should start before considering 4WD - and I drive a Subaru!
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Bill Payer
Evidence from surveys suggests that Skoda Octavia is probably about as
reliable as anything VAG make, the diesels are economical, and
the estate is a good size. An automatic is
available, & it gets a 4**** NCAP rating for passenger safety.

There is of course a 4x4 Octavia Estate, although not with auto.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - MVP
Our Forester is the first 4WD car we've ever owned - I have to say it does feel amazingly sure-footed in heavy rain, wind etc.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Navara Van man
I would buy a legay, I know quite a few owners (mainly vets) all recomend it. The legacy is extremly reliable and also very powerfu and comfy.

4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - moonshine

Go with the winter tyres, most 4wd cars these days have the wrong tyres and get stuck anyway. Saw a few numpties in their BMW X5s getting into trouble last year in the pathectic 1 inch of snow we had! Saw a couple of old land rovers that had real off road tyres fitted, they had no problems at all.

A friend of SWMBO has a jeep 4x4 and skidded into a kerb last year causing a bit of damage. Here response was a classic "but it's a 4x4 and I thought they didn't skid in the snow"

I have to admit that I'm not looking forward to driving in snow/ice this year as the tread pattern on my current tyres look like it will be rubbish at the first hint of snow or ice. A bit hard to describe but they have what I would call a 'fashionable' tread pattern.

When it comes to stopping all cars have 4 wheel braking.....
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Hamsafar
Good points, 4x4 car may help you get going, but it won't help you stop.
Good M&S or winter tyres will help you do both.
Like others said a 4x4 with summer road tyres is probably worse than a 2WD with winter or M&S tyres.

I keep being tempted to get some winter tyres on an old set of wheels, but so far I'm glad I didn't bother, thanks to the gift of global warming.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - GroovyMucker
I suspect you will have to compromise between 4-wheel-drive and economy. If you are prepared to sacrifice some economy, and bearing in mind the low mpg of Legacies, have you considered a Subaru Impreza? I mean the two-litre version, of course.

I have dithered over winter tyres (I don't think M+S are approprriate for the roads I drive on) but have yet to take the plunge. This seems to be a good site, though: www.tyretest.com/pkw_winterreifen/index.html




--
Stevie
Lakland 44-02 Sunburst
Yamaha YTS-23
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Martin Devon
When it comes to stopping all cars have 4 wheel braking


>>4 X 4 = Fine

>>4 x 0 = Nought

They can all skid.

MD.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - joegina
I take the points made by others about decent tyres, however how many people can actually be bothered to change tyres for the winter (unless you live in a very wintery area)? My driving appears to be on similar roads and to have similar demands to yours. I have a Freelander (automatic) and it meets all my demands. The one major downside is fuel economy. The best I have managed is 28mpg. I daresay it would be better on long runs. This has bugged me to such an extent that I use our R reg Nissan Micra when at all possible. I did get stuck on ice today:-( and get pulled by a Freelander!! Back to the Freelander, it is comfy to drive, good visibility etc, but with £12K I'd go for a manual as there are so many to choose from.
Johnny
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - tyro
I take the points made by others about decent tyres, however
how many people can actually be bothered to change tyres for
the winter (unless you live in a very wintery area)?


Not many. If I lived in a less remote spot, I probably wouldn't.

I might, however, consider using all season tyres (like Vredestein Quatrac) instead of running summer tyres all year as most people do.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Birdman
If you are thinking of 2WD with traction control, here are some caveats.

Some, maybe most, traction control systems do not pass drive to a stationary wheel, only to a turning wheel. Therefore if you're climbing that nightmare slippery hill, with wheels spinning while slowly losing grip, the engine power output is reduced until, in the last instance, just one wheel - the slipping one - is given all the (greatly reduced) power and the other one - the stationary wheel - gets none. So when starting off on an incline, or parked at the roadside waiting to pull into traffic, the wheel that slips gets all the power and the wheel that grips gets none. Result: no forward movement or, worse, a sideways waltz into something solid.The way out is a differential lock. But very few 2WD vehicles with traction control have diff locks. Eg any 2WD Mercedes with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) behaves in snow as I've described unless a diff lock is specified at the time of manufacture. In the UK very few are.

The other concern is loss of steering control in snow and ice in a RWD system. With poor grip the car 'snow ploughs' straight on in tight corners because the rear wheels try to shove it straight forward while the front wheels can't get sufficient passive traction to pull it around. Only front wheel drive can help here, by pulling the nose of the car in the direction the driver turns the wheel.

So perhaps the best compromise is a front wheel drive car with traction control guaranteed to supply drive to both wheels ALL the time. Failing that, a part-time 4WD system on a car-like vehicle would deliver the goods.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - John S
Birdman

Both my 2wd drive cars (Vauxhall and BMW) have traction control . Both are two-stage systems that use a combination of throttle management and ABS to control whelspin. First stage is a power reduction, followed by a second stage where the ABS brakes the spinning wheel. Living at the bottom of a hill, I've found it very effective on both cars.

JS
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - madf
I have in the past used winter tyres on driven wheels only. Improves traction and not too costly. Works best for fwd (traction and steering).
madf
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - boxsterboy
Back in February we drove to the Swiss Alps, us in our E320 CDI with winter tyres, inlaws in their Forester. When it came to the snowy bits we had better traction than the inlaws. So, another vote for winter tyres/2wd.

I bought a set of 2nd hand alloys for the tyres, so swapping them over is really no trouble.

And surely the threatened 'global warming' will soon make the question redundant?
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - nick
I think you'd find a Forester or Legacy with winter tyres would be the best option.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - Roly93
4WD is nice I suppose, but it adds weight to the car and is more to go wrong.
I would therefore consider that a large solid FWD diesel liker the cars you have mentioned, with good tyres is all you are ever likely to need.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - nick
Very little weight added to a Subaru, you're thinking of traditional 4wd with hefty transfer cases. Little more to go wrong either.
4WD vs Traction Control/Quality Tyres - GroovyMucker
Isn't another advantage of 4WD the fact that you have a four-way diff, at least on some systems?

Or am I out of my depth (again)?
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car