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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all:


I'm getting a 2006 Matrix - safety, reliability, flexibility are all factors in what makes this car work for me. I've gone in a couple of test drives and like the way it handles.

One question I can't figure out is: should I go for the AWD or FW? I live in Toronto - so snow and slush are factors for half the year. Never driven an AWD vehicle - is it worth the hit on the fuel efficiency? How much of a difference would it make to the safety of the vehicle.

My wife and I have a 2 yr old boy and we're in the "young family" category.....if I go with the AWD, will we be in a safer car? We're getting ABS so it's either the FW XR with "B" package or the AWD base model. The AWD base would actually be a couple thousand cheaper but then we lose out on the various perks of the XR.

Any thoughts?

Thanks.
 

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1998 Camry CE
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I don't think that awd is really that much more 'safe' than the FWD.

I would look into ABS and improved crash protection side air bags, top rated child seat and junk the oem tires.
 

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2005 Corolla XRS
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309 Posts
In Wisconsin (same weather as Toronto) AWD cars wreck as often, if not more, than FWD cars do. This is due to the driver getting cocky and saying to himself "I have AWD, I can drive my Truck/WRX/Evo 70mph down the freeway in a blizzard" right before he slides into the ditch.

Usually, if a FWD is spinning one wheel, an AWD car will just have 4 wheels spinning aimlessly in the same situation. I have never seen a situation on a road where an AWD car would do better than a FWD one. I drove for 7 years all winter in a buick century and only went into a ditch once, because I could not see where the friggin road was and swung a turn too wide.

Get the matrix XRS! Lift is awesome and you will love it. AWD is not worth the crappy gas mileage and mechanical problems that come with all AWD cars....
 

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Get the FWD. I have the fwd and it handles fine, unless you are planning on doing some off roading. I think there is a misconception of 4wd being safer. The only thing that I can say is that 4wd will help you get going in the snow and stuff.

If you want it to handle better for the Canadian weather, get a set of snow tires (which I have done).

As for getting the XRS.....yeah it a great car, however, considering you are a young family, like myself, you might want to save yourself a few $$ and get the base/xr version (this is with inregards to the type of gas that you need to fill up on Premium gas for XRS and regular cheap gas for base/XR).

357wheelgunner: I thought the fwd cars have 2 wheels spinning for the "posi traction" (sp?)? Can anyone confirm that?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks

Great - thanks for the feedback......going with FW drive - XR and package "B" so I can get the ABS.

Will also get some snow tires.

Cheers.
 

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2005 Corolla XRS
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309 Posts
arne282 said:
Get the FWD. I have the fwd and it handles fine, unless you are planning on doing some off roading. I think there is a misconception of 4wd being safer. The only thing that I can say is that 4wd will help you get going in the snow and stuff.

If you want it to handle better for the Canadian weather, get a set of snow tires (which I have done).

As for getting the XRS.....yeah it a great car, however, considering you are a young family, like myself, you might want to save yourself a few $$ and get the base/xr version (this is with inregards to the type of gas that you need to fill up on Premium gas for XRS and regular cheap gas for base/XR).

357wheelgunner: I thought the fwd cars have 2 wheels spinning for the "posi traction" (sp?)? Can anyone confirm that?
I may be wrong but most FWD cars only have one wheel that is spun by the motor, that is why we can only make burnout marks with one wheel (try it yourself :) ).

Cars like the new Civic SI 2006 and the Sentra Spec-V SE-R have an LSD (limited slip differential) that locks both front wheels, but that is rare on an FWD car.
 

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That Acura Guy
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It does kinda suck not having an LSD in the winter. The car kinda pulls to one side.:disappoin
 

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Without LSD, the wheel with least traction spins and the other one just sits there.
I've been stck in the sand many many times and I found this out the hard way. I had a Chevy 2500 stuck with one wheel on tarmac and the other in soft sand. The one in the sand spun and the truck just sat there. Had to yank it out of there with a Ford F-650 (That's all I had at the time.)
 

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04 XR Manual 2WD
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A FWD car without a limited slip differential (LSD) will actually send the same TORQUE to both front wheels. The problem is that if one of those front wheels is on something slippery, it takes very little torque to spin it, and the differential can then only send the SAME small torque to the other wheel, thus you don't get anywhere. A limited slip differential prevents one wheel from spinning too much faster than the other, forcing the slow wheel to get more torque, which is a very good thing. But this is not available on a 2WD matrix.

As for 4WD vs FWD. The major difference is that 4WD can help you get started in deep snow, can help you get up a slippery hill, and can help you climb OUT of a ditch. It won't keep you in your lane, it won't help you stop faster, and it won't help you stay out of the ditch in the first place. So 4WD is primarily a convenience feature (don't have to call a tow or get out and push, or park at the bottom of your driveway), and is only a safety feature in a few rare circumstances. Like, will you actually freeze to death if you don't get out of the ditch on your own, or will somebody come by eventually? It depends on how far from civilization you live. The convenience is worth it if there are hills near you that are often slippery (especially if you have a steep driveway) or you are in a very rural area where the plows don't keep up and you might end up stranded. People who head for the hills to ski when the snow is coming down love their 4WD.

For me, in the 'burbs of Boston (12+ inches of snow a couple times a year is normal), the plows are everywhere, and there aren't too many hills, so I went for 2WD and good snow tires and am very happy.
 

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2000 Echo
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my mom had an 04 matrix awd auto....it was really low on power compared to the fwd 5spd and was quite a bit harder on gas
 

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The sticker is 25/31 for the AWD Vibe; I average about 28 mpg (w/auto of course). Though it doesn't match the numbers for a non-AWD, Matrix/Vibe is the most fuel-efficient AWD vehicle for sale in America/Canada. Considering I live in Pennsylvania, a third-world country in everything but name, I'm very happy with the AWD function on our crappy roads.

However, if I lived in a warmer climate and were concerned about MPG, I certainly go for a 5-spd Corolla (41/highway) or Echo (R.I.P.).
 
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