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If someone goes down a mild dirt trail on in a field somewhere and then it rains , the awd vehicle has a good chance of making it out again, whereas the 2 wheel drive, even FWD may lose traction and then they are stuck. It's not really the winter application, although with winter tires it helps, but is wet slippery conditions having 4 wheel traction makes a big difference.If someone wants to really go offroad they need low range 4wd and as simple a vehicle as they can get , no luxury trim, even if the HL had some true 4x4 capability, it is too nice and not strong enough, like wearing a suit on a construction site.
And as I pointed out in a couple of threads regarding taking the 2nd Gen off-road, the key action to take is to turn off the VSC/TRAC system which helps considerably in mud, sand, etc. Air down the tires if you need to, particularly in sand or even washerboard roads to ease the teeth-rattling vibrations. I had a buddy once who didn't take the street pressure off his Jeep Wrangler on a washerboard back road that shook his Jeep so badly it broke the mountings to his stereo and it shot out onto the center console. :lol:
 

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If someone goes down a mild dirt trail on in a field somewhere and then it rains , the awd vehicle has a good chance of making it out again, whereas the 2 wheel drive, even FWD may lose traction and then they are stuck. It's not really the winter application, although with winter tires it helps, but is wet slippery conditions having 4 wheel traction makes a big difference.If someone wants to really go offroad they need low range 4wd and as simple a vehicle as they can get , no luxury trim, even if the HL had some true 4x4 capability, it is too nice and not strong enough, like wearing a suit on a construction site.


FWD cars with good suspension do not have issues in wet. Cars that have obvious torque steer (Toyota, Honda) do have issues in wet. Hell, Toyota with AWD still has symptoms of torque steer.



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FWD cars with good suspension do not have issues in wet. Cars that have obvious torque steer (Toyota, Honda) do have issues in wet. Hell, Toyota with AWD still has symptoms of torque steer.



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I know someone who had a property with about a 1/4 mile drive way up a hill ,this gravel track had rough undulating spots and when a bit wet they had to park their fwd sedan at the bottom of the hill and use their 4x4 pickup. I told them they should get a rav4 or similar and it would sail up the driveway, they got a CX5 and they said a big improvement , so yeah get on hills with a wet or snow covered slippery surface (not tarmac), having the extra assistance of the rear wheels makes a big difference.Even in snow, fwd cars with winter tires are having to spin their wheels more to gain traction, awd eliminates the excessive wheel spinning and that imparts more control. On wet tarmac the difference won't be as easy to notice but it is there and on twisty wet roads , I would not be surprised if it prevents more than a few loss of control situations and subsequent accidents, but like I said hard to prove.
 

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I know someone who had a property with about a 1/4 mile drive way up a hill ,this gravel track had rough undulating spots and when a bit wet they had to park their fwd sedan at the bottom of the hill and use their 4x4 pickup. I told them they should get a rav4 or similar and it would sail up the driveway, they got a CX5 and they said a big improvement , so yeah get on hills with a wet or snow covered slippery surface (not tarmac), having the extra assistance of the rear wheels makes a big difference.Even in snow, fwd cars with winter tires are having to spin their wheels more to gain traction, awd eliminates the excessive wheel spinning and that imparts more control. On wet tarmac the difference won't be as easy to notice but it is there and on twisty wet roads , I would not be surprised if it prevents more than a few loss of control situations and subsequent accidents, but like I said hard to prove.


All FWD cars going uphill have issues. RWD cars are BEST at those situations, except snow.
However, really good FWD cars will overcome that. I personally went for AWD Sienna not because I need AWD, but because suspension is as cheap as it is possible to make (that goes pretty much for all minivans and SUV’s in these categories, with few exceptions, and Toyota is not one of those exceptions). There is abundant of torque steer in Sienna/HL and that is what makes those FWD versions so bad. AWD mitigates those issues to certain extent.


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All FWD cars going uphill have issues. RWD cars are BEST at those situations, except snow.
However, really good FWD cars will overcome that. I personally went for AWD Sienna not because I need AWD, but because suspension is as cheap as it is possible to make (that goes pretty much for all minivans and SUV’s in these categories, with few exceptions, and Toyota is not one of those exceptions). There is abundant of torque steer in Sienna/HL and that is what makes those FWD versions so bad. AWD mitigates those issues to certain extent.


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FWD has better traction than RWD because the weight is over the front wheels, they actually can climb quite well(unladen),because of the front end weight bias, but this is a disadvantage in handling, most of the weight and the steering and all the torque is going thru the front wheels, that is a lot going on up front, awd takes some of that loading from the front wheels , usefuk when grip starts to become more marginal, more grip is gained from driven tires than tires that are not driven. I cant think of any use where awd is not at least somewhat beneficial, except a dry straight road. Unfortunately some folk think it is a license to drive faster in poor conditions instead of it just giving a greater margin of safety at the same speed in those conditions. I would disagree that a sienna and a highlander have the same level of engineering, I think minivans are rather under engineered, large vehicle using smallish wheel tire combo, far more storage and passenger space for the same or even less payload,, so greater potential to be overloaded.
 

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FWD has better traction than RWD because the weight is over the front wheels, they actually can climb quite well(unladen),because of the front end weight bias, but this is a disadvantage in handling, most of the weight and the steering and all the torque is going thru the front wheels, that is a lot going on up front, awd takes some of that loading from the front wheels , usefuk when grip starts to become more marginal, more grip is gained from driven tires than tires that are not driven. I cant think of any use where awd is not at least somewhat beneficial, except a dry straight road. Unfortunately some folk think it is a license to drive faster in poor conditions instead of it just giving a greater margin of safety at the same speed in those conditions.
Snow? I can get through that fast, I got AWD/4WD. I will hit the wall just as fast too. :headbang: Brakes, tires, drive train configuration are the most important thing on a car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #68 ·
And as I pointed out in a couple of threads regarding taking the 2nd Gen off-road, the key action to take is to turn off the VSC/TRAC system which helps considerably in mud, sand, etc. Air down the tires if you need to, particularly in sand or even washerboard roads to ease the teeth-rattling vibrations. I had a buddy once who didn't take the street pressure off his Jeep Wrangler on a washerboard back road that shook his Jeep so badly it broke the mountings to his stereo and it shot out onto the center console. :lol:

I agree with you. 2nd gen was more SUVish, and that what started this thread. I would say again, Highlander is not only sold in US. And in countries in Easter Europe this is exactly what needed. A high-riding vehicle that can tackle some mud while taking farmer from his dirt road to a paved road. It doesn't have to climb rocks.
 

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FWD has better traction than RWD because the weight is over the front wheels, they actually can climb quite well(unladen),because of the front end weight bias, but this is a disadvantage in handling, most of the weight and the steering and all the torque is going thru the front wheels, that is a lot going on up front, awd takes some of that loading from the front wheels , usefuk when grip starts to become more marginal, more grip is gained from driven tires than tires that are not driven. I cant think of any use where awd is not at least somewhat beneficial, except a dry straight road. Unfortunately some folk think it is a license to drive faster in poor conditions instead of it just giving a greater margin of safety at the same speed in those conditions. I would disagree that a sienna and a highlander have the same level of engineering, I think minivans are rather under engineered, large vehicle using smallish wheel tire combo, far more storage and passenger space for the same or even less payload,, so greater potential to be overloaded.
No, FWD does not have better traction in normal conditions. You pointed yourself, there is too much things going on in the front.
From dynamic perspective, nothing beats RWD, not even AWD. Problem with RWD is the fact that wheels cannot be turned in case of snow or ice (and I am not going into steering feedback that is corrupted by torque at front wheels. That is another issue that FWD/AWD cars have). How much oversteer is present depends on weight distribution (Lexus being only manufacturer that managed to make cars with RWD but excessive understeer).
FWD is PRIMARILY cheaper solution. It was not invented to improve anything, but to cheapen production and make it easier to design more space inside (and how to recognize cheap engineering: transverse engine). If you are comparing dynamic of any car (not super cars), BMW with RWD will shame any FWD car, and heavier the front, the more understeer car will have. For example, Audi's are probably by far the best cars in snow, and that is not because of their really, really good AWD, but because engines due to the fact that Torsen differential is long, sits well ahead. That allows in combination with Torsen AWD, superb performance in snow. BUT, that also means excessive oversteer when pushing limits during cornering (handling). There is even word for that: "Audisteer." Audi managed to overcome that to certain extent with vectoring rear differential, but it is artificial way of limiting understeer. Now Audi's come with FWD too. They are excellent in snow for FWD car. But, understeer is excessive when pushing limits (though Audi has pretty high limits), and for example BMW (that is competition) with RWD will outperform any Audi with FWD configuration (more popular in Europe than AWD Audi) in any conditions except snow/ice.
However, you incorrectly pointed that FWD will climb better. It will not! RWD from physics stand point will ALWAYS outperform FWD car. FWD car has to pull weight, not push weight. Now, in snow/ice FWD will do better because wheels can turn, and yes front end is heavier (how effective is that is also depending on how far in front of wheels engine sits)and in snow/ice oversteer will not be that relevant as speed is not there. Think about this, true AWD cars (Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Subaru WRX, Mitsubishi Evo, Lexus IS/GS AWD) have always more torque at rear wheels than front wheels, and there is very simple reason for that: laws of physics. Now they do shift torque depending on traction of each wheel.
Sienna and HL are based on same platform and engineering. Sorry, but HL and SIenna are same line of cars. There is NOTHING that distinguishes HL over SIenna except software that mimic central differential (quite poorly). Actually, handling wise, SIenna is better due to lower center of gravity (and this better is with grain of salt as both are really poor dynamic wise, but that is not intention of these vehicles anyway).
People who buy HL or SIenna or any similar cars, buy them to go from point A to point B as cheap as possible (reliability wise). If one wants absolute reliability, that means simplicity to the core. Both vehicles are extremely simple, with very rudimentary solutions when it comes to suspension. Very simple McPherson solution that allows very few parts, which means cheaper parts and more space to save labor costs.
That is why Toyota abandoned 50-50% split in AWD from 2nd generation as this set up A. allows better mpg, B. Average HL/Sienna driver will never know difference.
 

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Vehicle maintainability < driver ability < drivetrain
:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse:deadhorse
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
FWD is PRIMARILY cheaper solution. It was not invented to improve anything, but to cheapen production and make it easier to design more space inside
FWD was invented for 2 reasons - not only cheaper to produce (didn't apply for very first ones) but mostly, finally, they solved bad weather handling. Some cars had FWD in 1930s but I believe many had very complex drive system. Cars were very unsafe in general in bad weather and with increasing number of cars, they needed something anybody can drive in any weather.



Both vehicles are extremely simple, with very rudimentary solutions when it comes to suspension. Very simple McPherson solution that allows very few parts, which means cheaper parts and more space to save labor costs.
Actually, I believe, HL has double wishbone in the back
 

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FWD was invented for 2 reasons - not only cheaper to produce (didn't apply for very first ones) but mostly, finally, they solved bad weather handling. Some cars had FWD in 1930s but I believe many had very complex drive system. Cars were very unsafe in general in bad weather and with increasing number of cars, they needed something anybody can drive in any weather.




Actually, I believe, HL has double wishbone in the back
Primary reason behind push to FWD was cost and flexibility to develop cheap, smaller cars, especially after 1973 oil shock.
Yes, drivability is improved, but same as with transverse engine, it allows better practicality for day to day application.
As for suspension. Both HL and Sienna are developed on the same platform. Of course, HL has higher clearance and it is advertised as SUV, so suspension will have to be modified in certain places to support potential mild off road adventure or to support increased towing capability. Sienna is not made for that nor it is advertised for that. It just shows how many cars company can make from one platform and other shared parts. Camry shares same platform, but there are substantial differences in suspension (more in utility of the parts, not design per se) between Camry, Sienna and HL.
AWD is same with software addition to HL. I think HL has bigger transmission cooler too due to towing capability. But double wishbone makes sense also for towing stability purpose.
 

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Primary reason behind push to FWD was cost and flexibility to develop cheap, smaller cars, especially after 1973 oil shock.
Yes, drivability is improved, but same as with transverse engine, it allows better practicality for day to day application.
As for suspension. Both HL and Sienna are developed on the same platform. Of course, HL has higher clearance and it is advertised as SUV, so suspension will have to be modified in certain places to support potential mild off road adventure or to support increased towing capability. Sienna is not made for that nor it is advertised for that. It just shows how many cars company can make from one platform and other shared parts. Camry shares same platform, but there are substantial differences in suspension (more in utility of the parts, not design per se) between Camry, Sienna and HL.
AWD is same with software addition to HL. I think HL has bigger transmission cooler too due to towing capability. But double wishbone makes sense also for towing stability purpose.
I guess it's not just a camry after all:grin:
 

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I guess it's not just a camry after all:grin:


I would say it is raised Camry, and that is about level of sophistication. Not sure what are you trying to convince yourself? That you driving Lexus? Or anything that is resembling dynamic vehicle? It is HL, a better designed refrigerator than refrigerator I am driving. That is about it. Quality is the same, brakes suck in all three vehicles, and they move, somehow.


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I would say it is raised Camry, and that is about level of sophistication. Not sure what are you trying to convince yourself? That you driving Lexus? Or anything that is resembling dynamic vehicle? It is HL, a better designed refrigerator than refrigerator I am driving. That is about it. Quality is the same, brakes suck in all three vehicles, and they move, somehow.


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Never driven a lexus so can't really say what I am missing and most likely not a lot, if you think your toyota is so bad , why did you buy it? The highlander to me is a big upgrade from a rav4 and better than a camry, but it should be it's a more expensive vehicle. I owned a camry about 16 years ago and it was a good car.
 

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Never driven a lexus so can't really say what I am missing and most likely not a lot, if you think your toyota is so bad , why did you buy it? The highlander to me is a big upgrade from a rav4 and better than a camry, but it should be it's a more expensive vehicle. I owned a camry about 16 years ago and it was a good car.


Why I got it? Bcs it is what is advertised. Appliance. My kid puts his muddy shoe on window or door, and couldn’t care less. It has space, and that is about it. Can transport refrigerator inside (which I did few weeks back). That is about it. It’s cheap, allows me to get myself fun car on a side that actually drives, and than I will touch Toyota only in case I absolutely cannot anyway around it but to use it for let’s say road trip with two kids or when in-laws come.



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Why I got it? Bcs it is what is advertised. Appliance. My kid puts his muddy shoe on window or door, and couldn’t care less. It has space, and that is about it. Can transport refrigerator inside (which I did few weeks back). That is about it. It’s cheap, allows me to get myself fun car on a side that actually drives, and than I will touch Toyota only in case I absolutely cannot anyway around it but to use it for let’s say road trip with two kids or when in-laws come.



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The higher trims of the Sienna in Canada are over 50K new , the highlander XLE is 45K, whether that's muddy shoe tolerable depends on what someone can easily afford. Some find the sequoia a muddy shoe fit at 70K, a prince in Saudi Arabia probably thinks a new 200 series land cruiser is a beater car.A fridge usually lasts as long as a car, so if I need a new one I just get it delivered, quite often included in the price and they take away the old one for 30 bucks.
 

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The higher trims of the Sienna in Canada are over 50K new , the highlander XLE is 45K, whether that's muddy shoe tolerable depends on what someone can easily afford. Some find the sequoia a muddy shoe fit at 70K, a prince in Saudi Arabia probably thinks a new 200 series land cruiser is a beater car.A fridge usually lasts as long as a car, so if I need a new one I just get it delivered, quite often included in the price and they take away the old one for 30 bucks.


I got it used. 45k for Toyota? No thanx.
And yes, it is Limited (though definitely not assembled as 45k vehicle).
It is made to go from point A to point B and do whatever is designed to do (transport 7 people, house stuff etc).
Everyone wants to drive SUV today. That drops price of minivans. Same year, same mileage Sienna is some 3-5k cheaper than HL, but much more practical for family needs.


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