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Worth paying extra for AWD?


mobi
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AWD or FWD?  

45 members have voted

  1. 1. Which one do you prefer when buying with your own money?

    • FWD
      10
    • AWD
      35


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Those who own the AWD version of RAV4, how often do you make use of AWD?

Have you been to any situation where AWD (with standard tyres) helped?

Have you taken your car somewhere where you would not have taken FWD RAV4? 

I am trying to figure out whether it is worth spending more for AWD version which I am unlikely to make use of in 99% situation. 

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It's a slightly silly question - meaning no offense ... 🙂

I'm on my 3rd AWD RAV4. I use the AWD every time I use my car - the car starts off in AWD mode and migrates to FWD as it picks-up speed when the traction is good. Beyond that, the driver simply wouldn't know whether they were using traction via the rear wheels - the car sorts it all out.

With my first RAV4, on standard tyres, I definitely used the traction of AWD in situations where 'normal' cars were stuck and going nowhere. Since then I have migrated from swapping between summer and cold weather tyres to now running on winter certified all season tyres - still with an AWD RAV4.

I really wouldn't have a RAV2 if you paid me! 😉  I'm probably a bit biased but if a RAV2 were good enough that would open up a whole range of alternative FWD cars to consider ...

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As philip, I use it every day all the time. In the sense its always active and gives extra confidence getting off the line real quick when joining a busy roundabout or exiting a junction (especially in the wet).  Like a dog, AWD is not just for Christmas!  it enhances the vehicle ever journey.

I have driven both FWD and AWD RAV4 and maybe I am a bit heavy footed but I noticed a distinct difference in traction off the line especially.

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Difficult question. When customers ask me which lawnmower, brush cutter, tractor, chainsaw I have/would have I reply the one that best suits MY needs. This is no different really.

But, AWD for me.

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I have the PHEV AWD version and as Philip has said above the AWD is available and operational all the time. If I display the screen that shows the power distribution to the wheels it can be seen to switch in on all sorts of occasions, driving on the motorway and accelerate it flicks into AWD mode, dirt car park, cornering just the same. The majority of time it’s FWD but  when required it’s AWD, in frozen snow recently the car intelligently managed the power to all the wheels as required, there were cars all over the road and in ditches but the RAV felt very secure. In the summer I had to park off road on a very rough grassy slope the car again was fine. Currently the car is on the original OEM tyres.

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I was pining for the AWD version of the Mk4 Yaris for a while but have since discovered the rear electric motor in that is like 4HP so I don't think it would actually help move the car :laugh: 

The rear electric motor in the RAV4 is much more sensible, more like 40HP than 4, so would actually be useful.

That said, unless you're going to actually use it, it's probably not worth the extra cost and weight penalty over the FWD one. But then getting a RAV4 without AWD seems to defeat the point of it. Really you should be asking yourself why are you getting a RAV4? It seems a bit pointless getting an SUV if you're not going to use it for SUV-type things; Might be better off with a Corolla Estate instead if you just want cargo capacity?

 

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41 minutes ago, ernieb said:

The PHEV rear motor is 40kW which I think is equivalent to around 55HP.

Thanks - I vaguely remembered it was 40-something! :laugh: 

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1 hour ago, Yugguy1970 said:

I would go AWD, I find the FWD RAV is easy to unstick in wet/damp even if you're not flooring it.  

... which is a very useful observation ...

Are you still on stock tyres? 'Better' tyres might well improve that situation ...

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1 hour ago, ernieb said:

The PHEV rear motor is 40kW which I think is equivalent to around 55HP.

The HEV rear motor is exactly the same. (The PHEV has rather more torque from the front motor)

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13 minutes ago, Roger_N said:

Doesn’t the rear motor/generator help to charge the main battery under braking?  I’m sure I’ve seen that somewhere.

 

Yes, it does charge the traction Battery as well as the front motor/ICE.

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9 minutes ago, Roger_N said:

Doesn’t the rear motor/generator help to charge the main battery under braking?  I’m sure I’ve seen that somewhere.

 

As Roger says, you'll get better recharge from the AWD model under braking, you'll also get better Battery top up when off throttle - it's not one pedal driving but I can coast towards roundabouts where I live and not have to brake for them if traffic is clear.

The other advantage of the AWD system is the lack of understeer - if you press the accelerator mid corner the rear motor helps to 'straighten' the car out of the corner.  It's good fun but not advisable with passengers!

Having said all that, if you have no need for the AWD then get the FWD model - it's a perfectly capable car and fitting a set of Winter tyres to a FWD model will get you just as far as a AWD model on Summer ones! 

 

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I made this choice recently and went for the FWD model. I test drove the AWD version and it was certainly a bit more sure footed, but I couldn't justify the extra cost as I was already pushing the budget and I didn't need the towing capacity. I chose the RAV4 over a Corolla estate as it is roomier and easier for me to get in and out of, likewise an Excel as there is better seat adjustment - a fractured hip means I need more support under my legs on a longer drive. 

One point to note is it is easy to tip over the £40k list price mark if you spec up an RAV4 with the subsequent extra £330 a year on the road tax...... 

Ultimately you pays your money...... 

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I have never owned any AWD vehicle in the past, hence this question.

I am not going to tow, I'm not going to go off road. Even if my car is AWD, I'd wary of damaging it otherwise - hence no offroad.

I have driven in many countries including unmade road, gravel road, wet muddy road etc. but never felt the need that "wish I had AWD". I have done some purposeful offroading in Land Rover AWD but that's somewhere I'd not take my own car even if had the AWD. UK roads are very good compared to many other countries. I live near London where it doesn't snow much and if it snows I'd probably won't go out anyway. 

Most likely insurance will be invalid in offroad anyway. 

I have watched some offroad videos of RAV4 AWD. Yes, it is better than FWD but I won't take my car at those places in the first place. Most reviewers who took their cars offroads were not the owners of those cars. 

To answer the question why I'm interested in RAV4, this is because of the following

1. Toyota's 10-yr warranty
2. The space - with rear seats folded I can lie down for camping.
3. The higher ground clearance, which is higher compared to estate cars and often useful in grassy, unmade, wavy roads 

What I am interested about, is understanding how the FWD cars perform for a model which is originally made for AWD only. The normal hatchback/estate cars are only available in FWD mode so cars are designed to put more weight on their front wheels. I may be wrong, but I think RAV4 was designed as AWD and then by removing rear motor it was converted to FWD. Does it mean it will perform poorly compared to similar car which was purposefully designed as FWD only? These things are hard to judge in short test drive, hence asking for owners' opinions. 

I think I made up my mind that I don't need AWD and FWD should fine for me as long as there is no difference in handling and performance compared to any other FWD cars. 

Thanx


 

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5 hours ago, mobi said:

think I made up my mind that I don't need AWD and FWD should fine for me as long as there is no difference in handling and performance compared to any other FWD cars.

There’s an interesting review on tyrereview.com comparing 4WD with all season tyres with 2WD with winter tyres. The comparison is on snow. 
 

In short, the 4WD stopped and started quicker, but did not turn so well. On lap times the 4WD was quicker but by very little. 
 

I don’t think the AWD is worth the extra cost, but I don’t see myself buying any car as big as a RAV 4, anyway.

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Wanted an AWD PHEV SUV for trips in the North Lakes and around the country. Some of the roads up there are more like trails and the Keswick Rugby team car park (best place to park in town) gets quite boggy on occassion. Just about managed previously with a FWD car but came close to getting stuck on a few occasions. It also meant it wasn't a great idea to go when it is icy, snowy, etc. so we tended to avoid going in case the car gets stuck. AWD just allows us to venture more without worrying about the car getting stuck.

In many respects I'm just paying for peace of mind. But it does help in a general sense. When the roads are wet and icy in my daily commutes. Holds the road better. And for getting the power down under hard acceleration. 

Is AWD worth it if you are not an offroader (which requires proper tyres and I'd probably want to lift the car by another inch or three)? Depends on circumstances. My wife's FWD sometimes struggles at the end of the road when it is icy. It is sloped and has a camber. I have to put salt and sand down. Neighbour once couldn't get out of the road with her little Micra. I don't have any issues with the RAV4P.

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19 hours ago, philip42h said:

... which is a very useful observation ...

Are you still on stock tyres? 'Better' tyres might well improve that situation ...

Yep the Dunlop Grandtreks.

It's especially when accelerating from rest round a corner, the front can unstick.

Or maybe I need to account more for the increased electric motor torque at standstill?

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9 hours ago, Yugguy1970 said:

Yep the Dunlop Grandtreks.

It's especially when accelerating from rest round a corner, the front can unstick.

Or maybe I need to account more for the increased electric motor torque at standstill?

I hated the Grandtreks more than I ever disliked a tyre in my life. They come unstuck just from you turning the indicators on. (and I have the AWD!) so feel your pain. Then had Continental Sport Contacts and it was an entirely 'new' sports car, now on Goodyear Efficient grip and its a bit rubbish again, but still vastly better than the Dunlops.

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Mobi, you say you won't go off road; perhaps not in the ATV mode but there are many occasions when 2WD do go off road and get stuck. 

Many places you might visit have grass car parks.  In winter you might have an ice car park surface.  You might need to use a verge or field entrance. 

Round here it is often that we drive with one wheel off the road as the lanes are narrow. 

With FWD I reverse onto bad ground.  When forced onto a verge I ensure no big holes and avoid stopping. 

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