How to Choose an AWD Car

by Kate McFarlin

All-wheel-drive cars are becoming increasingly common. You can now purchase AWD crossovers, compact cars and sedans as well as SUVs and sporty cars. Before purchasing an AWD model, there are a few considerations you should address. Different manufacturers use different drivetrains, so one car's all-wheel-drive system may not be the same as a similar model built by a different manufacturer or even built on a different platform by the same manufacturer.

Consider additional future costs associated with a vehicle that has all-wheel drive. Most AWD cars are in all-wheel drive at all time, instead of in front- or rear-wheel drive like conventionally driven vehicles. This means that there will be additional costs. For example, AWD cars typically require more fuel. They may also go through tires on a more frequent basis, and their repair bills are usually steeper because of the more technologically advanced nature of AWD systems.

Learn about the different types of all-wheel drive. As mentioned above, not all AWD cars are created equally. Subaru cars feature the company's proprietary Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, which is intended to address the problem of irregular tire wear as well as to improve performance. In comparison, the 2007-2009 Dodge Journey crossover vehicle was well known to have tire wear issues.

Determine how much all-terrain driving time you will do during a typical year. If you live in an area where winter driving is hazardous, then an AWD car would be advantageous. However, if you live in an area where roads are well maintained, where it doesn't snow frequently and where road conditions are generally good, you might have little need a car with AWD.

Consider pricing. All-wheel-drive cars can be more expensive than their counterparts. In this case, comparison shopping between manufacturers is a necessity and can help you save thousands of dollars on your purchase.

Determine how much vehicle space you'll need. Families who need extra cargo room would be well served by an AWD crossover or SUV, while a single person may need no more car than an AWD compact sedan or coupe. In addition, gas mileage on a smaller vehicle is typically much better than a crossover or SUV, especially when it comes to AWD models.

About the Author

Kate McFarlin is a licensed insurance agent with extensive experience in covering topics related to marketing, small business, personal finance and home improvement. She began her career as a Web designer and also specializes in audio/video mixing and design.

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