Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Did you get a great deal? Let us know in the Values & Prices Paid section!
Meet your fellow owners in our Owners Clubs

FWD Ford Escape OK in Winter Driving?

oshkoshdriveroshkoshdriver Posts: 5
edited May 2014 in Ford
I'm considering buying an Escape XLS with front wheel drive, manual transmission, 4 cyclinder engine. I live in northeast Wisconsin, where it's largely flat but we have some heavy snow. I'm on a budget and would like to avoid buying a 4WD because of additional vehicle cost and lost gas mileage. Do people think a 2WD Escape can handle winter? Would different tires make a difference? Thank you for any advice


  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I think FWD would be quite capable in snow. Also, some tires have better traction than others so, yes, your choice of tires will make a difference. Perhaps someone with experience driving a FWD Escape will jump in and advise.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • vg33e powervg33e power Posts: 314
    I have a 2004 Escape Limited 4WD, I live in SoCal so we never get any snow, however, we do love to enjoy the little snow we get on our local mountains during the colder months. The few times we have gone to Wrightwood and Big Bear right after and during a heavy snowfall, I can certainly say that having 4WD made it a lot more safer and fun as well. My brother's 2WD CR-V had a hard time after we got into heavier stuff that we had to stop there. Needless to say my Escape could have kept going without a problem and that was still on the crappy Continental tires it came with.

    Moral of the story: if you can dish out a little extra for a 4WD even in the most base model, do it! Specially because you live in heavy snow area. The additional cost will be worth it.

    If that is not an option, then definately get yourself a very nice set of snow tires. Good Luck!
  • Thanks for the perspective. I appreciate hearing your experience with 4WD. I fully believe that 4WD is superior, and your experience with the 2WD CR-V would confirm that. I guess I'm wondering if 2WD is "adequate". I didn't know if the stability and traction control features were enough to make 2WD viable in snow, as I've never had a car with those features. I mainly do city driving and some highway driving in the winter. Thank you!
  • bdymentbdyment Posts: 573
    What have you been driving in the past? If you have been driving a two wheel drive vehicle and getting by then probably the two wheel drive Escape is fine. Equip it with a good set of winter tires and you should be ok. However, I agree that the four wheel drive Escape is the way to go if you can afford it.
  • I've been driving a Honda Civic with front wheel drive, and it's OK. I mean, I'm not confident that I could scale mountains in it, but I've managed. I just wondered if the 2WD with the new traction assist/stability control features would make it "do-able". I'll consider the 4WD if my budget will handle it. Thank you!
  • vg33e powervg33e power Posts: 314
    2WD with traction control is really only useful on rain and light snow to regain the little loss of traction, because esentially it pumps the brakes (sort of like abs does) to momentarily stop the wheel that has lost traction in an effort to regain traction.

    However, lets say you are in heavy snow and lots of slippery surface the traction control may (in my opinon) hinder your ability to quickly move forward because of the constant pumping of the brakes on both wheels. God forbid you are in a situation in which you need to manuever out of the way from a stand still to avoid a collision.

    My take on TC and all the electronic gizmos now-a-days is just an excuse for our poor driving ability. People in the past (our parents) never had these features and they did just fine without them...after all aren't we here typing away.

    I am not trying to push on you something you cant afford, but like I said before, if you can afford a 4WD (specially because of the region you live with) then buy it, you will appreciate it.

    Just my two cents!
  • Thanks for explaining the traction control better to me. I wasn't sure when that would really kick in. Lots of cars seem to be coming with that. And yep, we sure are here typing away, so I guess we're all doing something right. I appreciate the advice I've received here. Thanks for the perspective. I've also been looking at Subarus that come with AWD standard and that's another option for me. Not sure what I'm going to do. Sigh.
  • vg33e powervg33e power Posts: 314
    My choice would be a Subie over the Escape.

    4WD is standard
    Fun to drive in snow and in highway
    Most models come standard with a manual trnas even the upper scale models.

    and if you can afford it...

  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    I'd be interested in the mileage hit. I got by fine in snow country for years with winter tires and FWD. I have an AWD Subie wagon now that's good for going to the ski hill, but 9 months out of the year, I wish the mpg were a bit better.

    The extra ground clearance on the Escape should help a bit in snow with either FWD or AWD.
  • Yes - that's my concern too. I'm a bit of a miser at the pump, and am looking to buy something with at least "decent" MPG. I'm going to try to weigh my options. I really appreciate the feedback from people on this forum. Thank you.
  • vg33e powervg33e power Posts: 314
    Considering your are between the Subie and the Ford, I take it you are comparing the Escape to the Forester just to be comparing apples to apples.

    Forester 2.5X $19995
    20mpg city
    26mpg hwy
    170hp 2.5L

    Escape XLS $20435
    22mpg city
    28mpg hwy
    171hp 2.5L
  • sylviahsylviah Posts: 7
    I have a 2005 Ford Escape - 4 cylinder and I live in Eastern Washington - if you have been following the news for the last 2 winters - you know that we got nailed with snow. My Escape got me everywhere I went and back home. I have all Season Tires (the better kind) and they are siped! Other then that I did nothing to it. I got high centered one time and had to dig out - but a 4WD would not have gotten me out either. I recommend that car highly!
This discussion has been closed.