GMC Acadia - FWD vs. AWD

jaweichertjaweichert Member Posts: 1
I'm looking to purchase an Acadia in the upcoming months. However, I'm torn between buying the FWD version, or the AWD version. I live in MN, so there is definitely snow. However, I currently drive a FWD car, and find getting around to be relatively easy for the most part. I'm not planning on going "off-road" and figure if the roads are that bad, even AWD isn't going to be the "cure-all."

That being said, I'm also looking at the fact that the AWD is ~$3,000 more, and takes your gas mileage down 2 or 3 mpg.

My question is, does anyone live in the an area with lots of snow, and has a FWD model. What are you thoughts - happy with it or wish you would've gotten AWD?

Any input on AWD vs. FWD is greatly appreciated, thanks!


  • shoeymisshoeymis Member Posts: 12
    Well I live in Wisconsin and we opted for the AWD version (SLT1). If I understand correctly the AWD is on an "as needed" basis in this vehicle. So if you start to slip it kicks in.

    There are pretty much 3 reasons we opted for AWD. The street we live on is pretty quiet so it is one of the last to get plowed after it snows. We own a 19 foot boat and sometimes the landings can get pretty slippery. This is also my wife's vehicle and she carts around 3 kids in car seats, so going for AWD was definitely a piece of mind thing.

    We probably could have gotten away with a FWD version (we also own a FWD car) so I guess for us it was pretty much just a personal preference.
  • dtroiterdtroiter Member Posts: 2
    We purchased a FWD Outlook XR last year in February, so we have basically two winters worth of driving with this one being a lot of snow (we live in Detroit). The car handles great through the snow, no problems whatsoever. I personally do not see the need for AWD, we were able to add some other features for the price of AWD. i'm sure AWD handles snowy weather better, but IMO it wasn't worth the price and defnitely isn't needed on the vehicle to handle 98% of people's daily drives.
  • nhskibumnhskibum Member Posts: 1
    I live in NH, fairly similar weather to you in MN. I do a fair amount of driving in the winter (we ski). I currently have a Subaru Outback (AWD) and the wife has a VW Passat (FWD).

    I will never again buy a FWD or 4WD vehicle, unless I have to. Our driveway is on a slight incline and if there is 1/2" of snow on it, my wife can't get up. I've never had an issue in the Subaru.

    Now I know that the drivers in the NE are 1000 times worse than in MN, but the AWD on my Subbie has saved me from accidents at least 10 times, wet and dry pavement alike. Not even to mention the on snow performance.

    The safety in increased handling ability that AWD provides alone, particularly in a large, heavy vehicle like an Acadia, to me is worth every penny. If I have to take evasive action on a highway to avoid someone who isn't paying attention, I want all 4 wheels driving me.
  • niksmom630niksmom630 Member Posts: 1
    I have the FWD Acadia and live in Chicago--have driven in several snow storms, and control and traction seem fairly good--have not missed my old AWD Bravada.
  • manny20manny20 Member Posts: 3
    Nothing worst that the snow in Canada ! I have a Surburban 4wd, and the Acadia FWD. I can tell you that driving in the roads, this FWD is awsome. I bought the Acadian to replace the Uplander Van I had (could not drive in the snow).

    Getting out of the drive way might be a challange in a foot of snow, but thats what the Surburban is for.

    I would not replace a 4WD and expect a FWD to do the job. But this Acadia FWD is surely a great unit in the snow.
  • nposavernposaver Member Posts: 3
    A FWD vehicle, be it the Arcadia or any SUV, ALL now have Traction Control and Anti-Lock Brakes on ALL their Front Drive Wheel vehicles, which means, that when ONE Front Wheel slips the other Front Wheel will continue to drive the vehicle.

    According to the auto makers, on an AWD vehicle, the Front Wheels still drive the car MOST OF THE TIME, and the torgue or power to the Front Wheels will ONLY AUTOMATICALLY BE SHIFTED to the Rear Wheels WHEN BOTH Front Wheels begin to slip. Does anyone know HOW OFTEN does that take place???

    In my opinion, NOT VERY OFTEN, IF AT ALL. The security we all want to feel in our SUV's is that when needed, ALL FOUR WHEELS will give us the proper traction on the road we need to avoid a skid or spin out on packed snow, wet or icy pavement.

    AWD gives us a VERY FALSE sense of security since we believe we can drive the same way on packed snow, wet and icy pavement as we do on dry pavement. THIS IS NOT SO and its dangerous to think that way and drive that way. Having AWD is truly no substitute for carefully and prudent driving. I have opted for a FWD since I am a cautious driver who had two major spin outs with RWD vehicles and don't feel I need to have an AWD to give me a false sense of reckles security. I believe BOTH of the front wheels will never slip at the same time BECAUSE OF TRACTION CONTROL and that the FWD will be more than adequate to handle my driving needs.

  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    You may enjoy a cruise through the 4WD & AWD systems explained discussion.

    The FWD, AWD, RWD and the Luxury Performance Sedans is another that may target your concerns more closely, even though they aren't talking SUVs.
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    Something is wrong with that title. FWD and Luxury Performance Sedan shouldn't be in the same sentence. It seems from reading that discussion that point is assumed.
  • tidestertidester Member Posts: 10,059
    Is your question regarding the luxury part or the performance part? There are plenty of "luxury sedans" with FWD but performance is often in the eye of the beholder.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • onefunkaronefunkar Member Posts: 113
    also live in minnesota had an 08 outlook (same car) and i bought fwd. with fwd its pretty tought to get stuck and never had any trouble with the snow. awd is worse mileage and more maintanance so unless you really need it id stick with fwd
  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    edited October 2010
    One of the reasons that Acura isn't considered luxury is that no V8 or RWD in their line up. They couldn't compete with Infinity or Lexus without either. So I guess I'm referring to the luxury part.

    BTW, I tried parking a FWD Acadia in my garage and it barely made it into the garage with a whole lot of wheel spin with traction control on. None of my other vehicles have that problem. Course if I back it into the garage it's no problem. Can't see the wife doing that though. Backing it in that is.
  • akillian24akillian24 Member Posts: 1

    We are looking to purchase an Acadia, and making the FWD vs. AWD debate now. After reading this thread, I can say I believe we don't need AWD (we live in Dallas TX, don't tow anything) but I wondered:

    1) Has anyone driven both the FWD and the AWD Acadia? Do they feel any different at all while handling?
    2) Does the AWD/FWD option impact leasing residuals at all?

    Thanks again for any help.

  • obyoneobyone Member Posts: 7,841
    1. I've driven both and the AWD does feel a little heavier on the steering. Does it rain in Texas? I live in Hawaii and while the dealers around these parts order 80% FWD, I have a steep driveway and wouldn't be able to make it up when wet and FWD. Too much tire spin.

    2. I wouldn't think the residuals would be impacted much in Texas. You can have the dealer verify this.
  • jessicajojessicajo Member Posts: 3
    I just purchased a 2008 fwd and it cost lessthan the awd model. I did have concerns too, but i did not feel i needed it. My husband has a truck so i feel that if worse comes to worse we will use it. another good thing the gas mileage is better too. I had a van before and i seemto be getting the same gas mileage.
  • nposavernposaver Member Posts: 3
    As I understand the AWD vehicle works this way; the vehicle operates always in FWD and the only time the rear wheels become engaged is when the front wheels lose traction and begin to spin automatically shifting power to the rear wheels which now become engaged. So if your front wheels lose traction and begin to spin because of your steep incline and wet pavement what make you think that the rear wheels when engaged by the AWD will have any better traction than the front wheels had? AWD does not produce or improve better traction on wet pavements and steeple inclines than a front wheel drive vehicle. Don't waste your money, buy a FWD vehicle since AWD will not allow you to have any better traction on wet pavement and a steeple incline than a FWD vehicle.
  • donl1donl1 Member Posts: 112
    I beleive the Acadia AWD system is set up to deliver a 90/10 torque split (90% to the front wheels) in normal operation. When detecting front wheel slippage it can transfer as much as 35% to the rear wheels. So on a steep incline it would indeed be better than FWD. Not much sense to have an AWD system that delivers all torque to only one differential as the previous poster seemed to indicate.
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