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Old 05-16-2020, 07:25 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Gaining Traction: Americans Shun Two-wheel Drive In Record Numbers




Quote:
Once upon a time, it was expected to find the driven wheels of a car aft of the rear seat. In this writerís recollection, the coming of winter would see the addition of a few bags of concrete mix or sidewalk salt added to the trunk for extra traction. Most pickups, usually of the wholesome regular cab variety, boasted the same setup.

Eventually, front-wheel drive replaced RWD as the go-to way to put power down, while in the background four-wheel drive gathered steam.

Would it surprise you to learn that the majority of 2020 model-year vehicles sold in the U.S. thus far eschewed front- or rear-drive?

That seems to be the case, according to data compiled by JATO Dynamics. Itís no secret that SUVs and crossovers are now the default purchase of most Americans, and with that purchase comes ó usually ó the all-weather benefit of AWD or 4WD.

As of April, 50.8 percent of 2020MY vehicles sold in the country boasted such a system, JATO claims. If that figure holds for the remainder of the year, it would be the first time in history that a majority of American buyers took home a non-2WD vehicle in a given model year.



Last year came close, with U.S. buyers choosing AWD or 4WD to the tune of 49.4 percent. The trend is clear. For the 2018 model year, this figure was 47.3 percent. 2017? 42.3 percent. Youíd only have to go back to 2016 to see a figure lower than 40 percent. Those were long-ago times.

Helping the four-wheel-grip cohort in JATOís calculations is the pesky coronavirus; as U.S. sales plunged in mid-March, passengers cars fell faster and harder than pickups, which retained much of their pre-pandemic buoyancy. Detroit Three automakers were quick to unleash incentives and zero-interest/84-month financing, keeping full-size pickup volume afloat. According to J.D. Power data, even during the depths of the lockdown (late March/early April), retail sales of full-size pickups never fell more than 25 percent below pre-virus projections.

And what retail buyer takes home a 2WD pickup these days?

This segment also recovered faster than others, bolstering the AWD/4WD groupís take rate in 2020MY stats. Compact cars are still struggling to return to normal, while small and midsize SUVs have come closer to regaining their earlier volumes.

Given this trend, as well as how close last year came to the 50-percent threshold, it would be easy for the transfer case crowd to pull off a majority win once everythingís said and done.
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Old 05-16-2020, 08:57 AM   #2
oichan
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The only 2WD I would consider is RWD on sports cars. All others would be AWD.

FiST in my line up doesn't count as I don't think of it as a car, more a scooter with roof. Plus it's a 2nd hand car so don't really care.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:02 AM   #3
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^^ Agreed. RWD sports car, only as a “fun car” in addition to my AWD/4WD main rigs.
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Old 05-16-2020, 05:26 PM   #4
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I’d prefer all my 4 wheelers to be AWD. RWD will only be purchased if it’s cheaper to insure.
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Old 05-16-2020, 06:42 PM   #5
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Even the "sportier" cars should be going AWD soon. The technology is so much better than what it was years ago and the horsepower figures of the new cars are insane.

Look at the Mustang GT and the Camaro. 450+ horsepower is tough to get hooked up without a lot of torque management. BMW M cars seem to be going the AWD variant route and I imagine it is only a matter of time before most others follow. With cool features like "drift mode" or "RWD only" modes available I don't see why you wouldn't embrace it.

Considering the dynamic tuning available it only makes that most of the obtainable sports cars start to convert. Obviously wear and tear and longevity needs to be evaluated.

The RWD sport car is going to be gone or a novel option much like the manual tranny. Once they get the hybrid systems factored in there will be no reason to go RWD.
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Old 05-17-2020, 10:34 AM   #6
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Iíve embraced it. The only vehicle I have that isnít 4WD/AWD is my FJR1300.
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Old 05-17-2020, 02:53 PM   #7
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Folks are too accustomed of using all weather tires and 2WD on all weather tires in snow is a compromise. AWD gives the driver the impression that it will be better and too a certain degree it will be. 2WD driver would be less likely to move to AWD if they had a set of winter tires, but these days that is too much of a inconvenience for most driver.
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Old 05-17-2020, 04:52 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redhunter View Post
but these days that is too much of a inconvenience for most driver.
Yeah, the convenience of changing twice as many fluids, clutch jobs sucking major , the increased cost of operation in general, etc... all so much butter on AWD

People are just adverse to certain types of inconvenience (illogically) for some reason. Usually revolving around any break in their poor routines. Another trip to the tire shop? Unacceptable! Paying tons more across the life of a car, but without having to make any trips other than you would normally to the stealership? NO PROBLEM!

I love my evo to death, but it definitely costs more (money and my time since I do all my own labor) than any RWD car I've had in the past. Sometimes I really miss the simplicity. Other times I enjoy power sliding and technowonder making me feel like Tommi Makinen
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Old 05-18-2020, 10:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeepBoop View Post
Yeah, the convenience of changing twice as many fluids, clutch jobs sucking major , the increased cost of operation in general, etc... all so much butter on AWD

People are just adverse to certain types of inconvenience (illogically) for some reason. Usually revolving around any break in their poor routines. Another trip to the tire shop? Unacceptable! Paying tons more across the life of a car, but without having to make any trips other than you would normally to the stealership? NO PROBLEM!

I love my evo to death, but it definitely costs more (money and my time since I do all my own labor) than any RWD car I've had in the past. Sometimes I really miss the simplicity. Other times I enjoy power sliding and technowonder making me feel like Tommi Makinen
what maintenance does a typical FWD based automatic trans AWD crossover actually have that anyone actually does within the first 5 years of its life? You think the average Jane with an AWD Equinox or Escape is changing diff fluid???

I absolutely detest having two sets of tires. You gotta put them somewhere, and potentially get a separate set of wheels for them, then you gotta play the "when should I change my tires" guessing game, then you gotta go somewhere to get them installed if you don't have wheels. Why would anyone want to deal with that if in their mind they don't have to? If you lease the car having winter tires is an even bigger hassle. 3 year lease, two sets of tires? That's a big expense. You're talking an additional $1000+ dollars worth of tires and tire changes, and then you're stuck with a set of tires at the end of the lease. For people getting $0 down 7 year loans on say a Cherokee (rolling over negative equity to a new car 3-4 years later after almost zero maintenance), that's a lot of cash to spend.

Also, snow tires aren't always the solution. My CTS-V was worse in snow on good Blizzak tires than my Mustang was on all seasons.

I run all seasons on my AWD Tesla Model 3. They do fine in the snow, no issue. My wife's Mustang has snow tires; I can't tell the difference in mild storms from the all seasons I had.

Also, standard stability control makes a big difference on both 2WD and AWD.
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:15 AM   #10
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Which is likely to last longer with basic maintenance, rwd or fwd?
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:22 AM   #11
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Hated RWD in winter and torque steer on FWD. Been AWD only for 7 years now
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Old 05-18-2020, 11:58 AM   #12
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As someone who lives in New England...
RWD = preferred 9+/- months out of the year
AWD = preferred 3+/- month out of the year
FWD = no thank you

After using AWD year round for what feels like an eternity, I went back to RWD for year round duty, Winter 2019/2020 was mild so it didn't really count, I was even on "high performance AS" tires to boot, winter 2020/2021 will be the determining factor, but I will be on a dedicated set of winter wheels & tires by then. I've always run two sets, regardless of drive wheels.

To the articles point - I don't think it's a matter of "Americans prefer AWD to FWD" it's a matter of "Americans prefer CUV/SUVs to sedans/hatchbacks - the majority of which happen to be AWD, primarily due to trim level".

Put the average american driver in a silver badge-less corolla, then impreza, then in a *4 cylinder economy rwd sedan not found* and they probably won't be able to tell you which wheels are doing the driving.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:01 PM   #13
oichan
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AWD preferred 100% of the year.
RWD preferred on 2 door sports cars only where staggered tire setup is cool.
FWD do not want.
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Old 05-18-2020, 12:32 PM   #14
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I had a non ABS '99 Corolla on all seasons. It actually wasn't too bad in the snow (automatic trans). You don't have the back end sliding around as long as you are careful with the brakes.
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