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Newbie wonders-Cheap FWD or Not as cheap AWD?


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17 replies to this topic

#1 soldthe4d

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 01:32 PM

Hey everybody,

This is my first post. Sorry it's long. My wife has a 97 legacy outback. I like it, so I'm considering giving up my obsession of the last four years--a '68 bronco daily driver. I've included a picture of it so you can see my dilemma.

At first, I was just going to get a winter beater so I wouldn't rust out the bronco in the Vermont salty winters. I already paid $2400 for a no frills rust free 2.2 ltr Legacy wagon FWD with 130,000 miles that I'm supposed to pick up from a used subaru dealer next week. I'll have a 30 day / 1000 mile bumper to bumper waranty with it. He stood behind a 2.5 L head gasket issue with my wife's roo, so I know he's reputable. It seems like a good deal

He now has a "loaded" 2.2 ltr rust free 98 legacy wagon AWD with 83,000 miles for $6900. It has a 3 month / 4000 mi bumper to bumper warranty.
To get it I'll have to sell the bronco, and fast. That shouldn't be too hard, at least logistically.
My wife thinks I've already made up my mind, and has cogratulated me on my "mature desision". That's a first. I had to look behind me to see if she was talking to someone else. ;)

Here are the questions I'd like feedback on.
How are the FWD wagons in the snow? I'm in green mountain land and it snows like crazy and I'm on top of a mountain. Can I get around in a FWD? Are the AWD that much better/safer in the snow?

Which of the two seems like the better deal?

Are there pluses or minuses to either one of these models?

Thanks!

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#2 northguy

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 01:37 PM

What year is the $2400 vehicle?

#3 soldthe4d

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 01:41 PM

What year is the $2400 vehicle?

Oops. The $2400 is a '94. The $6900 is a '98

#4 Suzam

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 01:58 PM

I just spent Thanksgiving in Stowe, love that Green Moutain area. Form the looks of some of the hilly areas, I personally would be happier with AWD for traction on both the upgrades and downgrades. I've popped the FWD fuse in our '95 Legacy in the snow...wow! What a difference! I put it back in after a couple of minutes of seeing just how much traction I had with just the front wheels. Hope this helps.

#5 northguy

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 02:08 PM

Do a Kelly blue book search on both of themand see which isa better buy. Buy that one, resell it and then buy a Brat.

#6 Ranger83

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 06:10 PM

You should buy the FWD because selling the Bronco under fire-sale circumstances doesn't make economic sense. It's a specialty vehicle and you should wait for the right buyer. You already have one AWD vehicle so it's not the end of the world if you don't get the AWD vehicle. Subarus are not exactly rare in New England so you can find another one later.

I was at the WalMart in S. Burlington after a snowstorrm once and a good 1/3rd of the vehicles in the lot were Subarus. I stopped at a diner in Rt 7 down towards Vergennes and 6 of the 12 cars in the lot were Subarus. You'll find another....

Collecting cars is for rich people. If you really want to collect cars, get rich, first.

#7 outback_97

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 06:49 PM

What about getting a set of winter tires for the FWD subie? Good snow tires on FWD is probably as good as somewhat worn all season tires on AWD... and better if you're stopping.

Don't sell the Bronco unless you really are sure you want to... that'd be a shame. That's my $.02.

Steve

#8 soldthe4d

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 07:04 PM


I was at the WalMart in S. Burlington after a snowstorrm once and a good 1/3rd of the vehicles in the lot were Subarus. I stopped at a diner in Rt 7 down towards Vergennes and 6 of the 12 cars in the lot were Subarus. You'll find another....


That's why I first started looking at Subarus, and ultimately my wife got one. Everywhere I look up here I see them. They are all over the place. The other day, to pass the time driving I counted how many cars passed before a subaru passed. I drove for 45 minutes, and never counted past 7. Okay, so I need a life.

It reminds me of when I was a kid, and you used to see VW bugs everywhere.
Thanks for your opinion.

#9 operose

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 07:51 PM

that is an immaculate bronco. my uncle has one, but in nowhere near the shape. I'd keep it.

#10 WoodsWagon

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Posted 05 December 2004 - 10:10 PM

If that bronco has the v8 in it, i'd keep it and buy the 2wd subaru. hey, if you like wrenching you can always make the 2wd one AWD later. my uncle has a 71 with the v8 and it is a beast, thing is unstopable.

#11 Viking

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 04:52 AM

As I'm in Australia, my opinion regarding snow driving would be worth almost zilch (I've done it once, on a mountain track, at 5 km/hr!) but I have owned a 2wd Liberty (Legacy) wagon for 6 years. IMO I'd go for the 4wd for any situation where traction could be a problem (and I'd imagine snow and/or ice would present severe traction problems!) because front wheel drive cars (especially wagons) are a bugger to steer if the powered (i.e. front) wheels are also spinning!

Having been "bogged", or rather stuck, once on wet grass (not kidding, there was also a steep slope involved) I'd go for 4wd anytime over 2wd. Other than that situation (where I pulled off a narrow concrete track) I have had few challenges with traction in my car. The only real issue has been in wet weather, but that can be an issue for any front-wheel-drive car. Australia is largely flat, and it certainly doesn't snow in many places. I avoided dirt (gravel) roads at all costs as the undercarriage isn't up to the pounding and flying rocks of Australian dirt roads.

#12 mtsmiths

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 11:41 AM

Well, I'm in NW Montana and have definate ideas about snow driving. We have two AWD Subarus, and previously had two '87 GL-10s. They are/were unstoppable, and very sure footed in all weather and road conditions. That said ...

If it weren't for our driveway from hell, a FWD 'Roo would do just fine. There's lots of FWDs around here, and you see them at the top ski mountain parking lot all the time.

Before I'd lose that primo Falcon-in-combat-boots, I'd go for the FWD and put up with the occassional ride with the spouse. Hey, if you're really stuck,drive that Bronco out to Montana and you can take my '95 AWD Legacy back home ... oh, and bring a gallon of the real thing with you when you come.

#13 subiemech85

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:00 PM

if you want to even think about any offroading, buy a older gen subaru with dual range

that way you don't waste a nice vehicle to the branches!

RWD is horrid
FWD is ok

4wd is the way to go in snow, and it also makes it easier to do 70 on the gravel

#14 crazyeric

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 12:58 PM

i dont know if this will help but my first sube, an 85 GL FWD 1.8l handled AS WELL in heavy snow as my 99 ouback sport 2.2l, of course the tires on the 85 were probably no more than 7 inches wide so they were able to really dig down, but that car was a beast and i was only able to kill it after a f'ed up the pcv valve and got all kinds of oil in my carb.

#15 Chuck Charger!

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Posted 06 December 2004 - 08:10 PM

I've driven a FWD car over mountain passes here in Colorado in blizzard conditions, once in about 6 inches of unplowed snow, and while it was no walk in the park, I never once lost control of the vehicle. Generally, traction loss with a front wheel drive results either in loss of speed or mild understeer, which is corrected by simply letting off the gas. Do yourself a HUGE favor and buy a manual trans car, you have MUCH more control in the snow.
Keep the Bronco and get the 2wd, you will still really like it in the snow, I promise. You'll have to try like hell to get it to fishtail.
I snowboard about 50 days a season and I live in Denver, so I'm up and down the mountain, alot of times in very heavy snow and ice. I've never been stuck or slid off the road in a FWD car, even with worn tires.
That said, I'm still going to buy a Subaru for the AWD!
Chuck

#16 Strakes

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Posted 07 December 2004 - 06:41 PM

We've driven our FWD 93 Wagon in 6 inches of snow with all season tires...No problems, if you plan ahead. With that said, my opinion is that the best solution is getting dedicated winter tires. That would have made a huge difference.

#17 soldthe4d

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for all the replies. I guess I'm leaning towards the '94 FWD. However, I was out in the Vermont snow yesterday in the Bronco. I had to kick it into 4WD to maneuver. What a difference. The bronco is RWD but it still made me wonder the difference in handling between the two subarus. I'll know soon. Thanks!

#18 outback_97

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Posted 08 December 2004 - 11:11 AM

In the snow, AWD>FWD... but FWD>>RWD IMO.

Steve




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