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I live in NJ. I was thrilled with my first Front Wheel Drive vehicle. It was an 87 Buick with 3.8. Having front wheel drive was nice in snow. After a while tho, I longed for 4WD. Then I got am 87 Expedition and an 04 Expedition. Both had a switch for two wheel (rear) drive and 4 wheel drive. In the 20 years I owned those two cars, I think I used the 4 WD under 10 times.
So now I am faced with Front Wheel Drive or All Wheel Drive. Full time AWD seems nuts to me. More tire wear, less gas mileage, greater cost. I am not in Maine or Mass or the upper midwest. Should I just go back to Front Wheel drive and enjoy the savings, lack of a transfer case and the better gas mileage or will I regret not haveing AWD.
 

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Being AWD doesn't mean all wheels drive all the time. It just means they can. This is true of any AWD vehicle. Not to be confused with 4WD where all 4 wheels are driving. Which you don't want to do for very long or at speed. Typically, on the Palisade, the front wheels get power most of the time.

Get the AWD.
 

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Consumer Reports tested several different vehicles, in both wet and snow-covered roads, comparing 2WD and 4WD. The results showed that there was almost no difference in traction, braking, or handling between the 2WD and the 4WD. Consumer Reports concluded that the only way to improve traction and handling in snowy conditions is to put snow tires on your car. I think we have all been brainwashed into thinking that we need 4WD, but independent scientific testing has shown that 2WD is just as safe and just as good when it comes to braking, stopping and crash avoidance. Save yourself some dough. Get 2WD.
 

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Consumer Reports tested several different vehicles, in both wet and snow-covered roads, comparing 2WD and 4WD. The results showed that there was almost no difference in traction, braking, or handling between the 2WD and the 4WD. Consumer Reports concluded that the only way to improve traction and handling in snowy conditions is to put snow tires on your car. I think we have all been brainwashed into thinking that we need 4WD, but independent scientific testing has shown that 2WD is just as safe and just as good when it comes to braking, stopping and crash avoidance. Save yourself some dough. Get 2WD.
That's true in general. I daily-drive a FWD car (the Palisade is my wife's car) in the north-east US, so I get snow every winter, and I've never had an issue. I don't even use snow tires - I stay on all-weathers.

But... that doesn't mean AWD (not 4WD, for the record) is useless. To put it simply, it offers more ways to put the power down. That makes you more likely to get moving when the conditions are bad enough for people to get stuck. The key part is that getting stuck doesn't happen as often as people might perhaps think, although in some rural areas, it can happen often enough. It also helps when the conditions aren't that bad, but bad enough that care should be exercised (heavy rain, some snow). Even if a FWD car can manage it, an AWD car gets you that extra security. Electronics in the car react fast enough to detect slip on front wheels (hydroplaning for example) and switch power to the rear wheels. Just an example...

How often this happens and whether one feels AWD is warranted is really up to everyone to decide for themselves.
 

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No way. If you live in a place with snow and ice you need AWD. I have slipped and been unable to to get up hills plenty of time in FWD and RWD. 4 Driven wheels is always going to give you more traction when its needed. Do snow tires on 4 wheels help as well, of course they do.

Do we need both. That depends where you live. I would argue that I would personally rather have AWD than swap snows for all season tires. In a perfect world I would have both, but where I live in the northeast we get 5 to 12 snows a winter. There are places that get much more. When it snows I also have the option of driving less most of the time, waiting for the snow to clear, waiting for roads to be plowed at least some of the time. There are plenty of places that's not an option.

I used to live further North in Saratoga Springs NY around 30 miles above albany and where trips to even snowier places further north and west were common. My apartment parking lot was basically an ice skating rink. I had to use Studded snows to get around even to get up the hill to my parking lot.

Anyway yeah AWD is the way to go. Its AWD is Automatic in smart mode it will apply the amount of power needed 4 wheels as needed. Lastly, there is a reason that it is tough to find a FWD car in the northeast if that model also comes with AWD. Your in the NE it will be easier to find your trim and options in AWD.
 

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To the OP, it depends on which side of the state you live on. If you are on the Southern side, I would say it's a coin flip since there terrain is generally flat. On the Northern side it is more hilly. Technically there are 3 to 4 mountain chains between NYC to the border with PA to the west. After all when you come across the GWB in the Palisades that is one of the them. The next set would be the Watchung range. There is another set that cuts though Western Morris, Eastern Sussex, Western Passiac, Warren and Hunterdon counties. Finally the Kittatiny ridge which is also considered the Appalachian mountains. Many sections of Northern NJ are just hilly like Morris county. Once you get below New Brunswick area it starts to level out some. The top 1/3 of the state has a number of ancient ranges. The next 1/3 gets flat pretty quickly. The southern 1/3 is pretty flat with very gentle hills if anything.

Good luck.
 

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Thought i would post the link and important Summary which confirms what i said but also the value of snow tires and being safe.

“All-wheel drive is far better than two-wheel drive when it comes to driving on slick surfaces where you need serious traction to get going, such as a snowy uphill driveway. But our tests found that all-wheel drive by itself won’t help if you’re heading too fast toward a sudden sharp curve on a snowy night.
That’s an important point for people who overestimate the capability of their all-wheel-drive vehicle. We’ve all seen them, zipping past us in blizzards with their illusory cloak of invincibility.
Don’t be one of those guys—unless you want to risk a crash or find yourself stranded far from civilization.
Our test-track observations lead us to advise that using snow tires provides the best grip and assurance for going, stopping, and cornering no matter what you drive: all-wheel drive, front-drive, or rear-drive. And buying winter tires for a front-drive car will cost far less than the several-thousand-dollar premium you’ll pay for all-wheel drive.”

 

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We are talking about $1,600 + taxes. Not thousands of $ (I know to each its own). Be smart and no regret. Get the AWD. I live in NYC and I would suppose that I would get by ok with FWD most days. But I know I will be driving out of NYC to upstate, new England area, etc. Better to have it than to regret it.
 

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I think AWD on these cars are more gimmicky than anything else. All cars are "four wheel stop/braking", which is what's actually important in snow/etc. driving. Also, it's already been mentioned to death, but having proper tires for the season/conditions is always, always, always better than just "having AWD". The Palisade, while a very capable car for most road conditions, doesn't need AWD; it's not an off-road crawler... Sure, it's nice to have it for a little extra peace of mind if your climate calls for it, but the benefits of AWD on these grocery-getters is a bit overblown, imo.

Also, AWD tends to be a lot more complicated mechanically and more costlier to fix when something goes wrong. My previous car ('14 CX-9) also had a pretty pervasive issue with their AWDs that caused vibration/etc. at higher speeds, not unlike the issue we've seen with Palisades. Made me thankful to have the FWD version having zero problems, while everyone on the forums were replacing their diffs, driveshafts, etc. all spending $1000s of out of pocket costs (Mazda doesn't have as generous of warranty..) So, more expensive parts to go wrong, and personally, living in california myself i see virtually zero reason to need/desire AWD. Even if I were to make it up to the snowy mountains a few times a year, they still require snow chains regardless of AWD or FWD during snow in CA. I much rather put on a set for two wheels, rather than struggle in the snow to put on all fours lol... but again, these are just my own personal considerations.
 
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