Do I need all-wheel drive in my SUV?

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
Our authors
, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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SUV’s have gained popularity among urban Australians who are looking for a car that comes with comfort, space, and safety. All-wheel drive vehicles (AWD) have become increasingly available on the market, but if you are one of the many Aussies who are not sure what this feature in an SUV can do for you and whether you are better with or without it here is what you need to know.

What is an all-wheel drive vehicle?

If you own an SUV or looking to own one you might have come across the term AWD or all-wheel drive vehicle. What this means is that the vehicle has a powertrain that is capable of providing power to all of its wheels at all times or on demand. This makes the difference in your cars handling ability on various terrains. However, it all boils down to whether such a feature will come in handy for the typical SUV driver and here is what you need to know.

The benefits of an all-wheel drive vehicle

An SUV’s handling capabilities might not be a feature that runs in the forefront of potential buyer’s mind but depending on what you will be using your vehicle for most of the time it could make a difference.

An all-wheel drive has the benefit when it comes to handling those tough corners. This feature provides your car with good grip on the road to prevent your wheels from slipping since it exerts maximum grip. This can also be beneficial when you need to quickly react. Modern stability-control systems also make this possible for two-wheel drive cars, but this requires that you gently apply the braking force to prevent your wheels from slipping.

The other benefit that comes with this feature is that the added weight of the differentials and shafts can add, if not improve, the stopping distance which can work wonderfully on low-grip surfaces. AWD can be a handy feature that can work for people who tend to do off-roading.

The drawbacks of an all-wheel drive vehicle

If you are more interested in an SUV’s space and nifty features you are more likely to opt for the cheaper and fuel efficient two-wheeler-drive model. AWD vehicles are more suited for people who off-roading because of its handling abilities. However, if you are typical urbanite you mind find this feature falling out of your interests.

With great handling capabilities also comes more fuel consumption and this applies when choosing an SUV that is an all-wheel drive. An all-wheel drive SUV is still vulnerable when it comes to its capabilities of handling snow and ice which is something that needs to be consider.

This is more so if it is a part-time all wheel drive which is susceptible to leaving the front wheels spinning and the rears underpowered. To top this all off, you could also be looking at paying more for this feature when compared to its two-wheeler drive counterpart.

All-wheel drive SUVs do have their place in the market for the avid adventurer that loves off-roading, but if you are a person that hardly does this it could be a feature that you could be better off with. Finding an SUV that suits your lifestyle can come with its perks, but always keep in mind to compare your way to your dream SUV.

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