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Author Topic: AWD Concerns Before We Buy-Steep Gravel Driveway  (Read 11937 times)
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lfyoung
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« on: August 11, 2010, 07:09:49 AM »

What a great forum you all have here!  I have searched for two days and not really found a concrete answer about the AWD feature, so I hope you won't find my questions mundane.

We have always had to have SUV's because of the 4WD, we have a VERY steep graveled driveway. Any FWD or 2WD vehicle starts spinning half way up so it must be driven hard to have enough umph to make it to the top. I begged my husband for a Uplander last year and when he finally caved, we were ready to sell it in a few months because of the nascar like way we had to come home every day and the fact that our driveway chewed thru the tires within months.

So I have went back to driving our old faithful Tahoe ('99 with 180K miles and still ticking) and have discovered the Traverse. I LOVE the look of it and the features, but there is that ultimate question of will it handle the driveway? I want to be able to go slowly up it so that rocks don't fly everywhere and ding the paint and chew the tires up. I have concerns about the AWD doing this? 

I know the best way is going to be go get one and test drive it, but I just thought I would ask first if anyone has any first hand experience.
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whoadogwhoa
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« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2010, 08:44:51 AM »

Hi
I have a steep driveway and so far so good. I made it ok last winter with my 2009 AWD Traverse just fine but like you I had concerns because I had a 4 wheel drive Trailblazer before I got the Traverse.  I must say I like the way the Traverse handles the snow just as good.   
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BigBlackTraverse
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« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2010, 08:51:03 AM »

You will have to try it and see. They are AWD but they rely on the front wheels to do most of the work. I think it's a 90 % up front 10% at the rear but i may be off so someone may know the exact #.

Most AWD work this way. There are exceptions aka the Subaru's.

Now I will say I had to climb a steep gravel road in my FWD Traverse on vacation this year and with the traction control it did quite well. The only spinning it did was when I was pulling the camper in and then it was not bad.

Remember these things have allot of weight to throw around and a very wide and long wheel base.

The best thing is to test drive one. I know for a fact the Uplanders AWD is not to good on steep inclines. There is a post with a very good video on AWD somewhere on this site or the Acaida site I will try to find it.
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lfyoung
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« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2010, 09:42:26 AM »

Hi
I have a steep driveway and so far so good. I made it ok last winter with my 2009 AWD Traverse just fine but like you I had concerns because I had a 4 wheel drive Trailblazer before I got the Traverse.  I must say I like the way the Traverse handles the snow just as good.   

Thank you all for your responses. So in snow and ice it did well also? 

Now we are scrambling to find a '10 model to get the 0% financing, it seems they are scarse now and most dealerships only have '11's now.
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zepcom
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« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2010, 10:26:55 AM »

The AWD system on the traverse is a "fluid clutch" which is different than the oldskool 4WD "locked" 4wd systems of other model lines. 

This is one reason that we actually opted for only front wheel drive, since we do live in the NorthEast and do get a considerable amount of snow in the wintertime, I would have preferred to get a 4wd option, or none at all.  With all the weight of the engine above the front drive wheels, and reviews from several friends in my area who also own Lambda platform FWD trucks, I chose to go FWD instead of AWD for this purchase.  Personal preference, that's all.

From an article online (facebook) I found:  http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=102599457363&ref=mf


Quote
The Traverse all-wheel-drive system actively manages torque distribution between the front and rear axles. Rotational differences between the front and rear axle cause clutch plates in the center differential to engage and transfer torque to the wheels with the best traction. Thus, more slip at one end means more power is transferred to the other. Because it is a “hands-off” system, there is no need for driver intervention. Unlike the four-wheel-drive system you find on vehicles like the Chevy Tahoe, however, the AWD system on the Traverse works in snow, rain and on dirt roads without being engaged to drive each wheel all the time.


So for that being said, you will probably climb the driveway with ease, however, may need to consider turning off stability control / traction control to gain the momentum needed to power to the top.  Couldn't hurt to see if you can test drive one, take it home, and see if it meets the challenge.  Of course, be very careful not to throw stones with a new test drive truck, but at least you'll get the feel for how it's ability to climb your unnerving driveway will be.

All that being said, I know you have probably heard this a lot, but have you considered paving it or removing the stones and even putting two "tire width" strips of asphalt/concrete for the tires to grip without danger?  I know that asphalt is much cheaper than concrete, but with all those stones around, you are making it more dangerous for (self admitted) pitting paint when stones fly when losing traction, or worse, some sort of accident related to a visitor or family member who may not be well versed in driving up a slippery loose stone driveway like yours?

--zep
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--zepcom
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bobg1951chevy
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« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2010, 02:03:25 PM »

Mine, being a FWD, is not worth a poop on steep gravel driveways. We were house hunting, live in the north GA mountains and the gravel driveways made our Traverse look pretty silly. I should have gotten the AWD. I had a 4x4 '02' Trailblazer and that vehicle went anywhere. Not so, in the FWD Traverse.

Bob
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« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2010, 02:07:57 PM »

Loose or packed gravel?
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zepcom
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« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2010, 02:13:05 PM »

Any FWD or 2WD vehicle starts spinning half way up
I'd bet "loose".

+1 for getting quotes on getting it paved.    wink
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--zepcom
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bobg1951chevy
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2010, 02:16:04 PM »

Loose or packed gravel?

Loose gravel.

Bob
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www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/21579056

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like" .... Will Rogers
bobg1951chevy
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« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2010, 02:18:04 PM »

I'd bet "loose".

+1 for getting quotes on getting it paved.    wink

Getting it paved is the best solution.

Bob
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2009 Silver Ice LS FWD
Built 6/3/09
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www.picturetrail.com/sfx/album/view/21579056

"Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like" .... Will Rogers
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« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2010, 02:58:46 PM »

Having driven my AWD Traverse in quite a bit of mud and snow I'd say it would pass with flying colors.  It is very different from a 4x4, but in a very good way for simple driving.  You may feel or hear some slipping, but it wont' stop you as the rear wheels will react quick enough to keep your momentum easily.

I agree to an extent that paving would be a great choice.  But there is some nostalgia and even some good environmental reasons for a good ol' gravel path at times.
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lfyoung
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« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2010, 03:24:44 PM »

Well I took your advice and I went and test drove an AWD at lunch today. We live within minutes of a dealership. It went up our driveway like silk! I was VERY impressed. I really like the handling, it was very smooth and quiet. As far as paving, um unless we hit the lottery, that won't be happening anytime soon. The estimates we have gotten, would cost more than the Traverse.  Shocked

Thank you all for your help and I may be back with more questions before we decide on one. I drove an LT2 today, loaded in the gray color, very nice ride!
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zepcom
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« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2010, 03:32:34 PM »

Excellent results.

Glad I made that suggestion.   :Smiley

Now onwards to striking the deal and getting all the options and color you desire!   blob
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--zepcom
* 2011 Cyber Grey Metallic Traverse LT1 FWD.  *
     Ebony Cloth, 2-2-3 seats, Remote Start, Manual HVAC, craptastic-Ultrasonic & Inspiring-Gentex-rearview-Camera, Bluetooth, Factory Trailering "Provisions" which awards "performance shift" button. Smiley

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Narg
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« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2010, 08:53:46 AM »

It went up our driveway like silk! I was VERY impressed.

That's been my impressions too.  Amazing isn't it?  There was posted in some thread here a video of an AWD GMC Acadia (same vehicle practicly) going up a super steep driveway that was covered in ice.  The purpose of the video was to show how tires not made to do the job would not work.  Sure it slipped, but it still made it up the drive which impressed me a lot.
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staciesbaby
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« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2010, 09:08:00 AM »

just been reading this thread for the heck of it because some posters slam the awd system and i've been concerned about wasting my money on getting it in the first place.....the dealers who have only the FWD models left will tell you that the traction control is enough, that you don't need the AWD....I didn't fall for that, if I didn't want AWD, I would have bought a minivan (gasp!)....anyway, i'm sort of looking forward to winter now because I want to see how she handles.  By the way, Ifyoung, i'm not sure where you're located at, but in northeast PA, Philly area, and western N.J. , to name a few areas, there are plenty of 2010's left .... just do an internet search through gm.com for your nearest dealers and search their inventories.....driving around is a thing of the past.....good luck!
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« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2010, 02:27:30 PM »

 I have a 2009 AWD Cadillac CTS.  Prior to that I had a 2005 CTS with RWD, no AWD option till 2008.  When I was looking for a new 09 I got lot of advice to not buy an AWD car.  I heard just about every conceivable reason to never own one.   But I never listen and bought one anyway.  So far in 2 yrs I cannot even tell I am driving an AWD except when I get on wet roads and the car handles like its on rails. 

FYI-CTS is rwd platform, not fwd.

If you have the chance to buy AWD, get it.  Also a much more desirable vehicle when it comes time to sell.  I know my 05 CTS was frowned up for not being AWD by every person who looked at it.  I could not sell it and had to trade it in.  You cannot find a new rwd CTS at any dealer lot in this part of the country, no one wants them when it winter for 6 months out of the year.  PS-I never drive the car in the winter, that is what the Sierra is for.

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