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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering what the actual meaning of awd is for the traverse.

I saw the KBB video on the AWD feature of the traverse, and it says it distributes torque
to the front and rear based on conditions...which would indicate that it's not true 4wd all
the time. I haven't owned an awd vehicle before, but I imagine the torque distribution is the standard
implementation of an awd vehicle.

I'm just curious how that compares to a true 4wd SUV, for instance, on a snowy road. Out here in california,
when it snows in the mountains, you are required to have chains or 4wd. This is the main
reason for my question. Does an awd vehicle like this qualify as a 4wd vehicle?

If the car begins to slip, is it even possible that power will be given to all 4 wheels? And how does it
determine how long to keep it there?

Thanks for the info if anyone has any.

Thanks,
Joe
 

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In general, 4WD refers to either full time (Low / High only) or Part time (4WD Lo, 4WD High, 2WD) transmissions where you choose, with a lever, which mode you want to be in. I believe in most cases, 4WD pretty much always distributes about 25% of the torque to each wheel under all circumstances.

AWD, by comparison, usually removes the driver from the equation is deciding when and how to distribute torque to each wheel. in place of a lever or shifter, a computer monitors various functions of the vehicle and dynamically adjusts the torque split (front to back, sometimes even side to side) as needs arise. If you're driving on dry smooth pavement, most AWD systems will shift most (if not all) torque to either the front or back wheels only, depending on the bias of the car. In wet, slick rain or snow, torque will be constantly shifted to the wheel (or axle) with the most traction.

The general concensus is that AWD systems provide the best balance between on-road driving traction and fuel efficiency, but can't really take the place of a locking center differential of a full time 4WD system for true off-road capabilities.

Getting to the heart of your question, I do believe that modern AWD systems like the one in the Traverse are at least the equivalent, if not better, than 4WD systems at least for any on-road conditions.
 

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Admin's on the money, but to me it seems more like advertising speak to get interest up to sell more vehicles. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the info.

I really was looking to buy a 4wd vehicle...specifically a chevy trailblazer. I read that they're likely to be phased out in the next year or two, and with GM cutting back production, it's difficult to find a 4wd one out here in southern california.

So, I was looking at alternatives, sticking within the GM family which i have most of my life. This Traverse seems like a logical choice. I like the 3 row of seats, the navi, bluetooth, sunroof, towing, etc. The awd vs 4wd issue is the only sticky point.

So, I'm trying to convince myself if this is the right way to go or not.

Thanks,
Joe
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ahh, I found the answer to the CA question. Under R1 or R2 conditions, it specifies 4wd or awd vehicles as the exception (assuming snow tires in the R2 case). I hadn't see that before.

Joe
 

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I'm glad you found something official. I was reluctant to make that call, but I felt pretty confident that would turn out to be the case...
 

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mihalich said:
Ahh, I found the answer to the CA question. Under R1 or R2 conditions, it specifies 4wd or awd vehicles as the exception (assuming snow tires in the R2 case). I hadn't see that before.

Joe
Remember though that the CA definition of a snow tire is any tire with a M&S designation on its sidewall. So the factory tires qualify, at least the 18s.
 

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If you are looking for a Trailblazer (,Envoy or Saab 9x were the others on the platform that were still being produced), the plant closed last month, so it's pretty much whatever is available on the lots. I turned in my lease of a 2006 Envoy XL 2WD for our Traverse, and the Envoy was a great car (was never in the shop in the 3 years I had it), and it was great in the snow, (even with 2WD), but you could almost watch the gas gauge drop as you drove. There are some good rebates and financing deals on the ones that remain, but there are also a good amount of used ones out there for cheap. I went for a 2wd traverse, but I don't have to contend with mountains in Michigan, so the 2WD is fine.
 

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hello all,
Thank for the good information, I had wondered the difference myself.

So the 4wd is going to be hard to find from now on, you say. I guess there are many reasons for that, gas prices and how they are driving the companies out of business.

Do you think we will ever see an electric car that can use highway speeds for long trips?
 

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A little added data. I just returned from a week at Yosemite where they've had pretty heavy snowfall for this year. Conditions were R2 (chains on 2wd or 4wd with "snows") almost the entire time we were there. Our AWD Acadia was spectacular the whole time even through relatively deep or slippery/icy conditions. I did have cable chains with me (as required under R2) and would have put them on had I seen the least bit of instability in the vehicle or reason to do so, but that never happened. In fact we drove quite a bit in "heavy conditions" right after the Christmas snow there and I never did once see the traction or stabilitrak light come on and never felt the slightest wheelspin occurring. I was very impressed with the ability of the Goodyear 18" M&S tires to move from a stop in horrid conditions with zero wheel spin. We saw plenty of other vehichles, even some with chains, do some tailwagging when getting moving in intersections.

Also, FWIW, the Lambda AWD system does proportion some torque to both front and rear under all conditions, with the preponderence being towards the front in normal driving. Unlike mechanical 4wd, it does have some electronic brains allowing it to aportion drive premptively in slippery conditions. Also regarding the comparison to a mechanical 4wd system, Most (but not those with Torsen diffs) do have a fixed split of front and rear torque but they do not neccessarily have any left/right proportioning unless it has some type of limited slip differential. There are plenty of mechanical 4wd's out there (think about the older compact truck based small SUVs ) that are capable of being stranded if both left or both right tires are on the same ice.
 

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Gerry,

Thanks for that information. Seems the tires on the Traverse are exceptional snow tires. I do like the tread on them, but wondering how well they'll hold out after some of the tread has worn off. I don't figure it'll be any worse than any other tire/vehicle combo.

The biggest gauge for me on the ability for a tire was told to me by a person in the tire industry. If the side tread has a clean open path from center out for water/snow, then your performance will be exceptional. There are tires sold on the market with that as their main purpose too. The Goodyears on the Traverse fit that model. But, it'll also increase road noise, that's why you see so many tires with solid design along the side of the tread path. I'll take tires like the Traverse's Goodyears anyday.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Great info from everyone.

We picked up an AWD Traverse this past weekend. It had the "California Package" on it, which means, dual exhaust and 20" Monstrosities for tires...255/55R20. The tires are M+S, and are rated as 65K mile tires...so the $195/tire replacement cost isn't that concerning at the moment. Love the car, rides smooth. The engine has some kick to it. Not as much as the trailblazer straight 6, but more than I expected. I'll probably pick up a set of SCC Super Z6 'traction devices' to keep in the trunk.

Glad I decided not to try and track down a trailblazer. They're almost non existant out here.

One dissapointment though. The freakin car doesn't say AWD on it anywhere. I mean no plack or anything. So how do I convince the state troopers I have AWD when I come up to them in R2 conditions. We'll find out I guess.


Joe
 
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