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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
are there any websites out there comparing the performance of these two systems in heavy snow?

let's assume both vehicles have the same tires like bridgestone blizzak for example.

any thoughts?

lots of posts. my questions have been piling up. thanks
 

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2021 Volvo S60 T5 AWD
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I have had seven AWD Volvos (XC90 x 3, XC70 x 2, XC60, and S80 V8) and six 4matic MB's (ML320CDI, S500, E320, GL350BTC, GL450 x 2).

The most surefooted in deep snow was the XC60. DC got walloped with back to back snowstorms in the winter of 2010. My partner chickened out and took the GL and stuck me with the XC60 and it handled the snow with absolute aplomb. The 04 and 07 XC90's didn't experience much snow. The 08 XC90 V8 with the 19" Executive wheels and OE Pirellis had no problem in the snow. But the XC60 was better.

In the REALLY deep stuff, 30" or more or over rough surfaces, the GL really shines. The adjustable suspension really helps in circumstances like this.

The best vehicles I've ever had in the snow bar none were my Discoverys. They took everything I threw at them and begged for more.
 

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I'll let you know as soon as we do a VT winter in the (new to us) XC90. Our MB 4matics would be hard to beat though. They were superb, especially when shoed with Nokian Hakka Rs. Our last winter in VT (2010) we lived on a challenging winter conditions road which became a sheet of ice with an over 5ish degree grade on several occasions. We had neighbors with Subarus (albeit with worn all season tires) who couldn't get up it, we had friends visit with all manner of SUVs, including a couple of XC90s that left us unimpressed (though the XC90s were also wearing all-seasons). One XC90 actually did a 720 on the way down to our driveway once. Neither 4matic ever lost traction once all winter and I regularly commuted in my 1998 E320 over a dirt road mountain pass down into MRV in conditions that occasionally left SUVs stranded. The 2007 R-320 was even better (because of the adjustable ride height), but proved so unreliable as to negate the traction and fuel efficiency advantages. Admittedly a lot of this performance may have been down to tire choice. Nokians are hard to beat for winter traction.
 

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All of my cars were on OE tires. I don't run summer/winter sets.

My GL's were quite reliable.
 

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In today's world it's is more than the 4-wheel drive system and more than the tires themselves; it's the vehicle.

Think back on your driving history. My first car was an MG. Even with snow tires it was the worst. Once it even got stuck on level, hard packed snow. In grad school I owned a Datsun 510, a poor man's BMW. Had to have "the look" and installed wide tires. School in Utah in the winter with those tires was not a good choice, but that car got around just fine. The IRS perhaps? My VW was excellent in snow as was the reward I bought for myself, a new Carrera, but those had the help of rear weight. The Explorer AWD V8 was excellent with Michelin LTX M/S and much better than my XC90 which has the OEM all seasons - soon to be replaced with something better. My wife drives to work in a commuter car, a front wheel drive Focus with all season tires. Absolutely horrible in snow of any depth.

The point, of course, is, it's much more than the tires or the 4- wheel drive system and don't ask me why - it just is. We all know cars that are excellent in snow but not necessarily why. So look at the total package, don't go wide on the tires and if you drive half the year in a snow filled environment use dedicated snow tires for the snow period. It's my belief all 4-wheel drive systems today are pretty good, pretty quick to engage and will meet your requirements. It's the vehicle dynamics and let's not forget the driver - a very big influence.
 

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All of my cars were on OE tires. I don't run summer/winter sets.

My GL's were quite reliable.
Yeah I wouldn't either in DC. But if you live in an area with consistent winter driving conditions, you'll really need good winter tires. SUVs and AWD cars with all-seasons on litter the roads on any snowstorm day in the northeast winter zone. People don't realize that 4 wheels with no traction are little better than two, and that AWD may help you get going by using all the available traction, but it doesn't help you stop.

I'm guessing that you were leasing (given how many new models you've had in short time period)? MB's these days are lease & flip cars. I've owned 9 over many years and won't be buying another one made after 2000 or so.
 

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In today's world it's is more than the 4-wheel drive system and more than the tires themselves; it's the vehicle.

Think back on your driving history. My first car was an MG. Even with snow tires it was the worst. Once it even got stuck on level, hard packed snow. In grad school I owned a Datsun 510, a poor man's BMW. Had to have "the look" and installed wide tires. School in Utah in the winter with those tires was not a good choice, but that car got around just fine. The IRS perhaps? My VW was excellent in snow as was the reward I bought for myself, a new Carrera, but those had the help of rear weight. The Explorer AWD V8 was excellent with Michelin LTX M/S and much better than my XC90 which has the OEM all seasons - soon to be replaced with something better. My wife drives to work in a commuter car, a front wheel drive Focus with all season tires. Absolutely horrible in snow of any depth.

The point, of course, is, it's much more than the tires or the 4- wheel drive system and don't ask me why - it just is. We all know cars that are excellent in snow but not necessarily why. So look at the total package, don't go wide on the tires and if you drive half the year in a snow filled environment use dedicated snow tires for the snow period. It's my belief all 4-wheel drive systems today are pretty good, pretty quick to engage and will meet your requirements. It's the vehicle dynamics and let's not forget the driver - a very big influence.
I'll disagree on tires - they make a huge difference. We would always opt for the F-150 over the XC90 in the snow. The XC90 was horrible with the OE Michelins. Then I bought a set of Nokian WR-SUV tires, and the personality of the car in snow changed completely. The Nokians made it very surefooted, and we always feel comfortable driving it.
 

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I have had Blizzaks on my RWD Dodge Magnum with over 400 hp. Never a problem in snow. I'd rather have RWD with proper tires than AWD without. I plan to ad winter tires to my XC90 AWD for the best combo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
thanks for the thoughts.

i didnt mention the Discovery (LR3/LR4) or Acura MDX SH AWD but def appreciate the feedback. naturally i looked at these other vehicles when i bought both XC90s and MBs.
 
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