Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by repley81, Apr 11, 2013.
I have a 08 Sierra Denali that is AWD. What are the pros and cons in AWD vr 4WD?
IMHO - AWD is great for the wife, kids or someone that has no need for low range. Which, quite honestly, is most of us (me included). My wife has had three SUVs that were all AWD and they took her and the kids anywhere they needed to go. If you need low range then you need 4WD.
So basically for someone that just likes to cruse around, AWD is prefect.
It is good for about 98% of all driving situations. No muss, no fuss. Just put it in gear and go.
I prefer 4wd. When I bought my truck I looked at tons of them. Some with awd some with 4wd. The awd was a deal breaker for me. I do mostly highway driving and the 1-2 mpg decrease really turned me off. It could be that many of the awd are denali and have the 6.0L not the 5.3L. But, that being said,the friends that I know with them all report at least one mpg less than what I get with the 4wd. I don't see a point in driving around in awd when it is not needed(dry pavement) to me that would be like leaving your truck running in the driveway in case you needed to go to the store in a few hours. It is not like you are driving a racecar and need the added traction of AWD to pull thru a hairpin curve at 60 mph. To me it is about versatility, I can always switch to auto 4wd auto and basically have all of the benefits (if not more) than awd. (yes, I know that they are not the same, so please don't flame me on that) But, then I still have the advantage of better fuel economy in 2wd, the ability to switch to auto 4, 4 high, 2wd, and 4 low. It is not like I need 4 low often. But, if I have a truck that cost over $55000 new I sure want to be able to use it in a situation that requires torque. Something like pulling my boat out of the water on a very steep incline or pulling a tree stump. My wife prefers the 4wd also. Like above, she does not need 4 low often, but when 4wd is needed she just presses the button (she also refers to these as "sissy buttons" and prefers the floor shifter) . I like that she has to press the button, it makes her pay more attention to road conditions rather than just driving and assuming that the truck is going to keep traction at all times. If we have 2-3 inches of snow and the roads are getting a little slick she just puts it in auto 4wd. If the rear end starts to slip the front axle engages. I have also noticed that the awd trucks seem to need more maintenance to the front diff and components. I know a few people with the same year truck as mine, same truck except awd denali, they all seem to be replacing wheel bearings, cv axles, and having front diff issues often. After saying all of this, I say to each his own. If AWD works for someone, great! It is just not my cup of tea.
The newest AWD systems have virtually zero drag when not engaged. I don't know if that would include an '08 Deni, but I do know the newest Subaru, Audi, and VW systems have pretty much zero drag, and don't affect the mileage due to drag, however, the weight of the complete AWD system is significant enough to impact the MPG.
Is AWD always engaged?
Depends on the car...
My 97 OBW is always engaged, but senses a turn and uncouples the rear drive line for that turn to prevent scrub; but my 09 Forester is not engaged unless it senses wheel slip and engagement is seamless and instantly. The Fords Escapes I have driven are the same way, they sense slip then engage the rear drive line (they default to front wheel drive, same with the Forester).
On a side note, the newer AWD is pretty cool...they have finally wised up and use the brakes to control wheel spin. Its pretty near impossible to hang up our Forester because of that...it slips the right front wheel and you can hear the ABS pump engage, and the spinning wheel slows and the other starts pulling. Almost as good as a limited slip, without the LSD; and it works for both front and rear without the adverse effects!
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