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AWD - yea or nay?

Discussion on the exciting new 2017 Volvo cars built on the SPA platform.
Worrad
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Worrad

AWD - yea or nay?

Post by Worrad » Fri Sep 20, 2019 3:27 pm

My old girl - 2001 V70 T5M (215 K) is getting to the point where I'm looking at replacing it in the next few years (hopefully not sooner.....). I will miss the manual tranny! Be that as it may, my biggest question when looking at certified used V90's and V60's is that the great majority of cars available have AWD. I live in VT, and have never felt AWD was necessary given good snow tires (two 850 wagons previously) and have always understood that AWD equipped Volvo (and other - Subaru?) wagons were considerably more expensive to maintain. There are certified FWD cars out there, although they always have the less powerful "T5" 250 HP base engine - which ain't too bad, but I'd really like the 300+ HP T6, which invariably gets me AWD.......that and usually ridiculously tall (19" and 20") wheels, which really hurt the pocketbook come tire replacement time. OK - rant(s) over - is AWD still (and will it always be) considered a money pit if one tends to keep a car for a long time?



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E Showell
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E Showell

Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by E Showell » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:17 pm

My personal opinion, having never owned AWD Volvos before the Current 2004 XC70 and 2006 V70R, is the answer will be: "It depends." I think you pay for AWD several times -- additional weight, complexity and maintenance expense together with reduced gas mileage and an increased purchase price, even in the used market. In NJ, I never felt I needed AWD, except perhaps to get up my steep gravel driveway in the winter (for which I needed studded snow tires on my fwd Volvos), but we don't have ridiculous winters here either. [Now I can get up my driveway in winter in the R with all season radials -- I don't even bother to put snow tires on the car.] Don't get me wrong, it is nice to have, but it is certainly not a necessity. I haven't yet had to deal with maintenance expenses attributable to AWD, but I did recently have to change all four tires (which I would have done anyway) because of the AWD. Replacing one tire isn't an option since differences in diameter can damage the AWD system. Plus, larger tire sizes are definitely more expensive as you correctly point out.

By the way, I never felt my former 168 hp base V70 wagons were fatally underpowered. I just had to pick my times to pass and leave more time and a wider margin of error. I never felt endangered for having "only" 168 hp at my disposal. If you have been fine with FWD and good snow tires in the past, you probably will be perfectly satisfied with that combo going forward. I was never stuck in bad weather in a fwd base V70 with good snow tires and I went out in some challenging conditions.


'98 V70 NA FWD 5 spd, silver sand metallic (sold)
'99 V70 NA FWD Auto, dark blue (actively for sale)
'99 S70 NA FWD Auto, black (sold and resurrected -- Don't cry for me Argentina . . . )
'07 S80 3.2 FWD Auto, Barents Blue Metallic
'06 V70 R AWD Auto, Sonic Blue Metallic
'04 XC70 Ruby Red Metallic

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June
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Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by June » Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:21 pm

No! Had one and would never buy AWD again. Wouldn't want it without warranty. If you are getting a new Volvo and plan on being extra good about tires and services, then maybe. June


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

Worrad
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Worrad

Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by Worrad » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:18 pm

E Showell wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:17 pm
I never felt endangered for having "only" 168 hp at my disposal.
Well...me neither w/ my 850's. I just have to admit to juvenile pleasure when I downshift into third, stomp on the accelerator and that V70 turbo kicks in........

The V70 T5 was/is rated at ~250 HP, essentially the same as the new 4 cyl "T5", so perhaps it will satisfy, but the combo of turbo plus supercharger in the T6's is oh so tempting to that 'lil devil sitting on my left shoulder. I do listen to the angel on the right one though, hence my inquiry. Thanks for your input!



Worrad
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Worrad

Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by Worrad » Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:19 pm

June wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:21 pm
Had one and would never buy AWD again.
June: care to elaborate?



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June
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Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by June » Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:26 pm

Worrad wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 8:19 pm
June wrote:
Fri Sep 20, 2019 4:21 pm
Had one and would never buy AWD again.
June: care to elaborate?
My 1998 V70 was AWD. Had a flat when the car was less than a year old and less than 10K on the clock. Had the tire replaced and that caused the AWD to fail. Volvo repaired the AWD and I paid for a new set of tires... From then on something went wrong with the AWD several times a year until I traded it in in late 2001. Supposedly the newer cars use a more reliable system than the 1998, but no matter what uniform tire wear will be critical for longevity. Also there is extra service that should be done like oil to be changed. Most Volvo customers tend to be cheap so I would not trust the system has been cared for without dealer receipts provided and proof of sets of 4 tires were always purchased. If you are looking at a used AWD and the tires don't match, don't buy that one for sure!

AWD eats extra gas mileage, and engine power. Also the system puts extra stress on the transmission. My V70 couldn't run 80 mph for more than a half hour without overheating the transmission causing the fluid to spew out the vent on the top of the transmission. It happened so often I don't know how the car didn't catch fire. Volvo had no fix for this problem during my ownership.

So loss of mpg, extra stress on the transmission, and extra expenses in service and repair make FWD a better option in my opinion. June


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

Worrad
Posts: 13
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Worrad

Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by Worrad » Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:39 pm

Thank you June. One hopes that AWD systems have improved since '98, BUT.....everything I read says that even today AWD is more expensive - at purchase, during normal use, at scheduled maintenance and when the system fails and needs repair. I can't for the life of me understand the current fascination with AWD and with SUV's in general. Local dealer salesperson told me that they only bring in AWD equipped cars........and I also wish Volvo would offer more engine/trim options in the FWD line!



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June
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June

Re: AWD - yea or nay?

Post by June » Sat Sep 21, 2019 6:09 pm

Worrad wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 4:39 pm
Thank you June. One hopes that AWD systems have improved since '98, BUT.....everything I read says that even today AWD is more expensive - at purchase, during normal use, at scheduled maintenance and when the system fails and needs repair. I can't for the life of me understand the current fascination with AWD and with SUV's in general. Local dealer salesperson told me that they only bring in AWD equipped cars........and I also wish Volvo would offer more engine/trim options in the FWD line!
I wish Volvo would offer more FWD options as well! The good news (MAYBE) is mechanical AWD, engine, transmissions will be a thing of the past with the upcoming all electric Volvos. I forgot to mention even in 2019 the AWD equipped vehicles have more road noise on the highway than the same model as FWD. Take the XC90, XC60, I have driven both FWD, and AWD variant as service loaners and the difference between the two is quite noticeable in the T5. T6 only available AWD naturally!

Even in 2007 when the 2nd generation S80 came out and the V8 replaced the 1st generation FWD T6. The V8 only came AWD only so I kept my T6. Then a few years later the 3.0 T6 came to replace the V8 and once again AWD was the only option... The S80 is a luxury sedan and AWD is not needed. So I still love my aging 2004 S80 T6 FWD and won't part with her.

Also, no matter what AWD system is used, or computerized, or whatever is claimed the fact is all four wheels are connected mechanically. So uneven tires will still cause the system to slip to make up for odd wheel. I have witnessed numerous people too cheap to rotate the tires at 10K when they are finally changing the factory oil out. They drive a beautiful $70K XC90 Inscription, but too cheap to spend the $20... it makes used AWD Volvos unattractive in my opinion. JUNE


My Volvo cars owned
1989 740 GLT ordered
1994 850 4door standard shift ordered
1996 960 ordered
1998 S90 ordered totalled after 3 weeks
1998 V70 GT dealer stock car
2002 S80 T6 ordered totalled
2004 S80 T6 dealer stock car and current car owned

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