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Old 03-24-2013, 10:31 PM
Kiros Kiros is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Greater Boston
Posts: 2,671
Originally Posted by Telemark View Post
I've lived in New England all my life, greater Boston area most of the time and AWD certainly isn't needed. Good tires, patience, and some good driving skills will certainly be sufficient to get by. Occasionally it's nice to have 4WD for pulling into or out of a snowfilled parking spot or going up a nasty hill, and on rare occasions the extra ground clearance comes in handy.

I have a Subaru Outback but I spend a lot of time in northern New England skiing and hiking so I use the AWD and ground clearance fairly often. But for years I drove a Honda Accord and a Saturn SW2 in Boston and NH without problems.
Quoting this one 'cause it was nice and convenient near the bottom of the thread, but several other people have come up with the same sort of wisdom, and I'll say it again: there is absolutely no need for a SUV or other large car if one otherwise wouldn't fit your driving needs. If you have other reasons to get one, sure, it can help a little bit, but don't think that just because you get a $16k compact instead of a $30k SUV you're dooming yourself and your loved ones to an icy death. I have spent most of my driving life in suburban-or-less-plowed New England, and all of it with small cars: Saturn SL2, Toyota Yaris, and my wife's Corolla. I've had one minor weather related issue, and the root cause wasn't the tiny car, it was "seventeen years old and driving like an idiot".

Drive slowly, make sure you have at an absolute minimum all-seasons with healthy treads (and winter tires are a definite plus, and as others have mentioned, not much more expensive), let the plows do their job before you get in their way, and drive slowly. Anecdotally I would say that overconfidence is what causes the most accidents, whether that's because someone has lived with the snow their whole life and believes they're skilled enough that the rules don't apply to them, or whether someone thinks that driving whichever new SUV is approaching the size of a M1 Abrams will let them ignore the laws of physics.

New England drivers are just as terrible as drivers everywhere else, and millions of us make it through each winter unharmed. That you're even thinking to ask about it and will consider the responses means you'll be fine!