13th Jun 2008, 17:32
People (due to ad hype) have the mistaken idea that front drive cars are better in snow. We have never owned a front drive car that was better in snow than our rear drive SUV or rear drive cars. I've driven one 20-year-old domestic car (Plymouth) with rear drive that would blow ANY front-drive car away in snow. Our current SUV will run rings around our front drive 3rd car. The front drive car flops around in snow like a fish out of water, and does good to get up a tiny slope. The rear wheel drive SUV will blast through even deep snow like it was on dry pavement.
16th Jul 2008, 15:12
The reason front wheel drive IS better in snow is because the engine/trans-axle is sitting over the drive wheels (every time someone puts sand bags etc in the back of their rear wheel drive, they prove this point). But weight distribution is just one of several factors that determine how well a vehicle will do in snow. Obviously, as others have said, tire design makes a big difference. Some other factors are remaining tread depth, transmission type (manual isn't as progressive for start-ups on slippery surfaces), weight of vehicle (heavier is better), proper alignment, drive system, and amount of power (too much can be tricky). Without going into braking, these are most of the factors that determine the handling of any vehicle. If the alignment is fine and the correct tires are on the car for the road conditions, it is very unlikely (keeping all else more or less equal) that a Camry, Malibu, or Accord (some of these models don't offer a manual but just for argument sake...) front drive manual with the same tires would be any different. So save yourselves some money and check out your alignment and get the right tires for the conditions. Hope this helps. Good luck.
1st Sep 2008, 20:42
The reason why the Ford Fusion does not do well in snow is because the Fusion has the widest tires in its class, therefore it will never handle as well as a car with skinny tires that cuts through the snow and catches the pavement... I'm from Las Vegas and I knew that you must be new to snow!
2nd Sep 2008, 22:17
Front wheel drive has few, if any advantages, over rear drive. They are much more costly to repair (due to harder access to parts in the cramped engine bay) and the handling on wet pavement or snow is questionable. We've owned a total of 5 front drive cars and none handled as well in snow as our large rear drive cars or our mid-sized SUV's. We've switched back to rear drive vehicles except for one front drive car that we leave at home if it snows.
4th Sep 2008, 22:22
To 20:42, The base Fusion uses 205 width tires. The SEL uses 225 width tires. You will find a number of competitors with similar sizing. Check out the Nissan Altima for example.
To 22:17, Refer to comment 15:12 for reasons why front drivers have some advantages. Your experience, while valid, perhaps doesn't take into account some of the other parameters that make for good traction. For example were your front drivers using the same size, brand, and type of tire as your rear-wheel-drives? Was the vehicle weight more or less the same as your rear-wheel-drives? Were they all automatics? How about wheel base? This stuff is science, not magic. So having the engine/trans-axle sitting right over the drive wheels is a quantifiable advantage. P.S. I've got a rear wheel drive van (Chevy 1 ton automatic extended van with 225-75-R16 all seasons) that is a pig in our Minnesota snow...not that I think my experience is somehow universal to everyone who owns RWD vehicles.
To the reviewer, Ford offers the Fusion in an all-wheel-drive configuration. Without a doubt this car as an AWD would completely outperform any Camry, Accord, Etc.
5th Sep 2008, 09:47
I've been driving in New England since 1972, and I will say that in most cases a good rear wheel drive handles better than a front wheel drive car on dry roads, but there is no way it handles snow as well as a front wheel drive vehicle.
Some FWD cars - VW, Audi, Saab are nearly the equal of a good RWD vehicle such as BMW in routine handling, at the limit the RWD's handling characteristics give it a slight edge, but in well over 30 years of driving in New England winters, if you can only have a FWD or RWD vehicle - I'd take the FWD.
10th Sep 2008, 16:13
I don't care if the engine is sitting in the passenger seat, all our rear drive cars except Mustang have handled much better in snow and ice than our front drives.
14th Sep 2008, 21:11
The most amazing car we ever drove in the snow was a classic 1972 Plymouth Duster V-8 that I sold some years ago. We were caught in a big snow one night on our way home and found ourselves having to creep along at 10mph behind all the folks in their front drives. I finally told my wife "The heck with this!!" and pulled into the deep snow in the center turn lane of the 4-lane highway we were on and punched it. I passed the blocking cars leaving a nice rooster tail of spray behind, and once around the slowpokes maintained 45-50 mph all the way home. Of all the cars we've ever owned, (and we've owned front and rear drive) that old Mopar was the best of anything other than our newer rear-drive SUV on snow. The only front drive we've owned that ever came close to handling as well on snow as our rear drive vehicles was a 1988 Dodge Shelby Daytona.
1st Dec 2008, 08:25
My 2006 Ford Fusion goes through rear tires like crazy.
I'm very disappointed. I went through my first set of tires in less than 20,000 miles. I get my tires rotated and have had a four wheel alignment, and when I went in for my second oil change with my newest tires (not even 6,000 miles) I was told my rear tires were chopped, and my husband even verified by going into the garage with the technician. I cannot afford to buy new tires every 12,000.
1st Dec 2008, 18:21
To 08:25: You must still have some sort of misalignment issue or possibly brake issue with your Fusion. It is NOT normal to go through tires in 20,000 miles. The original tires on my wife's car have over 60,000 miles and are still in good shape and not worn enough to require replacement.
STAY ON YOUR DEALER ABOUT THIS!! As a mechanic I can assure you that Ford service is some of the worst on the planet, though the cars are some of the best. If your alignment is correct, a possible explanation could be your anti-lock brake system or your electronic traction control. Either of these devices can, if not working properly, cause shaking or shimmying that may not even be noticeable, but it can scuff your tires off none the less. If the car is out of warranty (which it shouldn't be at only 3 years) have a GOOD shop check it out.
If it is still in warranty, DEMAND that the problem be fixed, even if it requires filing complaints with consumer agencies. Do take "No" for an answer. If your car is under warranty, Ford IS obligated by law to not only fix it, but to reimburse you for the worn-out tires. Don't let them bully you. I've fought Ford before. I've never lost.