Think All-Wheel Drive Crossovers Don’t Need Winter Tires? Think Again

Winter is right around the corner and that means driving conditions are about to get a lot more hazardous.

While a number of drivers probably feel safe behind the wheel of their all-wheel drive crossover, owners who want to get the most out of their vehicle will probably want to install winter tires. Some might argue they’re not necessary for all-wheel drive vehicles, but Tire Rack has created a video which shows how dramatic the performance improvements can be.

In the segment, which starts at the 1:38 minute mark, you can see the company pitted two Toyota RAV4s against each other. While they look largely the same, one features all-season tires while the other has winter tires.

In the test, the all-season RAV4 was able to accelerate from 0-60 feet (18.2 meters) in 3.7 seconds. The crossover equipped with winter tires was able to get up to speed faster and managed the same task in 3.1 seconds.

Braking on ice is especially difficult and this is clearly demonstrated in the video. While the RAV4 was only travelling at 12 mph (19 km/h), the all-season model took 57 feet (17.3 meters) to come to a stop. The model with winter tires did nearly twice as good as it came to a stop in 33.7 feet (10.2 meters).

The company also ran a “cornering traction” test which involved making a right turn. The crossover with the winter tires made the turn without any issues, while the all-season model went wide before going off the course.

Tire Rack also conducted the same tests on a front-wheel drive Toyota Camry. The results were largely identical even though the models lacked the added capability of all-wheel drive.

H/T to Jalopnik


  • SpongeBob99Swell

    Ya see kids? Want the best control during winter no matter the condition? Tough winter tires are guaranteed. 🙂


  • pcurve

    I think a lot of people know this, but only small percentage of people actually change to winter tires…

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  • BGM

    I used to live in northern Connecticut and definitely winter tires were a must. I now live in northern Virginia and a set of all season does just fine. I have some colleagues at work who live over the mountains near Shenandoah NP or in West Virginia and when it snows, they’re not coming to work, they simply can’t get up the hills.

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