Video: Is All-Wheel Drive REALLY Better Than Front-Wheel Drive In The Snow?

There are a few qualifiers we need to address if you're shopping between AWD and FWD

Living in snow country, all-wheel drive is an easy choice over front-wheel drive. Is it that much better though?

Running on all-season tires, we have an all-wheel drive Mazda 3 Turbo, and a front-wheel drive Toyota Camry Hybrid. Now, before you throw your hot coco at the monitor screen, we know they are different. We know that the Mazda is faster and sharper, and it has an excellent AWD system.

This video is more than a drag race in the snow. We wanted to show you how different the two cars were that wore all-season snow tires in the snow. The boys did a brake test (among others) and illustrated the immediate shortcomings of all-season tires on both cars.

All-wheel drive means little when your tires don’t suit the conditions

There is one important thing to keep in mind, whether you’re driving a FWD or AWD vehicle in winter conditions: snow tires matter – a lot. There was a time when snow tires were thick rubber adorn with spikes, and had unique tread. Now, things have changed and the snow tire has evolved. Many consumers have no idea that the actual chemical compound of the snow tires is unique. While summer and all-season tires remain spongy during warmer times a year, they become as hard as hockey pucks during the winter.

Snow tires (or winter tires) have a compound within that allows the rubber to remain spongy in extreme cold temperatures. Very few use metal spikes now, given the advances in tread design, and self-cleaning capability. The only downside to winter tires is their lack of grip on dry roads, and they are not as efficient either.

Check out how our tests turned out below: