The value of AWD


(Grahame Loader) #1

On Saturday I got a demonstration of the practicality of AWD on the X Type. Up to now, I had been skeptical of how much AWD added to the drive-ability of the car.

I used my 04 wagon to drive a friend to pick up a rice-burner crossover he bought off the internet. The trip was 6 hours one way, and took us from southern Alberta and dry snow-free conditions up to NE Alberta and 1.5 feet of snow on the ground. The trip up was fine and along the way we stopped to visit a car museum. We met the seller and followed him in his 4x4 pick-up to the farm yard and shop the car was stored in. The entry lane was unplowed and I worried whether we would be able to get out.

We followed the truck in, in it’s tracks and waded into the shop. My friend was pleased with what he saw and decided to take it for a test drive. Backing out of the shop, he got it stuck. After much pushing and churning of snow, we managed to get it going. The test drive was uneventful and we pulled the car back in the shop, while my friend concluded the sale.

As it was pushing snow, I was concerned that my car would get stuck, since everything had been churned up so badly. Walking in the ruts, you were slip-sliding around, since there was nothing solid underneath. So, while they were haggling, I decided to try turning my car around. I was prepared to get it stuck and wanted lots of hands around to push. Didn’t need them: Even though I could feel it dragging on the snow, I was able to maneuver at will and back it up to the shop door.

Sale concluded, the seller went to his truck to back it up to the shop and off-load a set of wheels and tires that went with the crossover. He got hopelessly stuck. So stuck he had to walk across the road, to where a neibour was clearing his yard and get him to come over and pull the 4x4 out with the tractor. The neibour then commenced to plow the yard. That involved me moving my car around to facilitate him. I was impressed. Even though it was obviously churning through the snow, my X Type wasn’t stopped.

On the trip back, I was following my friend. He is a normally aggressive driver, so we were humming right along, when, for no apparent reason, he slowed down, even below the limit. I hadn’t noticed anything, so I got on the walkie-talkie and asked what was going on. He said he had encountered some slippery section. I hadn’t noticed anything.

Overall, I was impressed with how my X Type handled difficult conditions. In the past, I had taken its 4WD capabilities with a grain of salt. No more.

Grahame.