This quote, “Is there a 4WD in the range? Ask yourself if you really need it. You probably don’t” is from Top Gear magazine.
Top Gear is more than a popular British TV show — it started as a magazine and expanded into television, garnering a far wider audience than the magazine could ever hope for.
Back to the quote — you would never read that in an American magazine, but it makes sense in a British context because:
- It rarely snows in the parts of England where people actually live.
- Fuel economy is a smaller deal in the States, since fuel is (currently) so cheap.
- To an American, owning a front-wheel drive crossover or SUV is like drinking decaffeinated coffee.
- Because of these two reasons, 2WD crossovers and SUVs are very hard to sell — think of selling bags of ice to Eskimos. So if you buy one new, you are dooming yourself to a larger loss of money when it comes time to sell it on the used market.
Having said all that, if you are in the market for a new car and don’t live in a place that gets a ton of snow, I would urge you to consider a car that is front-wheel drive.
I live in a suburb of Denver and have never owned a 4WD vehicle. We get an average of 57 inches of snow a year. In my 20 years of commuting here, I have only gotten stuck in snow about two times.
We bought a set of snow tires and wheels for one of our cars and even take it up to ski. We’ve never gotten stuck.
I’m not condemning anyone who has a 4WD or AWD vehicle. They’re great. I’m just asking you to consider a car if you are in the market for a different vehicle. And if you like off-roading, you can rent a Jeep.