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2014 CTS Vsport White Diamond
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Discussion Starter #1
AWD is NECESSARY when the rear wheels don't have enough traction to push the car forward but adding power to the front wheels might. I understand this. But what type of real world situation does this correspond to?

Assuming snow tires are being used, what would it take to get a RWD ATS stuck?

and please don't say over ice. cause if there is that much ice that is that smooth then AWD isn't going to help either. I'm more or less thinking is there a ball park snow depth figure where there is enough lift that two wheels won't be able to put enough power down when four wheels would?
 

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2001 Seville STS, 1990 Seville (RIP), 1972 Sedan Deville
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26,323 Posts
It's not only the depth, but the type of snow and even ambient temperature that effects traction. There's not really a set criteria.

My Seville has all season tourings on it. With all the snow we had in Boston, I didn't get stuck once, not even getting in and out of my private way, which is not shoveled all the way to the ground, and not salted. I haven't gotten stuck once. One of my neighbors has an AWD Highlander, and got stuck a few times.

Too many variables.
 

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AWD is NECESSARY when the rear wheels don't have enough traction to push the car forward but adding power to the front wheels might. I understand this. But what type of real world situation does this correspond to?

Assuming snow tires are being used, what would it take to get a RWD ATS stuck?

and please don't say over ice. cause if there is that much ice that is that smooth then AWD isn't going to help either. I'm more or less thinking is there a ball park snow depth figure where there is enough lift that two wheels won't be able to put enough power down when four wheels would?
If you had snow tires I think it would be extremely hard to get stuck. Probably close to impossible.
 

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2013 ATS-4 and 2015 CTS V-sport
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In truth, AWD isn't "necessary." I grew up driving RWD with bias tires--and yes, in the snow. You get by. But FWD/radials were a big improvement, and AWD is the best of all.
 

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Current 2014 red CTS Vsport/ Black Raven 2013 3.6 ATS4 gone
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It's about traction and control over the car in slick conditions. All 4 tires turning is always going to give you more traction. Like ralley cars. They get better traction at higher speed on dirt and slick conditions around corners. My BMW RWD got stuck in my driveway with an inch of snow. The car was so long and the uneven pavement with snow did it. Just happened to go in the worse place possible. No snow tires on. I had to have it pushed like 5 inches to get it moving. Not normally the case that was just one time. You can also get good launchs with AWD. If you want to get stuck just jump a snow bank:stirpot:

I got stuck in my jeep tj in an October storm a couple years ago. They plowed my driveway in with about 5 foot of snow. I drove like 40mph into it. It jumped the snow bank and landed in 3 or 4 foot of snow. The superswampers were off the ground with it buried up to the frame. I thought I could never get that stuck but it did. I should have just inched in the driveway eating away at the snow. But I thought it would be fun and I paid for it. DUMMY

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Do you live in a snow area?
AWD is NECESSARY when the rear wheels don't have enough traction to push the car forward but adding power to the front wheels might. I understand this. But what type of real world situation does this correspond to?

Assuming snow tires are being used, what would it take to get a RWD ATS stuck?

and please don't say over ice. cause if there is that much ice that is that smooth then AWD isn't going to help either. I'm more or less thinking is there a ball park snow depth figure where there is enough lift that two wheels won't be able to put enough power down when four wheels would?
 

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'14 ATS 2.0T Lux 6sp Manual
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RWD, standard tires. Didn't get stuck yet. I've even gone up some steeper grades on snow-covered back roads where the TC was helping me ALL the way up. Of course, I would not expect the car to pull in and out of deep snow from a standstill.
 

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2004 CTS Lux Sport and 2014 ATS 2.0T AWD Lux
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There are lots of variables of course. A general rule for me is, if the snow (on pavement) is higher than the bottom of your car, and is unplowed, it doesn't matter how many wheels-drive you have. You ain't going anywhere.

Just got my ATS before Christmas, but haven't tried it out in snow yet. Too much salt out there right now.

In my Saturn Vue, I did actually feel the AWD kick in when the front wheels started to slip on a hill in 2 inches of snow last month. I felt the rear wheels kick in and pushed me up the hill.
Hoping the ATS with all the snow mode, TC, etc. will perform as well or better.
 

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2013 3.6 RWD Premium - 2006 BMW Z4M
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As said above, too many variables to say "X" amount of snow will cause a RWD car to get stuck (type of snow, ice under it, road grade, what the surface of the road is like, etc.)

I have a RWD with Winter tires/wheels and rest of year Summer tires and decided to go this route over AWD and I haven't been stuck yet. AWD with Winters would be the best but if comparing RWD Winters to AWD with All Seasons, I enjoy the higher traction during turning/stopping that All Seasons never provided and this is what I found the worst part of Winter driving.
 

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2014 ATS 2.0T AWD, 2016 SRX AWD
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We've been hit pretty hard north of NYC this winter and I'm glad I've had my AWD to get out of my long driveway (which wasn't always plowed or shoveled).

I was driving home on Tuesday through a big storm and my Waze app re-routed me off the major highways. I ended up in some very sparsely populated residential areas with some steep hills which I didn't think I would be able to climb without AWD.

I personally chose to pay up for AWD because I don't like snow-blowing or shoveling early in the morning. I'd rather just blast through the snow and get on my way to work.

Having said all that, if you can avoid getting some or all of your tires in deep snow, RWD is about equal to AWD. I'd also submit that RWD + Winter tires > AWD + all-season tires.
 

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'14 ATS 4 Black Raven 3.6 Premium
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Ice is definitely a consideration as well despite you advising not to mention it. In the winter time ice can be very patchy, especially at intersections. You may very well have instances where your back wheels are on an icy patch and it takes a little more time to get across or it's harder to get moving. If you have those front wheels digging in to something other than ice you are able to get across much faster which is less frustrating for me anyway. If you are coming off sideroads on to more heavy traveled roads main roads in town and you can't get going right away you might be sitting forever because large holes in traffic don't open up that often. As mentioned though, snow tires are as good as AWD with an average set of all season tires. AWD and snow tires are not mutually exclusive though obviously.
 

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I live in Nebraska, which has moderately harsh winters but usually nothing crazy. I can't speak to the ATS yet (I did have some fun doing power slides through my work parking lot in about 1/8th of an inch of snow yesterday morning) but my previous car (Camaro SS) had similar tires and it didn't take much for me to decide to take my wife's explorer to work. The biggest problem is parking lots, the tires just can't get traction when trying to go from a stop to moving slowly.

That said, I have never gotten to the point when AWD is necessary. I bought Blizzaks for my Camaro and I found those to be adequate.
 

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2015 ATS Performance Coupe & 2010 SRX
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As many are stating, it is the type of snow and conditions underneath also. Drove rear wheel drive cars for years in the winter with snow tires and rarely ever got stuck.

This year I buried my '15 ATS4 Performance Coupe in a drift on my driveway. Figured it was light enough snow, but turned out the drift was very compacted from the wind. Basically the car was not high enough to fully clear and 'high sided' onto the drift with the pavement covered by ice under the drift. Any other day I could have driven slowly into it and burped the throttle to get through without issues.

Later that evening my wife got stuck in the same short drift with our SRX. The ice underneath and the compressed density of the fine snow made all the difference.

Tired of snow, need to move south.
 

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2014 2.0t AWD
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276 Posts
All I can say is I’m very impressed with the AWD. For a car that’s relatively low to the ground, has wide(ish) tires, and is running stock all-season tires, this thing is just plain amazing in the snow. I’ve owned FWD/RWD/4WD/AWD – say what you will but there is no comparison when it comes to winter traction, AWD (or 4wd) is the way to go.

The penalty is you can't get it in a stick, it gets slightly worse gas mileage, and there is some added complexity/maintenance.
 

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ATS Metallic Silver, 2.0L Turbo, Performance, Morello Red
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In my estimation, everything depends on the conditions......regardless of AWD vs RWD. I run Blizzaks due to Iowa conditions and it's what I'm confident with. When the snow/ice gives you grief, you better rely on something other than all-season tires exclusively. This is my second winter, but I've never put the ATS in a situation it couldn't handle.

I don't worry about getting stuck nor will I let myself get into that predicament. Don't drive if you don't have to.......I see common sense is better than anything.
 

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2018 XTS VSport Platinum AWD
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For me, how the car handles the snow with AWD is a non-issue.. Cause when the snow gets "slightly" deep.. The ATS never leaves the garage.. I just like the way AWD handles in every day driving situations.. On rain soaked roads, the AWD accelerates and corners as if the roads were dry..

BTW.. I always wondered why Cadillac didn't offer a limited slip rear differential with the AWD setup.. Or maybe a Torsen differential in the front and back.. For the ultimate in AWD traction.. But after experiencing how the AWD system works in the snow, I can see why not..

You can have 3 wheels on ice, with only 1 of your front wheels having traction.. And the system with direct power to that one wheel, to keep you going..
 

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Current 2014 red CTS Vsport/ Black Raven 2013 3.6 ATS4 gone
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It has snowed here in CT like every week this winter. More snow than I can ever remember. The awd performs great. In pure winter conditions it isn't necessary to have awd but if you do it only gets easier for you.The simple fact that all wheels are turning tells you that traction is going to be better no matter what. Is awd better in the snow than rwd? Of coarse it is. You can't dispute that. Do you need awd? No. Do I like having it? Yes. On the other hand do I like rwd? of coarse I do and miss things about it in the spring and summer.
 

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14 ATS AWD 3.6L Performance - Son of a Gun Grey Metallic
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Necessary? Really not ever. Except when you're awesome! :D

And the OP's comment about
and please don't say over ice. cause if there is that much ice that is that smooth then AWD isn't going to help either.
is actually when AWD helps the most (accelerative). Then there is no tires causing drag on the ice, all the tires are contributing to acceleration. Believe me, we're on ice four to six months of the year. :burn:

And AWD is a great save when you gun it around a corner, the car transfers power to the rear and swings the rear end out; it ends up being too much (edge of steering lock), throttle off, hold the steering and just light throttle on; car transfers back to 50-50 power distribution, and your return to centre while looking like the hero. (Tour setting, Sport will let you spin out on ice. Winter snow/ice tires, Traction Control off, Stabilitrack on) :spin:
 

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What I don't understand about my ats awd is that my rear wheels were spinning on ice but my front wheels which were on dry land did not engage my dealer said that the way it works....... WTF?. All the best(still love the car).
 

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'14 ATS 4 Black Raven 3.6 Premium
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What I don't understand about my ats awd is that my rear wheels were spinning on ice but my front wheels which were on dry land did not engage my dealer said that the way it works....... WTF?. All the best(still love the car).
Your dealer is wrong and that should be looked at if indeed the fronts are not getting power.
 
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