CR-V 4 Wheel Drive: Why Not AWD ?

Hello,
Sr. Citizen now, and frankly not into auto technology. But would like to ask:
Son says he is interested in the CR-V. We've always had really good luck with Honda's, so great.
Live in New England, near Boston. Fair amount of snow and ice in winter.
I looked at the Honda website, and see the 2011 CR-V have (only) 4 wheel drive.
I thought by now just about everyone has gone over to AWD, which I guess means AWD "full time". True ?
Anyway, should he re-consider, and go for something that does have AWD ?
What, if anything, is he giving up with only 4 wheel drive ? I'm sure that I'm missing something here.
Pros and cons, and a bit of education on this would be most appreciated.
Thanks, Bob
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wrote:

What you're missing is that marketing people use whatever phrases they want to describe something, with the ultimate goal of getting as many people to buy their stuff as possible.
Their goal is NOT clear communication. You, however, are asking for clear communication.
The CRV is all-wheel drive. What that means is that under normal conditions, the front wheels drive the car. Under conditions that demand it (the front wheels are slipping), the system can engage the rear wheels.
One could argue, technically, that if all four wheels are capable of being driven, then it's a 4WD vehicle. However, there are many, many ways to drive all four wheels; the Honda system is only one of them. Other ways involve transfer cases, locking differentials, etc.--and those are *generally* considered to be 4WD vehicles, while the Honda system is generally considered to be an AWD vehicle.
There is no FORMAL definition of AWD or 4WD, only generally accepted conventions.
You're getting hung up on marketing semantics. Don't.
That all being said, exactly what behavior are you looking for from the car? If you can define the behavior you're looking for, we can help you find a car that fits your need.
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How many wheels does a car have? Four? Five? Seven? You know the answer.
"AWD" and "4WD" are the same thing: Honda's system contrives to drive all the vehicle's wheels. But...

Honda's system feeds power to the front wheels ALL the time, but to the rear wheels ONLY if the fronts begin to slip and fail to propel the vehicle in the desired direction.
Summary: Poor traction = power to all the wheels. Good traction = power to the fronts only.
A system that fed power to all four wheels all the time would be inefficient and wasteful of gas. In fact, few AWD/4WD vehicles feed power to all the wheels all the time; most use some variation of the "slip-sensing" system that Honda uses.
--
Tegger

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Put winter tires on that baby.
People always forget about the tires....use the wrong tool for the job, and you'll always get bad results...
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Ah, Grasshopper. You must be a young whippersnapper. Back in the good old days of the US Army Jeep, there was a FWD low selector which locked all four wheels. One could rapidly scrub off the tires, if one was on pavement, but in snow or sand, they would all spin away merrily, throwing crap in all directions.
The Honda is much more advanced, and my Pilot Touring senses what it needs automatically, and is so smooth that I have not, in a year, even known what wheels were driven. And we live in the Sierra Nevada so it has had a few spins in the snow. It has a button to push, when in second, to lock all the wheels, but I have not had to use it, and I know better to never use it unless as a last resort.
As an aside my first army duty, as a second lieutenant was heading an experimental maintenance unit, following a 500-track combat command, for a week (no sleep) and it was amazing how many ways the Jeep drivers lost control in 4WD. M38A1s and M151s. They finally had to put out a rule that no one could use 4WD on any road (which makes sense, they just forgot.) Now I live close enough to the Rubicon Trail that I see all the wrecks coming through, and hear the stories. I think to myself, "been there, done that."
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The Honda Pilot should come with Michelin M/S tires. Those are sufficient to get through the snow check points in the Sierra. You still have to carry chains.
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