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Old 06 Oct 2007, 04:57 pm
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Default Honda Element - AWD vs. 2WD?

What is the benefit of AWD over 2WD? I'll use the car for camping trips, but only a couple of times per year (with no hard-core off-roading, or anything). Is it worth it to get AWD or is 2WD acceptable enough?FYI - I'm in Souther California, so extreme weather isn't an issue. Wind, maybe.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:01 pm
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The 2WD is not worthwhile. It weighs so little that it is all over the road at high speeds. Wind makes you think youre going to either flip or change lanes against your will.I would be wary of taking it anywhere near a muddy dirt road for fear it would be impossible to keep on the road.The AWD version is wonderful-it actually stays on the road and is controllable consistently.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:03 pm
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Good start---don't buy a Honda.....especially a Element. if you want something that will hold up buy a Ford Escape. They just remodeled the 2008's. They look great.Buy American.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:06 pm
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The AWD version will have better resale value in the Northern state. The 2WD version is Front Wheel Drive will do just find even in most snows. The All Wheel Drive really won't do anything different on your camping trips anyway. The All Wheel Drive system is not an off Road 4x4 system like that in "true" off road vehicle. The one difference that you will feel right away besides the intitial higher price is lower gas mileage. The 2WD also tends to have faster acceleration as well.Also resale is a big factor with the element. You will thank yourself in a few years when you trade it in or sell it.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:10 pm
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If no hard-core off road stuff, conventional 2 wheel drive should be just fine. Did you ask for the availability of a limited slip differential?
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:13 pm
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AWD, Because in case you get stuck in a puddle of mud that you are unaware about while camping, your AWD Honda will give you enough wheel torque to pull your car out yourself by pushing the peddle. Vs 2WD you might need some help from your fellow campers. AWD is great for snow, handling control, more torque to pull more equipment( not trailers the car is to small for that.) etc. AWD is all around good choice especially for those who love 's the out door.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:16 pm
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AWD won't really do much for you in southern Cali. Get the FWD with traction control and you'll do fine with whatever you might experience. For the person above me who said wind makes it go all over the road, I find that easy to believe since it is as aerodynamic as a brick, yet hard to believe the the few hundred pound increase of the AWd system compensates. And for the other person above me who said that the AWD would give you more "torque", that is incorrect. AWD doesn't add any HP or torque, it just distributes it to 4 wheels instead of 2.
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:18 pm
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ok for what it sounds like u want the 2wd will be fine...they dont handle any different contrary to what others have said..there are very few added parts to make a element a awd so they dont add much weight...and for the little bit of off roading that u are doing the 2wd will be fine and much cheaper....the awd only used the awd function when it needs it so mainly it stays in 2wd 99.9% of the time espically for most typical driving... hope that helps
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Old 06 Oct 2007, 05:23 pm
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Unless you live in region that gets snow on a regular bases you probably do not "need" the all wheel drive. FWD will generally just do fine even in most snowy conditions.For the two camping trips, if you are taking it in the winter and feel like you need the AWD, then you could just rent an AWD vehicle for the week.That being said I currently live in a region that gets little to no snow and I still bought the AWD. But I take frequent trips to Colorado, and may end up back in Denver at some time before I sell the car. As far as maintance. the AWD on the Highlander is actually as second set of motors on the rear wheels that only kick in if the vehicle detects tire slippage. There is no shifting from 2 wheel to AWD. As long as the motors last there is no additional maintance that needs to be performed.
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Old 25 Jul 2011, 06:21 pm
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Default Re: Honda Element - AWD vs. 2WD?

I have a 2003 Element. I drive on 49.9999% dirt(the only pavement I can drive on is the concrete just outside the main air terminal building here), and the other half of the year, it's packed snow/ice. There are no roads in or out, so driving on pavement is the exception. My multi-plate clutch coupling 4WD works very well. It assists exactly when it is supposed to, mainly when I smash the pedal when I'm in a hurry. The rest of the time I cruise in 2WD, and it saves me money. Considering the price of a gallon of gas here is usually around $4(right now it's $4.25), and the price is only set once per year, when the gas shipment comes in, it's perfect.

I take mine into deep(6-10") gravel routinely, and only rarely have trouble, usually only when cornering in the same gravel, which is expected. However, I had the same problem described above once. I drove the front driver's side wheel off the dirt, slightly into the snow, where it had absolutely 0 grip. I tried spinning the wheel as fast as the engine would spin it(bad for the engine, I know), and still I saw no movement from the rear wheels(or the passenger side front wheel). Eventually I shoveled out enough snow to cause the front driver's side tire to touch Earth, and it drove right out after that.

From what it sounds like, there needs to be significant resistive pressure against the spinning wheel to cause the hydraulic clutch to engage the rear wheels in a low traction situation. This means that singular situation when one or both front wheels have almost 0 traction, and very little weight on them, would be the only situation when you would not achieve 4 wheel drive, and be truly stuck in an Element. Oddly enough, you would encounter the same difficulty with a 2WD model in the same situation.

I'm still impressed overall though.

I hope this doesn't make anyone mad. I realize this thread is almost 4 years old. I felt I had significant new material to add to the thread, enough to warrant a post.

Long live the Element! My wife and I really love this car. When this one goes kaput, we're replacing it with another one.
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