While the Subaru Outback ck beat the blizzard, the Durango Crew would have ve fared better with a shovel. el.
The post-Christmas snow descended with militant urgency, wind-blown at 37 mph. By the time it ended, our travel plans were redrawn.
The 2011 rear-wheel-drive Dodge Durango Crew sportutility vehicle, with its 290horsepower V-6 engine and commodious, comfortable cabin, would remain parked in the driveway here.
The 2010 Subaru Outback Limited 2.5i wagon, with its small 170-horsepower fourcylinder engine, and its relatively tight-fit cabin, would be the family’s transportation workhorse for the rest of the holiday season.
The difference was all-wheel drive. The Outback Limited 2.5i, usually garaged at our Cornwall house, had it. The version of the Durango driven here didn’t.
Big, rear-wheel-drive sportutility vehicles are great in places such as Louisiana and Mississippi, where snow remains a foreign concept. But Cornwall, 55 miles north of New York City, located on the western shore of the Hudson River, is Subaru territory.
Bragging rights here go to vehicles that can keep moving with agility and confidence in severe winter weather. Subaru, having developed one of the world’s best functioning, most reliable, symmetrical all-wheeldrive systems, is leader of that pack.
We drove the Durango here from our Northern Virginia homestead because we needed a vehicle with hauling ability. The five-door Durango Crew has lots of that. It can carry 1,300 pounds onboard and haul a trailer weighing 7,400 pounds.
There were heated family arguments about the Durango Crew’s potentially lousy rearwheel-drive performance in snow. But in the manner of a politician pushing through a last-minute amendment in homage to rank self-interest, I argued that we’d “ be all right” because the Durango was fitted with “all-terrain” tires.
It was baloney cooked up to save gas money.
Vehicles with only rear-wheel or front-wheel drive generally use less fuel than those with allwheel-drive, in which drive power shifts to wheels that grip from wheels that slip; or models with dedicated four-wheel drive, in which drive power flows to all four wheels simultaneously.
Putting “all-terrain” or “allseason” tires on rear-wheeldrive or front-wheel-drive vehicles is a time-tested marketing scam, employed to sell “peace-of-mind” to residents of traditionally mild climates who the sellers expect/hope will never experience a close dance with ice or snow.
Residents of traditionally frigid climates know that reardrive or front-drive coupled with “all-terrain” or “all-season” tires usually means slippery going, or no going at all.
Ample evidence of that truth was on display in several trips to New York City, where public Take the Outback in the snow; keep the Durango, left, parked. officials apparently mistook the term “ blizzard” to mean “nonemergency.”
Incredibly, many of the streets in the world’s greatest financial center were unplowed and untreated. Large city buses were stuck in the snow. Big, rear-wheel-drive delivery trucks were rendered undeliverable. One benighted soul apparently thought the $341,000 price tag of a rear-wheel-drive Bentley Brooklands coupe was a measurement of the car’s prowess in snow.
All were stuck, as was the rear-wheel-drive Durango Crew sport-utility vehicle frozen in snow and ice at our house here in Cornwall. But the Subaru Outback Limited 2.5i kept going. It did not slip, get stuck or in any other way falter on the unbelievably snow-clogged streets of New York City.
Thank you, Subaru. We love this car.