i dunno ive driven a variety of cars on snow and hated ABS on all of them (mostly domestic but have tried my friends 99 civic)
i still say one of the funnest cars to drive on snow is my chevette, narrow tires and RWD just cut thru the snow, typically the front wheels slide before the backend does.
now my s-10 i can spin the tires all the way up to 5th gear on snow lol that thing just loves to slide sideways even when trying not to some days.
im just used to how they handle and know when and how much gas / brakes it will take to do what i want it to.
personally im not a fan of FWD on snow, cuz on hills with rwd you have the vehicle weight being pushed back on the rear wheels (hence more traction) and going down hill you typically dont use any gas cuz gravity does the work.
havent driven 4wd on the road to say anythign about that, but i have seen alot of em in ditches along the road...
1. RWD, when a driver hits a slippery patch while under power, can cause a spinout (like "lol that thing just loves to slide sideways"). FWD will just spin the tires and the car keeps going approximately straight. Lots of experience in the drive can mitigate this. Most drivers do not have lots of RWD snow experience, and getting the experience isn't fun (unless, like me, you enjoy that sort of thing).
2. FWD when starting from a stop on level land has the weight of the engine over it and you can turn the wheels to point in a different direction if they're spinning.
Once I drove my Buick in snow, and I assumed I was going to have to drag it up my steep icy driveway like a 2wd pickup. Imagine my surprise when it powered right up the driveway with great traction!
As for 4x4s in ditches...4wd doesn't help braking at all, and only helps lateral traction if you stay on the gas (4 wheel powerslide, anyone?). People assume that if they can accelerate, they can steer and stop, and 4wd makes them more able to accelerate.
Just made a run from Nevada City, CA to Ashland, OR --290 miles including elevation gains of 4200 ft-- and according to SGII the mpg for the trip was 31.5. I haven't been posting fillups on this site for a while, but can honestly report that my overall average for 43,000 miles is very close to 30.0 mpg....probably 29.9. The Tribute --with Mobil 1 changes every 5000 miles or so-- has been totally trouble free.
Recently drove a '01 Lexus RX300 and had difficulty sqeezing 20+ mpg out of it.
Glad to hear it is working out for you. I ALMOST wish that I had bought one instead of my Patriot, just because of the situation Chrysler is in. My Jeep has been averaging 25 mpg around town over the last few weeks. My next trip is going to be to California, towing a small trailer with some camping gear and uniforms in it. I would be surprised if my mileage dropped below the low 20s.
dm1333: not sure if yours is a 4x4 or not? Mine--FWD-- is only rated to tow 1500 lbs.
I did play tag with a Patriot 4x4 over the weekend coming from Redding, CA up I-5 to Oregon. It's a climb -- about 3000 ft--up to Mt. Shasta. The Patriot couldn't keep up climbing or in the twisties (Maybe it was the Pilot ('s driving skills?!)) who seemed hell bent on dominating?!! My guess is that the Patriot weighs a few hundred more lbs and --as a result-- isn't as quick. Like the looks of the Patriot.
Patriot base model's curb weight is about 3000 pounds, as I remember. That's the same as my little VW hatchback. The 4x4 probably adds a few hundred, plus any various options and the CVT. IIRC it's got 170hp, but I don't remember at what RPM or how much torque.
Also, the CVT may suck. It was programmed to feel like a traditional automatic that shifts gears, which may affect its ability, or it may just be crappy.