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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been looking at a 4WD 4Runner Limited (~44.8K TTL), but I've just about talked myself into a QX60 AWD Prem1,2,Tow Pkg, at about ($46.6K TTL). (currently in a G35 and love it). I wanted the 4WD for the occasional trips to Colorado ski resorts and trips to the ranch. I don't have any real need for extreme ground clearance or approach angles. I've been reading about the Infiniti AWD and it seems pretty good, but looking for opinions on 3 issues:
a) What do you think about the performance of the Infiniti AWD vs a 4WD like the 4Runner on snowy/icy roads. While the mountain passes can definitely build quick, we're not talking about off-roading or trying to plow through 1.5' of snow.
b) It seems all of my concerns about 4WD could just be eliminated by carrying tire chains. Reading test reviews, it seems Thule makes great ones for $300-$500 that will fit 235/65/18. But I see in some of the forum posts the QX60 manual says not to use chains? Can I or what happens if I do? Has anyone, and I assume I'd chain up all four wheels.
c) What do you think of the stock tires for winter performance - They appear to be Michellin Latitude Tours which from what I can read are just basic all season. Would you buy dedicated 18" rims to put snow tires on?

Thanks, trying to buy in the next couple of days!
 

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I have the JX35 AWD and in my opinion:
A - AWD and 4-WD are very different. AWD spins one tire in front and one in back. 4WD should lock the differential at low speeds so you have two spinning in front (and in best case all 4 tires spin at the same time). 98% of the time is spent on dry pavement, .99% on wet, and .00009 in snow, but I spent the extra $1k for the extra "safety" AWD provides. Remember that AWD and 4WD only help when accelerating, not braking or turning. You need good tires to brake or turn in ice/snow/rain, etc..

B- Yes, an extra set of chains for the front tires is better than AWD or FWD becuase it provides better grip than standard tires. Just depends on how lazy you are. I'm too lazy to put chains on because it's too cold, fingers freeze, etc... you name it, so I got AWD and drive slow.

C - The best thing you can do is keep the stock tires, and buy snow tires for winter from a tire store that will swap the tires at no extra cost each season. This allows you to run the stock tires in the summer and snow tires in the winter. This is better than 4WD and AWD, and cheaper. Again, I took the lazy route and just bought AWD.

Hope this helps.
 

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I ended up driving through snow on the pass between Montana and Idaho without chains and the car did just fine. The snow wasn't too deep, but enough where the AWD made a huge difference.
 

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This car does fine in snow in AWD trim. IMO, the stock tires on the smaller rims are better for snow than the ones that come on the 20" wheels in the deluxe package. If you're really concerned, or typically wear suspenders with a belt, buy chains and carry them just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks all. I ended up buying an AWD QX60 over a 4Runner LTD. I got the 18" rims and ordered (4) Blizzak's so I can swap tires when we get ready to drive to the mountains in the Winter. If anyone has put chains on, would really appreciate hearing which brand/model and how they worked out.

Thanks,
 

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Thanks all. I ended up buying an AWD QX60 over a 4Runner LTD. I got the 18" rims and ordered (4) Blizzak's so I can swap tires when we get ready to drive to the mountains in the Winter. If anyone has put chains on, would really appreciate hearing which brand/model and how they worked out.

Thanks,
The only ones I could find are available at Les Schwab Tires. They run about $108. I have them for my car but haven't put them on yet. I have purchased the same type chains for other vehicles and they are really nice. Very easy to install. Here is a link to their web page showing how to install them: http://www.lesschwab.com/road_cam.html
 

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My only question here is will the chains create any problems with the tire pressure monitoring system? I've put snows on my new jx and you can only get them in an 18" tire in Canada. I would love to have the snow arrive on the west coast so I can experiment with the snow mode. So far I just love my jx.
 

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Nobody has been able to answer that question yet. As I mentioned earlier, I did put chains on an AWD Murano without any problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quick update - I had the Blizzak's put on this morning as we are expecting ICE/Snow over the next three days, and I'll be heading to Colorado in the next couple of weeks anyways. Will update how the performance was when I get back. I'm most likely going to buy 1 pair of the SCC Zchain just in case as the two main passes I'll be traveling over (La Veta and Monarch) have both gotten pounded with snow the last few days. Looking at the cameras online (cotrip.org) the plow crews do great, but the snow can sure come down in a hurry.
 

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peon, if you need chains with Blizzaks you're doing something wrong (or driving behind a Zamboni). Blizzaks on this car should make it almost unstoppable in snow (unless it gets so deep you get high-centered). And by unstoppable, I also mean it will stop easily and well before the car in front of you.
 
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