GM Terrain's loaner to wildfire crews proves AWD is more than enough
Some folks just like to look rugged. They buy flat bottom rubberized climbing shoes and wear them around the city even though just about anything else would be more comfortable. Some buy clothes from famous hunting catalog stores in Maine so they can dash from their SUV to the suburban Commuter Rail in winter without the possibility of being chilly for 2 minutes. These are pretty affordable affectations. Sadly, many automobile buyers exhibit the same behavior. They have to buy a huge, top-heavy four-wheel drive truck or $60,000 SUV because they go skiing “up north” twice each winter. Or they own a small boat they need to tow back and forth from their yard to the marina 10 or 12 times per summer. Even more sad are the owners of “trail-rated Rubicon–tested” rock hoppers that make the slog in highway traffic every day of their ownership. GM issued a recent press release that highlights just how ridiculous America’s rugged outdoorsman styling has become.
Fire Lines and Mountain Trails
Over the past summer Colorado and Wyoming endured wildfires that required a lot of hard working people be in the woods and mountains off road. GM leant a GMC Terrain (4-cylinder) to a disaster relief volunteer named Dave Fagan. Mr. Fagan put 3,500 miles on the vehicle driving not on roads, but rather on mountain trails and over fire lines created with bulldozers. Please glance at the picture of the 4-cylinder GMC Terrain at this point in the story. Is it what you expected, or were you expecting one of those Hummer-Jeep type thingies with enormous wheels, a winch on the front, and a spare tire strapped to the back tailgate? The vehicle that Mr. Fagan used during this period is very similar to a Honda CR-V or Subaru Forrester. Four-wheel drive is not offered on the Terrain or the CR-V, or the Forester. Rather, they are all basically front wheel drive vehicles that have the ability to shift torque to the rear wheels when it is needed. This is called All-Wheel Drive (AWD) To make the vehicle switch from front to AWD the driver has to do one very important thing. Nothing. The vehicles all do it completely on their own. And it works.