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Do I need all-wheel drive if I live in a flat state?

Do I need all-wheel drive if I live in a flat state?

Q. I live in Houston—flat as a pancake, and no snow or ice most years. Does it make sense for me to purchase a vehicle with all-wheel drive? Is there a safety benefit that would outweigh increased maintenance costs?—Rick Warner, Houston TX

A. There is no reason to get an AWD vehicle in Houston. Even for the once-in-a-blue-moon ice storm, AWD may not help. In the days before standard electronic stability control, one could argue that  AWD versions of RWD cars brought an added safety margin, but not anymore.

(The 2014 Honda CR-V shown has front and AWD options.)

For more check our tires and car care guide, plus our car safety section.

Send questions to ConsumerReports.org/askourexperts.

This article also appeared in the July 2014 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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