All-Wheel Drive

After a seemingly torturous drive to and from camp last month, Mr. Family Trivium was finally convinced that the time had come to get a new car. His Ford Focus is a lightweight, front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle, with a lightweight engine and transmission over the drive wheels, and no traction control. Even with new tires, it is a challenge to drive in the snow and performed at least as badly on the dirt (mud at the time) road in and out of camp. A feature that would mitigate these conditions is all-wheel drive (AWD).

According to, all-wheel drive is defined as “a system used in motor vehicles in which all four (or more) wheels are permanently connected to the source of power, in such a way that each wheel is able to rotate at a different speed.” In other words, an all-wheel drive system should be capable of sending power to the wheel(s) with traction.

In the front-wheel drive Focus, with camping gear in the trunk and 3 growing children in the back seat, the weight, thus the traction, was in the back rather than the front where power was being sent. Fortunately the road was dry enough to make an escape on the last day of camp. It helped that we were also loaded down with one less camper.

So, did Mr. Family Trivium trade in his Focus for a new car? Kinda. He did trade in his Focus and Mrs. Family Trivium is driving a new car – this is the way of life. Mrs. Family Trivium is happily driving a new AWD vehicle while Mr. Family Trivium is happily driving a 4-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle handed down from Mrs. Family Trivium.

We’ll cover 4WD in another post, but rest assured that it, and AWD, can both help get us to the trailheads deeper into the wilderness, where we love to explore and learn as a family. Indeed, some of our favorite not-so-wild local trailheads were inaccessible in the Focus on many winter days. By way of AWD, 4WD, FWD, RWD, however you get there, we hope you’ll find an opportunity to get out and enjoy nature sometime soon.


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