I’ll just sum up all I know on the topic and let you decide if you need one.
What is AWD on Demand?
AWD on demand gives you that extra grip when:
When you feel your car starts slipping, you quickly press AWD button and keep driving. You need to switch it off immediately as soon as you go back to dry asphalt/bitumen.
Does this option come on people movers/MPVs?
You can’t get it in Australia on 7 or 8 seats people movers* unless you buy a Japanese import: Toyota Estima, Toyota Alphard, MMC Delica, Nissan Elgrand, that new kid on the block Nissan Serena, and a few more models.
How expensive are they?
It doesn’t cost more money to buy an AWD import ex Japan. We just have to find a clean and nice one with no rust.
Is it more on petrol?
You’ll definitely feel it with Nissan Elgrand, especially E51 as their AWD technology uses more weight and more petrol. I did own AWD E51 series 2 and it was using petrol like there’s no tomorrow in my suburb with serpentine roads + roundabouts. I never used AWD and felt it was a waste of money everyday.
Toyota uses a different set up for AWD and it’s not very noticeable. So, if I would be driving a Toyota, I’d probably feel safer if I had this option. Just in case.
Can I go off road?
Not really, MPVs have low clearance and aren’t suited for off road driving. No mud, no sand please.
Is “Snow” button same as AWD?
It’s definitely not a substitute for AWD, but if you manage to find a road covered with snow and start slipping, press it ON and it will help you to get a better grip with the road. Don’t forget to switch it OFF once you’re back to our mundane Aussie roads.
How often do we get them in stock?
They’re rare. There’s only one Toyota Estima AWD in stock.. except, wait, this is my ONLY car in stock at the moment! I’m a very busy dealer right now :)
We’re getting two more super affordable 2004 Toyota Estima AWD models in October:
7-seater with 61,632km
8-seater with 88,463km
Both are nice and clean cars. Expected retail is between 11 and 12,5K, depending on exchange rate and inclusions.
What are your thoughts on this option? How important is AWD for you? Let me know on firstname.lastname@example.org
Your JDM addict
* AWD is available on 5+2 and full size SUVs in Australia, but this is a very different story.. a story of unbearable squash for a large family. You love comfort, don’t you?