How 4×4 or AWD helped to get out of tricky situations: SUV owners speak

All the locals rushed to see what had happened and they tried pushing the car immediately.

BHPian aadi.xiii recently shard this with other enthusiasts.

Hello members!

Just wanted to share an old incident involving the giant in our garage, the Fortuner. So ours in a Gen-3 pre-facelift model equipped with a manual transmission and 4×4 in black (which happens to be a pretty rare combination) and while going to Pune from Aurangabad, I managed to put the rear left side wheel in a marshy ditch (if that makes sense). Usually, I’m a good driver, but this resulted while reversing on the side of a busy highway (not on the tarmac) wherein the ditch appeared like a normal patch of dust – the top layer had been covered in dust hiding the marshy ditch. What happened next was that the rear wheel got submerged and to describe the actual experience of what I felt in that moment, it was like this moment, I’m looking at the tarmac, and a second later, I’m able to see the sky directly above my bonnet.

All the locals rushed to see what had happened and they tried pushing the car immediately. Mind you, I was also dealing with a traumatised family simultaneously and that’s when I asked everyone to get out of the car, gave myself a moment to analyse the situation and then engaged 4X4. The car tried its best but couldn’t come out. The next thing I did was engage the low ratio after which, the car came out instantly – as smooth as butter.

Now, I’m no professional off-road enthusiast, but the knowledge of the capabilities of my car saved me. I bet, if our car was a 4X2 variant , another vehicle to pull it out would’ve been our only option. Also, in my opinion, or at least these are my preferences, I prefer keeping the 4WD engaged if my car is packed or if I’m driving around hills, especially during monsoon. This one particular feature inspires a lot of confidence. In my opinion, if you’re either way spending so much money to buy this car, might as well go for the 4WD variant. It doesn’t make sense until it does!

Thank you.

I’m uploading a picture of the wheel for your reference. It gives you an idea how deep the ditch actually was.

Here’s what BHPian DirtyDan had to say on the matter:

It may be a bit of a stretch to call my 2018 Thar a Suv. But I lie a lot, generally, so at least nobody is surprised when I exaggerate. And, you see the reason they call me “DirtyDan”. Just 2km north of my house the front range soars to the heavens. I “bad road” all over the place up there. So, of course, I negotiate the mud, swollen streams, snow, washouts and slides on a regular basis.

The purchase of a 4X4 has wildly altered my life. I used to be a nerdy computer systems programmer. Women looked at me and threw up on my shoes. Paraplegics pushed me out of line at airport counters. Waiters ignored me at restaurants.

I bought a Thar. Now I regularly get asked out by Deepika and Priyanka. Modi and Biden ring me up for advice. The Dalai Lama drops in for my view of the meaning of life. Women swoon at my approach.

Here’s what BHPian zadoom had to say on the matter:

I have a 2014 Safari Storme 4*4 and while I have engaged the 4L and 4H at times to drive in slush / hilly terrain the 2 times that the 4L option really helped me come out of an unplanned situation was on a beach both the times. I guess the 1st time was at Kashid beach and the 2nd time was at Varsoli beach in Alibaug. Both the times I went a bit too ahead for comfort and got stuck in the sand and both the times the 4L and a bit of going reverse helped come out of the situations.

Infact the last couple of times I went to Varsoli beach at least 1 non 4WD / AWD car would get stuck in the sand. I have seen an Innova, an EECO and can’t remember which sedan getting stuck there and ultimately brute manpower (lifting the vehicle up from the sand) helped them come out of the situation. At the same time an Maruti 800 of the locals was happily doing circles at the same place.

Here’s what BHPian Somil07 had to say on the matter:

I have a Renault Duster AWD and 2-3 times it has happened that I’ve comfortably got out of situations without any hiccups where usual FWD cars either struggled or got stuck completely. Gives a lot of confidence when I suddenly encounter a swampy patch on a beaten road during monsoon.

Off-topic but I strongly believe that our market doesn’t reward AWD cars enough which is unfortunate. Not just off-road, even the on-road behavior is very well balanced in an AWD car during spirited driving, there’s almost no torque steer that usually happens in FWD cars.

This sweet combination of torquey diesel and AWD is the sole reason why I’m not changing my car despite yearning for an automatic for last 3 years.

Here’s what BHPian Sangwan had to say on the matter:

Back in India, I think it was the summer of 2019 and one of my college friend was getting married. It was me on the wheels and another friend sitting with me in our 2015 Thar. We were in some village in Pilani, Rajasthan and had to go to another small village for the wedding. There were no roads and suddenly Thar was stuck. It was at that time for the first time I engaged the 4WD, I shifted to Low and it effortlessly moved out from the sand. I don’t have any pic unfortunately.

Here in Canada, last year in Dec 2022, it snowed a lot during the Christmas holidays, and we had to go buy groceries, here my Santa Fe has AWD and so I turned off the TC, locked the diffs to start moving and it was a smooth sailing after that.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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