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Well I'll Be Dipped!!!
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I've been wanting a Corolla for quite a while now, but where I live in Eastern Kentucky I think the all wheel drive of the Subaru's would be handy in winter.
1. How much winter do you actually get in Kentucky?
2. Tires are waaaaaaaaaay more important that AWD for driving in/on snow/ice.

Two very different cars with two very different price tags. It's odd you're pitting them against one another.
 
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My current car is FWD, and AWD is not needed; I just think it would be helpful for driving in snowy conditions. A;so I've heard great things about Subaru's like I have and experienced with Toyota.
If you need AWD, the Subaru is great.

If you don't need AWD, the Subaru is still great, but just a little more expensive than you need. Nothing wrong with it, just that gas mileage won't be as good as a comparable FWD car.

For FWD, you can put money into snow tires all the way around, and get pretty good winter performance. Put snow tires all the way around on a Subaru AWD, and you get even better performance.

I have a Subaru, and my wife has a Subaru. But we see a good about of snow and winter weather :)
 

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How much ground clearance does the Subaru have? Even with AWD if you have the same ground clearance you would get hung up on the snow. .
8+ inches of ground clearance. But I think the Imprezza comes in two versions, one with average clearance, and then the Crosstrek with the Legacy/Outback/Forester 8+ clearance.

Based on my own driving experience with 2 Legacies and a Forester, ground clearance isn't an issue until you start seeing not only FWD's stuck, but also 4x4 SUV's stuck. Type of snow matters. While heavy wet snow at 9 inches is a serious problem, 12" of powder can still be driven through :)

Of course you still need good tires.
 

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I would vote Corolla + a set of winter tires. FWD and winter tires should get you anywhere you need to go during a KY winter.

I had a 2003 WRX and loved it very much but there is more to the maintenance costs. A Corolla will generally run almost forever with regular oil changes and tire rotations.

Also, what I've heard lately is some of the 2.0 boxer engines have had head gasket issues. Replacing a head gasket on a boxer engine is not something that you want to do or pay to have done.
 

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It ain't over
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I guess it depends on how much snow you get and how good your winter driving skills are. There's no doubt that AWD will outperform FWD in some circumstances.

I've had my Corolla for 10 years (270k miles). The only time I got stuck was in my own yard and on purpose. I had battled a blizzard for 200 miles. My driveway was snowed in. So I just plowed in as far as I could go and left the car. It was April - a week later I just drove it out. FWD will do amazing things in snow.

I just leave M/S tires on the car year-'round. We've got about 3 inches of new snow on the ground right now - with more to come. I'm going to take the car to town (60 miles round trip). I won't have any issues.

I'm in the same boat as the OP - it would be nice to have a small cross-over AWD. But I know I'll get another Corolla when the time comes.

I commute back and forth to the Twin Cities on a weekly basis. Every time the freeway gets snow covered and slippery I see plenty of cars in the ditch. Most of them are AWD. I don't know if that's because there are so many AWDs today or not. I suspect it's the feeling of security that AWD gives the driver on slippery roads - security until they lose it. That's not the vehicles fault - just sayin'
 
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I guess it depends on how much snow you get and how good your winter driving skills are. There's no doubt that AWD will outperform FWD in some circumstances
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I commute back and forth to the Twin Cities on a weekly basis. Every time the freeway gets snow covered and slippery I see plenty of cars in the ditch. Most of them are AWD. I don't know if that's because there are so many AWDs today or not. I suspect it's the feeling of security that AWD gives the driver on slippery roads - security until they lose it. That's not the vehicles fault - just sayin'
This man is right on. I can't tell you the number of people I find in the ditch because "hey we have 4wd/AWD so I thought I'd be fine." Driving in the snow isn't rocket science, but it is a skill you have to learn. Like so many things, equipment cannot replace skill.
 

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As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.
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Something that came up on another thread was that on an AWD system, you really cannot replace just one tire. You have to replace all four. This could get a little expensive if you have a few flats that cannot be plugged. Something to think about.
 

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I have a 2012 Impreza Sport Limited with CVT. 65,000 miles. The CVT is a *fantastic* tranny, the best I've used. And I swore I'd never own an automatic after owning an Eagle Vision with one.
I've owned a Honda CRX with a great manual, an Outback with a very good manual, an Eagle Talon with a pretty good manual, and once drove a work truck with a 3-speed transaxle feeding into a 5-speed. Double-clutching THAT thing was quite fun...

The Imp has paddles for manually shifting, and they come in handy for gearing down to pass, or gearing up to lug the engine for max MPG, or for the correct ratio for WOT at a corner's apex. In manual mode, the 2.0 engine popped the car 0-60 in 8.5 seconds. In manual mode, the car will rev near the redline before it shifts to the next 'gear' (if you don't shift it yourself). In CVT auto mode, the engine starts out around 5,000 rpm at WOT, and doesn't start reving to 6,000 until about 80 mph, so it's slower 0-60. You can force the CVT into *any* of a million gear ratios by moving the console selector to Manual mode. The CVT will then hold that RPM/ratio until you slow down below idle, or go past redline. This is useful on the highway when there's a significant headwind, but you don't want the CVT downshifting/upshifting as you jockey for position around the left lane bandits. (In a headwind, the car will pull top gear until you dip into the throttle. Then it will downshift a bit to get the required power. Then when you back off a bit, it'll upshift again).

With an 80 mile commute, I had two different tanks where I got over 37 actual, computed MPG on non-alcohol fuel. On 10% alky, I'd get 32-34 MPG when NOT trying for best MPG.

The first winter I had the car, the CVT whined until it warmed up. But after a couple months, it wore in, and now it's silent.
 

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My 2016 Subaru Forester has 8.7" of ground clearance, show me a Corolla that has that much clearance...Clarence
 
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