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Mazda Mandates Standard AWD For SUVs. Should Ford Follow Suit?

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In recent years, all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive have only become more popular among new-vehicle shoppers. A study last year found that over 50 percent of buyers opted for one of the two for the very first time, while Ford’s take rate for all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive crossovers and SUVs reached 68 percent in the month of July. Even an all-wheel drive version of the Ford Mustang is reportedly in the works, and the 2022 Ford Edge will be available exclusively in that configuration, as Ford Authority recently reported. Now that Mazda has announced that all-wheel drive will come standard across its entire crossover lineup, it begs the question – should Ford follow suit?

Mazda could be a little ahead of the curve here, given recent trends. Aside from making all-wheel drive standard on the 2022 Edge, vehicles like the Ford Bronco, Ford Bronco Sport, and Ford Explorer Timberline also come with standard four-wheel drive. It would seem like a natural progression to simply follow the lead of Mazda and make one of the two standard across The Blue Oval’s entire utility lineup, but there are of course pros and cons to such a decision.

Currently, most of Ford’s utility sales consist of all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configurations, and as previously mentioned, much of its lineup already offers one of the two as standard equipment. It’s clear that customers favor these configurations as well. Since Subaru decided to sell its entire lineup with standard all-wheel drive, the automaker’s sales have exploded from around 260k vehicles in 2011 to 612k in 2020.

The addition of all-wheel drive used to lead to a considerable dip in fuel economy figures, but that isn’t really the case anymore, especially in modern vehicles like the Ford Escape (a penalty of two miles per gallon when equipped with all-wheel drive) and the Ford Explorer (one mile per gallon),  which can disconnect the system when it’s not needed. Plus, making it standard across the lineup would probably force Ford to price its all-wheel drive models a bit more rationally and help it better compete with Subaru and Mazda.

On the flip side, it’s worth noting that not everyone needs or wants an all-wheel drive vehicle and may not want to pay a premium for one. While it can help, all-wheel drive is not a cure-all for traction problems in the snow and slippery conditions. And ultimately, Ford may have already figured out what models need to offer standard all- and four-wheel drive with the aforementioned vehicles.

Regardless, with other automakers making the switch to standard all-wheel drive for all or multiple models, it’s worth asking if Ford will follow suit. We’re interested to hear what our readers think, so be sure and let us know in the poll below!

We’ll have more on everything the competition is up to soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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Comments

  1. Samurai

    I would like for all Ford vehicles to be standard 4WD/AWD. Just as long as RWD/FWD are still made as an option for ordering.

    Reply
  2. NCEcoBoost

    Absolutely, positively, not. It’s another nail in Mazda’s coffin and will cut into Edge sales big time. It’s another way for manufacturers to milk even more money out of consumers; well, to those that fall for this nonsense.

    Reply
  3. Chris

    Absolutely positively yes! How many people buy a Ford SUV think they’re getting AWD and then realize, what??? it’s an SUV! It doesn’t have 4WD/AWD????…
    are you kidding me? Long overdue.

    Reply
  4. Mike Parnell

    Ford ( as well as Hyundia and some European and Japanese car companies ) is already offering only AWD/4WD on certain models in Canada. Ranger and Maverick gas engine is only offered in AWD/4WD in Canada, and so is the Santa Cruz. And even the models that are offered in both 2 & 4WD, you are hard pressed to find a 2WD on a dealer lot. Everyone is shocked at the average price of new vehicles rising every month, gee, I wonder why? These car companies continue to pile on and make standard equipment that is useless, expensive, and unwanted, and add to the cost of purchasing and operating a gas powered car. To me they are doing it deliberately, to shrink the cost difference between gas and electric power cars, when they finally do come.

    Reply
  5. Ford Owner

    Most owners never need AWD since they never drive in mud or snow, and it adds weight and cost. I drive in a city in the tropical paradise of Puerto Rico and it is useless here. Leave it as an option for those who need and can pay for it.

    Reply
    1. Pedro77

      Most owners do not genuinely live on tropical islands.

      Reply
  6. Lee

    I seem to recall that Ford used to own the controlling interest in Mazda.
    Who’s following whom here?

    Reply
  7. imanjunk

    With all the electronics yes and easily shut off when not needed to maximize mileage!

    Reply
  8. Drew

    This is another slap in the face of car lovers. First, you drop sedans (lighter weight, more fuel efficient, etc.). Then you burden us with the price, weight, and parasitic drag of AWD/4WD.

    Reply
  9. Dave Mathers

    Let the market dictate what to build. If people want AWD/4×4 they will buy it. That’s their decision.

    Reply

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