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Is AWD truly necessary in Seattle?
Considering how many days of rain you have in that part of the country, and occasional snow/ice... I certainly would want AWD if I lived in Seattle. :)

I live in Bay Area in California, and AWD is way more popular here with buyers than FWD. Again.. it goes to the great traction control and stability assist features.... for when you need them.. which could even be in warm weather, with poor road condition.

And.. because you used the word "necessary" I immediately was reminded of this hilarious scene from the movie Dodge Ball... LOL...
 

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There is no normal situation where AWD would engage in a CR-V on dry or even wet pavement. There's four cylinders or a high boost turbo charger short. You'd have to hit sand, mud or something else seriously slippery. It's fairly lazy even in snow with good snow tires. Traction control catches the slippage before the rear wheels fully engage. Now it's a completely different ballgame with VSA off. Gen 5 may be more reactive, I have no personal experience.
 

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There is no normal situation where AWD would engage in a CR-V on dry or even wet pavement. There's four cylinders or a high boost turbo charger short. You'd have to hit sand, mud or something else seriously slippery. It's fairly lazy even in snow with good snow tires. Traction control catches the slippage before the rear wheels fully engage. Now it's a completely different ballgame with VSA off. Gen 5 may be more reactive, I have no personal experience.
Well of course it is the "abnormal" events where AWD comes into play. :) Broken up road surfaces is a common one where I live, where you don't know you have a wheel in a crumbling road surface until the wheel is actually in it. This is most common around here at intersections, probably because corners at intersections take a lot of angular torque load from vehicles exerting force at the corners as people accelerate into a turn.

In contrast to prior generation CRVs.. the gen5 CRVs do actually have much more activity from the rear wheels, even in perfect road conditions. Example: when you accelerate from a stop, even on clean perfect road... the rear wheels engage and apply notable traction until you begin to ease up on the fuel pedal. And the more you accelerate.. the more traction that is delivered to the rear wheels. Same when you turn at a corner.. the rear wheels apply active traction to insure you encounter no slippage in the turn, and is one of the reasons gen5s corner so well in driving. It is a new level of sophistication that Honda introduced with the gen5 CRV. A driver can actually observe this when they select the traction display option on their instrument panel.

I know a lot of owners still think AWD CRVs behave the same in gen5 as prior generations, but it is not true.
 

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Is AWD truly necessary in Seattle?
Not really, but Seattle is all hills, some of them are very steep, so maybe.

The surrounding area is very hilly too, and gets more snow, so its handy.

The mountains are very close, so if you ski, or go to the other side of the state much it can be nice to have.

I'm not sure if you're allowed to have a vehicle in Seattle that doesn't say AWD on it though. They're probably more common in Seattle than Alaska.
 
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