If you can afford it, the 4WD transmission is the way to go. For the discerning, as long as it isn’t a Government Motors product, AWD is highly recommended. Yes, these options are more expensive but the convenience they provide when the roads are covered with crystalline water is easily justified, especially when you can be waived through a chain check.
The other option is to rely on chains. Without a doubt chains are a major pain in the butt to deal with, but if you only have two-wheeled drive you may be forced to use them. On the positive side, nothing beats a set of chains for traction. Everyone knows the real reason those who can afford it prefer to go with AWD or 4WD is because of how difficult it is to put them on — until now.
Thule has come up with a set of chains that can be put on quickly and easily, without having to sprawl underneath the wheel wells to loop them around your tires while the wind and snow howl. They go on in less than 30 seconds per tire. Even if it took two minutes, the ease with which these go on make the option of saving money on a 2WD vehicle worth considering, even if they do cost $450 per set. It’s pricey, but easily justified if you use them a few times per season over the course of several seasons.
It’s easy to see how much more convenient Thule’s Easyfit chains are to put on. The question remains, how long do they last? How prone are they to coming off? Even if you’re not supposed to drive more than 35 mph with them, can they stay on up to 55 mph (~100 kph)? Here’s hoping for a chance to “test” ‘em (Hint: the Couloir mini-van would be a perfect test vehicle).
Easy Fit CU-9 Tire Chains