My issue with those 2 links is not so much the results but rather the control factors used or lack thereof. We are never told what AS tires were used on the 4WD vehicles and that can be a big deal. You could easily pick the worst AS for snow and get a pre determined set of results favoring snow tires if they wanted to. Not saying they did this but it is something that could be done. A truly fair comparison would have been to use AS's known to perform well in the snow on the 4WD vehicles and compare those to snow tires on the FWD vehicles. Be fair and upgrade the AS's to good ones to conduct your test.
The FWD vehicles were obviously upgraded to winter tires. By the same token the 4WD vehicles also appeared to be new, but no tire changes/upgrades were reported, so we have to assume that the all seasons being tested were the stock/OEM tires. Stock/OEM tires are many times really poor performers even on dry ground or in the rain never mind in snow and on ice. With no upgrade to premium AS tires known to perform well in the snow made/reported it sets off a Red Flag for me.
I think we can all agree that stock tires be they AS or AT's are generally not the cream of the crop. Sometimes you get a really good OEM tire like the new Cherokee gets. The new Cherokee gets Firestone Destination LE2's on non TH models equipped with 17's and the TH gets Firestone Destination AT's which are both excellent tires( not sure about the Continental 18's used on the Limited - tire is too new to know yet ). Usually however the stock/OEM tires range from mediocre at best to downright god awful crappy. The Goodyear Wrangler HP's that came on my last Dodge Ram 1500 were like driving on greased ball bearings in the snow even when 4WD was used. Another example of a really bad stock/OEM tire would be the Patriot's OEM 16's( Goodyear Eagle LS2 )which are just horrendous. If those 4WD vehicles in those links were running crappy tires their performance will suffer.
What were the tires on the 4WD vehicles tested? Were they passenger car class all season tires like we see used on the Patriot and Compass, or even worse performance or summer AS tires that would really blow in the bad weather, or where they a true light truck/suv class tire that have better tread and thus better bad weather performance? Were they a really good bad weather AS tire, designed specifically for an SUV, like the Firestone Destination LE2 or the Michelin LTX M+S2 or were they a compromise AS passenger car class AS tire that is horrible in the snow like a Dunlop Signature or a Goodyear Eagle? The AS tires used on those 4WD vehicles in the test matter a LOT!
Had the 4WD test vehicles had their tires upgraded to premium light truck/suv class AS tires known to perform well in the snow like the Firestone Destination LE2, Michelin LTX M+S2, General Grabber HTS, etc... I bet the results would have been much better for the 4WD vehicle. Even if they ran a good quality passenger car class AS tire known to do well in the snow like the Pirelli Cinturato P7 AS+, Continental PureContact w/ EP, Hankook Optimo H727, etc... the results would have been better too I bet. Most likely the vehicle with snow's would have still stopped a little quicker and been a little less squirrely in the slalom but the 4WD vehicle would have done better with good AS tires. Without knowing what they ran for tires I can't really be too impressed a FWD w/ snows did better than a 4WD with AS's.
Also, anyone who knows anything about 4WD knows it doesn't help you stop. That part of the test is really misleading due to the tire issue I discussed above. Good AS's in the snow( I mean how they perform )help you stop much better than poor AS's in the snow. Without knowing what kind of AS's were used on those 4WD suv's I could care less that the FWD w/ snows stopped faster.
I would also point out that just because the snows did better in 2 of the tests it does not mean the AS's returned unsatisfactory results. As I have always said while snows may be better overall I use quality AS's and I adjust my driving accordingly in bad weather( even with snow's you have to do so )and I have no problems.
2014 Jeep Cherokee
3.2L Pentastar V6
Active Drive I