MPG penalty with the AWD isn't very bad, the extra maintenance for AWD is about $100 a year. The SH-AWD does make the MDX handle much better in inclimate weather, and as well does make the car much more fun to drive! Since I'm a spirited driver, I love the SH-AWD. My SO is a bit more tame while driving and still enjoys the benefit of the AWD vs the FWD cars in our stable.I am looking to buy a new 2017 MDX . Not sure if I should get AWD or FWD? I live in Northern California. I rarely drive in the snow. Is a big difference in the ride? How about gas milage?