Author Topic: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars  (Read 5187 times)

Offline Autos_Editor

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Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« on: February 05, 2013, 06:30:55 am »


Some notes on some noteworthy highway snowstorm cars.

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Offline redman

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2013, 08:51:48 am »
Good review on an eclectic mix of vehicles. Would like to have seen the 911 in it's AWD form to see how it compares it's RWD version on heavy snow and ice, but I guess that can be another test.

Looks like the AWD on the S60 is better than expected.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2013, 09:08:02 am by redman »
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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2013, 08:55:02 am »
"A nicely calibrated steering system can make a car feel ‘locked-on’ and surefooted on the slippery stuff."

So very true.  But how many people know this?  Yet many automakers have overboosted steering with little road feel, and less handling.  This can make it scary to drive in winter.

The TL SH-AWD is one of my favourites, since you can get it with a 6 speed manual.  Unfortunately, it's hard to get over its portly looks and that damn chrome grill.  I much preferred the looks of the previous generation.

Offline sailor723

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2013, 09:12:28 am »
I'd be interested in seeing a list of the cars you've had that were the worst in winter conditions.

Also, have you not had winter experience with a BMW Xdrive, MB 4matic or Audi quattro?..... or did they not make the cut as one of the best? 
So, why can't the Germans make electronics work in cars?

Offline JRM

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2013, 09:42:07 am »
Very good article.  Just goes to show what I suspected all along.  Good driving dynamics are more importrant than the size and weight of a vehcle in winter driving.  Yet so many North Americans think they must have the big gas guzzling  high center of gravity cumbersome handling Suv's to drive down the highway in winter, even though I've seen plenty of them in a ditch during snowy/icy conditions.  I've been driving front wheel only vehicles with snow tires for 30 years and have never had an incident.  Of course it goes without saying that one would likely come out ahead in a collision driving an SUV, but I don't live in fear of things that probably won't happen.

Offline Spheric

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2013, 09:54:11 am »
One of the more useful real world articles on Autos.ca.

Thanks for educating me about the Charger and RWD being okay in winter. I was always under the impression that winter and RWD vehicles make for a bad mix.

Would be interesting to see a similar article about FWD vehicles only and if there are any significant differences in forward motion and handling in snow (with winter tires obviously). That would definitely be a real world article.

Offline Arthur Dent

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2013, 09:58:40 am »
For highway performance I'll bet the length of the wheelbase makes quite a difference as well as weight. Our minivans have always felt pretty good on the highway in winter.

Offline Soram6275

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2013, 10:43:11 am »
I'm surprised about the Charger.  I wonder how the Challenger would do and a 911-4.  Very educational.  I would love to see a comparison AWD between the A4, C300, and 328.

Offline CAS

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 11:52:26 am »
Good article.  I also was surprised that the Charger did well.  I guess it goes to show that type of tires matters more than type of drive.  I wonder how the European cars would have done?

Offline sailor723

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2013, 11:58:17 am »
I'm surprised about the Charger.  I wonder how the Challenger would do and a 911-4.  Very educational.  I would love to see a comparison AWD between the A4, C300, and 328.

Yes, all the luxury manufacturers seem to offer AWD as at least an option on their entry level sedans. That would make an interesting comparison test especially if there was an emphasis on winter performance.

Offline Fobroader

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2013, 12:10:43 pm »
I still think you cant go wrong with a Subaru with a really good set of winter tires for getting through really hairy conditions. Id personally want a LSD in the rear for more stability, but even stock, thats my go to recommendation to someone that wants a car thats great in the winter.
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Offline cruzzer

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #11 on: February 05, 2013, 12:13:58 pm »
All Subaru cars should get a mention IMO. They all have AWD and mostly use the same system. Our 2006 Forester is still around because it's such a good winter driver. I've never driven anything close to it in extreme winter conditions. Great read, thanks.

Offline Fobroader

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2013, 12:17:46 pm »
A Subaru STi/Mitsu Evo would make a pretty awesome winter beate....sorry, extreme condition vehicle  ;D

Offline whaddaiknow

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2013, 01:53:40 pm »
Some notes on some noteworthy highway snowstorm cars.
Read More...

Nice article and I second comment from Sailor about the 3 FGC AWD systems and why they didn't make the list.
The "worst" handling winter cars wouls be interesting too, though I highly doubt manufacturers would be thrilled with the publication.

Offline tooscoops

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2013, 02:02:03 pm »
interesting... i'd like to see how the charger awd compares to the rwd...

also, how far down the list a rwd charger will be in city driving... i agree that rwd on a big car is great on the highway in snow, but city driving, i'm not a huge fan of them.

guess its a compromise.
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Offline Winterpeg

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2013, 03:12:10 pm »
You would think this review was done on Manitoba/Sask roads!!!......really like Justin's testing  grounds.
Very glad to hear the Charger's drive in a positive way....the Subie too.   ;)
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Offline MR2Pritch

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2013, 04:32:07 pm »
I'd be interested in seeing a list of the cars you've had that were the worst in winter conditions.

Also, have you not had winter experience with a BMW Xdrive, MB 4matic or Audi quattro?..... or did they not make the cut as one of the best?

Tks-- this wasn't about the 'best', it was the most noteworthy. Ones that stuck out for various reasons. Not necessarily the best or most adept at tackling the crappy weather, but ones that stuck with my memory as a self-proclaimed winter driving enthusiast. 4Matic, Quattro and xDrive dont really stand out for me as much, because you 'know' they'll be good. They are.

Worst ones? I hit a blizzard in an S2000 with summer tires once.. that sucked. Also, Hyundai Accent a few years back in all-season tires.

Offline MR2Pritch

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2013, 04:34:43 pm »
I'm surprised about the Charger.  I wonder how the Challenger would do and a 911-4.  Very educational.  I would love to see a comparison AWD between the A4, C300, and 328.

Definitely!! longer wheelbase tends to feel more forgiving, predictable, and looses traction more slowly when you loose it. Im not a scientist, but i think longer tends to be better here.


Offline jaari

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2013, 05:13:55 pm »
I have drivin my '11 Sonata in some pretty heavy weather up here n/w of Thunder Bay and never had a problem unless I get hung up and it's usually my fault going where I shouldn't for a pit stop.
The tires are good but could be better, Falken Espia EPZ.
Not bad on ice, ok in snow and slush, but cant handle much. The two faced tread only really bites down into the snow/slush on its shoulders.
The ice face in centre with it's tightly packed tread blocks tends to hydroplane on slush and prevent any real deep snow grip.
But still better than  all season tires  I guess, I just take my time and drive accordingly. These tires let go to easily in corners too, really appreciate the esp at times when I'm caught off guard.
Going studded next time, my '11 Accent had Kumho kw 19's with studs, I could climb a mountain .

Offline Black Hatch

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Re: Northern Exposure: Best Winter Highway Cars
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2013, 08:43:32 pm »
Nice article and I second comment from Sailor about the 3 FGC AWD systems and why they didn't make the list.
The "worst" handling winter cars wouls be interesting too, though I highly doubt manufacturers would be thrilled with the publication.
Definitely!! longer wheelbase tends to feel more forgiving, predictable, and looses traction more slowly when you loose it. Im not a scientist, but i think longer tends to be better here.

From that I would infer that the Smart Fortwo would probably not be a good "handling" winter highway car.