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Winter Driving with Prius

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Posted by ken tak on December 20, 2008, 5:27 am
 
How does the Prius fare on snowy roads? How about ice?
Are there any experience with these?
Thanks
ken tak

Posted by Was Istoben on December 20, 2008, 3:30 pm
 
This is the 4th winter for my 2005 Prius.  As with any other car it's mostly
about ground clearance and tires.  The traction control prevents the wheels
from spinning when there is no traction.  That takes some getting used to
because instead of sitting in one spot with the wheels spinning you find
yourself sitting in one spot with the engine idling, even if the accelerator
is fully depressed.  A set of great snow/ice tires solved that as it would
with most cars.  If the snow is six inches or less deep, the Prius
outperforms other cars I've owned.  When it gets deeper than that I stay
home or use my 4WD SUV.

Also like other cars, the Prius gets stiff when it's really cold (-20F
to -30F) but the huge battery seems to be an advantage.  It starts right up
in situations where my SUV (new battery) cranks slowly.




Posted by Michael Pardee on December 20, 2008, 5:55 pm
 
As Was says, it all depends on your tires. Even with chains (my preferred
way to ensure traction) snow over 5-6 inches is too deep; the car will high
center.

Mike



Posted by David W on December 22, 2008, 4:36 pm
 It sort of depends on what you are comparing it to and on the driver's
experience with winter driving conditions.  In Calgary right now our roads
are crap due to a cold snap that started with rain and turned to snow and
hasn't warmed up much above -20C since.  I learned to drive in hatchbacks
(Dodge Omni, Geo Metro) with all seasons so controlling skids and driving in
and over ruts is something I'm well acquainted with.  Compared to that the
Prius is a freaking dream come true, even on all seasons.  The traction
controller is a huge aid in keeping the car in a straight line when it's
sliding during stops and during starts on ice patches.  Keeping in a line is
really all you can hope for when sliding.  Stopping distance is of course
just as bad with traction control as it would be without it but at least you
only have to worry about hitting what is in front of you not also what is
beside you.  Leaving more space is definitely necessary.

If you compare it to a 4x4 or a pickup with a good mass in the bed (light
pickups slide like there's no tomorrow) the Prius is harder to handle but it
is manageable.  If you're cautious mushy snow up to about 6 inches deep is
okay to drive in, and powder up to about 10 inches deep is also okay.
Mileage goes down a bit due to poor traction conditions but of course it
also goes down for all the other non-Prii cars too.

Don't take my word for it though.  Best bet is to try a test drive on some
bad roads if you can, preferably not in heavy traffic conditions until
you're used to the car.

  8>/
David W





Posted by ken tak on December 22, 2008, 8:36 pm
 Sounds like-not a 4x4, but better than many other nons.
Thanks for all your comments
ken tak



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