Hybrid Car – More Fun with Less Gas

Winter Gas Mileage - Page 2

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Posted by Bill on December 14, 2005, 6:05 pm

This year's freeze-up began with a freezing rain followed immediately by a
few inches of snow.  My driveway begins an upward slope immediately off my
apron, a slope I couldn't climb under these conditions with the mini-van I
owned a few years back.  I traded that van for a 4WD Explorer and kept that
when I purchased my Prius for conditions like this.  My Prius makes it up
the driveway easily so the Explorer just takes up space in the garage.  The
Prius is much more stable on ice-covered roads so my current tank (45 mpg
after 230 miles) looks a LOT better than the 16 displayed on the Explorer's
mileage computer screen.

Can't recall if I mentioned the big surprise I experienced the first time
the Prius traction control completely took over.  I was climbing an icy
slope somewhat more severe than my driveway.  Never noticed the wheels
slipping but the car simply went slower and slower.  About 1/2 of the way up
that slope I found myself at a standstill with the engine idling and the gas
pedal at the floor.  How do they do that?  The thing just refuses to break
traction and instead simply gives up.  Thinking about it later, I
appreciated it's response to the futility of my demand.

Posted by Jean B. on December 15, 2005, 2:00 am
Bill wrote:

Oh!  Now this interests me because I have hung on to my AWD
Passat mostly because I am not sure how the Prius will do on
slippery roads.  I don't like having two cars--esp. since I
have found out that it is a misnomer to call my garage a 2-car
one.  :-(

BTW, my Passat was getting ca 21 MPG and then slipped to ca 16
MPG for some undiagnosed reason--and Volkswagen just says it
is fine.  Well, that was the last straw that drove me to get a
Prius, which I should have gotten years ago.
Jean B.

Posted by Bill on December 15, 2005, 3:17 am

I'm thinking your Passat probably does much better on icy roads than does my
top-heavy Explorer with it's fat tires.  It wasn't all Firestone's fault
they rolled over after tossing a tread.  When I say the Prius is better on
icy roads than the Explorer I may be saying more about the Explorer being
lousy than the Prius being great.  As I recall you have a level 6 with VSC.
On a straight and level stretch of very icy roads, and keeping my wits about
me, I never see the VSC light flash but I've tested the feature a couple of
times now under slippery but otherwise safe conditions and it works as
advertised.  Car just keeps going where you point it but with that light
flashing on-and-off in time with the grating sound of the ABS brakes.

Posted by Jean B. on December 15, 2005, 2:46 pm
 Bill wrote:

The slippery road symbol (is that VSC?) flashes when I go over
bumps!!!!  Odd.  I think the ABS brakes have only kicked in
once thus far--and the sound is a lot less jarring than the
brakes on the Passat.  I am wondering whether all such brakes
are not created equal--I may like the ones on the Prius better.

BTW, you have a good memory!!!!

Jean B.

Posted by Bill on December 15, 2005, 4:33 pm

My memory isn't all that good, Jean, but I think the VSC/ABS deployment
light is just to the left of that icy road symbol.  I'm guessing the VSC/ABS
light might flash when accelerating over a bump but not when coasting over a
bump.  I say this because in order to activate the VSC when I tested it I
had to accelerate on a slippery curve.  One of the techs who posts here
might add that VSC senses two conditions: deviating from the chosen path and
one wheel going faster than the other.  I'm not certain.

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