RE: PH Service History: Snow bother

RE: PH Service History: Snow bother

Sunday 4th March

PH Service History: Snow bother

If you're tired of reading by now that the best car for snow is a diesel SUV, Scrof's got the antidote



What's the best car for snowy conditions? That question - or a variant thereof - will have been tapped into Google a million times this week. And in response, you'll normally get something from a site such as that of our sister mag, What Car?, telling you that what you really need is a diesel 4x4 with lots of space, good fuel economy and a smart interior. Worthy and sensible, yes, but ultimately rather dull.

What if you want something that can take monster snowy conditions while also throwing some entertainment into the mix? Happily, the PH classifieds have the answer. But before we delve into them, of course, a spot of disclaimer-age: it's been pretty hairy out there this week and in some parts of the country it still is, so if you are planning to head out on the roads, do take extra care, make sure you're fully prepared, and heed any local weather warnings.


Right. Now that's done, let's look at some old cars, shall we? And what better place to start with Audi, the first company to marry four-wheel drive with going fast on snow. The Quattro project is one which arguably reached its culmination, on the road at least, with the R8, a car which delivers not only the all-weather ability of all-wheel-drive, but a rear-biased set up which means it's able to offer more than simply safe understeer in low-grip conditions. The V10 is the one you want, but it's hard to resist the draw of a V8 manual at current prices. This one looks just the ticket with a full history, low mileage, magnetic ride and a silver-over-black colour scheme for easy resale.

Don't worry if you haven't got forty grand to spend on a quick Audi coupe, though; at the other end of the scale, the Mk1 TT is now available at prices worth getting excited about. You'll probably be tired of the phrase 'surefire classic' being misused by now, but this is one that's bound to go up in value one day; certainly, you won't lose money on it, and in the meantime you'll get a smart, stylish little motor with a cracking interior, enough punch to entertain, and of course, four-wheel drive. This one's finished in the super-rare Kingfisher Blue, and comes with reasonable miles, heated leather and a full book. All yours for less than three grand.


Need more space? Don't fancy an Audi? Then why not that other snow go-to, a Subaru? The obvious choice is an Impreza, but my favourite Scooby's always been the Legacy; indeed, I currently own a BH 2.5 wagon. But were money no object, as a snow-beater I'd go for a later BP model, ideally in JDM-only GT-B Spec B form. This one isn't cheap, but it looks like one of the best around, with low miles, the optional aero kit and, a tonne of work having just been carried out. Of course, as an import, you might want to get a bit of rust protection slopped onto the underside before you take it out in the snow for the first time, but other than that there's little to be concerned about - and a lot to like. Such as the sub-six-second 0-62 time, the vast, robustly-built interior, and the plethora of toys. This one would be pretty high on my list.


Or would a Volvo be more your cup of tea? Let's face it: no list of snowmobiles would be complete without something Swedish - and while elsewhere you'd find a nice, steady XC60 representing, we'd rather a V70 R. This example is, let's be honest, not cheap - but it could be one of the best around, with reasonable mileage, plenty of stamps in the book and an absolutely smashing colour scheme. And if you need more convincing, just look at those seats. Like our Subaru, it's a Japanese import, so the point about rust-proofing stands - but otherwise, this one's a deeply tempting winter wagon.


All of these machines will get you out of a sticky spot on a road that's had a light dusting of snow. But what if you live in the sticks? What if you need something to crawl over drifts and plough through clumps; something that you know will get you back to civilisation come what may? The answer in such situations, as anyone who has experience of such things knows, is always 'Land Cruiser'. And as this is PH, we'll take our Land Cruiser with a side helping of petrol V8 - just like this one. It's loaded with toys including nav, cruise, climate and heated leather, and it's done a distinctly reasonable 90,000 miles. The full history suggests it's a well-kept example, which means it should never let you down; the only minor flaw you'll have to put up with is the fuel economy: reckon on 15mpg on a good day. Thirteen large isn't cheap, but then Land Cruisers aren't - and why would they be with so much metal and capability in them?

There we have it - those are my suggestions. What are yours? Or have you already got the perfect car for the snow? If so, share it with us.

Author
Discussion

NorthernSky

Original Poster:

405 posts

53 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
OP, Please provide a link to that Kingfisher TT.

Baddie

291 posts

153 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
Have the diesel (I know getmecoat) LC Amazon. It’s been the mutt’s in this weather, notwithstanding 200k miles. Tows stranded cars without breaking a sweat.

rjfp1962

15 posts

9 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
In snow it's about the tyres and not the vehicle! A "normal" hatchback on winter tyres is more use than any 4x4 on summer tyres.

One of these, a Suzuki Ignis 4x4 on a set of All-Season tyres maybe?!



Edited by rjfp1962 on Sunday 4th March 18:58

Walter Sobchak

4,444 posts

160 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
Baddie said:
Have the diesel (I know getmecoat) LC Amazon. It’s been the mutt’s in this weather, notwithstanding 200k miles. Tows stranded cars without breaking a sweat.
The Amazons are awesome bits of kit, I went for the Prado which has been great too but I can see why the Amazons hold their money like they do!.

zb

1,225 posts

100 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all


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BricktopST205

456 posts

70 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
My group A homologation had no problem in the snow. Would have been ever better if I had a set of winter tyres. AD08R's were a little sketchy!

HocusPocus

39 posts

37 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
Forget 4x4s. Tyres, tyres, tyres. Driven several 2wds fully loaded into ski resorts across the world with temperatures down to -26C with no problems. Every week, ski resorts deal with conditions far more dangerous than the Beast from the East.
Full winter tyres give proper traction. All weather tyres are waste of time when going gets tough. In deep snow you want extra ground clearance to prevent car from beaching itself and lifting wheels off the ground. Low slung sports cars, even with 4x4 and winter tyres need not apply.
Several European countries legislate for winter tyres, which is why they don't suffer UK's laughable chaos when a few cm of snow falls. Cost of a spare set of wheels shod in winters is usually less than a grand....the price of a minor accident recovery and repair.

V8RX7

16,413 posts

199 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
HocusPocus said:
Forget 4x4s. Tyres, tyres, tyres.

Every week, ski resorts deal with conditions far more dangerous than the Beast from the East.

In deep snow you want extra ground clearance to prevent car from beaching itself and lifting wheels off the ground.
Except as you then state tyres are no good without ground clearance - what has ground clearance - 4x4's !

Ski resorts have machinery so there isn't the problem of big drifts that we've been experiencing hence light 2WD are then ideal.

I was in my 4x4 and had to push an Audi quattro out of the way because the snow had compacted under it - the owner then abandoned it.

And that brings the next problem you need a decent 4x4 to drag the abandoned cars out of your path !

pagc1

8 posts

43 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
Fully agree about the tyres. My 911 C4S on winter tyres has sailed through in moderate conditions when many other cars were seriously struggling or stopped on the side (or even in the middle of) the road.

HocusPocus

39 posts

37 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
V8RX7 said:
Except as you then state tyres are no good without ground clearance - what has ground clearance - 4x4's !

Ski resorts have machinery so there isn't the problem of big drifts that we've been experiencing hence light 2WD are then ideal.

I was in my 4x4 and had to push an Audi quattro out of the way because the snow had compacted under it - the owner then abandoned it.

And that brings the next problem you need a decent 4x4 to drag the abandoned cars out of your path !
The point is the car should be suitable and prepared for winter conditions, then driven with intelligence. Enjoyed a fully loaded vw golf through the Simplon Pass a couple of weeks ago in -12C. Stunningly beautiful.

V8RX7

16,413 posts

199 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
HocusPocus said:
The point is the car should be suitable and prepared for winter conditions, then driven with intelligence. Enjoyed a fully loaded vw golf through the Simplon Pass a couple of weeks ago in -12C. Stunningly beautiful.
Agreed so what suitable 2WD would get through the 3ft drifts and tow other cars out the way ?

I was going to fix my friend's boiler - accessible only via this one lane.

HocusPocus

39 posts

37 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
In Canada, that would be a snowmobile biglaughbiglaughbiglaughbiglaugh

Jackspistonheadsaccount

76 posts

36 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all



Just bought this 4.0L V8 before the snow hit. Unhappy with the light dusting we got here, we decided to take it to see some proper snow! AT tyres, had no issues


CDP

5,576 posts

190 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
A VW Type 25 Synchro with the right tyres would be pretty effective.

My JDM MR2 MK2 was very good with relatively narrow tyres and a limited slip diff.

Honeywell

228 posts

34 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
A four wheel drive Skoda Yeti on winter tyres is an awesome snow/flood/mud machine and will go a long way off road if you know what you’re doing. I also have a Rangerover for towing but in the last week the Yeti has been the better machine for transport. Being 1.2 tons lighter it corners and stops on ice much better.

Well engineered little machines.

wst

3,083 posts

97 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
V8RX7 said:
Except as you then state tyres are no good without ground clearance - what has ground clearance - 4x4's !
10 points for the elephant in the room with the tyre debate.

This winter I've been without winter tyres (need to get some winter wheels if this car's a long termer) but I had no difficulty except when the drifts were lifting the wheels off the ground... on "Jinyu" summer tyres, whatever the hell they are (they're getting replaced in April is what).

I didn't have as much factor of safety when getting around and had to avoid stationary traffic stuck on hills, as pulling away on slopes was not going to happen... but the slowly-eggshells approach with forward observation to build speed for inclines will get you anywhere until the ground clearance is a problem.

Barchettaman

2,336 posts

68 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
HocusPocus said:
All weather tyres are waste of time when going gets tough.

In deep snow you want extra ground clearance to prevent car from beaching itself and lifting wheels off the ground.
First sentence is incorrect.

The second is accurate.

The only time I’ve got stuck in my E90 with winters was when I (stupidly) beached it doing a three-point-turn in a tight carpark.

I dug out the snow under the car (with an umbrella, nothing like having the correct equipment on board), drove out.


Housey

1,995 posts

163 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
All very well with the R8 suggestion.....unless your R8 is sitting at your local Audi dealer having just been serviced and you have a loan A4 that has not been able to get out over 1 foot of snow for 3 days.

Monteverdi Hai

21 posts

49 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
zb said:
Sachsenring??

2354519y

465 posts

87 months

Sunday 4th March
quotequote all
Was behind a TT on Friday in the middle of the dump we had it was doing fine. Probably on its regular tyres. Occasionally his backbend slipped a bit but otherwise he had no issues getting up inclines etc