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Winter driving

bcgti

Ready to race!
Location
BC
Hey guys,

I have yet to drive an awd car in the winter but have many years experience with 4x4 trucks and one truck with an auto 4x4 mode. When approaching a long sweeping corner with limited traction (snow/ice), keeping on the throttle is wonderful with 4x4 - as long as you keep on the gas. With the auto 4x4 truck I had, in the same situation, the rear would start to loose traction and then a split second later you could feel the front engage and pull you through. Didn’t like this feeling as on this type of corner you can feeling it engage/disengage a couple times - not exactly confidence inspiring.

For those who drive in the winter, what is the R like in a similar situation? Does the front plow a bit before the rear engages or is it seemless like running 4wd HI?

Thanks!
 

KASPER1

Go Kart Champion
Location
AMONGST U
It’s nothing like a 4x4 in that situation, because in that situation it’s probably only fwd.
 

Al_in_Philly

Autocross Newbie
Location
Philadelphia USA
First, if you equip your R with good winter tires you'll find that you have to really push it in the snow before you lose traction in the front or the rear. But when you do finally cross that threshold you'll find that it breaks loose exactly the opposite than you described with your truck. The Golf's 60/40 weight distribution coupled with its Haldex AWD system (which only puts power to the rear wheels when there is a loss of traction at the front) will give you a brief moment of front end drift before bringing the rear around. In my experience with the car in winter (with the stability/traction control fully engaged), that period of time when the front starts to lose traction has been almost indiscernible, as its control is quite amazing. Remember, the Golf is not only much lighter than any 4x4, but its center of gravity is way, way, lower, both of which allow it to accelerate, turn, and stop in snow better. It's like what Scotty in the old Star Trek series used to say: "you can't defy the laws of physics, Captain." Additionally, the R applies its brakes to any wheel which is spinning faster than the other ones, enhancing its balance in the snow--if you want to "play" in the snow with your R, disable the stability control.

That said, all of this goes out the window when the snow on the road is greater than the 5" or so of ground clearance that the R has, though up to that point, the R is an incredible snow machine.

Here's a couple of videos on driving the R fast in the snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWtpNS_9VdE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_LVUuGNW_A
 

The Fed

Old Guys Rule
Location
Florida
First, if you equip your R with good winter tires you'll find that you have to really push it in the snow before you lose traction in the front or the rear. But when you do finally cross that threshold you'll find that it breaks loose exactly the opposite than you described with your truck. The Golf's 60/40 weight distribution coupled with its Haldex AWD system (which only puts power to the rear wheels when there is a loss of traction at the front) will give you a brief moment of front end drift before bringing the rear around. In my experience with the car in winter (with the stability/traction control fully engaged), that period of time when the front starts to lose traction has been almost indiscernible, as its control is quite amazing. Remember, the Golf is not only much lighter than any 4x4, but its center of gravity is way, way, lower, both of which allow it to accelerate, turn, and stop in snow better. It's like what Scotty in the old Star Trek series used to say: "you can't defy the laws of physics, Captain." Additionally, the R applies its brakes to any wheel which is spinning faster than the other ones, enhancing its balance in the snow--if you want to "play" in the snow with your R, disable the stability control.

That said, all of this goes out the window when the snow on the road is greater than the 5" or so of ground clearance that the R has, though up to that point, the R is an incredible snow machine.

Here's a couple of videos on driving the R fast in the snow: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWtpNS_9VdE
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_LVUuGNW_A

I think I liked the Mitsubishi Eclipse better. Ground clearance wasn't as much a problem, and I believe it had a viscous center diff and rear LSD. I saw people go uphill in deep snow with no problem. I don't see we need an expensive, complicated electronic Haldex system. Doesn't Subaru still use viscous couplings?
 

bcgti

Ready to race!
Location
BC
I’m always amazed how well fwd does in the snow but there’s times where awd would give more traction/confidence.

The ground clearance is another factor as today we woke up to 6” of new snow and the plow trucks didn’t clear much off. Driving up to the ski hill it’s pretty deep. I like my truck but would rather be driving a car as it’s much more fun but the clearance could be an issue.
 

adam1991

Banned
Location
USA
I’m always amazed how well fwd does in the snow but there’s times where awd would give more traction/confidence.

That all depends. Does the FWD have good snow tires on it? Is the AWD car on all-seasons?

FWD would win that one.

This morning I watched a Subaru driver fishtail around a left turn in the snow and damn near slam his bright orange shiny new toy into a telephone pole. I'm sure he thought all was OK with his awd...
 

Al_in_Philly

Autocross Newbie
Location
Philadelphia USA
That all depends. Does the FWD have good snow tires on it? Is the AWD car on all-seasons?

FWD would win that one.

This morning I watched a Subaru driver fishtail around a left turn in the snow and damn near slam his bright orange shiny new toy into a telephone pole. I'm sure he thought all was OK with his awd...

There are soooooo many people who think that AWD and all-season radials are all that you need in the winter. Then again, insurance agents need to make a living just like the rest of us.
 

Al_in_Philly

Autocross Newbie
Location
Philadelphia USA
I think I liked the Mitsubishi Eclipse better. Ground clearance wasn't as much a problem, and I believe it had a viscous center diff and rear LSD. I saw people go uphill in deep snow with no problem. I don't see we need an expensive, complicated electronic Haldex system. Doesn't Subaru still use viscous couplings?

FED, have you had a chance to drive your R in the snow wearing good winter tires? I know that you live in Florida.
 

bcgti

Ready to race!
Location
BC
That all depends. Does the FWD have good snow tires on it? Is the AWD car on all-seasons?

FWD would win that one.

This morning I watched a Subaru driver fishtail around a left turn in the snow and damn near slam his bright orange shiny new toy into a telephone pole. I'm sure he thought all was OK with his awd...

I’ve driven a Mazdaspeed 3 with studded winters for 2 seasons, Fiesta ST with studless winters for 1 season and a MK6 GTI with studless winters for 1 season. I just can’t seem to get rid of the idea that I need a 4x4 for the winter as that’s what I’ve always had. Even though I only really ‘need’ a truck for a handful of times a year for mainly dump runs.

Trying to convince myself that a car is all I need!

I’m a hopeless car addict I think.
 

Al_in_Philly

Autocross Newbie
Location
Philadelphia USA
Nobody needs the traction of the R in the snow (or in the rain) if you have good tires and any sort of decent driving skills. Similarly, nobody needs the acceleration and top speed which an R can provide, nor its cornering capabilities. It's just sooooo nice to have.
 

TheWombat

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vermont
When I moved to Vermont twenty years ago, I had a 4x4 B4000 (V6 Mazda truck, Ford Ranger, really) with a manual. Coming from Georgia, I had never had winter tires. Learned very quickly that AWD without winter tires was no good, especially in a truck. Since then I've had FWD and AWD cars, and all have had winter tires. No problems with any of them.

The Subie (WRX) and the R, the AWD cars I've had up here, were/are both fabulous in the snow, but so were the FWD cars with winters. The R behaves just as Al notes above. Keep in mind that, yeah, physics are a bitch, and mass, velocity, and vector are all going to trump whatever traction you have after a certain point. But the basic idea of keeping power to the wheels does work just the same as with any other AWD application.
 

adam1991

Banned
Location
USA
Nobody needs the traction of the R in the snow (or in the rain) if you have good tires and any sort of decent driving skills. Similarly, nobody needs the acceleration and top speed which an R can provide, nor its cornering capabilities. It's just sooooo nice to have.

Well, if you HAVE the R and its level of horsepower, then you NEED the traction of the R to deliver it against the ground.
 

vwauug

Ready to race!
Location
Chicago
I drove my r for the first time in snowy/slushy conditions (Chicago) with blizzak lm001 rubber. It did not feel as bulletproof as I expected. Some was my rusty manual driving some may be getting used to the r. When I drove my b7 S4 with snow tires it was a complete tank in the same conditions, but it was an automatic. That said the jury is still out fo me.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

dwvw

Go Kart Newbie
I live in Canada, we get tons of snow. I drove my IS38 swapped GTI through a winter no problems, but had good winter tires. Now I drive my stage 2 R in the winter, but with the best winter tires IMO. Under everyday situations they drive very similar in the winter. But when pushed, nothing beats the R with the studded winters.
 
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TheWombat

Go Kart Champion
Location
Vermont
I drove my r for the first time in snowy/slushy conditions (Chicago) with blizzak lm001 rubber. It did not feel as bulletproof as I expected. Some was my rusty manual driving some may be getting used to the r. When I drove my b7 S4 with snow tires it was a complete tank in the same conditions, but it was an automatic. That said the jury is still out fo me.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro

I suspect the weight and the Quattro system have something to do with that. Generally I find manuals more reassuring in the snow than automatics, but YMMV.
 
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