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Prius C in the snow

Discussion in 'Prius c Main Forum' started by chrisdsd1, May 26, 2012.

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  1. chrisdsd1

    chrisdsd1 New Member

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    Since the Prius c just came out in March I know that probably no one has experience driving one in the snow. I have been reading some posts on another forum about a Prius not being very good in the snow. In fact a few compared it to a sled. The main problem mentioned was the traction control. When going up an icy hill and the wheels started spinning the power to the wheels just cut out. I did read a post on this forum which indicated this problem might have been corrected in later models. Has any Prius c owner researched driving in the snow. Also wondering about the tires that come on the car, how will they be in the snow. I just ordered my Prius c on Monday and after reading the posts about all the problems in the snow I am upset. Not sure what to do. I drive a Corolla and don't have any problems in the snow,so it is not that I expect the Prius C to drive like an SUV.
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney EditProfOptInfoCustomUser Title

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    Gen 3 > Gen 2.5 (2007) > Gen 2 > Gen 1. (Apparently: I've only driven Gen 3).

    It's just that the traction control is doing two jobs:
    1) Controlling traction
    2) Protecting the transmission

    Buy snow tires for winter.

    In difficult conditions, I (and my PWR-mode using wife) find it's much better to put the Prius in Eco to give you finer throttle control and keep the car moving steadily.
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  3. spiderman

    spiderman wretched

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    I suspect the c will handle no different than the HB or the v. With snow tires, mine handles the snow and ice just as good or better than any other fwd I have ever had. In ECO, I think the control is even better than the 97 Camry I had. But I would never drive w/o my snow tires.
    YMMV
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  4. Erikon

    Erikon Active Member

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    It shouldn't be any different than your Corolla, probably better in fact! Snow tires are recommended for the bad months.
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  5. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    To be useful, such posts need to indicate the particular model year, installed tires, tire condition, and driver style. Otherwise, it just sows FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt).

    The first Prii had overly conservative 'traction control', really a transaxle protection mechanism, that made the car very sensitive to poor winter tires (such as the OEM units) and worn tires. As ItsNotAboutTheMoney points out, the traction control has been significantly improved at least three times through 2010.

    But the OEM tires are still inadequate for many winter users, so if this is a concern, plan on buying a separate set of 'real' winter tires. Then it should be just like any other low clearance FWD car, except for certain performance drivers whose style demands significant wheel spin/slip on certain low-traction surfaces. Those drivers should skip the Prius and get a Subaru.
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  6. XRinger

    XRinger Member

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    My wife had no real problems driving her 2003 Corolla (without traction control) in snow,
    using the OEM tires for five years and another five years on Michelin HydroEdge tires (at 40 psi).

    Now that she will be driving the 'c', with traction control,
    I didn't think she would be needing snow tires.

    I've seen a lot of Prius cars in the Lexington MA area during the last 10 years,
    but I never noticed if any of them were using snow tires..

    Need more info.. Is there a Boston area Prius group?
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  7. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    My mom's 2003 Corolla still surprises me. It's quite a step back from the snow & ice handling of a 2010 Prius. So, it's easy to imagine the C model easily surpassing it.

    The early years of Iconic model of Prius did indeed have traction-control frustrations if you were still using only factory tires. But a good set of all-season tires overcame that. I know this quite well, since I use to own a 2004 and drove it for 6 winters in Minnesota. Then I upgraded to a 2010, which was a obvious improvement even with just factory tires.

    Unless you're climbing unplowed hills through deep snow, there's no reason to be concerned.

    And when it does finally snow, you'll be thrilled with the MPG that results. Traffic slowing down provides more efficiency opportunity. While everyone else becomes frustrated from wasting gas in traffic congestion, you'll be smiling as you witness the system shutting off the engine when not needed and crawling along in that traffic using only electricity.
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  8. Daze

    Daze Prius C Owner

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    Living in snowy and hilly Salt lake city, studded snow tires are a must for me in the winter. The prius traction control is HORRENDOUS for driving up even a slight grade with snow. I have the C now, but i used to have the 2009 Prius. The traction control was so horrible in the snow that i had to look up how to turn it off for snowy conditions. You have to be really careful though, you dont want to damage the car so you have to have extremely good throttle control. Does anybody know yet how to turn off the traction control in the C? If it is the same system as in the older prius, then i WILL need to turn it off when the roads get snowy.
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  9. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Super new tech studless snows like Nokian Hakkapeliitta 7 should work on a new Prius with most up to date traction control.

    My test will be going up Little Cottonwood in the snow and getting out of Snowbird parking lot after storm skiing.

    I'm counting on Prius with Nokians being able to replace by AWD Escape hybrid.
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  10. XRinger

    XRinger Member

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    I'll bet those are expensive. I'm thinking maybe something like the Michelin X-Ice Xi2.
    They have a pretty good rating at the Tire Rack site.
    It's mostly snow around here, we rarely ever got out when it's icy.
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  11. strongbad

    strongbad Member

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    In my experience, lightweight cars do much better in snow than heavier cars. The c should have the advantage over the heavier Prii.
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  12. Erikon

    Erikon Active Member

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    In 2009-2010, the first winter I had my Prius, I drove on the OE Yoko Avids and had no problems including going up very steep, snow covered hills. I could see the traction indicator blinking as the system worked flawlessly. In 2011's winter I still had no problems going up hills but stopping was iffy because the Yoko's were more worn, so I put on blizzaks and the car powered through everything! This year there was no snow worth mentioning so the Yoko's stayed on and again, not a slip!
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  13. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Nokian WG's for my Escape were $700. Michelin X-Ice not much cheaper. Had them on my GranPrix and did Intermountain ski season with them with no problem.
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  14. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    I do not have experience driving the C in the snow,
    but I do have XP in driving in the snow and on ice.

    As for ice, forget what kind of car you have...ice will not be better with
    4x4 or awd. ice is ice.
    I never drove with studded tires, im sure they help, but doesnt cure ice being slippy.

    As for the snow, really it is up to the driver driving correctly.
    The cars weight and handling will factor in too.

    The C I think would do a bit better over the 3G because of weight and
    having a bit more power that can be tuned back if needed.
    Also the lightness can help with stopping in snow.

    I have noticed that the C has more response on almost every level compared
    to the 3G. Braking, accelerating and steering. This should carry over in snow.

    However, the 3G will do fine.
    Just as long as the driver either has the xp or knows how to drive in snow.
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  15. Wildfire

    Wildfire New Member

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    I'm thinking the biggest problem with the C is going to be its low ground clearance; it might drive just fine on compact snow and ice (especially with the right tires, as mentioned), but it wouldn't take much more than a couple of inches to turn your snow-mobile into a snow-plow. Low clearance may be great for fuel mileage (think "low... ride... er..."), but it's the one reason why we're going to miss the '93 Civic..
  16. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    Actually the new Nokian, Blizzaks, X-ices have silica in the tread and do very well on ice. It's like driving with sandpaper on the tires.
  17. ProximalSuns

    ProximalSuns Senior Member

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    My GranPrix was 5.4" ground clearance vs. Prius C's 5.5" or Prius III's 5.3". Should do OK with good snow tires and traction/ABS systems.

    Super snow tires are the key.
  18. chrisdsd1

    chrisdsd1 New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies.
    I don't think the ground clearance will cause any more problem then driving my Corolla since it has a 5.8 and a Prius c has a 5.5. I really did not want to own a car that needed a change of tires in the winter, so I guess this is what I will have to think about. I am really wondering how it will do in the snow if I just leave the original tires on it.
  19. XRinger

    XRinger Member

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    I noticed the air-dam ridge under the front bumper, seems to be made of rubber.
    So, it should just flex (instead of break) if you drive over ice humps between the ruts.
    Our old 2003 Corolla handled the Boston area winters for 10 years, without any problems.
    I'm not really too worried about needing to buy snow tires for the Prius C.
    But, if the city has money problems and can't do a good job on our streets,
    I'll see if I can find some cheap steel wheels, and buy a set of those X-ice tires.

    Wonder how many local 'c' drivers will upgrade to alloy wheels and want to sell their old steel?? ;)
  20. B. Roberts

    B. Roberts Hypah Milah! Ayuh.

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    You can get by with a good set of all-season tires in most Winter situations where snow doesn't get very deep or is cleared off quickly. The rub comes if you travel to mountains areas for recreation or work. All-season tires do a fair job in the slick, but when snow gets deeper, it really turns into a different type of driving situation. That's when a really good dedicated snow tire comes into it's own.

    Have spent many Winters driving the Rockies, the Alps and the worst snow in the world, here in Maine. The soft sloppy stuff that makes oil feel grippy. Don't change tires on your wheels seasonally. That costs extra money and a lot more time in the long run and will eventually damage your wheels. Get a set of cheap steel or alloy wheels and stick the best set of snow tires you can afford on them. It takes a whole 30 minutes to change 4 wheels with 4 bolts each. Not a big deal, and you end up with the best control possible in the worst conditions, way better than the best all-season tire could ever offer.

    If you put your snows on in November and take them off in late March or early April, they should last multiple seasons. By the time they wear down to 1/4 of the original tread depth, you'll find them still equal to a newer all-season. By then it's time for new ones, again and you can then run those old snow through the Summer season if they don't have ice studs on them. I generally get 4-5 good seasons out of a modern snow tire. Had a set of Pirelli "Winter Carving" snow tires last 6 seasons! If you live, work or recreate out in the boonies where serious snow storms are commonplace, the extra handling security and safety a snow tire provides is worth every penny spent on them.
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