walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

Is the i3 a snow bunny? Not really. But it is not horrible

I finally got to drive my new car on Not Fully Plowed, Treated and Dry Roads. I chickened out of the ice storm and just stayed home. Because. However, this was not ice. This was snow.

When I first moved to the east coast, specifically, Mayberry, NH [ <- not its real name], I was driving a Subaru WRX with Blizzaks. While it did not love going triple digits on the open road, it was fearless in the face of weather. Which was important, because I wasn't used to driving in snow. Snow in Seattle = I stay home or I put on the Sorels and go tromp around for a while. Not as good an option out here, because there is so much more of it.

I drove two Fits (a 2007 and a 2011), neither with snow tires. I was a little more chicken about the snow, but was willing to go out in it. And I moved to Massachusetts in 2009, which meant better treated roads, faster, thus requiring less sacrifice to wait for cleared roads to venture out. But the i3 is, far and away, the least obviously practical winter choice of all the new vehicles I have ever bought. I can get Blizzaks for it, altho I'm not sure if I will bother.

The i3 (duh) has traction control. As T. and I drove out to Hudson, MA to go to Applebee's (blame him), a little over 10 miles each way, I noticed the biggest problem was getting moving again after stopping at a slushy intersection. And then, weirdly, it did not feel like it was the back wheels slipping. It felt like it was the front wheels. If you're thinking, that makes no sense at all, I wholeheartedly concur. Next time it happens, I'll pay closer attention and see if I change my mind.

The wonderful, instantaneous torque that makes it fun to startle passengers with jackrabbit starts is what causes the problem. Even at my most restrained, the traction control kicked in at some intersections.

Other than that, the i3 handled quite well on snowy roads. There were hills. There were curves. There were hills and curves. Of course, nothing is going to make you stop in a hurry, altho the ABS does help if you are about to overshoot, and then the traction control provides an assist with the inevitable sideways motion (once, when I almost overshot the turn onto Martin Street).

It was not windy today. I could imagine that a strong wind combined with snowy roads (sort of normal Nebraska weather, say) would be pretty tense.

I kept it under 30 mph there and back, because I am too skeered to go fast in the snow with my lovely new car. Which is no snow bunny, but is perfectly acceptable on snowy roads.
Tags: not-a-book-review, transportation
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