Posts from ‘Winter Driving’
This preview didn’t go entirely according to plan.
Mazda flew us up to Whistler, British Columbia — site of the 2010 Winter Olympics — to demonstrate its “predictive” i-ACTIV all-wheel-drive system, introduce a newly available turbocharged engine in the CX-5 line, and let us experience all three of its crossovers in slippery, snowy conditions. The first and last, of course, depended on the cooperation of Mother Nature, and she accommodated — a little too generously, as it turned out.
There’s a certain cachet to sedans with all-wheel drive. Though largely shunned by folks in states in which snow is not a real threat to commuting ease, AWD vehicles in general have caught on with the buying public, accounting for as much as 80 percent of the sales of certain crossover-SUV models in cities such as Chicago and New York.
“… Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”
The words to that famous song seem to be the backdrop for the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, and if the forecasted 20 inches of the white stuff materializes, Nissan is ready.
One of the downsides of electric cars — as noted in our previous Kia Soul EV long-term update — is that cold weather really cuts into the driving range. That’s likely due in part to the battery being less efficient in cold temperatures, and certainly to the fact that creating heat from electricity is an extremely inefficient endeavor.
The snow came later than it usually does here around Consumer Guide’s suburban Chicago headquarters. However, when it did come, it came with impact, dumping 6-8 inches around the area in a relatively short period of time. With snow comes snow-covered vehicles, some of which may be difficult to identify under all the badge- and shape-obscuring white stuff. Here we have eight liberally coated vehicles for you to identify. A couple of the cars are pretty easy, but a few should take you a least a moment to ID.
According to the National Weather Service, 39 U.S. states saw more than ten inches of snow least year. Now, that snow isn’t especially well dispersed across each state. Here in Illinois, snowfall totals up near Chicago are far higher than they are down near St. Louis, but it’s a safe bet most Illinoisans have at least a passing familiarity with the white stuff.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Dodge division issued a press release today introducing the Challenger GT, an all-wheel-drive variant of the brand’s performance-oriented coupe. The 2017 Dodge Challenger GT starts at $34,490 and comes standard with a 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
“We encourage you to go over the limit.”
That opening (and potentially career-ending) comment was delivered by Mazda product specialist Ramana Lagemann, and–trust me–it was a phrase none of the assembled auto journalists had ever before heard at a press preview. In fact, most manufacturers spend a great deal of (entirely justified) time imploring us NOT to go over the limit, as things quickly get expensive when we do. Just ask any prematurely grey PR rep.
Forty or so years ago, ensuring vehicle safety and reliability in cold-weather driving usually meant performing a series of annual maintenance rituals.
Common preparations including swapping out the thermostat, flushing the cooling system, switching to lighter-weight motor oil, and having the battery tested. Additionally, slapping on snow tires was not uncommon in locales known for heavy doses of the white stuff.
Those were once magical words.
As kids, after peering out our bedroom windows to see that Mother Nature had blessed us with a fresh, thick blanket of white overnight, my sister and I would sit at the breakfast table eagerly waiting for the phone to ring. And on those all-too-rare occasions when it did, there would be a moment of anticipation followed by a rousing cheer: “Snow day!”