Posts from ‘Winter Driving’
“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!” Chryslers in snow.
Several days after what Chicago weathercasters have dubbed the fifth- or sixth-worst snowstorm in city history, the Consumer Guide® staff has made note of a surprising number of vehicles still buried under hardening layers of the white stuff.
In the past few years, the number of vehicles offered with 4-Wheel Drive (4WD) or All-Wheel Drive (AWD) has increased dramatically. Previously the domain of pickup trucks and SUVs, today there are few segments where multiple vehicles aren’t offered with one system or the other.
Actually, the following is just a theory. But it’s based on information that at least makes it feasible.
When the Chicagoland area was hit by several days of snow that accumulated to well over a foot, I was glad to have use of an all-wheel-drive vehicle – particularly since I was going to take a long trip. And the fact that all-wheel-drive vehicle was a Lexus RX 350 made it all the more enjoyable. Still, it seemed like time to work up a list of winter driving tips.
2014 Ram ProMaster Cargo “High Roof” (159-inch wheelbase)
Miles driven: 91
Fuel used: 7.4 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 12.3 mpg*
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is typically one of the snowiest places in the United States. Snowfall is light by U.P. standards this winter, but that didn’t stop Chrysler Group from showing off the all-wheel-drive capabilities offered on the full-sized Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger.
We’re heading into the home stretch of our yearlong evaluation of a 2012 Mitsubishi i electric car. It’s arguably the most challenging time because it now has to survive a Chicago winter.