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Hi all, this is my first post here, so I'd like to make it somewhat worthwhile instead of ranting and raving.

I picked up an '03 WRC Blue WRX in October and absolutely love it so far. It's the most high-performance car I've ever owned, yet it's still refined enough to enjoy at low revs. Great handling, etc, but you guys already know all that.

Last night we had our first major winter storm here in Maine. We received several inches of ice, snow, and rain over the course of about 24 hours, and I had a 40 minute commute to make after work. I had no problems in any of the environments in my Subaru. It handled the inclement weather and roads superbly!

I noticed about 80% of the vehicles on the road were mid-to-large SUVs. My question is, do these larger, more torquey vehicles have a true advantage in the rain and snow and mud over a rally-inspired car like the WRX (or Evo, or whatever)? I would imagine that the WRX, with its lower center of gravity, lighter weight, and smaller size, would be able to handle winter driving at least as well as something like a Jeep Liberty or Ford Explorer. The only SUV advantages seem to be higher ground clearance and low-end torque; however, with 217 lb-ft of torque at only 3,000lbs, the WRX has a high torque/hp-to-lb ratio.

So does size matter with severe winter driving? I would like to shut everyone up at work who drives mammoth 'utes and laughs at my little blue sedan in the snow :(
 

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I would say it's a tie...

For Them:
Two words - ground clearance. When it comes to deep snow, they got us beat bad. In deep snow, park it. I tried in the blizzard here two years ago (DC got about 19" in 2002) and I got out there thinking I would tear it up. Didn't work so well.

For Us:
In all other aspects and weather, I would take the smaller, lighter car. In up to 6" of snow, WRX>suvs. They're harder to control - brakes, high center of gravity, etc.
 

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The only real advantage is the ground clearance. Where my WRX would get stuck in 8" of snow due to snow packing under the car, my Toyota pickup on 32's shines in snow 1 1/2' deep and doesn't flinch. Suv's also have the clearance to put some pretty nasty tires on them, but most soccer moms don't :tongue: Suv's that have switchable 4WD also have an advantage with a locking center diff.
 

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momentum = mass x velocity

more weight = more sliding when trying to break

Then again....more weight = more friction, so maybe less sliding. We have always ignored things like that in any physics classes I have taken.
 

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the switchable diff is very nice. i used to drive a blazer before the wrx, and it was awesome in snow. ground clearence rocked.

i've driven my rex in about 3 days of snow back in february, and it was alright. the only problem i had was wanting to use all the power and playing around too much when i wouldn't do it as much in the blazer ;)
 

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The biggest advantage they have is MASS. When some other jackass looses it and slams into you, you're better off in the biggest hunk of metal you can get.


Other than that.. we have more fun :)
 

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Racenut3.0 said:
The biggest advantage they have is MASS. When some other jackass looses it and slams into you, you're better off in the biggest hunk of metal you can get.


Other than that.. we have more fun :)
I have to say, I really do have a blast in my pickemup truck. The woods are the most fun in the snow :wiggles:
 

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well an SUV has 50/50 all time where as a 5spd wrx goes from 20/80 or 80/20 depending on slip. That would be an advantage to the wrx. I've taken my wrx out in the 20" snowstorm we got 2 years ago. I had no problems, i even went up a steep hill just to see if i could make it. Honestly they both have something the other doesn't. I'd say it's pretty much equal.
 

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well the main reason why suv's r good in the winter is because they have that little thing called ground clearence. (btw i didnt read the rest of the thread)
 

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ya i live in phoenix, AZ...so the most i have to worry about is some rain about 10 times a year, lol....i took it out in the rain the other day and it was a blast...
 

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best recommendation is to get rid of the stock tires
 

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nobody mentioned this but also fun part about some suvs, the ability to put in 2WD. findout out how far i can go before i get stuck in my old XJ, oh the fun. oh wait, its still in the driveway....!!! haha...i love snow. suby one day, XJ another.
 

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I also own a F250 4X4 with the Power Stroke Diesel. I think in any snow/ice it is better. The freighter like weight of the truck just makes so much traction. The motor alone is 1100 lbs.! It is not even spooky on glare ice. The only thing that is bad about it is I have manual locking hubs. I have to get out and lock each front wheel manually. But the WRX is like 200% more fun to drive.
 

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I used to drive a 14 ton rwd truck for a living and the main difference were the traction, both starting and braking. Of course you were talking about stupid urban vehicles, aka boat anchors, but same principle, but most ppl dont know how to drive a suv properly. I could do unreal slides (some ppl call it drifting) and always save it but the truck was also pretty long (Volvo F87, F88) which helped.
 

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don't forget

Driving skill is more than 90% more important than either clearance/torque/whatever. I you have time and 150 bucks take the Tim ONeil winter driving day course in NH. Its amazing to have someone that skilled driving your car, because its just impossible to believe what can be done untils someone does it in your car. your tires, your power, etc. They, the instructors, can drive circles around an STI or Hummer with some 1970 bucket of bolts. Cool.

I live in LA now, but I would take that class every year, when in I lived in Boston.
http://www.team-oneil.com/

M
 

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in the last big nyc blizzard i drove quite a ways, at normal speeds, flying past SUVs and snowplows. it mostly comes down to the driver and your experience in snow, knowing what you can and cannot do.

once it really packs up you need height, no awd is going to get you around that.
as an example, after that drive i wound up getting stuck in my driveway. that's the snow in my avatar after cleaning up a day later.
 

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me and my dad went through the rockies last year going to utah from washington and coming back. on the way back, everything was closed unless you had chains or awd. i gurantee the snow was about 6'' and we just flew by everyone (with stock tires and no chains). i wouldnt do that now, because my stock tires dont have much tread left and id definantly be going slower than i was last time.
 

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CustomS10 said:
well an SUV has 50/50 all time where as a 5spd wrx goes from 20/80 or 80/20 depending on slip. That would be an advantage to the wrx. I've taken my wrx out in the 20" snowstorm we got 2 years ago. I had no problems, i even went up a steep hill just to see if i could make it. Honestly they both have something the other doesn't. I'd say it's pretty much equal.

strange i always thought that the wrx was 50/50....

Maybe next winter I'll be taking the Tim O'Neill class.... we should have a group winter class...at least those of us here on the east coast...

Gonna be taking my car in the snow for the first time once it starts falling....i can't wait..

:wiggles:
 
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