Lexus IS Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,476 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Aside from ground clearance, I was wondering whether it was better for a car to be heavy or light to go/handle better in the snow. If you look at the curb weights of most SUV's, they are very heavy with BMW X5's tipping 4800lbs and some others well over 5000 lbs (Suburbans, Expeditions, Excursions, Land Cruisers). Now if you look at the weights of lighter cars, such as the Audi A4 2.8 Quattro (3505lbs) and even lighter weight autocross all wheel drive Subaru Imprezas (well under 3000 lbs)..... Aside from the tires, does light weight work to a car's advantage in the snow? I would think so, because there's less weight to throw around and lighter weight cars tend to do better while handling in dry weather. However, heavier weight vehicles tend to have better traction in the snow....
Eric....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,476 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Also, if lighter weight cars tend to be better in the snow, then why don't auto manufacturers make Aluminum body SUV's to save weight (like Audi's A.udi S.pace F.rame for the A8 and Acura's NSX). I know that it would be more expensive, but Aluminum construction has its advantages which I'm sure the affluent would be willing to pay for...
Eric...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,628 Posts
Well Eric, I guess weight does help put the wheels to the ground (traction), but less of it would mean less to handle. I'd say the lightweights would definitely do better. Once a big SUV starts to slip on icy surfaces, it's that much more difficult to get it in control.
But then, I could be wrong.

black/ivory
17"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
In snow, heavier is better. The extra weight allows the tire to go through the top layer of snow and grab the harder snow/asphalt. If you have a light car, it's better to have narrorwer tires so that the weight is concentrated into a smaller surface area. Once you start sliding, all bets are off
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,476 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Kota,
So you think a Subaru Impreza autocross car won't go as well as an SUV in the snow?.... and yes, sliding is the point of no return in an SUV.
Eric....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
EricK:
Kota, So you think a Subaru Impreza autocross car won't go as well as an SUV in the snow?.... and yes, sliding is the point of no return in an SUV.
Subaru Impreza would probably do as well if not better... but not your IS300...


------------------
Nice but overpriced...

[This message has been edited by grishulia (edited November 06, 2000).]
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
727 Posts
It depends. If you are looking for maximum safety/stability, the SUV is a better choice. If you enjoy drifting around snowed-in streets, then the Impreza would be better although snow tires would pretty much equalize the weight advantage that SUVs have.

[This message has been edited by Chiphead (edited November 06, 2000).]
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,107 Posts
The heavier the car, the better it is in the snow, simple physics. Also, narrow tires are better, because as already stated, the weight sinks through the snow to what's beneath. So yes, an SUV would do better in the snow than a WRX - it also depends on the tire compound and tread design. Humvees work great in the snow cause they're so heavy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
178 Posts
Originally posted by ckolsen:
The heavier the car, the better it is in the snow, simple physics. Also, narrow tires are better, because as already stated, the weight sinks through the snow to what's beneath. So yes, an SUV would do better in the snow than a WRX - it also depends on the tire compound and tread design. Humvees work great in the snow cause they're so heavy.
i don't think its quite that simple... there are a number of factors... heavier car is harder to stop... also depends on the weight distribution as well as the unsprung weight...

but if all factors are the same, then you might be right...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
258 Posts
I've been driving in the snow for going on (hmm, let me think) 45 years now (ouch, depressing
) so let me share some expertise with y'all.

Weight is your friend. The main reason RWD cars are so bad in the snow is not the way the power is applied, it is that there is little weight over the drive wheels. Anyone who had the chance to drive an old VW Beetle in the snow will know how good RWD can be, when the engine is back there too. Weight actually helps slightly when braking also, it helps keep the vehicle sitting evenly, and helps to push wheels through the snow and onto the pavement. The main way weight works against you is when turning, and again mostly because the rear of the car is lighter than the front. In a RWD car, fill your trunk with sandbags and you'll go anywhere.

------------------
Stephen Withrow
[email protected]

98 Lexus LS400
97 Ford Explorer Limited
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top