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Old 02-21-2011, 12:18 AM   #1
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Yaris horrible in snow.

I was just wondering what everyone else's thoughts are on the Yaris' performance in the snow. Over the past month I've had a FEW close calls with mine losing control on backroads on the way to and home from work. I live out in the country mind you, with some seriously drifted roads; many which have not yet seen a snowplow. With that said, I have a 2008 Yaris LE Hatchback, running 14" steelies w/ brand new Firestone Winterforce tires. I honestly feel that the problem is that the car is too front heavy. I think once the car looses a little control that the back end just starts tossing around too easily. My in-laws have a ~2004 Chev Cavalier running OEM tires and it outperforms my Yaris on these same type of roads by a long shot. Driving the Cavalier, just feels a lot more heavy and secure on the roads. You feel a lot more confident when you run into a drift that it's going to stick to the ground. I've just recently set a couple of large bags of water softener salt in the hatch to weigh down the rear end a tad to see if it helps.

Anyone else have thoughts on the matter? My wife's Matrix feels a lot more secure as well.

Last edited by white_rice; 02-21-2011 at 12:31 PM.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:29 AM   #2
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funny i think the yaris is one of the best front wheel drive cars i have even been in for winter weather. i find even in a slide its easy to recover vs other cars i have driven. mind u, at the same time this is only the second car i have driven with stability control and i love it. the trac and stability control is amazing and much more advanced and much more advanced then the system installed on the kia soul. that is a bad car in winter.

i did drive the first part of winter with OEM all seasons but since i do a lot of night driving and i do alot of km per year i decided to get winter tires and to be honest i have never felt so safe. before my yaris, if there was too much snow out i wouldnt go out but now i love it.

like today for example, spent the evenning out in the country driving around in the fresh snow
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:59 AM   #3
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You have the best drive train for snow (front wheel drive). The OEM wheels are not very good on the snow, I think because the car is too light. If we got more than 2 or 3 snows a year I would switch to snow tires. In regards to the back end sliding around, so what, the front is what is moving the car forward.
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Old 02-21-2011, 02:58 AM   #4
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I think my yaris drives good in snow less than 8 inches, but some snow like wet snow is harder to drive in compared to fluffy snow.
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Old 02-21-2011, 09:24 AM   #5
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I once had a Dodge Neon with the same problem.
A 4 wheel alignment fixed the issue with the back end slide.
Just a thought...
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:10 AM   #6
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Front wheel drive vehicles are difficult to drive in icy/snowy conditions by their very nature. The natural reaction to a car starting to slip is to let off of the accelerator which causes the front wheels to decelerate thus exasperating the issue (the free moving rear wheels will continue to "pass" the slowing front ones). Letting off the gas during a slide in a rear wheel drive car causes it to "snap" back in line as the deceleration forces the back to get back in line with the front.

The best solution is 4WD with a steady and smooth foot. No sudden acceleration or braking, or trying to do more than one maneuver at a time (accelerate, brake or turn), and driving in ice and/or snow is not a problem.

You can't also expect ABS to save your ass, it's for emergencies and in some cases will not slow you down faster than a vehicle without it. Both my Yaris and Jeep don't have it, and with proper techniques I can stop both in as short of distances as vehicles equipped with it.

We just had snow and ice here two weeks ago, and I ended up driving the Jeep not only because it drives better in it but also because no one else here knows how to drive under those conditions (all those years of living in Europe has taught me) so I'd rather be in a larger steel vehicle in case I was hit by one of the morons slipping and sliding all over the place!

Cheers! M2
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Old 02-21-2011, 10:52 AM   #7
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all front wheel drive drives the same in snow just a matter of what winter tires you have on it . of course hp maybe be a factor.
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Old 02-21-2011, 12:34 PM   #8
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Yeah I can probably honestly say of all the 15+ cars I've had over my 20 years of driving, that this is probably the car I feel the less safe driving in the winter. Day and night difference even from my Celica or Matrix. I had to get it pulled out of the ditch just 2 weeks ago, and that was driving at such a slow speed, people were passing me as if I were standing still (of course all in much larger vehicles; such as trucks and SUVs). But as soon as I hit a small drift, the car loses complete control. Probably once we have a baby over the next couple of years, I will trade this car in for something heavier, and safer. Possibly even 4 wheel drive.

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Old 02-21-2011, 02:51 PM   #9
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My sedan is very surefooted on snow with it's X-Ice and also it's previous Nordic Ice radials.
That said, the one snow experience I had on the OEM Goodyear LS no-seasons was just plain scary. Even lowered, I'd have no issue with heading north into Muskoka with this set-up.
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Old 02-21-2011, 03:22 PM   #10
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I wonder if there is a better front to rear weight balance in the sedan vs. the hatchback.. I think that has a lot to do with overall control as well. I might even consider trying out a different brand of snow tire next season to see if any difference. The X-Ice have always been given rave reviews.

I still think I will purchase a new Tundra or Tacoma 4x4 however within the next few years as a replacement. I've always been keen on the idea of having a truck for hauling reasons as well, since I enjoy landscaping and hobby work.
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:20 AM   #11
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i also have winterforce tires this year....185-65-14

i think its the tire. the brand i had last year (can't remeber the name - - its a non-name brand) were 10x better than the winterforce tires.

i find they don't grip that well when its cold and dry and in snow they just don't dig in as well as you'd think for such an open tread. my previous tire/tires made the car feel much more sure-footed.

coupled with a 2300lb curb weight, the winterforce tires just aren't doing it for the yaris...
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:23 PM   #12
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I'm a little surprised you've had so much trouble. Granted my echo is a different platform, but similiar. I used to commute 1.5hrs, much of it on hwy 400, much of it in very poor driving conditions.
the car is light and rides on top of thick slush, but has always responded predictably with a bit of understeer. I've only encountered oversteer when pushing the car hard or when deliberately starting it with some e-brake
I use champiro gt radial snows; about as cheap a snow tire as you can get
my wife is a more hesitant driver and often has the kids in the car with her. that's why she drives the taurus
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:33 PM   #13
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My 3rd season running Goodyear Nordic 175/65/14 on steelies. Nothing stops her!
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Old 02-22-2011, 08:49 PM   #14
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Adam.. good to know of someone else running the same brand tires on their Yaris. It could very well be this particular rubber then! Because honestly I've never experienced such poor handling in my life until now. I'm thinking I'll be dumping these tires for another brand next winter, to try this out again.

Last edited by white_rice; 02-23-2011 at 06:39 AM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:04 PM   #15
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I find my Echo not particularily sticky regardless of the conditions or tires, but it is very controllable. It's very easy to bounce back and forth between understeer and oversteer by just letting off the gas and getting back on it.

Winterforce tires don't have a very sticky compound, but they should be pretty decent for deep snow because of the tread pattern.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:40 AM   #16
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The tire size can also affect handling dramatically. You should be running skinny tire in the winter if you drive in deep snow. Like 175 at max. The more width you have the more the tire will float above the snow as it rolls.
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Old 02-23-2011, 10:29 AM   #17
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i had 185's last year and they didnt suck like the winterforce tires too

but its still better than all seasons
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Old 02-23-2011, 02:31 PM   #18
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i use 185's and they are epic (compared to the OEM one seasons)
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