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Thread: Snow driving
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    Snow driving

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    Anyone have a preferred method for driving in snow, either normal,sport,offroad? I just pulled the trigger on a 2017 Golf alltrack "S" and love it!
    I understand offroad gives you the down hill assist but not sure if needed for snow driving. I live in Western Washington state and where I live the winter snow conditions are pretty mild........BTW.....I come from a Toyota Tacoma 4X4 and realize the Alltrack wont compare to the Tacoma's offroad or snow abilities.......
    TIA

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    Senior Member AlltrackMike's Avatar
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    We haven't received any snow for the season yet, but I would assume just drive normal mode with slow and smooth acceleration.

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    Thanks for the reply AlltrackMike! My understanding is that more power/traction is applied to the rear wheels when demanded in "offroad" mode....that may help with traction in snowy conditions. Agreed, slow going is the best but if there is any advantage with offroad vs normal that would seem to be the way to go, (short of going with snow tires)! That's uneconomical in my case where the winters are usually mild.......

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    Senior Member AlltrackMike's Avatar
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    Hi @Dannyo funny I was told the opposite. Since the front wheels have more of the engine's weight on it, FWD cars get slightly better traction in the snow. But again I'm not an expert on this subject lol.

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    Snow Driving

    Quote Originally Posted by AlltrackMike View Post
    Hi @Dannyo funny I was told the opposite. Since the front wheels have more of the engine's weight on it, FWD cars get slightly better traction in the snow. But again I'm not an expert on this subject lol.
    Hey AlltrackMike....what I meant was that additional power is applied to the rear, not that "more" is applied to the rear than the front.
    I opened a chat window at VW and posed the question to them. They say they will get back to me by wednesday......I'll post their response
    Thanks!

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    Leave it alone. Normal (or economy) mode will be the most effective in the snow. FWD is splendid in the snow. The normal mode short shifts so there is less torque being pushed, thus less slippage.

    The only time AWD becomes an advantage over FWD is when there is little traction, i.e. starting up, climbing hills and ice. In any of those cases the Haldex will send some power rearward to get you going.

    Don't overthink it.

    Offroad is just that. I wouldn't bother on any paved surface, dry, wet, icy or snowy. I wouldn't even bother with Offroad on unpaved or gravel either. Mostly for tracks and trails.

    My 2cents.

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    As Paul, above says, normal drive mode is best.
    While your Tacoma will eat the shorts off an Alltrack in very deep snow and on gnarly off roading, on the hiway an Alltrack will out perform ANY macho SUV by a long shot. An All track with good winter tires is so very dependable.
    My wife drives ours 180 miles a day to work and back (north ID and Eastern WA) and has not had anything close to a nervous time in 20,000 miles.

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    Anectodal, so take it as you will.

    I had a 2005 Subaru Legacy Wagon with 5MT. On dry roads, handling was just OK. On wet roads it always felt vague and nervous and on snow it was more like a mover's dolly than a car going where it wanted and me fighting it. I will say, I never got stuck in snow, mud or ice.

    Partway through my first winter, I needed some warranty work and dealer ordered parts. They sent me home in the exact same car, but with an automatic transmission.

    On the way home it rained, then freezing rain. The car felt much, much better than mine. The next morning the rain turned to snow, then heavy snow -- building up faster than the plows could deal. Again, the car went where I pointed it with no drama. WTH?

    So I did a little research. It turns out with the manual, my car was full-time AWD -- sending power to all 4 wheels through 3 open diffs. Subies with automatics, on the other hand, were more like what the Alltrack has -- essentially FWD with a smart diff that can send power to the rear when slipping occurs. This felt and worked so much better than the AWD.

    4Motion has even more advantages over the old Subie system. FWD VWs have ESC, which can apply a bit of braking to the inside front wheel on a turn, making the car pivot better and countering understeer. On 4Motion, that braking can be applied to any of the wheels, front or rear, and more aggressively. This means as long as one (or hopefully 2) tires have traction, the car will brake the others to force the power to the wheels that are gripping.

    While not a locking or even limited slip differential, it effectively works the same way without the weight or expense.

    Drive your car. Be smart. You'll be fine.
    Last edited by PaulGiz; 02-24-2018 at 10:10 AM.

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    I have also left the system mode in "normal" for driving in snow and dry conditions. I find that if it is a lot of snow and slick, launching gets the front wheels spinning, and delays the rear wheels from getting power. If I launch a little more gently, I note the rear wheels will pick up nicely whenever it senses the front wheels are spinning.

    SOOO, I go to park the car last night, and noted a place that had a big snow build up, and something I wouldn't attempt with a front wheel drive only. I park my Alltrack and it looked great sitting in deep snow with drifts packed around it. After dinner, I walk out, start the car and pull out like nothing at all.

    I would agree with someone talking about driving in deep snow, probably can't beat a 4WD truck or SUV at that point. HOWEVER, for handling and driving on slick/wet/snow/ice the Alltrack wins hands down, NO CONTEST!

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    Guest-only advertisement. Register or Log In now!
    I live in the snow belt, in Central New York, in a suburb of Syracuse. We get what the meteorologists love to call "Lake-Effect Snow"; that is when super cold Canadian fronts come across the great lakes, (in this case, Lake Ontario), and like a sponge, soaks up tons of moisture like a sponge. The second that dense, cold air hits land, it dumps it on us in the form of giant snowflakes. We often win the "Golden Snowball" award for snowiest U.S. city; (annual total snowfall amount). North of us in the country, it's even worse. The Tug Hill Plateau directly east of Lake Ontario measures snow not in the standard inches, but FEET.

    Add this to the fact that my daily commute involves lots of twisty turns up and down hundreds of feet of elevation, and I feel I'm qualified to comment on the Alltrack's snow prowess.

    I think this is a fantastic winter driver, right out of the box, even on the standard all-season tires! I am a firm believer in snow tires, at least for my particular region. In fact I will be using snow tires next winter on my car. But I just got it about a month and a half ago, and decided to be lazy and wait to switch to snows until next November, and to see how the all-seasons handle winter. Again, I am pleasantly surprised! I have given it many, many tests already, believe me!

    Now, I have had some internal debate with myself, about which driving mode I should be using. Most SUV's nowadays have a "snow" mode in their list of choices, and between you and me, I feel VW was unwise/lazy to leave that mode out in the Alltrack, (a car that they're aiming directly at Subaru Outback owners/cross-shoppers who live in the snowy areas like me). Heck, even the newly redesigned VW Tiguan has a snow mode! So a missed opportunity there, VW!

    I didn't know if I should be using Off-Road mode, with that hill-decent control or just normal mode... I've found not much difference in Off-road mode on the worst of the worst snow days. Days where every single school from Cleveland to NYC is closed due to lake-effect or bomb cyclone snowfall, and I still have to go to work! I recommend normal driving mode.

    I also HIGHLY recommend putting the shift lever into manual mode, especially if you have hills you're going up, and more importantly, down. Descending a slippery, snowy hill can be the most stressful thing about winter driving. You often crest the hill and then realize you may be going a bit too fast for the conditions, and will naturally want to brake. But hitting the brake pedal, even lightly <<may>> induce a spin, especially if you're on a turn already. What to do?

    That's when you use your nifty left-hand DSG paddle, and downshift until you get to a higher RPM, which will help slow the car down, without using the brakes. Engine braking, if you will. It is so easy with our awesome DSG flappy-paddle transmissions, and I highly recommend using them in snowstorms, in addition to the complete opposite kind of weather, the nice sunny day when you want to carve canyons aggressively. DSG paddles aren't just for spirited motoring! YOU control the transmission! Take back control, especially in a bad snowstorm.

    My two cents...

    -Jonnieoh

 

 
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