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Car for the 90days trip next season

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

(b) what's the point of spending all that extra on a 4x4 that can't take chains as well?


Quite. In the past we've discussed the Volvo SUV's which often can't take chains without a wheel change. Talk about all mouth and no trousers!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Gustavobs wrote:
Does anyone have an opinion about the Nissan X-Trail?


PM Hells Bells - they've run one to/from the Alps for a few years
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
AL9000 wrote:
Quote:
...
Best car I ever used for snow was a 1.1 litre FWD Fiesta circa 1991. Lightweight, FWD, manual, no power, no electronics, skinny tyres. Unstoppable.


Excellent around German built temporary chicanes scattered on slip roads on/off the A3 n M25 Madeye-Smiley


yes that too. The other unstoppable vehicle I used back in the day was a rustbucket Mini Metro van.

Quote:
I suspect a lot of times SUV end up sliding off the road is because drivers thing that their 4WD is a substitute for winter tyres....


yes.


http://youtube.com/v/7l2cMlNRX_A
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
FYI I'm 90% certain the winter tyres used in the video are Pirelli Winter Sottozero Serie-II, judging by the distinctive asymmetric tread pattern. These are actually a bit of overkill for a Yeti, as they're designed more for performance cars and trade some of the pure snow traction for better handling in dryer, warmer conditions. Just a word of warning to the OP: a lot of UK tyre retailers will recommend all-season tyres to occasional visitors to the Alps, because one set can be worn year-'round. But for anyone spending a season in the Alps, I'd go for 'pure' winters. Even then, there are some all-seasons that are certified as winters that again, some UK retailers will imply are full winters, which they aren't. Like summer tyres, there are all sorts of variants of winters (like the performance-oriented, autumn/spring-biased Serie-II above versus the snow-oriented Pirelli S3) so just because an all-season tyre has the 'mountain and snowflake' winter designation doesn't mean it's best for a season in snow.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
LaForet wrote:
But for anyone spending a season in the Alps, I'd go for 'pure' winters.


Rather depends on where you are going to be. There's a world of difference between commuting up and down an alp everyday and tootling the mile to a big carpark from your Austrian valley town
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
+ 1 on a Subaru Forester 4wd Pretty bulletproof.

Plenty to choose from. Easy to resell.

MUCH nicer to drive than a Fiat Panda.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I also had a Subaru Forester a few years back and it was brilliant, would get up anything.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Car: I bought a Subaru outback for £3k in the UK and it went through 2 seasons without a problem. Brilliant in the snow.
Fuel: Petrol is a lot less hassle in the cold, and now not so much more expensive than Diesel in France.
Tyres: Don't be stingy with the snow tyres, as they are vital. Buy the best, buy 4 of them.
Chains: I never used them. If the snow is too deep for the car, best to walk.
Insurance: You may be able to use your green card but it may only cover you for 30 days. Or try Stuart Collins for Europe-wide insurance.
Brexit: Get an International Driving Licence.

Have a great time.
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
stanton wrote:
Travelling around Europe on trains is cheap and many rski areas are serviced by trains


Are second hand trains readily available for sale? Do they take chains? Winter tyres? Good resale value? OP wants a car!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
At the opposite end of the spectrum to an SUV, we have done the last three seasons in the alps in our Fiat Qubo. It is only FWD, but has good traction control and is fantastic in the snow and ice. We have never actually needed to use our chains, even when most 4x4 SUVs did. It is also cheap, and really cheap to run, as well as having plenty of space. Not everyone's cup of tea, but it has performed far better than I would ever have imagined.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
We purchased a Ford Galaxy from the LHD place in Basingstoke. We took it to Austria for skiing from January to end of March (and then all over Europe). This including driving in and around during the heavy snow of early Jan. We had no problems at all. You don't need anything that big I'm sure but just posting our experience. It's a big font wheel drive car and it was fine. I come from New Zealand and there are places there I would prefer to have AWD or 4WD but after our stint in Austria I'm not worried at all about going back this year in the same car.

Of course AWD if you can get it can help and definitely do it. We love our Subarus in NZ for skiing and all sorts of off season adventures, but do remember AWD doesn't help you grip when you're trying to slow down down an icy hill! As others are saying then absolutely do make sure you have good/proper winter tires, it's the once thing you shouldn't try to avoid (they are mandatory anyway).

We decided to carry chains, we hardly used them but after the really heavy snow when things had had a bit of traffic and we needed to visit a few places up the side of a valley that we hadn't been to before I was very glad we had them (even quite a few locals had them on too). There are places where the locals know the road and know how to avoid having to come to a stop. If you're new to the area and you do come to a stop pointing uphill you might not get going again, hopefully you can go backwards a bit and try again, but sometimes you can't or don't want to, in those cases the chains are nice (even if someone ignored the advice of their SO to put them on sooner...). If you do take chains, practice putting them on (or put them on well in advance of needing them) and have some gloves to wear getting them on so you don't trash your nice ski gloves (I used cheap gloves from the hardware store, they were ok if i didn't muck around for too long). Also remember, once you get down to the town, if the roads are nice and clear it's better to take them off, most of the local authorities prefer you not to drive along the tarmac with them on if it can be avoided.

You have to have insurance and you should carry one of the green certificates. Depending how long you go for you might have to get a specific add on or policy. We had the added complication of not being UK residents at the time, in the end we used Stuart Collins as recommended above to get a policy (and roadside assist) that allows the car to be in Europe year round without limit on trip time.

Final tip from a stupid kiwi ... fill your windscreen washer up with the blue stuff you'll see at petrol stations, Hoffer etc! And just carry some spare. I had no idea what driving on the autobahns was like when it's cold, all the dirty spray and slush from the trucks freezing on your windscreen and your windscreen washer has frozen up! Get the magic blue liquid Blush You probably know this, but I had no idea, we never need it where I come from
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