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Car for the 90days trip next season

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I want to have a car next season, probably an old but reliable japanese 4wd SUV, what is more cost-effective?

- buy it in the UK, insure it for 90 days including france/italy/switerzland
- buy a car in France

Thoughts?
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Gustavobs, second hand cars are quite expensive in France.
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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?
I'm guessing buy in the UK.
1) LHD is likely to be less in the UK than France as its an 'odd ball'
2) Insuring via the UK could be easier, as you don't have a permanent address in France.
3) You can get it prepped with a service, winter tyres etc before you go rather than trying to sort it out when in country.
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Buy in UK. Just imagine the hassle of trying to sell it in France at or near the end of the season, plus if you don't have a car in the UK to start with, you won't have anything to put your kit in to take to France or bring home-and flying out with all your stuff is a right PIA.
Oh yes-get a motorway toll tag so that you don't need to worry about being in a RHD car on your own on the motorway.
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It doesn't have to be 4WD, provided you have good winter tyres. Though an oldish Fiat Panda 4WD would be good - a vehicle much used by French farmers and builders in the Alps.
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Deffo buy in the UK but make sure the MOT and tax won't run out before you have to come back.

Those fiat panda's are good and you see them all over. Our work fleet (and my personal car) are skoda octavia 4x4 estates. With winter tyres they will bash through anything, never had to put chains on.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Looking here in the UK for a small front-wheel-drive 2nd.-hand car, then adding winter tyres, plus some chains should work pretty well. Yes, something like a Panda 4x4 (+winters +chains) is ideal but my guess is you're more likely to find a bargain if you're looking for a regular UK FWD 2nd-hand car ('though obviously still worth taking a look). And +1 for an autoroute Liber-T tag or similar, especially if you're in the car on your own: you will need to set up a direct debit from your UK bank account. These should come a month or more after you incur the toll charge (my SANEF charges seem to take 2-3 months to come through). Before you go, make sure you've progressively topped-up the screenwash with increasing concentration of fluid, right down to the jets (no point in having a freeze-resistant reservoir and dilute tubes and jets). And the usual chain paraphernalia of mat to kneel on, light gloves and head torch, plus some chains need adjusting to your specific tyre size so always test-fit and adjust before you go.
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I guess it really depends on what/who you want to haul around, as well as your budget. The Panda is actually exceptional, although has its capacity limits. Next size up in Subaru Forester,/legacy/imprezza extate, the drive train on these are exceptional.
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@Gustavobs,

This thread may be of interest ?


https://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3396597&highlight=#3396597

Might be a bit steep if only for 90 days ...
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get a fiat multipla for nothing, use it, sell for the same or more, cuz invested in MOT ant tires. Roomy, good diesel engines, everyone will appreciate your sense of humor instead of thinking you don't have money for a normal car Laughing
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Bob wrote:
Next size up in Subaru Forester,/legacy/imprezza extate, the drive train on these are exceptional.
+1

I did two winters and went all over Europe in a 2005 Subaru Legacy Sport Tourer (Estate) and it's a fantastic car in the Alps. The 2.0 petrol manual with low ratio gearbox is bombproof. Not the best on fuel but that doesn't matter once you get there and it's a comfortable car for long journeys on the motorway. Put all season tyres on it and it'll go anywhere. Don't buy the boxer diesel engine or the newer auto (CVT) box - they blow up.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Depends on your budget/cashflow - if you've got £5-6k to tie up you can probably find 100K+ 4wd Octavia Estates around in not too bad nick that you can almost get your money back on.

If of lesser means I'd avoid SUV type vehicles on the basis that if stuff goes wrong there is probably a big bill in it and look towards cheapy Ford Focus/Astra size estates. Or indeed if you don't actually need to haul much regular hatches and superminis.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks all for the inputs - I think its a clear win for buying in the UK - budget-wise initial thought was to buy an ultra-cheap temp car, alternatively I could just swap my day to day car with the addition of some winter tyres.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Gustavobs, check the maximum EU trip days/days per year clause in your UK insurance. They vary widely. Some limit to 31 days per trip.
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Raceplate wrote:
Bob wrote:
Next size up in Subaru Forester,/legacy/imprezza extate, the drive train on these are exceptional.
+1

I did two winters and went all over Europe in a 2005 Subaru Legacy Sport Tourer (Estate) and it's a fantastic car in the Alps. The 2.0 petrol manual with low ratio gearbox is bombproof. Not the best on fuel but that doesn't matter once you get there and it's a comfortable car for long journeys on the motorway. Put all season tyres on it and it'll go anywhere. Don't buy the boxer diesel engine or the newer auto (CVT) box - they blow up.


Good resale value too (for same reasons) - arguably your biggest expense. And won't give you a headache on the motorway! Enjoy.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
lynnecha wrote:
@Gustavobs, check the maximum EU trip days/days per year clause in your UK insurance. They vary widely. Some limit to 31 days per trip.
Cheers, will do.

I haven't initially considered Subaru but will have a look. I would love a 4x4 with a bit more character like a defender though! But don't want the trouble Happy
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@Gustavobs, Why do you need a 4x4 ? Just fit winter tyres to any FWD car..
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Gustavobs wrote:
I haven't initially considered Subaru but will have a look. I would love a 4x4 with a bit more character like a defender though! But don't want the trouble Happy

The scooby symmetrical AWD is the best out there in my opinion. Especially on a budget. Ridiculously stable and reliable with low maintenance requirements and the selectable low ratio gearbox is standard up to about 2008. Means it'll go up anything and you don't lose momentum because you only need to dip the clutch between high and low ratios.

I've also done winters with Audi quattro and LR Defender. Quattro is good but I wouldn't buy an old cheap one - too much potential for the diff and/or propshaft to be shot due to their over sensitivity to non matching tyres/tread depths and just about everything disintegrates in the over engineered suspension between 80-120k.

Defenders are a nightmare on a long motorway journey and scary going downhill on ice (a high centre of gravity and no ABS on early ones means they break away far too easily). Look cool but frankly a PITA. Again, if it's an older one, the heaters are useless and if it's diesel, the pipes will freeze and it won't start below -10.

LV insurance give 180 days foreign cover as standard.
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+1 for Subaru Forester - absolute tank on snow.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Travelling around Europe on trains is cheap and many rski areas are serviced by trains
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@Gustavobs {I would love a 4x4 with a bit more character like a defender} At the considerable risk of being flamed by irate owners, I'd say, no, you wouldn't. These high-sided, heavy 4x4/SUVs are not necessarily the best snow vehicles, hence the Alpine popularity of the Subaru etc. The trouble is their weight amplifies the tendency of all vehicles in snow to go in a straight line, when the driver wants them to turn. The only snow accident I've seen was when crossing the Jura in snow, in a convoy of mainly 2WD 'ordinary' vehicles, a big BMW X5 went off the edge of the road because the driver couldn't seem to stop it tramlining in a straight line on a (fairly gentle) curve. Ironically, it was a French guy in a FWD Fiesta who stopped and got out his tow-rope to help get the X5 back onto the tarmac.

I've got what must rate as one of the most unsuitable vehicles for snow conditions - a 330 BHP rear-wheel-drive sports convertible - but with good quality winter tyres, in three seasons, I've not yet had to resort even to using the expensive chains. Admittedly, it does have a limited slip differential, which is really for better 'normal' handling but a bonus in slippery conditions. Your daily drive might well perform well enough, as long as it's well shod and especially if it's FWD.
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Quote:

Your daily drive might well perform well enough, as long as it's well shod and especially if it's FWD.

It will. And if it gets too dicey just leave it parked up and call a taxi.

Best car I ever used on snow was a 1.0 litre FWD Kia circa 1990. Lightweight, FWD, manual, no power, no electronics, skinny tyres. Unstoppable.
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LaForet wrote:
The trouble is their weight amplifies the tendency of all vehicles in snow to go in a straight line
Not according to Newton's laws of physics
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BergenBergen wrote:
LaForet wrote:
The trouble is their weight amplifies the tendency of all vehicles in snow to go in a straight line
Not according to Newton's laws of physics


Gnomic comments, even if valid, are more helpful if amplified. In what way does a 2½ tonne SUV going down a snowy road approaching a bend not have a greater tendency to maintain it's trajectory, in comparison to the same situation in summer, all other things being equal? I'm genuinely interested.
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Quote:

Gnomic comments, even if valid, are more helpful if amplified. In what way does a 2½ tonne SUV going down a snowy road approaching a bend not have a greater tendency to maintain it's trajectory, in comparison to the same situation in summer, all other things being equal? I'm genuinely interested.

Wed 17 Jul, 19
14:39     



me too!
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@LaForet, You have answered the question yourself in the post and many times in the past. Whether the car goes around the corner or not is governed by the forces provided by the interaction of the tyres and the road. A heavier car requires more force to corner but at the same time a heavier car provides more grip (you can push a 1kg mass down the road but you cant do that with a 500kg mass) so mass tends to cancel itself out in the equations.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
or.... think of a F1 car. the mass of the car stays constant but you can increase the cornering performance by increasing the weight of the car with aerodynamic downforce.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Back in the early eighties, I used my Triumph spitfire to drive to St Anton. Won't be doing it again.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
BergenBergen wrote:
@LaForet, You have answered the question yourself in the post and many times in the past. Whether the car goes around the corner or not is governed by the forces provided by the interaction of the tyres and the road. A heavier car requires more force to corner but at the same time a heavier car provides more grip (you can push a 1kg mass down the road but you cant do that with a 500kg mass) so mass tends to cancel itself out in the equations.


Must just be the overconfidence of SUV/AWD drivers that sees them in the ditch/off the hillside then..... Laughing
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
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
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Quote:

cant do that with a 500kg mass


A spherical mass?
As you implied, friction matters.
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@AL9000, bubble car ?
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@BergenBergen OK, so you're saying that the weight of the vehicle is irrelevant when comparing a big SUV to a small Fiesta? It's counterintuitive, but many things are. And what made it possible for the Fiesta to take that curve, versus the X5, wasn't the Fiesta's lighter outright weight, but a difference in the weight per unit area - there was more kgs/cm² on the Fiesta's contact patches than on the X5's, so it had more traction. Interesting. And explains seeing a 2WD Fiesta out-handling a 4WD X5 in the snow. Not because the x5 is heavier, but because the Fiesta puts down more weight per cm² on it's contact patches. Or have I got this wrong?


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Wed 17-07-19 18:24; edited 3 times in total
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BergenBergen wrote:
@AL9000, bubble car ?


A knee in the nuts or a stiletto?
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@LaForet, So did the X5 have winter tyres ? Very Happy or the usual Carlos Fandango options
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AL9000 wrote:
BergenBergen wrote:
@AL9000, bubble car ?


A knee in the nuts or a stiletto?


A firm slap on the cheek or a gentle poke in the eye?
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Bergenbergen {did the X5 have winter tyres ?} It seemed so - we were a good 10kms into the snowy part of the route. A summer-shod (I assume) car gave up after the first 200m and a snowchain-shod (I assume with summers underneath) car gave up after about 750m in the early alternating tarmac-snow-tarmac conditions (neatly illustrating the problem of chains in alternating conditions). The X5 driver was doing well - leaving lots of space ahead of him and driving carefully etc. - but was I think just a bit unlucky and perhaps hit a curve just as the snow also thickened on the nearside: he seemed to just get pulled very slowly off into the verge. So not your stereotypical BMW owner. The SUV behind me - just - managed to come to a stop without tail-ending us. All the other 'ordinary' cars in the convoy were fine.

It did make me wonder if the X5 owner had researched how to change to the right traction settings for snow. The BMW translation in my Owners Manual is terrible and it's hopelessly confusing. Most BMWs don't have a snowflake-labelled button and when you press the DSC OFF button (yes, hardly intuitive) with its car-with-wiggly-lines icon (WTF does that mean?) you get a text on the instrument cluster saying TRACTION (again, meaning just what? Traction problem? Traction engaged? Traction off? ...). As you've probably seen me say on other threads, it's certainly worth researching your car's traction control settings and having a dry run at home, somewhere safe. Of course, not so easy if it's a hire car and the manual is in German ....


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Thu 18-07-19 10:57; edited 1 time in total
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Does anyone have an opinion about the Nissan X-Trail?
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Gustavobs We had an X-Trail as a hire car one time. Obviously, the big advantage of an SUV is the higher ground clearance over a 'normal' car. We also had a Jeep Grand Cherokee for a few years. The big issue with both was that they couldn't take chains, given the wheels/tyres they were fitted with ex-factory. UK SUVs are often sold on the assumption they'll never hit serious snow and get fitted with fancy low-profile wheels and tyres that can't take chains. If you do go for an SUV make sure it's fitted wheels and tyres are certified to take chains. Otherwise you may find that you need to get a new set of wheels as well as tyres so chains can be fitted. Yes, I know, it's unlikely that things will get so extreme but (a) Alpine police may impose a chain requirement at the bottom of a route up into the mountains and (b) what's the point of spending all that extra on a 4x4 that can't take chains as well?
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@BergenBergen,
Quote:

@LaForet, You have answered the question yourself in the post and many times in the past. Whether the car goes around the corner or not is governed by the forces provided by the interaction of the tyres and the road. A heavier car requires more force to corner but at the same time a heavier car provides more grip (you can push a 1kg mass down the road but you cant do that with a 500kg mass) so mass tends to cancel itself out in the equations.


While your point is right in a simplified situation where there is no top limit to the tyres ability to grip, I think it fails in a more complex one where the road is slippy and/or dynamic forces on the tyres (e.g., body roll from higher centre of gravity) vary.
More weight gives more grip provided that the force doesn't exceed the maximum grip achievable between they tyre and the slippery surface, including the possibility that the snow surface slips over the underlying road. Ultimately the heavy car can apply a force that causes the snow to break away. This is worse with wide tyres that tend to be less effective at cutting through the snow to reach the road.

Having said all that, 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....
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