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In snow - Renault Scenic v VW Transporter - the winner is....

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The VW. Out in Austria for the winter with 2 cars, an 11 year old Renault Scenic and a 6 year old VW Transporter T5 T30. Both have decent, new winter tyres, both FWD. I normally drive the VW and the OH the Scenic, we live out in the sticks so drive on ice and snow covered roads with switch backs, hills, deep ruts etc everyday. We've had all sorts of conditions from nice easy going fresh snow, ploughed, unploughed, gritted, not gritter, deep slush (nasty), black ice and recently pretty solid ice with the odd dusting on top. Up until the recent cold spell I was struggling to decide which car / van handled best. With the recent very cold weather (-15-ish) the poor old Scenic has struggled. Not sure if the winter rubber has reached a low temp point, Michelin Alpin 3, new in October, but seem to be struggling for traction even on gentle hills, the surface is very hard packed snow, with sparse grit about. Does feel like the passenger side front wheel spins out more than the driver side (RHD UK cars)?. I don't think the Scenic has traction control where as the VW does. Drove both today on similar route and where the Scenic was losing traction the VW had grip to spare, basically I felt safe and stable in the VW but not the Scenic. The tyres are both vehicle have plenty of tread left and checked the tyre pressures are all good.. The VW is diesel and 6 speed gear box, so I can get into 3rd for fairly steep hills with plenty of torque to help. The Scenic is petrol 2.0, 5 speed and I suspect has lost some power recently, tend to have to be in 2nd gear more often on hills which doesn't help. Obviously a big weight difference between the two. The Scenic does start first time every morning, the VW needs a few attempts on the cold mornings, plenty of smoke when it does fire up so diesel is not freezing up.

Anyone any ideas? What temp do Winter Tyres start getting brittle? Or is the extra torque of diesel better than a petrol motor? Is the extra weight helping with the VW?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
For pure straight line traction (not cornering), weight does help. Different brands of Winter tyres vary a fair bit in their performance in specific winter conditions. Auto Express did a recent test of various Winter tyre options in various specific conditions. Michelin came 3rd overall, Contis were top. What tyres does your VW have?

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/products/total_tyre_guide/259435/winter_tyre_test.html
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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?
uktrailmonster, thanks for the link to the report.

The van tyres are Nokian WRC Van http://www.nokiantires.com/tyre?id=11900&group=3.01&name=Nokian+WR+C+Van
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
When I used to run a lightweight petrol the FWD diesel motors could get up the resort approach road at hochkar quicker even though they had less BHP. Probably down to weight over the drive wheels and more tourque (higher gear possible). Where the petrol came into it's own was handling (better weight distribution). Remember once a guy in a diesel golf was right up my rear end but then went sideways at a sharper corner - his girlfriend / Mrs in the car didn't half give him a rollocking Toofy Grin
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