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The Avensis In Winter.


Chris Dance
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I find my Avensis T4 is much better than my previous car on ice and in the bit of snow we had today. My previous car was a Volvo Estate.

I would be interested to hear what others think of the Avensis in ice and snow conditions.

A friend of mine skidded in his Vauxhall today and did a lot of damage to the car when it hit the central barrier. Luckily he was unhurt. It seems his local council have cut back on gritting roads. What a false economy that is; folk can end up in hospital badly injured or worse all for the cost of some sand and salt and a lorry.

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The rear wiper got jammed with trying to sweep off the snow in the morning. That didn't happen with my other hatch cars. The wiper gave up about halfway across the window, I had to jump out of the car to give the wiper a helping hand.

My car also has a slight starting problem in the very cold, and very hot.. the starter almost sounds 'weak' and sounds like it struggles to turn over - not the normal healthy engine start. (though it does start first time, just that it sounds it's struggling a bit).

The traction control I feel is 'too sudden' and not progressive enough, when accelerating hard out of a junction, it seems too much power is cut, leaving you without enough power to pull out rapidly. In fact I 'think' it cuts engine power? In my Mercedes the traction control appears to be much more progressive and cuts the wheel spin and applies as much power as it can without spinning the wheels.

However my Mercedes doesn't have vehicle stablity control which the Avensis has as standard.

The ABS (in the snow) appeared to allow me to travel quite a distance before bringing me to a stop when I 'skidded' in the company carpark - but perhaps that was the snow, I haven't 'skidded' in the Mercedes in snow so can't compare.

Didn't have the opportunity to try out the SNOW traction control button.

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I've had my Avensis through 2 winters now, and no problems handling ice or snow.

Obviously traction when stopping/ starting/ driving is largely down to the tyres you use.

First winter I had Bridgestone Turanzas, and they coped well with ice and snow.

Second winter I had Dunlop SP200Es, and these were OK, but not quite up to Turanza levels.

I've refitted original Turanzas, but so far up here in Scotland, there has been hardly any snow or ice yet. :thumbsup:

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Got caught out on a snow covered hill-I was going up it nice and steady but had to stop when the tranist in front of me started to drift sideways. After that I couldn't get going. I had the snow button on but still no go, no matter how lightly I pressed the throttle. Time like that I wish I could have selected third!

When the bus driver offered me a push he laughed when I said it was an auto....smart alec!

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I mentioned this in another thread, but the Avensis is the business when it comes to defrosting the windscreen - there is almost instant heat from the blowers and it clears the screen in no time.

The rear heated window is also pretty rapid.

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not got my avensis yet, get it on saturday - woohoo!! but im like a big kid waiting for christmas, anyway, the reason im posting, im moving from a mondeo over to the avensis, and the one thing i thought i would miss is the heated front screen - absolutly brilliant, switch it on, and by the time you've scraped the remaining windows, the windscreen is clear, so its nice to hear that the avensis is good at defrosting the windscreen too. roll on saturday!!!

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not got my avensis yet, get it on saturday - woohoo!! but im like a big kid waiting for christmas, anyway, the reason im posting, im moving from a mondeo over to the avensis, and the one thing i thought i would miss is the heated front screen - absolutly brilliant, switch it on, and by the time you've scraped the remaining windows, the windscreen is clear, so its nice to hear that the avensis is good at defrosting the windscreen too. roll on saturday!!!

Hate to put a dampener on things, but my last car was a Mondeo and I really miss the heated windscreen. Yes, the inside on the Avensis clears very fast when you hit the demist button (just puts the fan on windscreen/flat out), but it doesn't do much for the outside! I always used the heated windscreen on the Mondeo just to clear the inside, but it also stops the outside misting up as you first drive along on a cool morning....in the Avensis, a flick of the wipers is required and that still means it mists again within seconds, requiring another flick etc. The Ford Quickclear screen is quite simply one of the best features I have ever had on a car, anything else feels stone age.

That said, everything else about the Avensis is a huge step forward from the Mondeo (mine was one of the very last Mk2s), so you are right to be excited about your new motor :thumbsup:

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Hate to put a dampener on things, but my last car was a Mondeo and I really miss the heated windscreen. Yes, the inside on the Avensis clears very fast when you hit the demist button (just puts the fan on windscreen/flat out), but it doesn't do much for the outside! I always used the heated windscreen on the Mondeo just to clear the inside, but it also stops the outside misting up as you first drive along on a cool morning....in the Avensis, a flick of the wipers is required and that still means it mists again within seconds, requiring another flick etc. The Ford Quickclear screen is quite simply one of the best features I have ever had on a car, anything else feels stone age.

I too miss the heated front screen. Are Ford (and their derivatives) the only company that do heated front screens?

Funkyg

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I too miss the heated front screen. Are Ford (and their derivatives) the only company that do heated front screens?

Funkyg

As far as I know, yes. I believe Ford had a patent on the technology, that may have expired recently. It seems very surprising that such a useful feature (and safety advance) has not made it to the rest of the mass market. Even if Ford had an exclusive patent, I don't really understand why they didn't licence out the technology, they would have made a mint over the last 15-20 years.

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I find the avensis good on snow and ice the only problmes i've found is:-

1. Abs cuts in to quick making it alomost impossible to stop from slow speeds (found this on all cars with abs tho)

2. My driveway is downhill and ice's up well, my dads old avensis reverses out bit of wheel spin and out mine, wheel spins traction control cuts power and the car stops. So tracion control has to be turned off. Have tried to reverse down drive and pull up in second but the clutch has to be slipped that much it would burn in out after a couple of icy mornings.

The VSC helped me out last year on black ice tho i went to brake at a mini island to turn left and the abs kicked in, backed of the brakes turned left the front ran wide then bit and the back started to kick next thing the back came back into line. I'm sure if i had not got VSC i would of never made the left turn at the island and gone stright on into the lamp post oppoiste. All this at 15mph. No matter how slow you go on a untreated roads and good tires sometimes slow is too fast.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Snow was heavier today, about 2 to 2.5 inches of the stuff on the ground, and my automatic Avensis got stuck twice in the company carpark.

With traction control

and then with the Snow ECT engaged.

Took off the traction control and it was worse.

Had to sort of 'rock' the car to get out, and car found it difficult to get traction.

Not sure if it was easier in my Audi automatic, but never seemed to have the same problem in snow.

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My next door neighbours Vauxhall has a snow button but he still lost control on a bend this morning. Luckily the other car driver managed to avoid a collision.

Automatics are far worse than manual G/boxes in snow.

I still say compared to my 940Volvo Estate the Avensis is better. There may be other cars I have not driven that are better than the Avensis in snow and ice.

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I didn't mention the other fun and games I had in the snow with the Avensis (though it would have been the same in other cars).

'turning' into the company carpark, the Avensis obviously still wanted to go straight :D

and ABS was kicking in. I 'almost' crossed the path of an Audi that was coming out.

It was real slippery on the country roads in the morning as I was 'testing' my braking capability - which wasn't much since a dab on the brakes caused the ABS to work. I was following another car who was doing 20mph in a 50mph zone and 30 mph in a 60 mph zone (country roads were empty) the Avensis' handling felt extremely confident, and I felt I could driven faster than that on a straight, except if turning a corner.

In snow I always allow extra braking distances (as you should) and even with ABS the car appeared to travel another 5-8 metres before stopping (kinda high speed brake-skid-brake-skid-brake-skid juddering)...bit scarey at some junctions where you hope the driver behind has ABS

Traction contol light was flashing a lot on the dash :yes:

It did feel a little embarassing in the company car park... as I didn't see anyone else who had got stuck. An MG roadster had a little bit of problem, but that was it.

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what models come with the 'snow' button? i have a 2005 t-spirit and i dont think i have that button?

Certainly only the auto, not sure if 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4 have it, but my 2.0 does.

I believe all it does is makes the auto box start in second, something you can do in a manual with your left/right arm!

But on a steep snowy hill even the auto button didn't help me!

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Well,

Avensis is not AWD can, so you cannot expect from it much in winter.

However having good winter tyres (mine is Michelin X-ICE, allthough quite wide - 215) and enough driving on icy-snowy roads experience you can feel quite comfortable.

Also traction control and stability control (which is too concervative in my mind) helps you when the car is loosing the driving direction.

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First time in snow yesterday when I had to drive back from the West Midlands. Can't fault my T180 Tourer.

I breezed past someone who was stuck wheel-spinning a Jag X Type Diesel (front wheel drive) on a hill.

Also went past a flash Merc coupe driver who was struggling for grip. As the drive continued a passed 3 immobile BMWs (boy do I know that feeling from my 320d?) - one of them was an X5.

Took me over 3 hours to cross Birmingham and then drive to Nottingham (crossing Birmingham took over 2 hours due to traffic). The Avensis kept me comfortable, safe and warm. It'll do for me! :thumbsup:

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Quite a lot of my driving is on compacted snow and ice with a layer of snow on top here in Finland this time of year, and although my tyres do have 10mm tread and short-studs as an advantage, I have to say that the Avensis is very stable. The VSC is fantastic in the way it straightens up the car -- I'd say it pretty much knows where I want to go, even on corners where it'll slow you down and take you round. The main thing is that it stops the car from going sideways, which means you don't hit the curb or other cars or come off the road (provided your miscalculation isn't too drastic).

The traction control does a good job of keeping the car straight while accelerating, too -- driving is pretty lazy when you don't even have to turn the wheel! Some people say that the VSC interferes with their driving or that the traction control stops them accelerating when it's wet (I can understand in snow). In response to that I would suggest that some people just might be driving in a way that the manufacturer may consider unsafe. :o

But it's not just about the handling. Come -25 C when the French cars' electrics have failed and other reputable makes are stranded, the Avensis keeps on going -- that's why it's the most sold car in its class here.

My only complaint is the furry lining in the rear wheel arches -- last year snow built up here and compacted into solid ice every time the wheels went up with the suspension. Before I knew to keep an eye on it, I had an inch clearence between the ice and tyres, which made the ride somewhat bumpy. Got less road noise, though. :)

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Wow,

Finland is a challenge for any car I would say, especially Lapland :)

I wonder, all-wheel-drive cars (Subaru, Audi Quattro) shall be also very popular?

What I also appreciate very much, that my (diesel) avensis has additional heater (button in the left side, with curved arrows up). You press it after start of the engine, and inside is warm just after you cleaned the snow and ice out of the car (i.e. 2-5 min).

However this winther is very warm here, so I cannot comment how the car starts at -30, max we had so far was -20C and engine starts with no problem.

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Wow,

Finland is a challenge for any car I would say, especially Lapland :)

I wonder, all-wheel-drive cars (Subaru, Audi Quattro) shall be also very popular?

What I also appreciate very much, that my (diesel) avensis has additional heater (button in the left side, with curved arrows up). You press it after start of the engine, and inside is warm just after you cleaned the snow and ice out of the car (i.e. 2-5 min).

However this winther is very warm here, so I cannot comment how the car starts at -30, max we had so far was -20C and engine starts with no problem.

Unless you are really driving off-road, a 4x4 is unncessary here -- just like in England, most owners of 4x4s are down south around the capital where they don't need them but like to show off!

We do cheat with cold starts, though -- there's an electric socket in an empty panel next to the fog lights on the front of the car, and this powers an electric element in the oil sump which preheats the engine block, and also powers an internal fan heater.

I don't know about the button you mention -- the only ones I have to the left of my steering wheel are the light washers and the windshield and wing mirror heaters. There is an option to fit what I think is a gas powered heater under the bonnet, but at 2,000 euros I thought I would give it a miss this time!

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But also very nice.

http://www.orai.lt/img/dienos-vaizdas/85w9hu92.jpg

This year winter had started very late, only in end of January.

I basically had no good chance to test ESP systems properly - in city yes, but not in highways - they are allmost always clean and dry.

Also lakes are with very thin ice, so no ice test drives this year :(

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It's hard to imagine -24 degrees (for a UK person like me)

When it's about -8 / -10 or so in the UK 'sometimes' the door of my Audi used to remain 'stuck' or frozen to the body if it was very icy, and if I did force it apart I was scared of ripping the rubber seals. Also the windows would freeze up a bit and would not wind down. Also on my older cars which did not have remote entry the door locks would freeze up so the key would not turn to open the door. Then sometimes the wipers would freeze onto the windscreen - once on my old Metro I went to wipe the screen and the wipers were very firmly stuck on and the motor unscrewed the arm! - i.e. the wiper base was rotating, but the arm which was fixed was now detached from the ice, and floppy against the windscreen, so I had to pop into a petrol station and buy a socket set to re-tightened the wiper fixing.

at -24 I think it would certainly challange us Brits. Though happily you report the Avensis has no such starting problems :thumbsup:

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