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I'm suppose to get the next Prius to come in and I have been wondering if my Windstar [which I haven't driven much] or the Prius would be better for me on snow or ice. I have one relatively steep little hill, and after reading all of the negative comments on the traction control, I'm really discouraged. I used to have a Prism that was great on the snow.
 

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hcec9 said:
I'm suppose to get the next Prius to come in and I have been wondering if my Windstar [which I haven't driven much] or the Prius would be better for me on snow or ice. I have one relatively steep little hill, and after reading all of the negative comments on the traction control, I'm really discouraged. I used to have a Prism that was great on the snow.
hcec9,
I can't speak for others, but, if you search back through old posts here you'll find several related to winter driving. In some of those threads I've described my positive experiences, which I'll recap for you as follows:
During the winter months I volunteer for a ski/snowboard school and drive frequently on snow and ice covered mountain roads. At the beginning of last season I switched from an AWD Subaru to my '04 Prius, fully expecting to need a set of snow tires (perhaps with studs) for the new vehicle to get me to the slopes and back. However, that was not the case. The Prius, in my opinion, handled the winter conditions at least as well as the Subaru--even using the standard tires.
As with any car, if you have to come to a dead stop on a slick incline, you may find it difficult to regain enough traction to continue up the hill. If, however, you are an experienced winter driver and can avoid such a scenario, it is my opinion that the Prius will perform as well as most any other vehicle. Personally, I've had several instances where the traction control has helped me maintain momentum on an icy roadway--as it was designed to do--and never once had it behave in a detrimental manner.
Your experience may vary, but that's my take on the issue.
Good luck,
Moo :)
 

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I got my Prius in November of 2003, so I had a whole winter of driving it. We get a LOT of snow here in the Lake Erie snowbelt and I was impressed with the capabilities of the Prius in the snow. Traction control does require you to modify your 'instincts' in some cases. You can't rev up the engine and try to spin your way through heavy piles of snow, but learn to let the traction control do it's thing and you can get thru most anything. The VSC is a fantastic thing on slippery roads. If you go into a skid, it will control the braking to correct the line of travel of the car. I do recommend that you run 4 snow tires, as Toyota recommends. It definitely helps with braking control.
 

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My 2001 Prius (also with traction control) does slightly better in snowy hills than my previous Honda Civic (also front wheel drive), but not as well as my wife's Subaru AWD. It's a somewhat different feel though. With the Civic, a lot of wheel spinning was necessary to get through the final little bit of it's range up our hill. Shortly after, you could spin the wheels all day with no further progress (other than melted tires). With the Prius, at the end of its range nothing further happens. It won't spin the wheels due to the traction control. Also, as it nears the end of its range, it shuts down the engine, so you move slowly forward surrounded by eerie silence (especially on dark snowy nights when there's noone else around making noise).

If you're used to a front wheel drive car, the Prius will probably be at least as good. If you're used to (and feel the need for) an AWD car, it will probably be disappointing/frustrating. But in the summer, it's gas mileage beats the AWD hands down.

Basically, don't try to be the first out on the roads, relax a while and let the snow plows do their thing. You'll be just fine if you can arrange your life to be able to do this.
 
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