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I'm still getting an education on the Prius before making a decision. What are your experiences as far as performance in snow and icy conditions? Any starting/driveability problems below 0F? One of my concerns is the very low ground clearance. I'd appreciate any and all input.
 

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Starting problems? You do not start a Prius, you turn it on. You have a much more powerful motor powered at a much higher voltage and current to turn the engine about 900-1000 RPM before fuel and spark are given. Not to mention the thermos keeping hot coolant from the previous trip to pre-warm the engine.
 

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NJ was cold and somewhat snowy, sleety, blucky this winter. I didn't have any trouble at all! Ok, the back window is reeeeeeally big, so lots of acreage to scrape, but little mountain goat Prius did fine in the weather. :) We were very happy together.
 

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I'm impressed with the winter performance. Granted, where I live, it doesn't get very cold and the snow we get is sometimes slushy but I felt pretty confident.
 

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Winter

I just made it through the first winter with my 04 Prius and it was a brutal winter here in Boston. *Lots* of snow and ice and cold. But no problems starting (ie booting up!) nor driving through snow.
 

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Re: Snow/Cold weather performance

The Prius laughs at cold weather!

For much, much more information on this topic (including hundreds of hi-res Prius-in-winter photographs!) visit John's website at:
http://john1701a.com/

- Peter
CA "MO MPG"
 

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We sent most of our snow to Boston. We did get some -F weather and the car did fine, with the proportional drop in mpg. Going out after work on a -10 day, getting in and at that nervous moment when you would turn the key and wonder what noise you are going to hear... you push the button and hear nothing. Put it in gear and drive away. Love this car! :)
 

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We live near Lake Tahoe and own an '04 Prius. Great car. This has been a bad year for snow. The low clearance (particularly in front) was a problem for us on unplowed or poorly plowed roads where you must negotiate snowlpow burms. However, once traffic settled the snow down, the car preforms fine in snow and ice, especially with the the stability control. We avoided driving the Prius a total of about ten of the worst snow days this winter, and keep our old Bronco as a "spare" for rough winter driving.
 

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We get a wee bit of snow here too.  We get both Nor'easters and lake effect (although it was a little light this year with less than 350cm of snow).  I drove my car starting in Nov. just before Thanksgiving and the OEM (Goodyear Integrity) tires are slippery, very slippery.  I'm thinking of getting snows for next season.  Although the car was by far better than my '93 2WD T100 as far as traction was concerned from a standing start, the Prius slid more when stopping.  Not much more but noticeable.  Unlike the truck when the ABS kicks in you notice the peddle fluctuations, there is no notice of its use on the Prius except for a little symbol on the dash.  For comparison's purpose, on my 2003 Avalon XLS with both traction control and Vehicle Stability Control I was still scared crapless about driving the car with Michelin Energy MXV4 P205/60R16 (big and wide) tires.  The Avalon performed flawlessly in the worst weather, so I decided I'll get better tires for next season on the Prius.  Once I got the hang of driving the Prius in snow, it didn't do too bad and in fact turned out to be a lot of fun.  My only wish was that it had fog lights like on the Avalon.  And I parked in below 0F weather outside and yes the seat got hard like all seats, but it turned on and ran fine.
 

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Prius have been just the best car in cold weather. This winther we had a series of cold weeks (-30C/-22F) and the engine always started flawlessly. In Japanese Prius the lower end of its thermometer is limited by -30 Celsium degrees; sometimes it displayed the outdoor conditions a little optimistical.

The ground clearance is acceptable for civilized roads. It will have never
been a concern everywhere except the border of parking lots which can damage your bumper.

Snow tires are really needed for confident driving in constant snow and icy conditions.
 

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My 5th Minnesota Winter with a Prius was great, just like the other 4. The system worked flawlessly in the frigid cold, not even a burp once.

But guess what. Today is the very first 70F degree weather for about 6 months. So let's not talk about the cold. Let's talk about how the warthm is making my MPG is skyrocket now!
 

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john1701a said:
My 5th Minnesota Winter with a Prius was great, just like the other 4. The system worked flawlessly in the frigid cold, not even a burp once.

But guess what. Today is the very first 70F degree weather for about 6 months. So let's not talk about the cold. Let's talk about how the warthm is making my MPG is skyrocket now!
Tell me about it John! Got 120 miles on my first pip! Indicated is over 51 on this tank. Must be spring.
 

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You rascals

What? 70F in Minnesota? 50mpg? You rascals.

I was excited to start the week with a new tank on what looked to be the first week of spring --50F's maybe. But....drat....I had to start a new tank with the engine cold, and then I had those dreaded short errands to run...stop...start...stop...start...

....and it turned cold and rainy this week (40F's)....the wife limped home at about 46mpg today, but then I turned it around warm to get a ballerina to lessons and brought Isabelle home at 49mpg (spend gas to increased mileage...now that's obsessive!).

If it warms up here in Boston, maybe I can catch up with you guys....by July.
 

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Don't try to go uphills!

Luckily my wife drove her Lincoln Navigator to work this morning instead of her Prius. Salt Lake City had about 6 inches of lake effect snow so I experimented in the neighborhood hills with her 2005 Prius AB package to see how the traction control would work. Definitely will need snow tires and even studded tires to get around. The traction control would not let the tires spin and cut thru the snow to pavement. The car just came to a stop and would not do anything but backup.
I wonder if there will be an override mod to allow wheelspin?
Some front wheel drive cars had difficulty getting up the hills but they spun the wheels and sawed the steering wheel and made it.
Just my $.02
 
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