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snow and saabs
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Posted by Snowmobile [Email] (#686) [Profile/Gallery] (more from Snowmobile) on Fri, 11 Jan 2013 20:49:57 Share Post by Email
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holy smokes these cars are fun in snow!

the last few weeks we've had plenty of snow/slush/ice, and my wife and I have been swapping cars a fair bit - have had a bunch of time driving the 2004 9-5 sedan with brand new Nokian Hakka R's (205/55R16) to compare vs the 1989 2.0L NA winter beater with somewhat worn (6-7mm) Nokian Hakka 4's (185/65R15)... no studs on either set of wheels...

It is interesting... all the traction control and ABS and whatnot does not seem to make up for the added weight, wider tires, and probably some other driving dynamics of the newer car: for the same level of control, the c900 without abs or anything is way more nimble in snow and ice! ABS + TCS comes on at most slippery intersections (maybe 70-80%) in the 9-5 and I can feel the slip. In the 1989, I'd say it is 10% of the time at most in the same conditions/speeds etc, er, well, usually faster in the c900... of course when the 1989 does slip, more driving skill is required than the 9-5 with TCS, but not unreasonably so, and the c900 clearly accelerates faster in slippery conditions... thinking it might be a nanny thing (not allowing any wheel spin), I tried turning ESP (TCS) off on the 9-5 and it makes a difference, but where I can toss the c900 around a corner, the 9-5 seems to wallow and require more correction... maybe I need to just drive the 9-5 a bit more with tcs off to get used to the driving dynamics... but it does not seem to handle in snow like the c900s...

I was particularly surprised that the c900 seemed to stop better on ice, where I've got top end brand new friction tires on the 9-5 and the c900 has older worn ones that are meant to be studded (but aren't due to regional laws), and hence have somewhat less siping... though I've gone for narrow 9-5 winter tires, they are still wider and would have a larger tread patch than the ones on the c900, so the behaviour on ice seems counter-intuitive to me.

(Years ago, in a different locale, I drove this c900 with old studded hakkas and compared against the tires that are on it now - they were brand new and on my other c900 at the time - wow I wish we were allowed studs here... c900 + studded hakkas is a true dream car for winter!)

anyway, I was interested if anyone else here had similar experiences (I know a few of you have both c900's and 9-5's)... I wish I had the exact same tire to compare vehicles (even better would be identical tire sizes)... it is not that the 9-5 is bad in snow, but I'm starting to realize more just how good the c900 is... or maybe I'm just more used to it?


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