Timing was perfect. Just enough snow for me (1”-2”) yet before the plow trucks came by. Before the rush of those commuting trying to get home trampled the fresh coat of snow. Xmas minus 5 days I believe it is. Soft fresh powder at 25F. WOW
My wife came home after having her yearly office lunch with 4 lady co-workers and doing some last minute shopping afterward. So in the typical neurotic last minute mode this time of the year she gets home dodging snowflakes falling 1”-2” per hour. Any how I asked my wife to go with me out in the CR-V … I did not even finish my sentence. Immediately the response “No way. I’m not going out again” came out before I finished my sentence. “So I can see how it drives in the snow?” I said.
“You must be nuts! I'm not stupid! You are going to do donuts... no way, I’m not going out again.” she re-affirmed.
I assured her no I would not do any donuts. “Then you are going to make it swerve, no way absolutely not!...NO!”
She is not leaving me with much fun remaining by now so I said “No donuts, I will not intentionally make it swerve.” A few more minutes of guilt trips and buttering up she agrees??? Un-f-in believable!
I think I have not driven a 4WD in significant snow since ’92. All these postings of driving in the snow and pictures on this site has rekindled my interest in winter driving. I could not wait! The window of opportunity before they plow goes by is disappearing.
The conditions where virgin powder in the mid 20’s F. Perfect for X-Country skiing with wax type skis so the traction to get back into my house up the 75 foot ramp was good. All systems go!
Now the V stuff
The ABS in a steering attitude has got to be one of the best in my limited experience I have ever driven. Not overly loud nor annoying were the ABS vibration and pulses on the foot pedal. The V managed to go around every turn I tried. Now I was not overly aggressive for sure after all I was using temporary hand controls. Had I ran into a snow bank, let’s put it mildly, my wife would have me by the gonads and let’s face it; the shed is very cold this time of the year to sleep in!
The switching from 2WD to 4WD I found almost seamless. Only once or twice going up a hill was there any trace of 4WD going on or off. The VSA yellow triangle did go on a few times after accelerating from a standstill. However the V never got stuck or even hesitated moving for more than a split second. Without the VSA light going on I may not have noticed the 4WD going on. However while backing up a hill from a standstill I did notice more traction and control with the VSA turned off than with it on! I found that odd but have read about it! There seemed to be a slightly more fish tailing with the VSA on. Possibly that is why it went on in the first place.
By now my wife is leaving finger print impressions on the grab handles. Yet I managed to do a few more power slides and did not get beat up. And drifting? I’m not even sure I even know what drifting is but I pretended I was doing it any how.
1)The right windshield wiper blade with about 1”-2” of snow falling per hour (big huge flakes for some reason it no longer was powder) kept getting frozen to and separated the wiper from the windshield. One third of the right wiper tip at one point was actually about 2” separated and curved up. What’s up with that? Anyone else having problems with the right wiper? The left wiper worked much much better. Perhaps the defroster works better on the left. I had the heater control on 2 clicks into the red only for comfort with the fan on the middle setting I think. A hotter heat setting and fan speed may have helped but I did not want to peel of any layers of clothing off.
2)I was not aware that the rear wiper worked only in unison with the front. I thought I had driven it once with just the front on. I think the driver should have the option of using only the front. Maybe my wife got it into some funny mode. She said that is always how it works; both on with the front on. If not so, how do you turn the rear wiper off when it is set to off but wiping?
I think that is about it for the Cons. All in all the V drove better than expected in the snow. The last 4WD I took on a test like that on a few inches of virgin snow was in my ’92 Toyota pickup. In over 6” I think the Toy P/U would run circles around the V. But not having ABS or VSA on the Toy P/U, I am going to have to say that the V is far safer and secure. It also feels more balanced when sliding around turns! Mind you this was 16 years ago!
The ’89 Dodge Raider 2-dr SUV (a Mitsubishi re-badged) I never really felt all that safe in it and with the Firestone summer like tires it had the snow traction was not impressive. I used to have to lock the front hubs all the time. It was rather easy to break the rear tires free (little or no traction) in any snow what so ever.
The ’88 Camry All-TRAC drove kind of like the V when it had new Michelin X +1 size on it but without ABS there is no comparison.
I drove Subarus but do not remember details.
Oh yes, I test drove a Civic Real Time 4WD Wagon that was likely the predecessor of the CR-V. I'm guessing it was a 1990. A gorgeous medium blue metallic with dark blue interior and about 7K easy miles. In 3"-4" of snow it was very well behaved. I never bought it but returned it completely dirty to the Ford dealer. In hind sight it was a bargain and I probably should have bought it as it was really cherry. And cheap at around $6k I think. Until I test drove it at which point it may have been driven for the first time in winter.
In conclusion I personally find the 2008 CR-V LX 4WD a great snow vehicle for the urban driver. I am’ extremely happy I got one for my wife to drive in. Safety and more than enough traction for our needs.
The Contact 4x4 tires are more than adequate with only 1,800 miles on them in southern NH. Possibly fine in up to 6” of snow before going to the trouble of winter only tires are necessary. Since around here I have only seen over 6 inches before it is plowed a hand full of times in 28 years, it hardly seems worthwhile. I do not see why all the complaints about these Continentals at this moment in time. I did not drive it that aggressive. I rather doubt it will be as well rated by me in snow over 6-8” deep. Hard to tell without really driving it in snow that deep. But if that is where you drive, maybe you would be better off with a 4WD Pilot if you can afford it.
What I need now is a garage and an elevator so I can get in and out of the V under cover without getting all soaked when it snows or rains. Once out the door on my rear deck by the time I am in the V a good 10 minutes has gone by. Getting back in my wheelchair is even worse since by the time I am in it the seat is soaked and then there is the 75 foot long ramp I must go up.