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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday, the Dallas area was slammed with freezing temps and late afternoon precipitation, just sleet at first, which turned to a light drizzle after sunset. Roads were coasted with "black ice," making driving treacherous (specially here, where idiot drivers in big vehicles think 4WD = "ice is no problem for me!"). Accidents everywhere, ditches full of stoopid drivers, cars spinning on slight rises, you know the picture. :shock:

Wellllll, I was greatly delayed and got caught 30 miles from home visiting an ailing relative, and had to drive home through the mess. Normally I'd drive another vehicle in poor weather, I hate to expose my Insight to unnecessary hazards, but there I was, no choice, suck-it-up time, had to do it, so I headed home through the motorized skating rink. I'd driven the Insight in snow before, but never on glare ice conditions [shudder]. :(

And surprise! No slipping, no sliding, no drama, even when other cars would spin wheels on start-up, our Insight would just go and stop just like on a rain-slicked road. I purposely tried to break traction on start-up a time or two to see what would happen, and even then, it held traction much longer than I would have imagined... No, I didn't exceed 30 mph, and yes, I drove prudently, but even on bridges where other cars were just spinning and sitting... forward motion consistently achieved with absolutely NO problems. This may very well be the best on-ice vehicle I've ever owned (and I've owned a ton). :wink:

Anyone else as impressed as I am?
 

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Well, we didn't get much Ice here yesterday but we did get about 7" of snow. And being that we live in a relatively small town, the salt/sand/plowing services are all very sub-par so the snow usually just gets packed down into that crunchy cake on the road, that somehow manages to provide traction for acceleration but not for braking. :eek:

I drove my 4runner most of the day becuase I had to run errands, go to work, and make it to several final exams that I absolutely could not miss. But my g/f did take the Insight out for a couple of short trips and said that it handled fine, very little slippage. If this is the kind of winter we are going to have this year I think I will go ahead and order her a set of snow chains...

This actually got me thinking...could the fact that the Insight has more of a "mid-engine" weight distribution (with the batt), could that actually be a detriment when comparing ice/snow handling against another FF drivetrain car that has a larger engine over the front wheels and no battery? I know all the other benefits surely outweigh this little detail but just thought I would see if anyone else had any thoughts...
 

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On ice, I agree--the Insight performs very well for its size and weight. However, accumulated snow, especially packed snow, presented problems last winter. Traction was a problem when I was starting from a dead stop. It might have been my fault, since I did not put any snow tires on and stayed with the Potenzas. Nevertheless, one has to expect that for a small car. We'll see how it does this winter!
 

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Glad to hear you (and your Insight) made it home safely. I can't say I'm impressed at all with my Insight in snow/ice. More than an inch or so of snow and I can hardly move. Ice? forget it. I've had other front drive Honda's (CRX, Accord, Civic) that were far better in snow and ice with OEM tires. I know there's people on this forum who praise the Insight in snow /ice, but with OEM rubber, my Insight is terrible. If there's any chance for snow/ice, I leave the Insight home and take the 4runner. I've thought about snow tires for the winter, but I don't see how they could improve traction to the point I would feel comfortable driving in any considerable amount of snow. The Insight just doesn't have the weight nor the ground clearance.
 

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Another Insight+4runner owner?!? What year is your run'r?



Wasn't sure if posting whole pic is okay or not, they are only 640x480!
Mod: PM me and I'll replace with thumbnails!

***Okay, just thumbnails, got pic posting rules here confused with pic rules from another board I post on (800x600 is the limit there...). Sorry for the confusion. B
 

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Opinions are based on observations and experiences.
If someone is impressed by how well the Insight drives on ice with it's OEm tires it's only because the other cars and tires they have driven with are even worse :shock:
I instruct at a winter car control school which takes place in an area with snow and ice. From my experience driving dozens of different vehicles using many different types of tires I can assure you that a Honda Insight with OEM tires even when new is not the worst vehicle on ice but it is definitely on the scary side of the scale. The Insight has a 60/40 front/rear weight distribution which is not as affective on snow and ice as a more typical FWD car that has a 70/30 weight distribution.
Using winter tires with an Insight makes it significately better, well out of the scary category. But because of it's weight distribution and the fact the rear track is narrower then the front the Insight will always remain below average in winter conditons compared to other FWD car with similar tires.
But the light weight of the Insight does help in braking and turning on ice.

Those that are satisfied dring the Insight during icy conditions with the OEM tires simply have very low standards when it comes to reasonable grip for safety.
 

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So glad I live in Arizona
Arizona? I went through about 80 miles of black ice in Arizona 2 years ago right after Christmas. It was the worst I've ever been through. There were cars everywhere. It looked like a battle zone the next morning. Of Course it was a ways North of Glendale on I-40 near Flagstaff :roll: .
robert
 

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The fact that the Insight has a more rear biased weight distribution than most other front drive cars does make some sense as to it's poorer traction in snow/ice. Also with the rear track being narrower, the rear tires are never actually following the fronts in the same tracks. This would be a bigger issue in deeper snow and slush. If the Insight were my only choice of transportation in winter, I wouldn't hesitate trying snow tires, but for now I'll continue to use 4WD (w/locking rear differential) 4Runner when there is any threat of snow/ice. Ice is ALWAYS going to be an issue regardless of what you drive.
 

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I was pleasantly surprised by the freezing rain/ice/hardpacked snow performance of the Insight in the last week. This is with Conti CH95s, however, and not the standard rim protectors.

Less impressed with the frozen or otherwise non-functioning windshield washers, however. Those are absolutely critical in the conditions we've had around here (Wisconsin) lately. - Pat
 

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I really have to agree with Guillermo on this. With stock tires, the Insight is worse than average on snow and ice. And thats putting it nicely. I bike to work (even in the snow), so I try to avoid driving on fresh snow and ice when I can. (I got through last winter on one tank of gas). But I am seriously considering a set of snows and cheap wheels for those times when I have to go out on bad road conditions.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow, Guillermo, I wish you'd been with us (3 in an Insight, a new record!), I believe you'd have been impressed with our safe return home. I agree that "opinions are based on observations and experiences" since our observations and experiences last night were based on (this particular instance's) excellent starting and stopping capabilities, turning accuracy, and lack of drama performing low-speed maneuvers. I would hate to have to do anything fancy on ice at any great rate of speed in any car, but I was very relieved that our prudent drive home was accomplished with no scary moments due to the vehicle's pleasant demeanor. :D

Perhaps our tires helped: Never rotated OEMs (so rear tires have very little appreciable tread wear at 32,000 miles), front tires ~40-50% worn on the edges, ~30-35% worn in the center, 50 pounds pressure (checked weekly). As far as other cars, I've driven truly scary rides, including my old treacherous '78 911 which would flip ends wickedly fast on even slightly wet roads, never mind icy or snowy conditions... so I know of what you speak when you say "worse..." but I also have a good sense of what safe, acceptable handling means in hazardous conditions. My standards include not hitting anything but bugs and atmosphere with my cars, ergo my pleasant surprise when what I expected to be a real hassle turned out to be no big deal after all... and thus my report, meant to expand the owner's experience database. :wink:
 

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Totally agree with you boogetyboogety. This is my 4th winter driving my Insight in WV-VA with OEM tires with [/b]NO[/b] problems. I pass cars & suv's in the ditch all the time, cars slipping and sliding up a little incline, and I don't drive that slow in bad conditions. I'm usually the fastest car on the road. Everyone around here is so afraid of the snow. I live about 70 miles from work and haven't missed a day due to weather. Perhaps some of us just know how to drive in winter conditions, although I don't see how you could have had much experience down there in Dallas :wink:
 

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another Runner/Insight owner here in Colorado

Yeppers, I'm another Insight/Runner owner here in Colorado Srings, CO. The insight does great on the icy roads, but when theres a few inches on the road....better take the 'Runner.
 

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Snowing like crazy here in CT as I speak. 09:30 hrs. Supposed to get 5-10" of snow. Didn't even consider taking the Insight to work today. Took the 4runner and I'll have to settle for the optimistic 15 MPG driving to work in 4WD all the way. :(
 

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I agree that for a 2WD car it does pretty good in snow & ice. I've driven it over the 8900' pass between here and Tahoe in major snowstorms.

Around here we have three kinds of snow drivers. There are ones like me, who've driven in snow a lot, and slow to a speed reasonable for the conditions. Then there are the Southern Californians & others who've maybe never seen snow before, panic, and drive 5 mph max. And of course there are the SUV owners, who drive as if the roads were clear & dry.

Those last can be fun to watch. I recall one time sitting at a light at a nearly-deserted snow-covered 4-lane road, when a big SUV comes barreling down the cross street. Just as he gets to the light, it changes, and he hits the brakes. Didn't slow him at all, just sets up this slow rotation, maybe 5 seconds per turn. And I watch him doing that, perfectly centered on the empty road, for about a quarter of a mile :)
 

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Had a laugh yesterday afternoon. It was snowing, again, fairly heavily, and it was cold enough that it was greasy on the streets. If you're familiar with cold and snow, you know what I mean.

I was driving my beater '90 Accord, and was passed on the right by a Civic. His left rear wheel wasn't turning. At all. He just whizzed by with the wheel skating along on the snow. I would have rolled down the window and said something, but he had turned and was gone by the next traffic light. I assume he had the parking brake partially on, or maybe had a sticky caliper. Very cool sight. :eek: - Pat
 

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Is it possible the tire was just jammed with snow? I've seen that happen to a car or two, especially in the parking lot of the dorm I lived in a couple of years ago. They never plowed the place until a day or two at least after the snow.
 
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