Ford Focus Forum banner

1 - 20 of 53 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I drive a 2002 Focus SVT. 83k miles, beautiful condition. Bought it from a best friend who had owned it since new.

It is a total pig in the snow.

My son is interested in a new Focus ST. How's it work in the snow?

Any thoughts or recommendations would be most welcome.

Thanks in advance
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,317 Posts
I would think that any higher powered FWD car is going to be how good your tires are and how light your right foot it.

First FWD car I ever drove was my parent's 1985 Chrysler Minivan with a 5 speed. We lived in a hilly neighborhood (called Forrest Hills), and our street had a gradual carve to the left. There was always a sheet of ice there from melt runoff from a driveway to the left flowing over the road and refreezing. Usually, in a RWD car I'd give a little blip of the throttle to swing the back end out to get around that area. Sort of use the throttle to steer the car.

I was driving down the street at about 20-25 MPH, hit that spot and did what I'd always done. Font wheels spun, and I slid straight forward into the snow bank. No damage, but a lesson in wrong wheel drive.

IMO when the drive wheels are also the steering and braking wheels, if you loose traction you've got no more steering or brakes. Much prefer the RWD car, and when I negotiate city street in snowy conditions I gently apply the handbrake to rotate the car around corners. Otherwise, I'll just spin my wheels as I try vainly to make the turn.

I would say the ST would be like your old SVT. How old is your son? If he's still in the teenage hoon mindset, then probably pretty bad. If he's more mature and not much into wheel spin, than it could be better. Still not going to be good in any case.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Hey, I started driving in 1963. I learned driving in the snow with old RWD cars and bias ply tires. My son is 43 and not a hoon. He's coming out of about 6 years of consecutive leases on 3-series cars with x-drive.

My SVT was wearing summer tires when I bought it from my friend in Georgia last January. After the winter we had last year here in NE, I finally changed them. Can't quite remember, but I went to Tire Rack and read all of the reviews on the size for winter traction and bought what I thought was the best one at a price I could afford.

I've driven a couple of Golf GTI VR6's without issue in the snow as well as a couple of passats. My son is not quite as experienced in the snow as I am, but he's grown up driving a wide range of FWD and RWD cars during the winter.

Years ago, I had a Mitsu Diamante FWD with traction control. That sucker went almost anywhere. I don't expect the ST with TC to be as good, but I'm hoping that it won't be as bad as the SVT was.

I confess that my experience with the SVT is limited to the worst winter ever and wearing fairly used-up summer tires. I could make it go , but geez, it was not pleasant.

So: experienced mature driver, not a hoon, just looking for a really cool car at a reasonable price.

How's he going to do in the snow? Does he really need snow tires? Front only or all 4?

Thanks
 

·
I change diapers now
Joined
·
14,444 Posts
Every SVT i have owned was absolutely fantastic in the snow. No idea why you are having trouble with winter tires, perhaps alignment or suspension issue?

I have never owned a car that was bad in snow however. All those cars have worn snow tires and that's the only thing that 'makes' a car good in the snow.

Our newest car is wearing all seasons that came on it, it is reasonable but will get snow tires next winter.

For reference, my Mom drives her ST in the winter without issue on snow tires. It's better than her F150 with all seasons.

- Drew
 

·
Dyno Queen
Joined
·
7,859 Posts
Practically any vehicle is snow capable with appropriate tires.
 

·
I
Joined
·
13,302 Posts
How's he going to do in the snow? Does he really need snow tires? Front only or all 4?
Fine with snow tires. I believe there is an option for all seasons now on the FoST, but previous models only came with summer tires. They barely work in cold, dry temps. In the snow, they do NOTHING. The factory all-season option will work okay...but not optimal. Always get all 4 tires. Running snows in the front and less grippy tires in the back will make the car a tail-happy tree slapper. Probably fun in a parking lot, but not great when you want to keep the rubber side down on the street.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,444 Posts
I've driven my SVT through 12 Minnesota winters now, only one on snow tires and it's been a great car. Every other year including this one has been on M+S rated all seasons, I will say that the one year I had snows was the best winter driving I've ever had and that includes driving 4x4s.

Buy the snows, buy all four, many shops won't even sell pairs if they know you'll be running two normal tires on the other end of the car. Snows up front and all seasons in back is a dangerous mix.

-Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks guys. Remember, my only experience in the snow with my SVT is on old summer tires during the winter from hell. I'm going to give the all-seasons a shot this year and see how it goes.

I'll pass along the advice to my son.

As I said, my son is 43, and he's leaning toward the ST right now, but his wife wants him to buy a "nicer" car. We had a long talk last evening. He's not quite ready to move, as his BMW lease isn't up yet, and he's going to use the time to sell the wife on the idea of a "mere" Ford in their driveway.

Also, he has a 14 YO son. He is concerned that the ST may pose too many temptations for a young driver in a couple of years. My advice to him was to find a great (Skip Barber Lime Rock?) driving school for new teen drivers and send him there where he can develop skills and respect for what car like that can do.

I'll keep all posted.
 

·
I change diapers now
Joined
·
14,444 Posts
Thanks guys. Remember, my only experience in the snow with my SVT is on old summer tires during the winter from hell. I'm going to give the all-seasons a shot this year and see how it goes.
If you are buying winter tires, buy winter tires, not all seasons. Then keep your proper summers to retain proper grip in the summer months.

- Drew
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,177 Posts
If you are buying winter tires, buy winter tires, not all seasons. Then keep your proper summers to retain proper grip in the summer months.

- Drew
Although I disagree that winter tires are necessary, I do agree with this statement. If you have two sets of tires, one should be summer and one winter. If you have one set of tires, GOOD all seasons are the way to go.
 

·
I
Joined
·
13,302 Posts
If you are buying winter tires, buy winter tires, not all seasons. Then keep your proper summers to retain proper grip in the summer months.

- Drew
This. All Seasons really are "No Seasons". Think of them like sneakers. You can go shovel snow in sneakers, but your feet will be cold and you'll be slipping around. You can go to the beach in sneakers, but you won't be very comfortable. You probably have a set of boots for the heavy rain and snow and probably a set of sandals for the beach? Both do the job they intended to do. This is just like tires. Summers are sandals and will give you the best and safest grip in the warmth. Snows will do the same in the cold and snow. All Seasons will work in all conditions, but be mediocre at everything they do.

For a 100% street car, spending $$ on the absolute best summer tires I don't think makes much sense. Think of how often you are at the limit of traction driving around in July. Not much right? Then think of the winter. How often are you at the limit of your tires in the winter? Every time you drive in the snow, right? That's where I put my money. Every time I drive in the snow, there is at least one point where the front tires are slipping or the rear gets a little out. I am using 100% of the available grip every storm. Snow tires are worth every single penny.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,444 Posts
Yeah, if he's buying a second set of tires buy full winters.

The capability of all seasons varies widely from brand to brand and even model to model within a brand, they are FAR from ideal in winter driving conditions. In my case, I haven't ever been able to afford two sets of tires and wheels at the same time so I just run the all seasons but I've been driving in Minnesota winters for 30+ years now and I'm quite comfortable with it.

That said, I do actually have a spare set of 16" wheels in the garage now and by next winter they will be wrapped in snow tires.

-Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
^^^ when it's slipping around in the Snow & Ice, even getting less than the best snow tires seems like poor economy.

Even with "less than the best", you can zoom past anyone on all season tires.


P.S. - I see Steve was thinking about this at the same time. MN cold weather is BETTER for all season tires than where it's warmer, the most slippery conditions are near freezing and traction gets better when it's stinkin' cold. Powder snow in the cold is nothing compared to wet & heavy, wet ice defeats anything.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
12,444 Posts
P.S. - I see Steve was thinking about this at the same time. MN cold weather is BETTER for all season tires than where it's warmer, the most slippery conditions are near freezing and traction gets better when it's stinkin' cold. Powder snow in the cold is nothing compared to wet & heavy, wet ice defeats anything.
LOL, we get every variation of snow and temp here in the winter. It's not all cold and fluffy powder snow. The best is when we get freezing rain that creates glare ice and then it turns to snow and that covers the ice and acts like grease between the tires and the ice. We do also get wet heavy snow although not in the quantities parts of New York get.

Our winters are not better for all seasons. I actually had a set of all seasons one winter that totally lost grip when it was -20, even with ABS I slid past a turn I was trying to make on clean, dry (extremely cold) pavement.

-Steve
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,092 Posts
Since this has turned into a discussion of tires... I cast my vote with those who have supported having two sets of tires.

All season tires are a compromise, they work kind-of good in the warm and dry, kind-of good in the warm and wet, kind-of good in the cold and dry, and kind-of good in the cold and snowy (nothing works even kind-of good on ice, except studs). By contrast summer tires work great in the warm and dry, and great in the warm and wet... with winter tires working great in the cold, snow or no snow. If you have a "kind-of good" car, then who cares what lousy compromise tires are on it, you won't drive it for performance anyway. But if you have a performance car, how can you justify handicapping it with less than great tires? That kind of decision seems like a "death wish" to me.

Every SVT and ST and RS should have two sets of tires, if it's going to be driven year 'round, up north where it freezes. Get Nokians, they are absolutely the best winter tire available.

BTW, my SVT drove fine in the snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
152 Posts
Steve - just having a little fun with the MN stereotype, though you generally DO see stinkin' cold more often than here. (2 brothers have lived there, one still in the Minneapolis area) Hard packed snow in the cold cold isn't too bad for driving, not great traction but fairly dependable. If sanded it's downright decent. Nasty conditions make it tough for anything, but it's NUTZ to drive around in the bad weather with worn out all seasons as i see all the time around here from the folks with 4WD in their Mercedes/BMW's/ etc..

Handicap an ST with all season tires year 'round seems silly, a MkIII with two GOOD sets of tires would be more fun.
 

·
****ney-4-Life!
Joined
·
3,685 Posts
Every SVT and ST and RS should have two sets of tires.

Mine only has 1 set. I just wouldn't drive mine in the snow. I just my wifes 1.4 ltr Nissan. If I fall off the earth in it I wouldn't be too bothered...in the Blue car..


Tears.
 
1 - 20 of 53 Posts
Top