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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Cars, Hatchback, Sedan
#23 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [methowvalley]
Jan 17, 2008 (12:34 pm)
We have a 2006 Prius with the GY (#1) package. It is very dangerous to drive in snow, which we have a lot of in Wisconsin because it cuts power to the wheels as soon as any slippage is encountered. That may be ok in the rain, but when driving in several inches of snow, there is ALWAYS slippage. Our old Chevy Cavalier gets around in the snow just fine. You just get on the gas and those front wheels just start chewing their way through the snow. In the same scenario with the Prius, you get on the gas and it dies leaving you helplessly waiting for someone to slam into you and kill you. It is not a fit car to drive in snow. If no one has been killed yet, they will be. This is VERY dangerous. BTW - Toyota says that's how it is supposed to work and refuses to do anything about it. They're going to regret that when the lawsuits start. Deliberately engineering such a dangerous design makes them fully culpable. It's inexcusable.
#24 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [andyu]
Jan 19, 2008 (12:26 pm)
The secret to driving ANY car on the slippery stuff, especially FWD it seems, is learning to feather the throttle YOURSELF just up the point of losing roadbed traction and not beyond. Once TRAC kicks in it will not nearly have the finesse you could use were you to bother to take the time to learn.
Use TRAC as an indication of conditions, not as something to rely on as help in those conditions, its actions are far to ROUGH-EDGED.
#25 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [andyu]
Feb 04, 2008 (5:04 pm)
I HEAR YA MAN!!! I literally called my dealer today and told them the same thing that you just wrote about. The Traction Control on the Toyota Prius is very dangerous indeed! I live in NW Minn. where snow covered and icy roads are the norm in the winter. I'll give an example of a near death experience I've had in my 2008 Prius. One day while driving home on the split 4 lane highway that leads to my house I had to get into the turning lane to cross the other side of the highway. A car was coming at me about 1/4 mile away as I began to pull out from the median crossing. Since the turning lane and median were icy, as usual, the Traction Control kicked in which killed power to the wheels, as the other car was coming at me at 65-70 mph. Well, not only was it icy in the turning lane and median crossing but it was also icy crossing the highway. Needless to say, if the other car hadn't slammed on it's brakes to slow down for the idiot driving the Prius (THAT WAS ME) who was stopped in the middle of the road since my Traction Control wouldn't allow my Prius to move, I'd be deader than a doorknob! I have been stuck with my Prius 4 times. The deepest snow was 5 inches on a flat gravel road, and the least amount of snow was literally 1/2 inch of snow with packed and ice snow below it! THAT'S RIGHT! I WAS STUCK IN 1/2 INCH OF SNOW IN MY 2008 TOYOTA PRIUS! BUY 'EM WHILE THEY'RE HOT! OH DON'T TELL ME I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE! The car that sits next to my Prius has 921 horse power and pulls a low 10 second 1/4 mile! Did I mention that my Prius gets great gas mileage?
#26 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [3earnhardt]
Feb 04, 2008 (6:25 pm)
That's exactly what I'm talking about. I've had some close calls too. If I or my wife doesn't get killed, I'll cause someone else too as they try to avoid hitting me. I always leave LOTS of room if I'm in the Prius before pulling out into traffic in snow, even to the point where people behind me are honking and I still end up in close calls. People who were behind me waiting to cross an intersection have gone around me and passed me in disgust before I could get across.
I also have a GMC Sierra 2500HD Duramax Diesel 4x4 with locking differentials. Now that's what you want to be in in the snow. I want my wife to drive the truck all winter, but she won't do it unless the weather is really bad because she says it too big and too hard to park, so she's frequently in the prius, which scares me. Saving a few extra bucks on fuel just isn't worth it.
I'll have to sell it if Toyota doesn't come out with some new programming for the TRAC before next winter. It's a great little car in every other way, but this is just too dangerous. It makes no difference whether you stomp on it or gently feather it, or anything else in between, believe me, I've tried and the bottom line is it just doesn't go like it should. It's scary.
My friend has a Highlander Hybrid 4x4 and gets around just great in the snow. I wonder how the Camry Hybrid does? Is it just the Prius's that are so badly engineered? Does anyone know how the Civic Hybrid does?
#27 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [andyu]
Feb 04, 2008 (8:55 pm)
You know what...??!!
Traction on ice or well packed snow requires a huge tread contact CSA and WEIGHT...!
The Prius has neither...!!
I wouldn't drive a Prius in adverse roadbed conditions, and if I was forced to, not without tire chains.
And yes, I know, very well, tire chains on only the front of a FWD vehicle can turn hazardous instantly. So drive slow, VERY slow.
#28 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [andyu]
Feb 05, 2008 (5:23 am)
Guess what?! My wife has a 2008 Toyota Camry Hybrid and it has the same dangerous problems with Traction Control. She wants her 2006 Pilot back and I want my 2002 Camry back!
#29 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [andyu]
Feb 14, 2008 (10:53 am)
Has anyone that has reported the touchy traction control issues had their dealers do a software upgrade as outlined in previous posts? I'm curious if that has helped since some report the '07 and later Prius isn't having as much trouble with this issue and allows for a bit more wheel spin.
On a side note, this can be an issue with any type of car. Some traction controls interfere more than others. We had a rental vehicle, on vacation one time, and that Buick flat out stopped and wouldn't even put any power to the wheels with the slightest amount of wheel spin on snow and ice.
As always, tire selection and driving technique make the biggest different, but and overly-aggressive traction control system can be a real pain. Some amount of wheel spin allowance can be a good thing in many situations. I regularly turn off the traction control on my wifes car (rear wheel drive and manual tranny) in snowy conditions. That being said, simply putting a couple bags of sand over the rear axle made a huge difference. Not an option with a front wheel drive, but the engine is already weighting the drive axle (the main reason front wheel drives have a traction advantage in snow).
The stock tires on the Prius are built for mileage, not traction/permorance. Moving to a snow tire (such as Blizzak) would resolve winter traction issues in all but the most extreme situations. If one isn't willing to go to a dedicated snow tire (and the associated second set of wheels and the twice-yearly swaps), find a good all-season with the best snow rating you can find. That, too, will make a huge difference over the stock tires and completely change the personality of the car in those conditions, plus you don't have to swap them in the summertime.
#30 of 54 Describe the traction control impact
Feb 14, 2008 (10:57 am)
Question about the details of the Prius traction control cut-out...Does it behave like other traction control systems where, if you immediatly let off, you can lightly feather the throttle and immediately make an attempt at accelrating again? Or is there some few second delay, unlike a non-hybrid system? Such as, it will absolutely not try and turn the driving wheels at all for a second or two?
#31 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [chadx]
Feb 14, 2008 (11:00 am)
The traction control firmware in a FWD is intentionally more aggressive, "intrusive" than a RWD or R/AWD and even F/AWD. That's because loss of traction at the front can too quickly result in loss of directional control. Whereas with loss of traction at the rear you still have "command" of the stearage.
And remember that those electric motors have absolutely "stellar" low end, low speed, TORQUE. Perhaps you need a "snow" mode.
#32 of 54 Re: Snowy hills [chadx]
Feb 14, 2008 (7:22 pm)
I told my dealer the problems that we were having with the Traction Control on my Prius and on my wife's Camry Hybrid. He told me to buy some snow tires. And the reason that the hybrids don't come with snow tires on them in the northern portions of the U.S. is that snow tires greatly reduce the MPG. I plan on getting snow tires for my Prius within a few weeks. I will post the results.