There have been a bunch of reports on the smart's ability to handle snow. Basically you need two things to be able to drive it properly - snow tires (all four, not just the back two), and a familiarity with rear-wheel-drive. Aside from that, the smart will handle like any other car, and better than most (the short wheel-base is actually a blessing - less "pendulum" effect when the read end wants to walk...). Biggest thing (and this goes for everyone) is to keep a sharp eye out for other people that may not be as capable in snow as they should be...
I was disappointed in the handling (rear tires slippage) and the overly active anti-lock brakes. I reviewed my owners manual and it does mention winter tires. I guess that I need to spring for some Michelin all weather. Really this has been my only disappointment with the car.
I live in Wisconsin and we just had our 3rd snow storm this week (about 8" by my house). I too, experienced a bit of sliding and skating, but I suspect that this is because this car weighs so much less than most other cars.
I heard about all the snow in WI. Thankfully Chicago didn't get hit as hard. I'm supposed to drive home to central MN next weekend and I'm a little scared to take the car out on the freeway if it will be windy and blowing snow around.
On Tuesday it rained here all day, froze, and then started snowing, and I was pretty happy with how the car handled on my commute home. Of course everyone was driving 30.
Are a lot of people going for snow tires? Are you noticing a big difference? I'm not sure I can afford them.
I've owned my car since the first week of February of this year. I live in New york and had my share of snow and icey roads. My baby took the roads like a champ. The rule of the road: It doesn't matter what type of car you have! You slow down in bad weather and follow the rules of the road.
In reply to Ana E, the smart weighs close to 2,000 lbs. That is the solid steel around the car. Bear in mind that the car is completely recyclable, (Plastic). That gives the car a lot of protection and leverage. She will not topple over that easily.
It is obvious that the smart is not a car to substitute for a 4x4wheel drive where u have 4 feet of snow or more and the roads are not plowed!.Lets get real. The Smart is amazine but she is not an amazon. She is tiny. Don't overload her or she will crack!
I live in Colorado and although we haven't had much snow this winter (yet) in Denver we have driven the smart up to Evergreen (Foothills) in some pretty abysmal conditions and up snowy dirt roads (all on the factory tires).
The car handles quite well in snow/ice and I did get the ESP to light up (intentionally) a couple of times.
It is not a match for our AWD Honda Element which we use to drive up to the mountains now, but one thing that is a plus is that with the lower weight the car stops a lot easier and the handling is a lot more direct (i.e. I can feel what it is doing much better than with the Honda).
People tend to forget that 4WD won't help you stop any quicker.
All that said I would second the notion that the ABS kicks in quickly, but I suspect that that has to do with the limited weight over the front axle. Is anyone using larger width tires in the front? Does/would it make a difference or would it make things worse (larger surface, but even less pressure on the road)?
nothing heavy here yet but snowy icy (just enough to cover things up) roads here and its been working good on the stocks. I cant afford just snow tires so if it gets to bad I will have to use another vehicle. But so far it seems to be working wonderfully IMHO.
I'm in Metro Minneapolis/StPaul. We have had lots of snow and -30's weather this week. I've driven my smart all week. He loves the snow. I did not buy snow tires. The car is light so it does not plow through the snow, it's more like it just crawls over the top of the snow. The first snow we took him out to the empty parking lot. This car will not do a donut. The ESP system just doesn't allow it. The ABS keeps the car nice and straight when stopping and it stops very quick. In the heavy traffic (as in like a parking lot) I've driven in manual as it seems to try to shift too much. Last night my 30 minute commute took 70 minutes and most of those were in 1st and 2nd gear. The car is so little and it heats up quicker and the heated seats are on high til they get warm then they go on low or they are tooooooo hot. I am very pleased with the performance of this little car. Merry Christmas to you and yours! Happy driving!
Missy, my wife and I are driving from San Antonio, TX to Winnemucca, NV right now. We were in the Vagas snow storm. The smart handled really well. The only thing I see, and I am not a snow driver at all, is the wheel track of the smart is not as wide as a usual vehicle and you seem to be riding, or hitting all the "muck" they push up to the center of their tires. It did not create a problem for us though. One other thing we noticed is that the entire front of the car all except the radiator opening seem to become a solid pile of snow. Someone said something about the heated seats and I agree with that 1000%. The little car is performing well along the way. So far our fuel expense has been $60. Less than most pay to fill their tank once. I love it.
Merry Christmas to you and yours