Smart Snow in Upstate NY (February 2009)

Yeah, I know that this was intended to be a Williamsburg, VA car, but we needed a vehicle, and the right orphan was available in Albany, NY.

For the past week, we have been driving the Smart ForTwo around the Syracuse, NY area, where we currently live. We are situated about 1500 feet above sea level. To visit us, is literally like driving straight up a hill.

Naturally, like many of the snow bound, readers want to know how the Smart operates in snow. We had a mild test this past week. There was heavy, slushy stuff and then hard, packed ice at 25 degree temperatures.

In the slush (3-5 inches), with snow tires, the drive is somewhat problematic (i.e., the car fishtails some). But then, we have owned Subaru Outbacks for the past 10 years. One's expectations should be tailored accordingly.

What is important is the ESP. It works! This is the first car we have owned with it. And, you can drive in bad conditions and the car adjusts itself. Think practically (smart): This is not an all-wheel-drive Subaru. It is just not, but that's not why we buy one, is it?

We want fun, the necessities (heated seats, iPod connection), good gas mileage (better than 35 mpg), and different.

On packed snow, driving sensibly, you will experience no problems, with snow tires. We don't know about with all weather tires. I made it up a very difficult incline about 4 miles long. Now, the caveats, there was no stopping and, while not bombing, I was moving right along (40 - 50 mph).

My intention is to write about driving in the snow, since we live right in the Snow Belt, at a higher elevation for NY. They say our weather patterns are similar to 1969 and 1993, heavy snow years, meaning we could be challenged before April 1.

If you see a weather warning for Central NY, check my blog and see our experience and the strategies we use for managing the bad weather. Also, you can read my blog, The Trench Take.

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