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Well the recent West Michigan Blizzard gave me the perfect climate to test the winter traction on our 2009 Element--between the 4wd and Traction Control-- the thing does great even with those crappy OE Tires. The thing is under perfect control at all times
 

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Yep, I have a 07 EX and I have never had a issue with traction ,even when I had the crappy OE tires . Now I run American prospector SUV and they work great. The E is a perfect all around vehicle.
 

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I dumped the Wranglers for a set of Michelin LTX M/S tires last week. The Wranglers did OK in our frigid clime but these LTX's are fantastic :grin: I had the LTX's on my Tracker and really liked them in all conditions, that's why I went to them on my Element.
 

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If you think winter performance is good with all-season tires, you would be BLOWN AWAY by winter specific tires.

I've been having fun the past few days (when there hasn't been an idiot in front of me).

hs
 

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Winter Traction

I drove over a mountain pass in Idaho last Xmas that had 8-10" of fresh snow on it and never had any problems. That was with the Goodyear Wranglers on it. I now have Yokohama Geolanders and would like some more snow here in North Central Washington State just so I can try the tires out.
 

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So, is the Element a balanced vehicle and that is why it does well in snow or is it because the traction control is good OR is it because the RT4wd is effective???

I keep on seeing the Subaru Youtube video showing just how ineffective the RT4wd system is on slippery surfaces. (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooQRxlChvMw) I used to own a 1997 Honda CRV with RT4WD (1st gen) and i thought that it was a good system, but i never got the chance to try it out in the white stuff.

Thoughts?
 

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I fully agree that tires are the most important part of the traction equation. AWD, 4WD, locking diffs (centre or otherwise) and traction control will not help you turn or stop. Its basic physics that helps here - friction is your friend.

I find, as well, that the E is a well balanced vehicle given how short a wheel base it has (longer is generally better for stability IME). Its centre of gravity is pretty low for such a tall vehicle as well.

Lets not turn into traction snobs, however. The Honda AWD system is not garbage - it works well (within its limits) and aside from an occasional change of fluid is maintenance free. The main limitation, as has often been pointed out, is the lack of ground clearance. Drive accordingly.
 

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I wish I could figure out how to link to my FB videos so you could see an Element really getting exercise in the snow. So I hope some crappy pics will be OK.
 

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I've had a couple of Subarus over the years, and I was a little worried about moving to an Element. But we've had a lot of snow so far in Colorado, and I've been absolutely amazed how well the Element handles. It seems well balanced, recovers from slides remarkably well, sticks well when accelerating, etc. No complaints yet. sorry Subaru!
 

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I'm just a guy who drives an Element in modest midwest snows. Works fine here.

But this guy...this PVR guy... he LIVES for the snow. :lol:

TRUST WHAT HE SAYS.


I fully agree that tires are the most important part of the traction equation. AWD, 4WD, locking diffs (centre or otherwise) and traction control will not help you turn or stop. Its basic physics that helps here - friction is your friend.

I find, as well, that the E is a well balanced vehicle given how short a wheel base it has (longer is generally better for stability IME). Its centre of gravity is pretty low for such a tall vehicle as well.

Lets not turn into traction snobs, however. The Honda AWD system is not garbage - it works well (within its limits) and aside from an occasional change of fluid is maintenance free. The main limitation, as has often been pointed out, is the lack of ground clearance. Drive accordingly.
 

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So, is the Element a balanced vehicle and that is why it does well in snow or is it because the traction control is good OR is it because the RT4wd is effective???

I keep on seeing the Subaru Youtube video showing just how ineffective the RT4wd system is on slippery surfaces. (Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooQRxlChvMw) I used to own a 1997 Honda CRV with RT4WD (1st gen) and i thought that it was a good system, but i never got the chance to try it out in the white stuff.

Thoughts?
I would like to see that test redone with the VSC turned off for the CRV, I'm guessing the results would be different as I have read that it is recommended that the system be turned off in that type of situation. Just curious, not trying to raise a stink.
 

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Tires!

The on demand AWD seems to work ok, but I agree that tires are the biggest help.
I had Blizzaks on an 86 Westy camper and an 86 Porsche. Amazing difference. Those cars would go through anything in the winter with those tires.
I put GY Triple Treds on the E, and they seem to work just fine. Not up to Blizzak standards, but good enough.
 

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So I just sold my two Subaru's and bought myself an 09 EX and was very worried about its snow ability. Well after spending the last week in Tahoe and getting over 2 feet of snow I can say I agree completely. Even with the stock tires the Element drives great in the snow. Didn't even think about turning off the VSC to see what it would be like, but I never felt the system had to interfere. I do still plan on throwing some LTX's on there when I need new tires but thats just because I love those tires.
 

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I live in Iowa and we've recently received almost 2 feet of snow all in 1-2 days and since I recently got a 2010 Element, it seemed like a good opportunity to see what it was like in the snow.

I live on some back country roads with a lot of turns, slopes, blind corners, etc and the Element handled everything beautifully. There are a few corners I remain cautious of due to previous encounters in my old car, but the Element never stepped out of line and made it around easily.

Even on slick ice, nothing trumped the Element. Not far from our house there is a hill that goes down at a 45+ degree grade and turns sharply as you go down, then when you get to the bottom, it continues to wrap around and finally goes back up hill so it basically makes a big 'U' shape. The other morning things warmed up a bit then re-froze making the curving hills look like a polished ice rink. I stopped the Element at the top, put it in first gear, then released the gas and brake and the thing crawled down without any problems or slipping. Then when I had to continue to turn and go back up the steep icy slope, I felt the front wheels slip, then the RT4WD must have kicked in because it plowed it's way back up without a problem...all this on stock tires too.

I've taken this thing through 8-10 inches of wet packed snow and it went through without any issues. I gotta say I'm impressed, for a vehicle with modest horsepower, relatively low ground clearance, and stock tires, it sure gets around in the winter very well.
 

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I live in Iowa and we've recently received almost 2 feet of snow all in 1-2 days and since I recently got a 2010 Element, it seemed like a good opportunity to see what it was like in the snow.

I live on some back country roads with a lot of turns, slopes, blind corners, etc and the Element handled everything beautifully. There are a few corners I remain cautious of due to previous encounters in my old car, but the Element never stepped out of line and made it around easily.

Even on slick ice, nothing trumped the Element. Not far from our house there is a hill that goes down at a 45+ degree grade and turns sharply as you go down, then when you get to the bottom, it continues to wrap around and finally goes back up hill so it basically makes a big 'U' shape. The other morning things warmed up a bit then re-froze making the curving hills look like a polished ice rink. I stopped the Element at the top, put it in first gear, then released the gas and brake and the thing crawled down without any problems or slipping. Then when I had to continue to turn and go back up the steep icy slope, I felt the front wheels slip, then the RT4WD must have kicked in because it plowed it's way back up without a problem...all this on stock tires too.

I've taken this thing through 8-10 inches of wet packed snow and it went through without any issues. I gotta say I'm impressed, for a vehicle with modest horsepower, relatively low ground clearance, and stock tires, it sure gets around in the winter very well.
Cool - sounds like a true winter car!
 

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Definitely hasn't let me down!

Out where we live, everyone's got Ford, Chevy, and Dodge trucks, but funnily enough I see all those stuck in the snow off the side of the road while the little E just soldiers on through it.
 

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My E has passed its first snow test here... and i've only had it less than a week.

Just a little wheel slippage off the line (gotta work the gas more gently) but it handled the slush and the half-inch of snow on the ground (so far) very nicely. A friend who has a 4Runner was riding with me and she didn't notice any skidding at all.

I took it up to 45 on the interstates and was blowing by a lot of people.

AWD + ABS = more confidence than having neither in a Civic. :grin:
 

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A little trick to prevent wheel slip from a dead start, if you have an automatic. Start in 2 rather than D. ;-)
 

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Definitely hasn't let me down!

Out where we live, everyone's got Ford, Chevy, and Dodge trucks, but funnily enough I see all those stuck in the snow off the side of the road while the little E just soldiers on through it.
I can't say much about Chevy or Dodge, but in all fairness it was physically impossible for my Ford F250 to get stuck anywhere.

As for the Element, I've only had it about a month, but it's been wonderful so far. We've had 2 medium sized snowstorms so far this season and the E did PERFECTLY. There is supposed to be a blizzard in the area this weekend, so I'm eagerly anticipating taking the E out for its first big snowfall encounter ;-)
 
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