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Discussion Starter #1
I got the wife to ride in a Bolt on a test drive. She didn't want to drive it, unfamiliar and very busy roads. So with temperatures in the 90's for the last few days her question to me was; How does it handle in the snow? So I'll ask you early adoptors the same question.

How does the Bolt handle in the snow? Does the instant torque break the wheels free, or is it easy to feather the pedal to avoid losing traction?
 

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I haven't driven a Bolt in the snow, but this person on YouTube does their entire review of the car in the snow and it appears to handle it very well.
 

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I had no problems in two snow storms in Nebraska. Only 2-4 inches but was a good test. Never slid around at all. Good grip. Didn't drive crazy but I ALWAYS test the antilock brakes on all my cars. Antilock brakes worked perfect. Car seems more slippery on dry concrete. As good and probably better than my 2008 Prius. Maybe a bit heavier also. Might help.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Sounds like I can alleviate the wife's worries. It's more about the driver than the car.

I love to play in snow covered parking lots; the electronic parking brake instead of a hand brake will make donuts harder to do. I guess I'll have to learn the Finnish Flick to put the car into a slide.
 

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For an increase in traction, there's always the option of getting a winter specific set of wheels. I've always done so for every car and can feel the huge difference when stopping.
 

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For an increase in traction, there's always the option of getting a winter specific set of wheels. I've always done so for every car and can feel the huge difference when stopping.
Agreed!

Since moving away from 4WD/AWD vehicles in 2012 I've switched to true winter tires starting in Dec every year.
There is just no comparison between All-Season Radials and a set (4x) of true Winter Tires.
I found the stopping distance is reduced substantially, and when starting off at a light, etc... you don't get tire spin like you do with the All-Season tires.
 

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Always had then even with 4WD/AWD vehicles, winter tires are just better at biting snow and pushing away water and slush through its grooves. They also won't harden as temperatures drop, normal tire rubber will.
 

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There are a ton of videos and write-ups online which thoroughly explain why winter tires are much better than running all-season tires in the winter time. FWD, RWD, AWD, it's always the best option and the safest by far. Stopping distance gets significantly reduced and that's one of the biggest things in the snow. A more narrow tire like a 195 also helps too
 

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Wasn't aware that a narrower tire would be better for snow handling, always thought it was down to tire pressure and tread. Wouldn't more surface contact help with braking?
 

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A smaller contact patch results in more force being applied to the ground in the contact area with the road. There are a fair amount of reasons as to why it's better. This link to a little blog post on Tire Rack helps a bit :)

http://blog.tirerack.com/blog/hunters-ramblings/why-are-narrower-tires-better-for-winter

As you're shopping for winter wheels and tires, you'll likely come across the recommendation of going to a narrower tire. This is the exact opposite approach that you would take for summer traction, where wider is better. If you're likely to drive through deep snow this year, you'll want winter / snow tires and wheels in sizes that help put the laws of physics on your side.

The reason for this is that traction is achieved in winter by cutting through the ice and snow. With wider tread, you're more likely to start snow plowing or floating on top of the surface instead of pushing down and through. This floating will result in loss of traction sooner than with a thinner or narrower option. A good way to picture this is imagine a pizza cutter slicing through a pizza.

Another way to think about this is from the perspective of the contact patch. A tire's contact patch or "footprint" greatly influences its performance and is dependent on its profile. The narrower the width, the smaller the contact patch will be. This is the area that makes contact with the ground as rotation occurs. With the vehicle still weighing the same, a smaller contact patch results in more pounds per square inch. This will produce more force on the tire to help it cut into ice and snow and deliver optimum traction for the worst winter will throw at you.
 

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From a common sense standpoint, tire width is a compromise....

A narrower tire would be better in slushy snow where it's possible to "cut through" to the pavement below.

A wider tire would be better on hardpack or ice where it's impossible to "cut through", but you have more surface area contact with the hardpack.
 
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