How are Coopers in heavy snow/winter months? - 2015 Mini Cooper Forum
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post #1 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 01:06 PM Thread Starter
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How are Coopers in heavy snow/winter months?

Hello all,

I posted earlier that I was getting my first Mini ever, yet all of the sudden I've received a bit of push-back from my friends and family. I'm moving to New Hampshire where my girlfriend lives, and while she loves Mini's, some of her family has been saying that I need to get a car that can "handle snow better," that I "don't know what a New Hampshire winter is really like," and basically saying that with a Mini cooper I'm either going to likely end up in a ditch, or not be able to move when the heavy snow hits.

So from experience, people that live in really snowy areas (I'm talking places that overnight could get several feet), what's it like owning a Mini? Is this still viable? Or do I have to keep my truck (BLEH!) or go with a boring AWD SUV?!

Please help!
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post #2 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 02:00 PM
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That was a concern for me here in the Midwest, certainly when I first started driving in the 70's. That's why I got a Wrangler when I returned, only to find that the snow removal here was so fast on the main streets that no one has a problem getting around as long as they have decent winter tires with a bit of grip.

My wife has an AWD SUV, so I just didn't see the need to worry about it and got something I'll enjoy all but maybe 5 snowy days out of the year. I do plan on getting a second set of wheels with Blizzaks on them for good traction though.
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post #3 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 02:18 PM
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I live in Montreal and this is my 2nd Mini. We have had very snowy winters and have not had a problem nor have I ever gotten stuck.

On the 2015 MCS I opted for Pirelli Sottozerro tires and was very pleased with them. I think another good option are the Michelins.

At the end of the day it really depends on the driver's experience in my opinion. SUVs and such provide a false sense of security, I see SUVs whizzing by at fast speeds during snow storms. Everyone needs to drive carefully in snowy conditions.

Hope that helps.

Cheers!
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post #4 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 02:38 PM
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It depends on what you mean as snow.


If you're talking about soft snow that is a couple of feet deep then clearly you'll need a vehicle with proper ground clearance.


If you're talking about relatively compacted snow then actually I've been very impressed with MINIs. Small front wheel drive cars always tend to fair well in snow and the MINI is no exception, certainly better than most rear wheel drive cars.


You need ground clearance for deep snow.


You need four wheel drive for driving up steep icy hills.


You do not need four wheel drive for driving on relatively flat compacted snow. Traction control systems are pretty good nowadays.


Four wheel drive doesn't help with braking. As with any modern car, ABS doesn't work well and you need to use cadence braking.


Choice of tyres makes a massive difference.


Good luck!

PW F56 MCS; 26,000 miles now and counting
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post #5 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 03:00 PM
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Invest in a set of Blizzaks or good winter tires and know how to drive in the snow, if you don't already. You'll be set for all but the deepest snowfalls.

There are far too many people on the road that think because they have an SUV or car with AWD they are good and can drive like normal. Even Subarus and the burliest of trucks can end up in a ditch if they don't have the right tires or the right driver.

Where are you living now, out of curiosity?

CURRENT MINI: 2015 Cooper S F55 - "Capella" - Pepper White - Black roof/sport stripes - Black Punch Seats - JCW Ext/Int Kits - Wired/Wired Up/Premium/Cold Packages - Connected XL - DDC - LED Headlights w/Cornering - Park Assist
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post #6 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by siriuszero View Post
Where are you living now, out of curiosity?
Right now I'm in Indiana, moving to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is usually really good about clearing out the road. But I think everyone is worried about the amount of soft snow there will be right after a snowfall. So ground clearance, etc. might be an issue. But I'm imagining that's going to be an issue for EVERY car that's not higher off the ground like an SUV is. Right? So really ANY car operates the same. Obviously, AWD helps, but if you're not a stupid driver I'd imagine the Mini's FWD on good winter tires will be just fine?
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post #7 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 03:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgoodspe View Post
Right now I'm in Indiana, moving to New Hampshire. New Hampshire is usually really good about clearing out the road. But I think everyone is worried about the amount of soft snow there will be right after a snowfall. So ground clearance, etc. might be an issue. But I'm imagining that's going to be an issue for EVERY car that's not higher off the ground like an SUV is. Right? So really ANY car operates the same. Obviously, AWD helps, but if you're not a stupid driver I'd imagine the Mini's FWD on good winter tires will be just fine?
AWD is good, but there are so many I see on the roads with summer tires, which renders them useless.

A FWD or even a RWD car with a good set of winter tires is better than AWD car/SUV/whatever with summer tires or most all seasons.
Illustration --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STaximkaQxo

Having a set of traction strips is handy too in the event you do get stuck.
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CURRENT MINI: 2015 Cooper S F55 - "Capella" - Pepper White - Black roof/sport stripes - Black Punch Seats - JCW Ext/Int Kits - Wired/Wired Up/Premium/Cold Packages - Connected XL - DDC - LED Headlights w/Cornering - Park Assist
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post #8 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by siriuszero View Post
AWD is good, but there are so many I see on the roads with summer tires, which renders them useless.
True, so it's less of the traction and driving in snow that I care about then. I mean I always figured the Mini was fine for that. I guess what everyone is all in a fit about is driving when it's like a foot of snow. But then again, I can't help but think, why would anyone be on the roads if there's a foot of uncleared snow everywhere?!
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post #9 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 04:26 PM
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Originally Posted by lawrothegreat View Post

Four wheel drive doesn't help with braking.

Choice of tyres makes a massive difference.


Good luck!
This ^

I figure I'll be fine with some Blizzaks for stopping and driving on plowed, packed snow surfaces with a FWD car. Heck, I used to drive all over with a rear driver with no posi-traction and practically bald tires during the 70's.
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post #10 of 58 Old 04-13-2015, 04:39 PM
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Snow!! Ice!! Get good tires!!

I just did a pretty good winter with Pirelli Sottozero tires on my car. No problems at all. Never got stuck. Remember as well that if you slam your MINI and reduce it's clearance that will make a difference. (MINI makes a poor snow plow)

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