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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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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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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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!
 

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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?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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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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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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)

Oost
 

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You can't really compare the new Mini to the original Mk1, but I had a 1963 Mini in the 60s and 70s and even without TC or winter tyres it never got stuck in Scottish winters, when many other cars of the era did.
As long as it did not become a sledge with the depth of snow being too deep, it handled ice and snow with no problem.

I don't see why a modern Mini should be any different.
 

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Hi,

I live in Southern NH. I did not drive my F56 this winter... I had just picked it up in November and did not get snow tires for it. If you have runflats or All Seasons it will slip and slide on a thin layer of snow. I will be picking up snows for it for next winter.

I have driven a New Beetle for the past few years with Michelin All Season tires. Never got stuck, even in a foot of snow. So I doubt the Mini will have problem.

I have seen at least 4 Mini's on the road this past winter. Be advised, we had a lot of snow this winter and during the worst storms, I did not see many cars on the road including Mini's.

As long as you get the right tires, and drive conservatively in the snow, you'll be fine!
 

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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)

Oost
Read Annette's blog if you have any concerns about a MINI handling ice and snow.

http://nonostravels.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/stranded.html
 

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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!
Northern Wisconsin here. Lots of snow. The car does fine on city streets and in the country in moderate snow. Front wheel drive and it weighs 2,000 pounds, so the traction is there. You will have to be careful in deeper snow, as the car is low to the ground and could get hung up. Get all weather tires. The biggest problem is accelerating too fast, and going too fast. Keep it slow, stay away from deep snow and you will be fine. I have had no problems. We get about 5 to 6 feet a year and it does not melt until spring. Just melted for good last week.
 

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don't forget if you press the stability control off toggle button once, it goes to traction mode to try and help with snow and ice (hold for 5 seconds to fully turn off).
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hi,

I live in Southern NH.
So you know what I'm referring to when I mean winter. I've never lived there, but my girlfriend has her entire life. We're moving to Manchester soon. All the times I visited there this past winter the roads were clear like summer. They do an amazing job salting and cleaning the roads. Sure, there might be some days you're driving on snow because the plows haven't gotten to it yet, but so is every other car.

I just don't see what conditions she is thinking I'll be driving in that the Mini can't handle... sure, if there's a foot or two of snow everywhere, but if that's the case then NOBODY will be driving...
 

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Yep,

Exactly, no one is on the road in a major snow storm. Roads get cleared fast. the only time you have to worry is if the storm hits during commute time. That's why I recommend snow tires on the mini.

All Season non-runflats might do it as well, Runflat all seasons are too slippery. Just keep in mind that in a storm during commute time the snow gets packed hard, and it's the other driver you may have to worry about.

If your in Manchester, your very close to the dealership.
 

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Here in the UK if we get a single snowflake the world stops and everyone is snowed in....


Back in January 2010 we had particularly bad snow however. At the time I was working in Oxford and the dual carriageway (highway) by the MINI factory was completely empty and one big ice rink. I had a lot of fun that day :)
 

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Like Oost, I'm in the Southern Ontario part of Canada and I also have Pirelli winter tires. We had a reasonable amount of snow this year and I had no trouble at all. When it was icy, I found using the green mode helped decrease tire spin. (I freely admit that's the ONLY time I use green mode!). My last two cars were all wheel drive and I didn't miss them at all. I love this car in the snow and slippery stuff (and at every other possible time too!).
 
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