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First test in snow

8630 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  sfdxsm
Took the Cherokee out tonight. Tried to get some video of the different 4wd modes but the lighting was really bad. Will try again tomorrow. Here's one with the car in Snow mode. I just noticed in the video if you turn your sound up you can hear how noisy the tires are in this snow that I talk about below.

Anyway the OEM tires did fine. Nothing overly special to be honest. They were REALLY noisy at a dead stop turning in the snow. Bad enough it sounded like there was something wrong at first. This is some pretty packed, wet snow but still. However they made going through this stuff no big deal. It's not super deep yet so I'll test that tomorrow but this was about 1-2inches with some deeper areas from plowing and people still on the road. I consider it a legit real world situation.

I could easily get this thing to spin, slide, and generally get unstable with minimal throttle in Auto mode. As a matter of fact, one of the more nervous parts was taking off (slowly) and feeling the rear kick in. I don't know if it's just this snow but you could feel the rear grab and it kind of jolted the car a bit. No warning lights, no funny smells, no obvious signs of problems with the 4wd.

Snow mode however was a different animal. Launches are EASY. I could give it a normal amount of gas and it came off the line like nothing was on the ground. It could take corners fairly easily and never felt like it was getting stuck. It took some considerable throttle play to get it to break loose and even then you could feel the Jeep correcting itself immediately. There were a few times where the tires were just not cutting it. This snow is really odd as it's wet, packed, yet fluffy so it really almost feels like being on ice. Mostly on turns. But snow mode would pretty much correct the sliding and a little steering from me and we were good to go.

My one major piece of advise and this is coming from someone who has never driven a 4wd/awd vehicle; do not over correct when you start to slide. Now, I know this is a normal thing to recommend in snow/ice situations is to keep calm and don't start flailing around on the wheel but this was different. As soon as I felt the Jeep getting to its limit and I was not really helping to correct, it would snap itself back. Which meant if I was turning and the Jeep started to slide, all I did was let the wheel come back to center like I normally would with light, even throttle (or not throttle). The Cherokee took care of the rest. It wants to go straight in Snow mode.

I did not give Sand/Mud a good try but it kills traction control and the Jeep becomes more predictable in terms of how much it wants to slide when you lose traction. I usually turned off traction control in the snow in my FWD cars because I could predict how much sliding around the car would do with it off and correct it cleaner.

All in all the Jeep did well. I think a quality set of snow tires will do wonders but if you had to drive around with the stock Continental tires they will do fine. Just use snow mode and drive SLOW and SAFELY. 4wd is not a magical bullet. Nor are tires (although we all know by many of the videos how much they can help starting and stopping).

I'm going to try to get more videos tomorrow in the daylight if everything isn't plowed away.

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It's about -2 degrees out and 6" of snow out here in Michigan and just slight slippage in snow mode but nothing that letting off the gas pedal couldn't fix. All in all this Jeep seems very stable in pretty deep snow.
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