Despite owing the Kia Cee’d since 2021, and always intending on getting winter tyres, it’s only been recently that I’ve managed to get them sorted out. To cut a long story short, an initial plan to use second hand alloy wheels was aborted due to the set needing a refurb, and the new set alloy wheels didn’t arrive in time for last winter.
A recent Monday saw significant snowfall where I live in Northern England, giving me the frst chance of finding out how it performs in bad weather.
With some late March into April snow showers coming down over some parts of the UK, I thought I’d try and answer the question of which car is better when the weather is slippery. I say try, as I haven’t yet had the chance to drive the Kia in proper snowy conditions, but despite this I do have some observations to share.
Starting with the little Suzuki Alto, despite the lack of most driver aids, this car is very capable in snowy conditions. The car is light, meaning it is possible to change up gears very early to help control wheel spin and traction, something helped further by the relative lack of power. This is despite a lack of weight over the driving wheels, which can often lead to poorer traction in wet conditions. The narrow tyres cut through snow extremely well, and with care, there is little that would stop the Alto, excepting extreme conditions such as very high drifts.
Stopping, however, can sometimes cause more difficulty. Anti-lock brakes aren’t exactly known for being brilliant in snowy conditions, and annoyingly this is the one driver aid that is actually fitted to the little Suzuki. Extreme car is need when braking on snow, as the ABS (anti-lock braking system) has a tendency to either give full brakes thus locking the wheels, or absolutely no braking whatsoever. As such, it is important to allow plenty of distance to anything in front, and slow down gently using the gears.
The Kia typically performs well in wet and windy weather. The car handles brilliantly in dry conditions, and the same characteristics are true in poor weather. The traction control system performs well, and in some cases it can be beneficial to press slightly harder on the accelerator pedal, and let the car do the work for you. Under light snow accumulations (of the wet/slushy variety), the car worked well with no obvious loss of traction. Hopefully, some more snow will come so I can give the Kia a proper test.
On first impressions, both cars are capable in inclement weather. Without more first hand experiences in snow, it is hard to pick a winner between the little Suzuki and the larger Kia. However, the Alto does prove that you don’t need a big 4×4 to get around in snow.