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I’m considering buying a Volt but im concerned that it’s not a sensible choice for New England winters. I live in Northern Vermont and winter driving conditions can be difficult. I’ve always had AWD station wagons to provide extra stability, traction and road clearance. Can anyone help me to know if this this car will handle a very cold and very snowy/icy winter? I also worry about the car being so low to the ground that it will also be difficult to drive on muddy dirt roads in the spring.

Thanks in advance for your help!
 

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I'm in Maine, and live off a dirt road. The Volt isn't an AWD Subaru, but you knew that. Put on good snows and it's fine, just like any other vehicle in Winter. Of course, it's a sedan, so clearance is an issue, as it would be for any sedan, just take normal precautions.

As others will point out, you should always have it plugged in, 240v, at home, and you should pre-condition before going out.
 

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One thing to remember, winter/slick condition driving requires you be a smoother driver to avoid loosing traction. Keep your Volt in D and use the brake pedal to control this.
 

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Snow tires are an absolute requirement on the Volt but if you have a good set it's fine. I live in MA, I go to Vt all the time in the summer and it's great in the mountains, regen braking givs you much more control when driving down a steep mountain road. The one concern with the Volt is it's low ground clearance. I've never had a problem anywhere in New England, including Northern Vermont, but I have in Canada. I went to New Brunswick and PEI in August and their roads have frost heaves, my Volt started scrapping bottom as soon as I crossed over from Maine to New Brunswick, NB was worse than PEI but I scrapped bottom in both Provinces.
 

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I agree on winter tires a must have
its not an all wheel drive, but gm traction control puts it a close second, really surprised me
and it works in -30
as for muddy roads, its not a truck
 

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Haven't driven in snow with Volt (and not likely to) but when I first bought the Volt I took it to my tire dealer (that used to be a customer of mine before I retired). He said that he knew a guy that had an EV and he reported the car worked very well in snow in a higher inland area that occasionally got snow (due to the smooth EV drive). A couple of things. The car is quite low so it can get hung up on deeper snow quicker so plowed streets are important. It is front wheel drive not 4WD. If you want something that goes through anything that's not a truck you need a 1985-88 Toyota Tercel 4WD wagon that has high ground clearance, locked 4WD and skinny tires.
 

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You can't compare it to an AWD vehicle with increased clearance. It won't measure up to that. If that's what you need, then skip this car. But if a normal FWD sedan like a Camry or Accord would work in your situation, then your question makes sense.
 

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I live in the southern "populous" part of NH. I haven't purchased snow tires in 40 years because our government does a great job clearing the roads. The only time the roads are slick is during the storm and that's a good time to stay home by the fire and have a drink.
 

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I live in the southern "populous" part of NH. I haven't purchased snow tires in 40 years because our government does a great job clearing the roads. The only time the roads are slick is during the storm and that's a good time to stay home by the fire and have a drink.
This.

I don't drive in snowstorms unless I absolutely have to. More often, I have to drive the next day, when smaller roads are still not completely clear and the plowed slush is very slick. The Volt handles reasonably well in that even without snow tires, but I'm also fortunate that the main roads around here are usually completely cleared and well salted by the day after a big snow fall.

If I lived farther north, or in an area where I had to drive for miles on poorly plowed roads, I'd get snow tires. I really don't know if the low clearance would be an issue. It's a bit lower than an ordinary sedan, but not that much.
 

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I live in the southern "populous" part of NH. I haven't purchased snow tires in 40 years because our government does a great job clearing the roads. The only time the roads are slick is during the storm and that's a good time to stay home by the fire and have a drink.
Staying home is always the best option, but when temps get below 40F consistently, it's time to consider winter tires just because the rubber composition has lower rolling resistance than even LRR all season at those temperatures, and the ride smooths back out
 

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The low ground clearance is misleading. The Volt actually has ground clearance on the high end of the typical range for a midsize sedan to any structure or components underneath - around 6". Below that there's just the flexible airdam up front, which rubs on a lot of things, but will fold out of the way in the face of anything solid and spring back without damage.

From my experience and what I've read, the Volt is about as good as a FWD car gets in winter weather. It's not AWD, but it is a solid, stable platform with advanced traction control and smooth, even torque. Snow tires are definitely helpful - more useful than AWD 90+% of the time, actually.
 

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I owned a Subaru outback and a BMW X3 before. AWD is the thing I miss the most, but the volt when equipped with good winter tires will do the job like any comparable FWD car.
I use studded Nokian Hakkapelita 8 on my volt. We have tons of snow and very icy conditions here in Quebec. Those tires are noisy but are the best winter tires I ever had. They are not cheap, but I wanted the maximum traction I could get.
 

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Volt works much better than a typical car in winter driving. The battery is heavy and helps the car have a more ideal weight balance between the front and back wheels. I have had no issues in snow with the car.

Winter (and not snow tires) are very helpful for any car up where you are. Across the border in Quebec they are mandatory. Once temps drop to 40 degrees, in dry, wet or snowy weather winter tires outperform all season or summer tires.

Tires will wear down with use, and to the extent you own your car longer than the life of one set of tires, getting winter tires don't cost you anything extra other than the mounting fees twice a year.
 

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So here is the perspective of a native, VERY Rural (read crap roads) upstate New Yorker who transplanted to southern Virginia.

I've lived through plenty of snows where you should just stay home, and the aftermath of frozen ruts and chunks of ice on the road turning even the nicest highway into a bumpy off-road style torture test. I've also gone entire seasons with nothing more than some light snows and maybe icy/slushy rains.

The Volt is excellent for any of the conditions you'd drive any other regular sedan in and it far exceeds the capability of my wife's Mazda Protoge 5. Due to it's low but heavy center of mass it gets traction when some other vehicles don't and the smoothness of the drivetrain means you can "ease" out of a stop or situation without breaking traction. HOWEVER that additional mass MUST be taken into account when trying to stop or corner under slippery conditions and you have to go super-gentle. Behave yourself and don't be in a hurry and the vehicle will do fine in the winter. (especially with snow tires).

Now to be fair, my other vehicle is a 97 Jeep Cherokee with some mods so I will go out in conditions I'd never take the Volt into but that is just being sensible.

Or for a more visual representation....

Clear Roads<-------Mazda-----Volt-------------------------------------------Jeep----->Nobody should be out.
 
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