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How Well Does A Chevy Cruze Drive In The Snow? (Answered)

If you’re planning on buying a Chevy Cruze, that’s, of course, a relevant question, especially if you live in areas where snow is widespread. Let’s start with a quick answer.

The Chevy Cruze has a 60/40 weight distribution with 6.5 inches of ground clearance, giving it average performance in snowy conditions. Traction control and proper winter tires provide the Cruze with a reasonable amount of grip. However, owners aren’t very positive about the performance of the Cruze in mild to heavy snowfall.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story; it’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have all the aspects discussed in detail, and below we’ll start with a selection of curated comments from owners about the performance of Chevy Cruze in snowy conditions. After that, we’ll take a deep dive into this car’s specifics, such as tires, drive systems, and electronic support systems.

Finally, we’ll talk about the ground clearance, the weight distribution, and the wheelbase. We’ll finish with a few suggestions for optional traction devices that can provide even more grip. Read on!

Also read: How Many Miles Can A Chevy Cruze Last?

Experience Of Chevy Cruze Owners

The owners of Chevy Cruze have a better firsthand experience than anyone else. Therefore, it is important to know what they have to say about it. We went through many blogs and forums to know what people have to say about its performance.

Anyone else thinks their Cruze is horrible in snow? Mine has 18″ of Michelin, and it won’t go anywhere in 3 inches of snow.

Source

StabiliTrak works great, and my Cruze did fine in Wisconsin snowstorms. We got a lot of snow. No problems.

Source

I was going 30mph and was very scared that I was going to lose control. I don’t know if the tires came with it, but this drives much worse than my Sunfire did. I decided to take my wife’s SUV when snow is on the roads.

Source

Also read: 6 Common Problems Of A Chevy Cruze Diesel (2014 – 2019)

Does Chevy Cruze Have Snow Tires?

From the factory, you get the all-season tires, which can do pretty good in all types of weather, but they can’t give traction when you are driving in a lot of snow. No matter what systems you have integrated to prevent your wheels from sliding, you will suffer in winter without snow tires.

If you live in a region that sees a lot of snow, then make sure to put on nice snow tires so the wheels will remain happy with their relationship with the road. Otherwise, they will block their connection with it, and you will lose signal from the road, which will cost you big time.

Why should you go with the snow tires?

Well, snow tires have the following characteristics that make them suitable in heavy snow to black ice, and everything in between that winter has to offer.

The Tread Rubber

Extreme cold temperatures cause the tread rubber of an all-season or summer tire to stiffen and become less able to provide sufficient traction. All seasons only work above 45 degrees Fahrenheit. To combat this, the tread rubber compounds of winter tires are composed such that they remain flexible, even below 45 degrees, allowing the tire to grip the road better.

Tread Depth and Patterns

Unique to snow tires is deeper tread depths and unique tread pattern, specifically designed for snow driving. Deeper tread depths reduce snow buildup and thus provide better traction on the snow. The tread patterns, too, are designed to channel snow and slush and expel water. With all of these aspects taken care of, your tires will stick to the ground like glue. Okay, not like glue, but really good.

Biting Edges

Snow tires have many biting edges and high densities of small slits that increase the tread surface area, thus increasing grip in wet, icy, and snowy conditions. Decreasing the tire pressure will also increase the surface of the tire patch that touched the ground, thus getting more traction.

Have Snow Tires Equipped As Soon As Possible

If you want to buy snow tires, we advise you to use Tirerack. They have a great tool that allows you to find the perfect fit for your exact model, so you won’t have to worry about fitment issues. Furthermore, they also offer free shipping on most of their orders. Check out their store here!

Also read: The Exact Bolt Pattern Of A Chevy Cruze

What Drive System Does A Chevy Cruze Have?

Chevy Cruze comes with an FWD system only, and there are no other offerings in the Cruze lineup.

Front-Wheel Drive

As the name suggests, the front-wheel-drive will transfer power to the front wheels. This system is not as great as the AWD regarding its snow drivability, but it does offer very reasonable traction.

IF you are looking to save some money and opt for the FWD instead of an AWD, it’s actually a little bit of a concern. You might not easily get around in a Cruze having FWD as you would in some other FWD systems. The reason is the poor weight distribution of the Cruze, which we have discussed in detail down below.

The systems integrated into the modern-day car are extremely subtle and would be doing most of the work, keeping itself firmly to the ground.

Also read: Types Of Gas A Chevy Cruze Uses (All Generations)

What Electronics System Helps The Chevy Cruze In The Snow?

StabiliTrak/ESC

ECS stands for Electronic Stability Control, and in the Chevys, it is widely known as the StabiliTrak. This is one of the most important features that help you maneuver your vehicle in snow. This is the system that saves lives, especially when you are traveling in extreme weather conditions. Keep in mind that cruise control will be disabled when the ECS is in action.

This system is ever needed because so much stuff is being automated, and you are hardly connected with the road.

One way or another, everything has been integrated with electronics, and you won’t be able to tell if the wheels are losing traction. So when the rear end even thinks of going sideways, the ECS kicks in, and the system will maneuver the vehicle in the direction according to the steering input.

In other words, if your steering is tilted to the right, but you are sliding to the left side (understeer), the ECS will make corrections by reducing the speed and adjusting power so that the vehicle can easily go to the right side, just as you originally intended.

Disabling ECS Will Help You In Snow?

It would be best if you never disabled the ESC by any means. There are only two instances where you can turn off the ECS.

  1. If you want to perform the rocking maneuver, where you rock the vehicle back and forth in case you are stuck in snow.
  2. If you want to have an accident.

Other than these two instances, you should never turn it off.

Cruise control can be dangerous on slippery roads. On such roads, fast changes in tire traction can cause excessive wheel slip, and you could lose control. Do not use cruise control on slippery roads.

Traction Control

Almost everyone is familiar with traction control systems. The main job of a traction control system is to ensure the loss of traction is minimized. It is a regulation system that enhances the driver’s control over the vehicle by controlling the traction at the wheels. If wheelspin is detected, the traction system cuts the power off from that wheel to minimize wheelspin.

Wheelspin is the main factor that results in a loss of traction for the most part, and this worsens the driving conditions in winters and snow. Traction control will ensure that such behavior is nullified and maximum traction can be made available at all four wheels at all times, thereby reducing the threat of an unpleasant event.

Brake Assist

As the name suggests, this system will provide extra force in case of an emergency and reduce the stopping distance considerably by engaging the braking system even before you slam the brakes in an emergency.

ABS

The Anti-lock Braking System is now a standard feature in all modern-day vehicles. Why is ABS so important? This system would ensure that the wheels won’t lock when you slam the brakes, in an emergency, or even in a normal situation. This feature will prevent your tires from sliding, thus increasing traction several notches.

Had it not been for the ABS, hard braking would have locked the wheels while turning and steering at the same time, and if the wheels do get locked and you happen to be turning, then that situation is a recipe for disaster.

It would be best if you never disabled ABS in any condition. If someone tells you that turning off ABS will help you in the snow, they lie. Without ABS, things will always go sideways.

Also read: The Oil Type, Weight, And Capacity Of A Chevy Cruze

Weight Distribution

The curb weight is important because it impacts the performance and safety of the vehicle.

Lighter cars have better fuel economy, respond quicker to acceleration, and have better performance. Heavier cars are safer, provide better protection to the occupants when involved in a crash, and have better road traction.

A more important spec is the weight distribution. It impacts several key performance parameters such as response to acceleration/deceleration, cornering stability. Ideally, while braking, the weight distribution should be equal on all four tires.

Normally, the weight distribution differs in each trim level, and on top of that can differ even among the same trim levels due to different packages and add ons.

2019 ModelsWeight Distribution F/R
Chevy Cruze60.5/39.5

This is not a good weight distribution as most of the weight is in the front; it would understeer a lot, or in some cases, it would even oversteer. If you go with higher trim levels with bigger engine options, you will face that problem even more. And adding more weight in the back won’t really help with the weight distribution.

Also read: Chevy Cruze Transmissions: Overview, Problems, Fluids

Ground Clearance

When deciding on buying a vehicle to drive in snow, ground clearance is an important aspect. Ground clearance is the distance between the chassis and the ground and is one of the basic dimensions of any vehicle. Lower ground clearance means more likelihood of the underbelly of the car scratching against the ground.

The low ground clearance can be a major issue if you live in an area with lots of snowfall. The higher the ground clearance, the better. We know it, and there is no way to refute this. Higher ground clearance adds to the vehicle’s winter-aptness.

A vehicle can easily knife through thick layers of snow with higher ground clearance, as that is one major point of concern for any winter driver. The sweet spot of ground clearance comes at 8 inches and above.

We get about 6.5 inches of ground clearance in the Cruze, which would become a problem when we have a lot of snow on the road. But if you live in an area with below 4 inches of snow, you will be good to go without a hitch.

Vehicles do get stuck on those piles left by the plows on the sides, so make sure to steer clear from those. Drive on the tire marks left by other vehicles after the plow, and you will be all good.

Wheelbase (in):106.3

The wheelbase is the distance between the centers of the front and the rear tires. The wheelbase dimensions affect the vehicle’s weight distribution and are a key spec in determining the balance and steering. Having a longer wheelbase means that the vehicle would be more stable at higher speeds.

On the other hand, vehicles with short wheelbase can usually corner faster but are less aerodynamic. In other words, a longer wheelbase translates into more stability because in cars with a longer wheelbase, the onset of sliding is delayed, thus giving the driver more time to make adjustments.

Chevy Cruze offers a wheelbase of 106.3, which is not that great; it’s an okay-ish one that gets the job done.

What Traction Device You Can Use On The Chevy Cruze?

Drivers in areas where they see heavy snow and severe winters, there are a few devices that can come to your rescue ‘snow traction devices’ as they like to call them. One of such devices is Cable chains. Cables chains can assist with building traction at the tires, and drivers can have a better driving experience than driving without them.

In addition to the built-in stability and control features, several alternates, such as snow tires (which we have already discussed), snowplows are available that can be used in heavy snow. Each has its pros and cons. Remember that Chevy doesn’t recommend using chains as it would damage the brakes if not fitted properly.

It’s best to go for good winter tires. And if you have no other choice and want more traction, you can add those wire-type cables as an alternative to snow chains.

Snow tires are expensive and require professionals to install and uninstall. In contrast, snow chains are relatively cheaper and easy to put on and take off but are more damaging to dry pavements and the car itself.

There are various options for one to choose from the plethora of available products in the Class S chain cables. Amazon is one marketplace where you can easily find quite a few options for Class S cable chains.

Keeping in mind all of the suggestions, we would recommend using the Peerlesschain, where you can find which chain would be the one for your tires as fitment is an important aspect when searching for snow chains. Manufacturers mostly recommend s class chains, and on this site, you will be able to choose from many different options.

Most drivers use these chain cables to enhance stability in winters and snowy conditions. It is always better to prepare and prevent than to repair and repent.

Happy driving.