Advice needed What car to buy for Hotham?

Seemonski

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Mar 26, 2019
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It's autumn. I'm looking for a new car, and I have ski trips to Mt Hotham in mind. Ideally, I'd like a sporty, medium size SUV. We all know the regulation that you need diamond pattern chains that fit if you are driving to Hotham in the winter.
Ideally, I'd like something like the Volvo XC60 would be lovely, but it doesn't take diamond pattern snow chains on its standard wheel & tyre combo. Same for a VW Tiguan, a Landrover Discovery Sport, and even an Audi Q5, despite Audi being a major sponsor of the resort.
I know I could get another set of wheels and tyres, but I'd much prefer not to have to store wheels and change them twice a year.
I also know that there are a whole bunch of forum participants with opinions, ideas and cars.
So what do you reckon?
Thanks.
 

jungfrau

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Buy a proper 4x4 or a AWD wagon like Subaru.

SUV,s are all show yet poor performers up there (think fat summer tyres, high centre of gravity and heavy.. perfect for sliding and flipping) no mater what features it may have ..
IMO :)
 

Seemonski

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Mar 26, 2019
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Why are you buying a car for what is a tiny percentage of the time that you use it?

Buy the car that suits your day to day best.
Good question - I don't want to buy a car that's only suited for going to Hotham. If I wanted that, I might get a big 4WD. But I live in the inner suburbs and want something mostly for day to day city driving with a couple of big dogs in the back. I didn't realise how many of my options for that purpose didn't meet the Hotham regulations.
 
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Donza

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Buy a proper 4x4 or a AWD wagon like Subaru.

SUV,s are all show yet poor performers up there (think fat summer tyres, high centre of gravity and heavy.. perfect for sliding and flipping) no mater what features it may have ..
IMO :)
Concur . 100%
 
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Seemonski

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Mar 26, 2019
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A few votes for Subaru. Donzah says don't go for the diesel.
If I got an Outback, do I go for the 4 or 6 cylinder?
Or is the newer Forester better?
 

cqen2l

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A few votes for Subaru. Donzah says don't go for the diesel.
If I got an Outback, do I go for the 4 or 6 cylinder?
Or is the newer Forester better?
Outback is on Liberty platform so larger, Forester based on Imprezza, smaller and boxy. Both no longer have manual options, maybe Outback diesel?
 

Donza

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Outback is on Liberty platform so larger, Forester based on Imprezza, smaller and boxy. Both no longer have manual options, maybe Outback diesel?
Big car.
Nice balance.
OK on juice. Though nothing crazy frugal like the euros.
I'd take a foz over a outback if size wasn't an issue
 

Donza

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Subaru Forester + practice putting on the diamond chains at home.
Agree low profile tyres to be avoided.
LP tyres suck to put chains on.
The links don't roll over the sidewalls.
*unless you buy epic chains
 

cqen2l

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Big car.
Nice balance.
OK on juice. Though nothing crazy frugal like the euros.
I'd take a foz over a outback if size wasn't an issue
Wifey has a GT Liberty wagon, better than the H6 in terms of performance and fuel economy. Tyres are less than optimal in snow however. Don't get me started on the WRX sti tyres.
 

Gregah

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FWIW, I too would not have contemplated having to buy, and twice a year swap over, a second set of rims & tyres...however...I didn't do my research on my Skoda Superb 4x4 purchase and ended up having to do so. The upside is I've put proper snow tyres (not just M+S) on the second set of rims and they are awesomely grippy in snow and ice (better than the M+S tyres I've had on previous vehicles). That, plus finding a top bloke at the local garage who was happy to swap them over twice a year for a bottle of Jack Daniels, means the only negative now has been the extra cost, not really the extra hassle. In short - extra feeling of safety driving the family around up there outweighs the now forgotten extra $$$. P.S net extra $$$'s are somewhat lower than the cost of the second rims & tyres because you get approx. 25% longer life out of your original set by having them off the car for 3 months a year.
 

linked_recoveries

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My dad just traded in a noughties Subaru Forester for a 2015 Subaru Forester (both petrol models). He drives to some pretty out of the way places to fish the lakes in Tasmania, using rutted and decaying forestry tracks for the most part. He has a foam mat as a mattress so he can sleep in the thing although his head has to stick between the front seats.

Snow, ice, rocks, tree branches, bottoming out in the ruts regularly, and it's never missed a beat for the last 10-12 years.

If you go to the high country you'll see a lot of Subarus. The driveline has been developed with years of world rally experience, then tweaked for the real world. They're a logical choice if performance for the dollar is a concern.

On the other hand, if you're considering an Audi Q5 or a Volvo XC60 you might be in a different price bracket.
 
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Donza

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My dad just traded in a noughties Subaru Forester for a 2015 Subaru Forester. He drives to some pretty out of the way places to fish the lakes in Tasmania, using rutted and decaying forestry tracks for the most part. Snow, ice, rocks, tree branches, bottoming out in the ruts regularly, and it's never missed a beat for the last 10-12 years.

If you go to the high country you'll see a lot of Subarus. The driveline has been developed with years of world rally experience, then tweaked for the real world. They're a logical choice if performance for the dollar is a concern.

On the other hand, if you're considering an Audi Q5 or a Volvo XC60 you might be in a different price bracket.
I still Rate a subie over a Audi q5 in the snow.
I've not driven a volvo
 

Donza

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Wifey has a GT Liberty wagon, better than the H6 in terms of performance and fuel economy. Tyres are less than optimal in snow however. Don't get me started on the WRX sti tyres.
Friends have My16 outback diesel.
Big car.
Land yacht.
For city ownership? I'd get a shorter wheelbase.
 
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Donza

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It feels like.
You load up the front axle.
The car understeers.
Then the awd bias favouring the rear just kicks in and drives you forward.

I don't think the Tyres they come with are great either
 
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piolet

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Bit like a 737 MAX? Shit handling as I understand it.

The cx-9? I wouldn't say shit as it's all relative and it's gigantic so I'd say it handles well for what it is... And it sure ain't a sports car.
I just find the AWD less than sophisticated, similar to how Donna described. Not balanced like the old subie
 

cqen2l

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With snow and ice driving, performance comes from the tyres. 4WD or AWD is great but it is tyre dependant. Low profile high performance slicks are shit snow tyres.
5 turbo Subies are a testament to the fact. I've had some Pirelli tyres that get me through in most conditions but chain fitting is a prudent option.
 

Marty McSly

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Correct. Its got a laughably narrow torque band and they haven't got their particulate filter sorted yet (lots of clogging and forced regens $$$...)
Depends where you live and how you drive. My work commute is a 176km highway/freeway round trip, for example. I doubt the DPF would be an issue for me.

MRT can help a lot with the torque band. ;)
 
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cqen2l

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The cx-9? I wouldn't say shit as it's all relative and it's gigantic so I'd say it handles well for what it is... And it sure ain't a sports car.
I just find the AWD less than sophisticated, similar to how Donna described. Not balanced like the old subie
They are certainly big mothers. Was behind one today.
You should test drive a WRX STi, a machine that requires 110% concentration under full acceleration. Not quite a family car though. Wifey lost all her fillings on our recent Tassie venture.
 
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Irrespective of what new AWD vehicle you choose most AWD vehicles are now supplied with high performance summer tyres that are not at all appropriate for snow season driving. These high speed rated summer tyres,
V (240km/h), W (270km/h) and Y (300 km/h) were never designed by the tyre maker to be driven in low ambient temperatures or in snow and icy conditions.
It is also important to remember that the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS, ESC, traction control etc. do not provide more tyre grip. The best thing the driver can do to increase grip, improve braking performance and have safer control in snow and icy conditions, is to install 3PMSF winter/snow tyres.

An alternative is to have a second set of wheels fitted with 3PMSF winter tyres that are identified with the ‘snow-flake on the mountain peak’ Alpine Symbol. These winter wheel sets will generally use a narrower tyre on a smaller diameter wheel in a size that will allow diamond pattern snow chains to be correctly fitted without any clearance issues.

https://snowtyres.com.au/learn/cost-benefits/

Wheel chain regulations for Victoria are currently being reviewed and it is predicted there will be a special classification for AWD vehicles fitted with identified 3PMSF winter tyres in relation to snow chain fitting.
 

N0frilz

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Irrespective of what new AWD vehicle you choose most AWD vehicles are now supplied with high performance summer tyres that are not at all appropriate for snow season driving. These high speed rated summer tyres,
V (240km/h), W (270km/h) and Y (300 km/h) were never designed by the tyre maker to be driven in low ambient temperatures or in snow and icy conditions.
It is also important to remember that the recent advancements in electronic driver aids, such as ABS, ESC, traction control etc. do not provide more tyre grip. The best thing the driver can do to increase grip, improve braking performance and have safer control in snow and icy conditions, is to install 3PMSF winter/snow tyres.

An alternative is to have a second set of wheels fitted with 3PMSF winter tyres that are identified with the ‘snow-flake on the mountain peak’ Alpine Symbol. These winter wheel sets will generally use a narrower tyre on a smaller diameter wheel in a size that will allow diamond pattern snow chains to be correctly fitted without any clearance issues.

https://snowtyres.com.au/learn/cost-benefits/

Wheel chain regulations for Victoria are currently being reviewed and it is predicted there will be a special classification for AWD vehicles fitted with identified 3PMSF winter tyres in relation to snow chain fitting.

Don’t you get sick of posting this crap on here about snow tyres?

Until the rules change there I see zero point in having them as you’re still going to have fit chains at the same point as every one else. You’re argument is going to be the snow tyres will have more grip blah blah blah, drive to the conditions and you’ll get there safely. For a short season like Australia very few people will be able to justify having two sets of rims/tyres, some people struggle to even even want to buy chains which are considered cheaper than snow tyres.

Buy what ever car suits what ever the majority of your driving if it’s not driving to hotham you need to justify to yourself what trade offs your prepared for more comforts when going to hotham only you can make that decision.

I bough a car based on what’s it gets used for less than 5% of its use but I’m happy so that’s all that matters.
 
Ideally, I'd like something like the Volvo XC60 would be lovely, but it doesn't take diamond pattern snow chains on its standard wheel & tyre combo.
So what do you reckon?
Thanks.
If you drive the Volvo XC60 in alpine areas regularly, it makes good financial sense follow the instructions that are in the Volvo owner’s manual and to purchase a winter tyre/wheel package that provides sufficient clearance for fitting snow chains.
Using the winter tyres/wheels for the 4 winter months, you’ll make the vehicle safer,
your vehicle will perform as the manufacturer intended in snow and icy conditions,
and you’ll effectively extend the life of your Volvo OE 255/45 R 20 or 255/40 R 21 summer tyres by 4 months a year.
A set of 4 diamond pattern snow chain compatible 235/60 R18 3PMSF winter tyres,
18” aftermarket wheels, including the initial fitting is around $2900.00
Over a four years the cost of this winter tyre/wheel package is $725.00 per year.
Replacement set (4) of quality 255/45 R 20 summer tyres for the Volvo XC60 is around $1800.00
Replacement set (4) of quality 255/40 R 21 summer tyres for the Volvo XC60 is around $2100.00
Factor this in and Volvo XC60 running cost then is reduced to a digestible $275.00 (or $200.00) per winter
after you deduct the saving of one set of replacement summer tyres @ $1800.00 (or $2100.00) set from the $2900.00 winter tyre package.
 

cookieman

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I have been very happy with my 12 year old Audi A4 Quattro.
Been doing the Hotham run for many years with no problem. Not a lot of clearance to fit chains but get by.
Also driven the Audi A6 Allroad with snow tyres and can report that it handles beautifully on the GAR covered in snow.
 
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Hermannator

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Karicta

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I bought a kodiaq. It’s great, but no sports car!

And can’t fit chains suitable for Hotham regs
 

ShavedBadger

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I love it when people use the terms "sport" or "sporty" to describe an SUV. It's like describing Magda Szubanski as "athletic". Or Andrew Bolt as "intelligent".

PS An F40 would make an epic snow-car. Buy one of those.

ferrari-f40-snow-covered-mountain-000.jpg
 
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