Beetle in snow?

I’m in the market for a new (used) car, and I’ve pretty much got my heart set on a 2002 Beetle GLS that I test drove yesterday. It’s fully loaded, a nice smooth ride, and the CarFax report is perfect. I already put a (refundable) deposit on it so I can take it to my mechanic to be checked out, and I’m feeling more or less sold.

So now would be the perfect time for rain on my proverbial parade, right? As usual, it comes in the form of my mother, who literally does not trust any car that isn’t a Volvo. Since I live in Massachusetts, she’s concerned about how the Beetle handles in snow. I’m pretty much convinced that this is my car, but if I don’t placate her first, I’ll never hear the end of it. Can anyone help?

Snow tires at all 4 corners are the most important items to have when considering handling in snow. Ground clearance is another issue, but if you plan to stay on the roads, almost any car has enough. Ability to drive on snow/ice is another issue, but independent of the car.

Massachusetts doesn’t see enough snow to warrent snow tires. Decent all season tires are fine for this vehicle. They’r pretty good in snow just make sure the all-season tires are good and inflated properly.

Your mother has probably had good luck with her Volvo. A beetle with front wheel drive is actually very good in snow, especially when equipped with 4 good winter tires. All cars have to meet crash standards, and your ability to handle this easy to drive car well will keep you out of trouble.

Please tell your mother that some very experienced advisors with automotive engineering, as well as practical experience believe that Massachusetts climate will not overtax the Beatle’s winter driving ability, and that you will be quite safe driving it in all kinds of weather.

Gonna have to disagree with that, at least in the area I live, where the snow can really pile up and the plow drivers are LAZY. Even in my tank-like (until it just died) Volvo 240 I spun out a few times, even at 15 miles an hour, without snow tires. But thanks for the reply!

That’s what I was hoping, I always get snow tires put on my car in late november and taken off in mid-April. Also, I’m a very cautious driver. But thank you for the reply, I’m going to need all the help I can get in calming her down.

Good to know, thank you! Our family in general has had good luck with Volvos. In fact, when I was 10 and an SUV slammed into the driver’s side backseat of my mom’s station wagon, the fact that we were in a Volvo saved my life. Two years ago a woman doing 60 in a 25 mph zone rear-ended me, and being in a Volvo 240 at the very least saved my spinal column. So I can understand where she’s coming from. But the crash test ratings on the Beetle are the same as the particular Volvo I was looking at, so I’m feeling pretty confident about making the switch.

And how often does that happen??? Twice a year…MAYBE…

Where I live? A lot more often. More than enough to induce severe paranoia in my mother.

I had a 2002 Golf GLS, which is basically the same car as the Beetle as far as the chassis goes, and that thing was a little snowmobile. With a good set of tires and sensible driving you should be fine.

Very reassuring, thank you! I think I’ve got her at least somewhat convinced.

It’s time to stop listening to family. The Volvos were safe cars but the Beetle’s handling in snow? It isn’t any worse than any other front wheel drive car. I don’t know if VW ever made a bad handling car. It’s reliability that is average that is the only question.

I have had a NB since 2002. It handles fine in the snow. (BTW my old 1970 Beetle also did great.) The only weak point is the ground clearance. It is a little low, but not really bad. I find that as long as there has been a few cars in front of me, they have knocked down the snow enough that it does not scrape.

They have a plastic plate under the car and it can get damaged in really deep snow. You can buy a metal (steel or aluminum) replacements if you like. I have been planning to the last two years, but I just have not had a good time to do it.

I did buy WINTER tyres a couple of years ago and they are great. Note: Winter tyres are not the old snow tyres they are new much better technology and are far far better than any all season tyre

Mikey, Mikey, Mikey. You’ve been to the Monadnocks. Roads there get downright trecherous. Long term memory getting a bit shakey?

For the newbies here, Mike is a good man and fellow former Vega owner and we’ve been known to “rib” one another in the past. I’m not being as sarcastic as I sound.

Exactly! How old are you and how old is your mother? Surely you’d be able to win in a fight (and be able to make a clean get away in your shiny Beetle…) :slight_smile:

FWIW, my dad bought a '71 Beetle, just yesterday.

I’m not being as sarcastic as I sound.

Yes you are…just kidding…

I know the Monadnock region very well. And I know there are areas in MA and NH that having snow tires is probably a very good idea. But there are also people who think Nashua NH and Boston MA get a lot of snow…They don’t…Only the mountain regions of NH and MA get any real amounts of snow. Maybe because I grew up in a small town in NY who’s annual snow fall was about 250"…

A front wheel drive car like the New Beetle you are looking at is going to handle snow better than any rear wheel drive car like your old Volvo 240. VW puts a lot of time and effort into crash worthiness, too. Tell mom to back off, unless she’s paying.

I have owned two Beetles and they both handled Michigan winters just fine. I agree with a good snow tire or an all-season. Good luck!

Yes-- I remember on an old show Click and Clack were marvelling at how Volvo was able to sell rear-wheel drive cars that were terrible in the snow to Scandinavians for so many years.

Well, I learned to drive in a RWD Mustang, and it’s not all that bad really with a little practice and patience, but FWD is much easier and more forgiving. I assume all those Scandinavians already knew how to drive a RWD in the snow, so it did not bother them.