2006 Sonata traction control vs 4WD?

Discussion in 'Hyundai Sonata' started by pdp11, Jan 20, 2006.

  1. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    Anyone have experience yet with how the traction control in the 2006
    Sonata actually performs in the snow? We are considering the purchase
    of a new Hyundai vehicle, and are actually looking to replace an older
    4-wheel-drive car (AMC Eagle) that was recently totalled in an
    accident. We're in the Northeast and have a fairly long, uphill
    driveway that the Eagle was able to navigate with ease even after a
    fairly heavy snowstorm.

    The Tuscson looks attractive, but I'm concerned over reports about very
    poor gas mileage -- on the order of 15 to 20 mpg. (This is about the
    same as the ancient AMC with its emissions-strangled, carbureted 4.2
    liter six and 3-speed automatic!) With the rising price of gas this is
    obviously a concern. Hyundai is still using their older series engines
    and transmissions in both the Tuscon and Santa Fe, but the design is
    not *that* old -- I would have expected some improvement in efficiency
    over an AMC drivetrain that dates to the 1960s!
    designs, gets decent mileage (mid to high 20s) even with the V6. I've
    also heard people say that with traction control you "don't need
    4-wheel drive," but how true is this? Would a Sonata with traction
    control be able to scoot up a snow-covered driveway?
    pdp11, Jan 20, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  2. pdp11

    Matt Whiting Guest

    My driveway is 1700' long and the last 600' or so is uphill, but not
    super steep. I can ride my bicycle up it, but I'm completely winded
    when I get to the top and that is in 1st gear on a 27 speed bike. :)
    Then again, I'm 46 years old and no Lance Armstrong.

    My 06 Sonata has handled my driveway fine so far this winter, but we've
    had no snowfall that exceeded about 4". The ESC light has only come on
    a couple of times while climbing the driveway so I can't really say if
    it helps much. The Sonata goes better than my Chevy truck in 2WD and
    better than my Dodge minivan, but I have no delusions that it would
    match my truck in 4WD. And it certainly won't match an Eagle.

    Keep in mind that traction control only helps maximize the traction
    available to the FWD car, it isn't magic and certainly can't match the
    traction that the additional two wheels will provide in an AWD vehicle.
    Also, the Eagle had very good ground clearance for a car, almost as
    much as some pickups. The Sonata has decent ground clearance, but again
    less than most 4WD vehicles and less than even most AWD cars (Subaru,
    etc.). I'm guessing a snowfall of more than about 8" is going to cause
    enough drag on the underbody that you'll have trouble as compared to
    your Eagle.

    I've not driven the Hyundai SUVs, so I can't comment about them, but
    I'll bet you a steak dinner that they will go much better in deep snow
    than will a Sonata with traction control ... unless you put chains on
    the Sonata!

    The real question isn't whether the Sonata is as good as the Eagle or
    SUV, as it certainly won't be as good, but whether it is good enough for
    your driveway for most of the conditions you will see. Nobody can
    answer that but you. I think my Sonata will handle my driveway in
    almost all conditions as my minivans have handled it all but a couple of
    days out of the last five winters that I have lived here. On those
    days, I use my truck to plow the driveway so that the minivans can
    handle it! :) And the one time it got really icy, I spread some wood
    ashes on it and that was enough to make the difference.

    My option of last resort, which I've not yet had to invoke, is to put my
    cross bar chains on my truck and then drive it up and down the driveway
    to break the ice into ice chips. Fortunately, this hasn't been
    necessary, but I bought the chains when I got the snow plow just in case.

    People who say that with traction control you don't need 4WD don't have
    a clue what they are talking about and obviously have no real
    understanding of the capability of 4WD.

    Matt Whiting, Jan 20, 2006
    1. Advertisements

  3. If you want to be safe in the winter there are three things you should do:

    1- Install good quality snow tires on all four wheels. Nokian tires are
    my personal favorite.

    2- Practice driving on slippery surfaces. Relying on technology is not a
    good idea, as it will often let you down when you need it most.

    3- Drive sensibly. No car is foolproof and if you exceed the available
    traction, you'll be in trouble no matter what "gee wiz" technology your
    car is equipped with.

    After 31 winters of driving in New Hampshire, I find no need for
    4WD/AWD, ABS or TCS. Pick the vehicle you want, equip it properly and
    learn to control it under challenging conditions. Good driving skills
    and preparation trump technology every time.
    Brian Nystrom, Jan 20, 2006
  4. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    Yes, I do understand that, I'm just trying to determine whether the
    Sonata with traction control would be 'good enough' for our purposes.
    The Eagle was an extra vehicle, not used for everyday driving, so gas
    mileage was not all that much of a concern with it. However if we
    purchase a new (or late model used) vehicle, we'll be selling or
    trading the wife's 2000 Sonata and the new car will be a daily driver,
    so gas consumption is something we have to be a little mindful of. I
    checked some owner reviews of the Subaru Legacy/Outback (another
    obvious choice for 4WD), and people were complaining about the gas
    mileage and performance, just like I've seen with the Tucson! Obviously
    4-wheel-drive is going to carry a penalty in those departments, but I'm
    surprised that all the modern tech is not delivering much more
    efficiency than our old Eagle did.
    The AMC Eagle was way ahead of its time. We're really going to miss
    ours, even though in recent years it had become a real challenge to
    keep its nightmare emissions system serviced, and the dreaded tinworm
    was really starting to get the best of it.
    The in-laws have a 2004 4WD Santa Fe with the 2.7 V6. They love it, but
    don't drive very much so gas mileage is not a big factor for them.
    I have no doubt! Even the Eagle with its fairly primitive 4WD system
    was like a mountain goat in the snow. (And our '86 had an open center
    differential, power went to the wheel that slipped! They just didn't
    slip much. Other years used a viscous coupling.)

    Of course it would also be possible to buy a new Sonata and look for
    another inexpensive Eagle or an old Jeep to do winter 4WD duty.
    (Eagles are not very common any more, but they are still out there.
    Actually saw one on the road yesterday. No "for sale" sign, though.)

    Decisions, decisions...
    pdp11, Jan 21, 2006
  5. pdp11

    BillyGoat Guest

    Don't forget that with the shiftronic Xmission, you can force it to start in
    2nd gear. That helps a lot to start off in snow/ice.
    BillyGoat, Jan 21, 2006
  6. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    Just like the old Rambler "Flash-O-Matic" transmission with its "D1"
    and "D2" positions. (For 1st gear and 2nd gear starts, respectively.)
    Everything old is new again!

    Don't even get me started on that GMC SUV that has the sliding roof
    panel in the back like the old Studebaker "Wagonaire" station wagons...
    pdp11, Jan 21, 2006
  7. pdp11

    Mike Marlow Guest

    Brian and I disagree on this point and we both have roughly the same number
    of years of driving experience in the Northeast. I use good ASR tires
    (M&S), and Brian likes snows - we both get through the winters just fine...

    .... but that's largely because we both agree completely on the two points
    Mike Marlow, Jan 21, 2006
  8. pdp11

    Eric G. Guest

    wrote in
    I've been driving in the northeasst for 20+ years. There was only one
    time I needed 4 wheel drive, and that was in the blizzard of 1996. We
    had 34" of snow in one day during that storm.

    I've also never purchased snow tires (although a 1987 Honda Civic I had
    came with them). Never needed them.

    Now to comment on the 2006 Sonata, it is by far the best car I have
    driven in the snow. I drove it in a 10" "mini-blizzard" and it was as
    if I was driving on wet pavement. We've had at least four mornings with
    black ice. I think that is where the traction control really comes into

    But as others have said, if you don't know how to drive in the weather,
    and the limits of the car, you can still get yourself into deep water

    If you get a really heavy snow, you are not going to be able to plow up
    your driveway without chains and/or snow tires. It's not going to be as
    easy as the AMC, but I think in most cases you will be just fine.

    Incidentally, and anecdotally, the guy I work with has a 2004 Sante Fe.
    He only has a 2WD model, but his ground clearence is a little better
    than mine. He was unable to make it to work when wew had the 10" snow.
    Last Winter we had a good 18" snow while we were at work. When we left
    for the day, he could not drive his Sante Fe out of the plant we work at
    (about a 1500' driveway, up a slight hill with two turns). I was able
    to get in and drive it right out without any trouble.
    Eric G., Jan 21, 2006
  9. pdp11

    Matt Whiting Guest

    Does that mean I'm not safe since I run all-season tires during all
    seasons? :)

    I agree with what Brian says, only adding that snow tires are one more
    thing I find no need for. I do find a need for 4WD as it is hard to
    plow snow with only 2WD. :)

    Matt Whiting, Jan 21, 2006
  10. pdp11

    Matt Whiting Guest

    That is really hard to say without seeing your driveway or knowing more
    about how much snow you get and how often. I'd say the Sonata ranks
    right up there with other FWD vehicles I own or have owned. I honestly
    haven't used the ESC enough to know if it adds much value. I'm guessing
    it doesn't add much to hill climbing traction. If you've driven in snow
    for as long as it sounds like you have, then you are like me and
    probably are pretty skilled at maintaining the maximum speed possible
    and slowly backing off on the throttle as you climb your driveway to
    minimize wheel-spin. ESC may help a little in this regard, but I really
    had to mash the throttle intentionally to even get the ESC to kick in on
    my new Sonata. It likely has more benefit in skid recovery than in
    straight-line hill climbing capability.

    Matt Whiting, Jan 21, 2006
  11. pdp11

    Matt Whiting Guest

    Actually, many automatics still let you start out in 2 or even 3rd.

    I just noticed your "handle" of pdp11. You do mean THE PDR-11, right?
    That sure brings back old memories. I still remember way too many
    RSX-11 commands...

    Matt Whiting, Jan 21, 2006
  12. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    Yes, in another life I used to work for DEC in New Hampshire, and
    worked primarily with PDP-11 systems, though also some DEC-20 and Vax
    I did so much Macro-11 programming that at one time I could practically
    do it in my sleep. Amazing what we used to accomplish in that 16-bit
    (64K) address space. These days that's not even a good-sized buffer.
    pdp11, Jan 21, 2006
  13. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    That sounds encouraging, we'll have to give the new Sonata a look.
    Another possibility we're considering is a late-model 4WD Santa Fe. I
    don't know why, but from what I've been reading of owner comments the
    Santa Fe seems to be better on gas than the smaller Tucson.

    Usually I prefer to buy cars that are a few years old so the first
    owner takes the depreciation hit. Hyundai is a very attractive
    proposition to the used car buyer since depreciation works in his
    favor, and the 5-year bumper-to-bumper warrantee is great. You can buy
    a 3-year-old car and still have 2 full years of factory warrantee. (The
    10yr/100K mile drivetrain coverage is not transferable.)
    This is always the case. I shudder at all the SUV drivers I see driving
    like maniacs in slippery weather because they think they're invincible.
    I look at 4WD and/or traction control as another tool to give an edge
    in dealing with inclement winter weather, not as some magical silver
    bullet that lets one treat snow and ice as dry pavement.
    pdp11, Jan 21, 2006
  14. They're fine...if you live in Florida. ;-)
    Brian Nystrom, Jan 21, 2006
  15. pdp11

    Matt Whiting Guest

    My company was a significant customer of DEC back in the 80s to early
    90s. In fact, I installed what was at the time the largest DY32 network
    in the world in our new fiber plant in 1985. Moving from the PDPs to
    the VAX was a nightmare. We tried at first to use compatibility mode,
    but as impossible so we had to rewrite all of our host applications to
    move them from the 11/44 to native VAX code.

    Fortunately, the 11/23+ remotes worked pretty well with the VAX as a
    host. :)

    I was the same, but with F77 rather than macro-11. Yes, life before
    graphics took a lot less space.

    Matt Whiting, Jan 21, 2006
  16. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    Thanks everyone for the comments!

    We went to our local Hyundai dealer today and took a look at some used
    Santa Fe SUVs as well as the new Sonata! Needless to say after driving
    it, we really like the Sonata. From the comments here and looking at
    the car's ground clearance I believe it will do just fine for our
    purposes. (And hey, you never know when I'll run across another
    inexpensive Eagle I can pick up for a few bucks, though the wife may
    have something to say about that. :)

    With a variety of rebates and discounts applied, the dealer has quoted
    us a price of $16,831 for a Sonata GLS V6. We are also interested in
    the factory extended bumper-to-bumper warrantee, have not gotten a
    quote on that yet.
    pdp11, Jan 21, 2006
  17. pdp11

    Eric G. Guest

    wrote in @g47g2000cwa.googlegroups.com:
    That is an excellent price!! I paid $17,200 for the exact same vehicle at
    the end of September. If you wait until the end of the month, you might
    even be able to get a few hundred more off. I did not get the extended
    warranty, so I can't help you there.

    Good luck with the purchase.
    Eric G., Jan 21, 2006
  18. pdp11

    B Crawford Guest

    I drive a 2001 XG with good snows all round. This is in very remote &
    mountainous snow country. I can't believe how well this car goes up steep
    snow covered roads. The TCS light often flashes on these mountain byroads
    but I've never even felt vulnerable to getting stuck -as long as I stay away
    from deep wheel ruts (low vehicle clearance). I have to add that the snow
    tires made a huge difference over the all-seasons I used to 'winter' on in
    Southern Ontario.
    BC in BC
    B Crawford, Jan 21, 2006
  19. pdp11

    gerry Guest

    [original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]

    I was in\ Maynard, small 11 development.

    It amazes me how many of today's security flaws couldn't happen on most of
    the later 11's. Those 11's had stacks managed by hardware so no chance of
    a buffer overrun. Add I and D space and you can't execute data anyway!

    gerry - DEC badge 49404
    gerry, Jan 22, 2006
  20. pdp11

    pdp11 Guest

    I worked in Software Services, primary job was doing custom software
    development for DEC's customers, secondary was going out on pre-sales
    calls with the sales droids. (That was always a picnic!) In those days
    it was IBM that was the "evil empire."

    I miss DEC a lot, really a shame what happened to that company; it was
    a great place to work in the 1980s. It started going downhill for a
    variety of reasons in the 1990s, which is when I left to start my own
    business. I was vested in DEC's pension plan, so I suppose in a few
    years I'll be knocking on HP's door for that. (Though I have no idea
    what HP's policy is on the obligations they picked up with their
    acquisition of Compaq, which of course initially acquired DEC. With the
    current crisis in private pension plans in general, who knows what's
    actually there. But I digress...)
    I remember when I started working with separate I & D space machines,
    the freedom of all that extra address space!! I always dreaded getting
    the TKB message that the task was too large, as setting up overlays was
    always a PITA. Today's software in incredibly bloated, I remember
    fighting for every byte that could be conserved. I've toyed with the
    idea of trying to find an old Micro-11 to play around with, it would be

    DEC's systems have not died off completely. I have a friend working in
    a shop that still runs VMS (actually OpenVMS) on Alpha hardware. There
    certainly are still PDP-11s out there, quietly doing their jobs. That
    segment of DECs business was sold to Mentec (www.mentec-inc.com) which
    still provides hardware and software support for the PDP-11 line.
    pdp11, Jan 22, 2006
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.