4 X 4 versus sedan?

Old Nov 9th, 2005, 09:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 86
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
4 X 4 versus sedan?

Just reading another post about driving in BC during winter and wondering whether we need to revise our plans about a hire car...

In December/January we're driving from Vancouver to Silver Star, then onto Big White and back again - with some stops along the way.We are not experienced in snowy/wintry driving and have decided to hire a SUV - Wrangler or similar. However, reading the other posts it would seem a 4 X 4 is not necessary for winter driving. I had thought with the extra weight and 4 X 4 ability it would be a safer car, but I also know there are some draw backs with these vehicles (propensity to roll etc).
Should we stay with the SUV, or rent a large sedan? Any comments appreciated!
Lizzy101 is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2005, 01:47 AM
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 430
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Big White resort give the following recommendations for the raod access (estimated travel time for dry weather 4,5 hrs):

Tips for the Road
Speed limits are for dry conditions. Keep in mind that it can take about three times as long, or as far, to stop on snow and ice than it does on dry pavement. Keep at least three times normal distance between you and the car in front.

Be extra cautious in danger zones: intersections, lane changes, turns, stops.
In snow, tires barely grab the road, so accelerate, turn and stop gently.
Accelerate and brake on straight-aways where possible, gently in either case.
If ice and bare patches alternate, brake in the bare spots and coast over the ice. Apply that same rationale to bridges, which freeze before roadways, and try to reach “bridge speed” before you get there.
Use your lights on low beam and if you can’t see the edge of the road, use roadside reflectors to guide you.
When descending a hill, your maximum safe speed should be at the crest.
Four-wheel-drive owners: Even though your system is great for moving around in the snow, it doesn’t help you slow down! Word to the wise: slow down!
A word about snowplow drivers. They’re up when you’re asleep, work in conditions you avoid, and in some places, risk avalanches in order to clear your way to the slopes. So be kind, give the plow plenty of room and keep your beams low. Above all, be like a tortoise and practice patience.
For up-to-date highway conditions, please see the BC Highways Ministry road report.

The situation is of cource always weather dependend and I would feel safer without a car. You can fly in to Kelowna from Vancouver and take the shuttle bus from Kelowna to the resort(56 km/35 miles).
tom22 is offline  
Old Nov 10th, 2005, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,073
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I don't know how "inexperienced" you are, but I still advise against driving. The Colquihalla Hwy can be totally snow-covered at that time of the year, and it'll be a long, dangerous drive in any type of vehicle.

We're talking about the Cascade ranges here, where they measure snow in feet and the the Colquihalla has snowsheds that protect the highway. Chains are often required.
rkkwan is offline  
Old Nov 11th, 2005, 03:34 PM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Many, many people drive the Coquihalla Highway in winter. It does require, however, patience and some winter driving skill. However, if you have a 4X4, slow down, and don't let yourself be frazzled by other, less prudent drivers, you should be just fine.

We drove to Big White last February. The road signs accurately forewarn you of possible quick changes in weather. We ran into sunshine, rain, hail, and snow, all within 1 1/2 hours or so. We didn't need the 4X4, however, until we reached our condo's underground parking garage: large snow drifts partially blocked the entranceway.

If you're not feeling up to the drive, you could always fly Vancouver to Kamloops, or Kelowna, and rent a 4X4 there.

Have a great skiing holiday!


BowenLinda is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2005, 07:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,073
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I drove Kamloops-Vancouver roundtrip during Christmas about 6-7 years ago in a car. Regular front wheel drive, good all-seasons tires (but not winter tires).

The entire Colquihalla is snow-covered, but it's powered snow, not ice, so traction is quite decent. I wasn't that experienced in winter driving at that time, but there was absolutely no drama both ways. I was maintaining about 70km/h (limite is 110, I believe).

So, it's clearly driveable, but it seems like Lizzy is from Australia, so may have really limited or no experience driving on snow. And even those who live on the Eastern seaboard of the US may not have seen totally snow-covered highways for almost 200km over mountain passes. In the eastern US, most of time you'll only see slushy freeways; and after snowstorms, roadways will be plowed almost immediately. It's quite different in western Canada.
rkkwan is offline  
Related Topics
Original Poster
Last Post
United States
Oct 1st, 2013 12:26 AM
United States
Dec 20th, 2009 10:10 AM
United States
May 6th, 2006 09:29 AM
United States
Nov 25th, 2003 08:19 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Manage Preferences - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -