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?
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
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 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.
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.)
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.
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 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
Does that mean I'm not safe since I run all-season tires during all
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. :-)
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...
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
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.
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
I was the same, but with F77 rather than macro-11. Yes, life before
graphics took a lot less space.
[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
On 20 Jan 2006 20:32:06 -0800, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
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
Personal home page - http://gogood.com
gerry misspelled in my email address to confuse robots
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.
[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
On 22 Jan 2006 08:40:51 -0800, email@example.com wrote:
Well Compaq sure worked over DEC employees, you might be interested in
It sort of bugs me I tossed out 3 11/23s and 1 one 11/83 with enough stuff
to put together 2 systems in working order.
re memory - I recall the 11/04 bootstrap that had to work with RX01 and
RX02s with 32 words! (64 bytes). It took 8 authors!
I don't recall the company but a German outfit had the right to build
11/83 class systems and used it at least until 1999 so you can be sure
they still are in use. Unfortunately I lost my contact during the Compaq
An interesting recent Alpha article
Personal home page - http://gogood.com
gerry misspelled in my email address to confuse robots
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.
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.
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.
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