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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So around Christmas me, my wife and two friends drove to Lapland with my Giulietta MultiAir for a Christmas holiday. I thought it would be nice to share some of our experience with the G in proper winter conditions.

The total distance we drove was about 2600 km, furthest north being around 200 km north of the Arctic Circle. The coldest temperature I saw was -21 C, but the coldest I actually had to start the car was about -10 C, so not really extreme temperatures in that sense.

  • A-mode really works when you're driving on several centimeters thick ice. The added sensitivity to the traction control helps a lot with keeping the car stable.
  • We have an engine block + indoor electric heater, but sometimes I had to start the car cold. And I'm really quite impressed. Never had even a hint of a starting problem, and the heater clears the indoor surfaces of the windows of ice really fast. It seemed to get more efficient once you start driving, I guess there's more engine waste heat to use for heating?
  • There's a fair amount of space in the Giulietta. We managed to fit four people, luggage for a week's stay and two pairs of skis (we have a ski hatch from the boot to the middle back seat), and stayed quite comfortable.
  • I didn't have to do any real emergency braking to avoid crashing, but a couple of times there were reindeer on the road and I hit the brakes fast just in case some more would show up in front of me. The Giulietta stayed very stable and controllable braking hard on icy/snowy road.
  • The headlights could have more power, but I suppose you can fix that by getting the Xenons that I don't have...
  • The only real problem I had was with the door locks. One of the rear doors wouldn't unlock in cold weather when I unlocked with the key remote. Apparently the locking mechanism was frozen to the locked position. It got unstuck by locking and unlocking a couple of times. Another time that happened we just opened it with the indoor handle, which worked fine. I never had the opposite happen (that is, door not locking in the cold) but if you're locking the doors in a very cold weather, you might want to check to make sure the rear doors are properly locked.
Overall, you can probably find better winter cars out there, but the Giulietta seems to work fine, and I wouldn't recommend anyone not to buy it because of the winter usability.
 

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That all sounds very impressive. Good to hear that the A function and brakes worked well.

(The locks on my GTV's used to freeze at the first hint of a british winter, so yours performing so well in the arctic is very encouraging!)
 

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Zaha, thanks for your report!

I Use the A - mode almost daily now. Getting off from traffic lights feels almost like 4x4. Also cornering abilities on snow or on ice are awesome. When pushed hard there's a slight understeer with no real surprises. When driving in a more civilized manner the only way to notice the car has slipped is the warning light. Also climbing a snow clad upward slope is not a problem for G whereas the bmw's usually stay stuck in the bottom of the hill. So far the G is the best fwd I've driven in winter conditions.

Zaha, what tyres did You use on your trip? I use Nokian H7 studded tyres on 18" alloys as my winter tyres. On my previous car I had studded tyres of the same make but in 16" size. They had this special feeling when cornering in snow. It's a slight hesitation after turning the wheel, but nanoseconds later you've been pulled to the direction you want. Almost like snowboard carving. With Giulietta's A-mode this feeling seems to be lost in the traction electronics but with N or D-mode it is back. This seems to prove that A-mode really works more aggressively.

I'd just wish there would be a faster way to switch from D to A without going through N because the main roads are usually dry and the smaller streets are snowy.

I was positively surprised that Giulietta is so much fun in winter too, but I have to admit I still wait for the spring time and the pirelli's ;)
 

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I have Nokian Hakka 7 studded tires too, on 16" rims (I have 17" Alfa turbines for the summer tyres).
 
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