TTAC Hot Takes: February Is Awfully Cold for a Grid Girl

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

(TTAC Hot Takes are video roundup posts which will occur whenever we can get Michael Accardi into hair and makeup. These posts are a mandate of our VerticalScope overlords, who are fascinated with the new video medium of YouTube. Watch our other videos here.)

There are incentives and grid girls this week, but only one of those things isn’t banned. Michael has more info:

Video Acting

Premium Select Comments

FreedMike and other commenters agreed with Jack that the best Chevrolet Spark is a used one:

I actually looked at this and a Versa for my daughter. Jack’s right on the money here – it’s a thoroughly decent little car, and it’s radically better to drive than the Versa.

If she could pick a mildly used one up for seven or eight grand, she’d have a great little commuter-mobile for her first few years of post-college employment.

After our QOTD about your worst commute, commenter Babe Ruthless had a grisly story from a massive accident in Rio de Janeiro:

This was a few years ago, 2013 if I’m not mistaken. Rio de Janeiro. The “Yellow line” is an urban highway here that restricts large truck traffic during the day. Some yahoo in a dump truck decided to drive in it anyway, except with the truck bed up to avoid a ticket from one of the automatic numberplate readers. In high speed – you know, to make this quick and further avoid detection.

Said truck rammed its bed into an elevated pedestrian walkway, sending three people plunging to their deaths in a concreted river in the middle of the highway and bringing down the pedestrian walkway. There it stood, collapsed across the road in both directions.

Now this is a major tolled highway linking Rio’s densely populated Northern and Western regions. Gridlock lasted the whole day. Thankfully I wasn’t anywhere near near the rougher neighbourhoods this road dissects, but at some point I did see people running (on foot) from trouble up ahead. You see, they abandoned their cars because gangs from said rough neighbourhoods decided to make it day and began to rob commuters, stranded in their cars, at gunpoint. Sitting ducks as it were.

The criminals didn’t come as far as the point where I was ‘parked’. You can only carry so many iPhones, laptops, wallets and purses while on foot. I did consider leaving the car behind though, when I saw elements of Rio’s notoriously trigger-happy military police, also on foot, making their way to wherever all this was going on. It’s a bad, bad idea to be a bystander in those situations and to be honest the bandits tend to be more sparing in their use of firearms.

I stood my ground though, and after several hours – maybe three and a half – city officials managed to divert my section of gridlock to a nearby exit. It was another hour before I reached a parking garage near a metro station, left the car and took a metro, bus and taxi ride home.

In 2014 I moved from a nice two-story house with a swimming pool to a small flat a block and half away from a metro station. And sold my car soon after. Wife still has a car, bless her. Not me.

Planning on purchasing a car to use in Uber service? Gtem can tell you exactly why that’s a bad idea in this thread:

I think the only context in which it makes sense is if you already have a car you’re already driving for your own purposes, and particularly if you’re already driving somewhere and just have a bit of extra time and you turn the app on. To BUY a car for the purpose of lyft driving is just insane IMO, and I actually know someone who did just that (a time bomb CVT-equipped high mileage Altima with just about every body panel resprayed of all things).

Sanjeev asked Sajeev about snow tires, and Arthur Dailey gave his perspective of several decades’ worth of driving in southern Ontario, which is a suburb of Detroit in America:

I am generally from the same demographic and have lived in the same geographic area as Mikey. Never had winter tires until my kids started to drive. So that is 30+ years of driving on ‘no seasons’ in Ontario. Would never go back. Have X-ice on my current daily driver and while they are good on ice and rain, find that they lack grip on ‘slush’.

Started by driving rear engined, air cooled VW’s. The only problems that I ever encountered in them during winter driving was that sometimes enough deep snow built up under the front end of the Type I’s that the front wheels would actually be lifted off the ground.

Then moved on to RWD V-8 domestics. Generally PLC’s. Lots of fun ‘fishtailing’ and ‘pulling donuts’. Sometimes very antsy, as the rear end would start trying to pull ahead, or move sideways. The sideways move was particularly disconcerting, when you tried to pass a car on the highway and the back end slid out a little. Also somewhat of a white knuckle experience when changing lanes or exiting a highway that had large ‘windrows’ (snow piles from plows) across the lanes.

Later moved to a full sized ‘disco’ van. The absolute worst vehicle in the winter that I have experienced. Even worse than the Corvette.

Then the revelation of FWD, with the purchase of our first Civic. Yes if you had the front tires turned at the wrong time, you would have problems. But the engine weight over the drive wheels replicated the VW experience. Watched as many RWD vehicles floundered, slipped and got stuck while our little Civics motored through everything that an Ontario winter could throw at us.

Had some AWD/4WD vehicles as well. A Grand Cherokee, a 2-door Explorer and a Realtime AWD Honda Wagovan. Never found the 2 extra drive wheels to make enough of a difference to warrant the extra cost involved.

For my money, the best vehicle that I have had for winter travel was a Pontiac SV6. Heavy front end and high enough ground clearance.

So from my experience traction and stability control are game changers. Must haves for any vehicle that I would contemplate letting my family drive/ride in. Also ground clearance does make a difference. As does vehicle weight.

Stop by next week for more Premium Selects from our commenters, and whatever else we decide to put on video.

[Image: YouTube]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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3 of 4 comments
  • Deanst Deanst on Feb 03, 2018

    I think if you talk to Tim Hortons, they could be persuaded into proving free coffee in exchange for a product placement. Or perhaps Jack knows of a $150 artisanal hair pomade manufactured in Brooklyn from Chinese components. Great hair this week!

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Feb 04, 2018

    Just curious - where is this office?

  • Mia Hey there!I recently stumbled upon the Crack Eraser DIY Windshield Repair Kit (check it out here: and decided to give it a shot on a small chip in my windshield. I have to say, it worked like a charm! Super easy to use, and it saved me a trip to the professionals. If you're dealing with a similar issue, this kit is definitely worth considering. 😊
  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
  • 1995_SC Can you still get some of the tax credits under the new program?
  • Analoggrotto HyundaiGenesisKia saw this coming a long time ago and are poised for hybrid and plug-in hybrid segment leadership:[list=1][*] The most extensive range of hybrids[/*][*]Highest hybrid sales proportion over any other model [/*][*]Best YouTube reviews [/*][*]Highest number of consumer reports best picks [/*][*]Class leading ATPs among all hybrid vehicles and PHEVs enjoy segment bearing eATPs[/*][/list=1]While some brands like Toyota have invested and wasted untold fortunes into full range electric lineups HyundaiKiaGenesis has taken the right approach here.