This year we had our first snowfall in late-September and although the temperature quickly climbed back to something respectable, a few days on slippery surfaces with the standard Nexen N’Priz RH7as were enough to remind us that winter tires were going to be an essential upgrade to the Pacifica for us to make it safely through the winter. That’s no slight on the Nexens, just a reflection of the fact that all-season tires aren’t at their best below 7°C (45°F).
According to figures from the latest study by TRAC, the tire industry association in Canada, 59% of Alberta drivers now fit winter tires. That’s up from 45% in 2014 but still lower than I think it should be, given the climate here. There’s no doubt that SUV and truck owners make up a big proportion of the drivers who don’t switch. I appreciate that there is a financial commitment involved but it's also important to remember that 4WD/AWD won’t help you stop in cold weather, regardless of the surface.
I had some Continental VikingContact 7s on order for Baymax but before they arrived, the first job to get the PacHy ready for winter was to fit a set of WeatherTech mats. These are bespoke measured to each vehicle and as a result, fit beautifully. There are individual mats for each of the front seats, plus a larger one that wraps around the two captain’s chairs to catch the melting snow from the kids’ boots. WeatherTech also makes a liner for the cargo space behind the third-row bench, but we keep that folded flat most of the time.
The work to mount, balance and fit the VikingContact 7s only took an hour and came with the bonus of the usual friendly service from Kyle and his crew at Northmount.
That’s it for this update. The next will focus on how Baymax copes with colder conditions. We’re expecting more use of the V6 and less electric-only running: the question is, how much more? Until next time…