Does the ford focus handle O.K. on the snow?

Asked by Apr 07, 2012 at 06:30 PM about the 2008 Ford Focus

Question type: General

34 Answers

755

The only real determining thing that allows any car to handle well in the snow is the driver. Apart from that then follows the over all condition of the car, mainly the tires. FWD do handle better then RWD. Thats because with FWD, you have the weight of the engine on the wheels, resulting in better traction and steering control.

13 out of 13 people think this is helpful.
215

It handles a lot better than all of my friends cars!!! Don't try handbrake turning though cos the rear drum brakes don't lock up like they need to

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
235

my 08 SES 5 speed handled great but not with the summer 205/50/16's that came on it.... I put Blizzak's on and it drove like a 4wd!

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
95

a good set of winter tires and you will have a great car for the winter

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
10

Mine is a 250bhp model UK ST. its interesting in the snow lol. Handles better than i thought it would but it spins the front wheels very easily.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
85

I find they understeer badly. I have tried various tyres but it is terrible in the wet. Haven't struck snow yet.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
535

I have no experience with this model, but typically front wheel drive cars handle reasonably well in the snow.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
160

Mine was horrible. We weren't sure why. We live in Wisconsin and have lots of snow. We had the car for 9 years and bought new tires 4 times. We kept bringing it in for alignment or balancing, etc. and they couldn't find anything 'off.' We finally got rid of it before the snow hit this year and wow, am I happy that I'm not doing mini-fishtails down the highway any more. We were told it would eat tires like crazy if you didn't rotate them on a regular basis. We did love the body design though. Tons of cargo space that you can't find in a new American wagon.

16 out of 16 people think this is helpful.
240

I have to drive one for work and I hate it! On wet roads, I have to be careful, as pulling out into traffic is very dangerous. The tires have good tread, (Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring) but the car just sits and spins it's front wheels. No traction on wet roads...and on DRY roads, the car's front end jumps often, trying to grab the road. Forget about snow and ice! Horrible! Many hills or even slight grades, I have to avoid, because there's no getting up! Steering around corners and turning into driveways/side roads, I have to slow to about 5 mph and roll...(no exaggeration!) hoping to keep the car on the road. I have no choice but to drive this car, but I fear for my life when driving it. :(

24 out of 24 people think this is helpful.
60

This is my 5th research site, and this is the first answer I've reviewed that sounds like what I'm experiencing with my Ford Focus (2010) The tires are Blizzak's and have lots of tread (good shape). Winters are rough in Michigan, and I purchased this car towards the end of last winter, so this is going to be my first full winter driving it with three (3) precious pieces of human cargo. Christmas is weeks away, and I'm afraid that for our safety (And to minimize my mini-strokes I have while driving) that I am going to have to invest in winter tires vs. Christmas presents. I intentially leave work about 15 minutes after 5p to try and avoid most of the rush hour traffic. BTW...I do practice all the recommended MDOT/Secretary of State guidelines. Safe driving distances, speed, etc. between me and other motorist. Thanks LooLoo

6 out of 6 people think this is helpful.
140

I have a 2008 and it is the WORST car I have ever owned for driving in the snow, ice, rain etc... Dry summer days it's GREAT as long as the wind isn't blowing you over the yellow line. I LOVE Fords but I don't like this one.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
25

no good for snow not made for it lol

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
2,945

drove a focus many times in the snow,our Canadian winters are rough and the focus was great in snow conditions and storms.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
20

Terrible, in my limited experience. It may be because I am used to my Subaru Outback, which is a GREAT vehicle for wintertime driving. I was t-boned over the weekend and my Outback will be in the shop for a couple weeks. The rental car I got through insurance is a 2013 Ford Focus. The day I brought my car to the shop there was over 4 inches of snow on the grown. I had no issues driving my Outback to the shop, other then the normal slowdowns. The Ford Focus that the rental company brought to me, however, was terrible. Even compared to our Acura TL, which I generally don't like driving in snow due to the low clearance, the Focus was terrible. I grew up with bad snow and have driven by mom's Prius nearly 200 miles through a snowstorm from Wisconson to Minnesota, which was stupid, but I still felt safer in the Prius with much worse weather than the several miles from the autoshop to my home in moderate snow in the Ford Focus. If you live somewhere that gets a lot of snow and are intent on getting a Ford focus, get good tires and make sure you are confident driving in the snow.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
20

My 2003 Ford Focus is terrible in the snow. Running snow tires on the front.I am experiencing fish tails while driving down the highway.my niehbors have 3 ford focus and said they have no problems on the slick Michigan roads.i think my problem is worn rear suspension bushings.but being the American loving patriot i am,i would rather drive 25 mph all winter before i would drive or own a outback,acura or a prius.shame on you

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
30

Absolutely Terrible! I can't even drive on the highway in the [Wisconsin] winter unless there hasn't been any snow for a few days and the wind isn't blowing even slightly. This thing fish tails all over and I am terrified to drive it. (5:30am and after driving this thing I don't need any caffiene - the pure terror definitely wakes me up). Generally, I cannot drive over 45mph on the highway after its been plowed. So I opt for driving with my hazards on - I know I'm a total safety hazard to everyone on the highway, and I try to avoid it at all costs, but there is a 2 mile stretch that I have to take it. Everytime someone passes me, I get nervous that I'm going to fish tail into them. I have no clue what this car's problem is. I have never had any issues with any of the other cars I've owned, so it really isn't driver issue here.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
30

I own a 2009 focus coupe and the car has always driven terribly in both the rain and snow. In fact im the car almost got me killed on the interstate. Wet conditions driving about 50. All of a sudden the car started spinning and went off the highway into the grass. I was driving completely straight didn't change lanes and boom out of control. Luckily I didn't hit anyone and no one hit me. G-d was on my side that day. Car handles the same way in the snow. Tires always spinning when acceleration from a traffic light when the road is wet. Even a gentle acceleration causes a fishtail. Something has to be defective with the chassis or something. Maybe it's the size of the tires. Who knows. When I can afford it I'm going to be getting rid of this car and getting something that won't risk my families safety.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
75

I think some of these kids, and even adults, are just bad drivers. There is one key to driving in bad weather -- slow it down no matter what you drive. Winter roads are not summer roads. I would suspect some of these drivers are bad drivers in the summer also. I have driven Ranger 4x4 trucks for 28 years through Colorado blizzards and have NEVER lost traction, ever. Same deal with the 2 Ford Escorts with FWD I had in the early 80's -- never spun or had a fender-bender driving to work on crazy Denver highways. No matter what "drive" you have, stopping is the same -- 4x4's, FWD's, AWD's -- you must anticipate and be ready -- there is no magic pill for stopping or staying in control when you're going too fast for conditions.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.
50

My 2003 Ford Focus is very bad in the snow. I have replaced tires 3 times, had aligned, and so on, but it is just a plain bad winter car. No traction, fishtails all over, etc. I call mine "The Deathtrap". I was going to hand mine down to my son once he turned 16, but now that he is almost there, I can't do that in good conscience. People who don't own a Ford Focus, and drive it in the snow should not answer this question. I am 43, have never had a ticket or accident, and have driven all kinds of cars in Michigan. It is not just the drivers fault - no way. All front wheel drives are not the same. One of my best cars in the snow was an 1984 Chevy Cavalier - that thing was a beast. Not sure what is so different about a Focus - maybe some weight distribution thing?

140

I used to drive a commercial vehicle over 100k per year ( box truck) and in the wind with no cargo it was better than the focus. And if you have ever driven a box truck on ice in the wind you know how horrible that is. I like chad_1971 have never had a ticket or accident and I live in the Great Lakes region it's the car. The best thing I found for the Focus is to put weight in the back seat on the floor ( 250 lbs) . Chad_1971 you are right it's the lack of weight. I like the 38mpg plus but in the snow it sucks.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.
30

Steve - thank you for the info on where the weight should be! I was trying the trunk and only 100lbs at that. I will try that this winter! Luckily I don't have people to drive around that would need to be in the back seat!

50

As an update to my earlier comment, my Focus is way better now that I have true snow tires. I had previously bought all season ones that were highly rated for snow and ice, but didn't end up working well for me. Winter came early this year, and I finally broke down and spent $570 on steel wheels and true snow tires. The difference is amazing. I always thought it would be maybe 10-15% better, but it seems at least double the traction on ice.

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.
50

My 2007 ford focus the worst car in the snow. I replaced the RSA goodyear tires with Blizzacks and there wasnt much improvement. Cant do more than 30MPH in the snow without it fishtailing oscillating back and fourth. My rear wheel drive truck much better in the snow not to mention how this car eats a set of tires. All in all its a piece of junk.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
50

Actually the oscillation or fishtailing begins at a speed of 20mph! And with snow tires!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
140

Chad_1971 is correct I also had all season tires for the first three years I have owned this car. Last year I put on a new set and it still didn't help. This year I purchased snow tires and I also added 210 lbs of tube sand to the back seat (3 70 lb bags ). Now the car hugs the road 200% better than it did in the past.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
50

Have tried the tube sand 60LB X 5 bags dont help the fishtailing. There is a design problem with the suspension on this car did it since new but will never buy another ford car again. Ford needs to recall the defective cars .

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.
30

I own a 2004 focus I am scared to death in the winter when you go under a overpass or the roads are slippery I have drove many cars good and bad tires the focus is by far the most dangerous winter car I've ever been in I recommend parking at till summer

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
20

My son has a 2010 Focus and it is HORRIBLE in snow... has good set of tires I had put on the car and only slightly better than last year... sill horrible.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Just bought a 2010 Ford Focus and now you all have me scared! I live in Michigan, I was told to put 16" rims on for the winter with blizzac tires? Has anyone messed with trying a smaller rim instead of the 17" with the low profiles? I would think this would help??? Please help :)

Just bought a 2012 and live in Virginia sounds like from you guys I need to not drive in snow smh shoulda got a truck

This is my first winter with my 2007 Focus ST. I have already bought a second set of rims. I intend to shod these old rims with Michelin X-Ice. I have lived in Michigan all my life. I read all the stories here about "terrible car". I'm thinking more like "terrible drivers". I expect to be just fine. Come next summer the original rims will be shod with some nice MIchelin Pilot Cups or similar. I love my Focus! Of course I work for Ford so I could be biased.

Danielle, You'll be just fine. Getting dedicated winter tires will make a huge difference. Best thing to do would be to go to a parking lot after the first snow and play! LEARN how your car responds to braking, turning, and acceleration inputs. PRACTICE your recovery methods (intentionally put the car into a spin and learn to recover). These skills you learn during playing will help you greatly in the real world.

10

I've driven various small FWD vehicles in the lake-effect snow belt of NY -- e.g., 2WD Audis, VWs, Dodge Omnis & Strati , mini-vans, Saabs, and so forth -- and have taken my share of checkered flags in local ice-racing events. Bought a 2007 Focus ZX3 5spd "stripper" new, which I just love, and have driven it each of the winters since with snow tires ranging from "pretty good" to "nice, very nice", and I'm here to tell you that the Focus is the scariest car I have ever driven (not counting a certain 1973 Mercury Comet that was in a category of its own). Normally you can stay out of trouble simply by not trying to drive so fast, but even when operating at moderate speeds in snow with the Focus it is very easy to get in trouble when letting off on the throttle un-judiciously. Of course every time there's trouble it's ultimately the fault of yours truly the driver, but the punishment the Focus is quick to deal out is indeed cruel an unusual. So it's not fun, and it's not easy, but it's certainly exciting. So perhaps driving the Focus has been worthwhile for purely pedagogical purposes. Just stay in it, baby, and deal with it. Who says you can't stand on a beach ball, seals do it all the time.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

I'm not understanding any of this. I own two "focii" a 2013 se and a 2005 st. The 05 is by far the best winter car I've ever owned with or without winter tires. It has ground clearance for deeper snow and handles like a rally car on ice with the blizzaks. The 13 I haven't even put winter tires on as not driven enough in winter to justify. I have owned twenty plus cars of every imaginable brand, style and year including 4x4s. Now, they both have traction control which is a definite plus on ice at higher speeds but not in snow. Neither have ever scared me or my wife and the 05 is the car we go to in the winter every time. Only thing which would be better is awd but cheaper to just keep good ice tires on it. Btw I'm in Alberta.

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