When winter comes, it can makes driving a herculean task due to the snow and ice. I live on a hill, and it’s presented plenty of challenges as a Civic owner when snow falls. In this guide I will explain why I believe Honda Civics are good in the snow, how they handle, and what you need to be aware of.
But first, the question about Honda Civics in snow…
Are Honda Civics good in the snow? Yes, Honda Civics are good in the snow (in my personal opinion). Whilst Civics won’t perform as well as a 4×4 in snow, for a 2-wheel drive hatchback, the performance levels are very good, and here’s why below.
Can a Honda Civic drive in snow?
Honda Civics can drive in snow reasonably well due to several features and qualities they possess. This includes Traction Control, Vehicle Stability Assist, Road Departure Mitigation System, and Anti-lock Braking System – this all helps the Civic handle well in snow.
Cars such as SUVs, Crossover, or Trucks have better abilities in driving in snow, so how can a small compact car like a Honda Civic drive in snow? Let me explain in more detail.
Honda civic snow performance
Honda Civic may not right at the top of the ratings in terms of driving in the snow because of its small size and low ground clearance. However, it is affordable compared to cars like SUVs, Crossover, and trucks so is a good enough option for winter driving.
Plus, and most importantly, it has a couple of unique features that it to handle in snow and on ice. These features include:
1. Traction control helps a Civic handle better in snow
Loss of traction is one of the things that leads to a loss of handling when driving your Honda Civic in the snow. Thankfully, Honda Civic’s traction control helps to combat this.
It does this by maximizing the use of onboard computers that detect when the wheel is spinning too fast. It then reduces the wheel spin by applying brakes and reducing the outputs of the engine.
Keep in mind that the Civic’s traction control will only kick in if your vehicle’s wheels start to slip. If you’re stuck in snow and have to move back and forth, turn off the traction control.
Also, if you are using snow chains, the traction control should be off.
2. Vehicle stability assist helps a Civic handle better in snow
The Vehicle Stability Assist also helps a Honda Civic drive in snow as it makes use of sensors that monitor driving conditions such as the acceleration of the vehicle, steering angle, and the speed at which the wheels are rotating.
When it senses the instability of the car is beyond control, it reduces the power output of the engine in an attempt to slow down the car long enough for the driver to regain control.
3. Anti-lock braking system helps a Honda Civic drive in snow
The anti-lock braking system of your Honda Civic, also known an ABS, provides you shorter braking distance and better control on wet and slippery surfaces or through panic braking.
The ABS makes use of sensors that constantly monitor the activities of each wheel. If it detects a wheel lock, the ABS regulates the brake pressure which prevents the wheels from locking up and slipping in snow.
4. Electric brake force distribution helps a Civic drive safely in snow
This ensures the application of safe braking when the wheels of the car lock as a result of snow. It does this by properly distributing the force of the brakes.
5. Road departure mitigation system helps snow driving performance
This keeps the car from going off the road because of a slippery surface. It alerts you when you are going off track and applies the brakes where necessary – without having to use the brake hold button.
The combination of all these features means a Honda Civic can be good in the snow and will handle better than you might think. Using these functions lets you drive effectively in the winter months.
In addition, Civic has a heated front and rear seat that keeps both the driver and passengers warm during cold rides. Also, it has a climate control system that can detect cold weather and warm up the cabin.
How the Civic snow performance compares
The advice in this guide is very subjective. Bottom line is, I own a Civic, and I drive it in the snow and have no complaints. However, it’s not the best vehicle for snow handling by any stretch when compared to others on the road.
The KBB.com website compiled a list of alternatives.
- BMW 3 Series xDrive
- Dodge Charger AWD
- Mazda3 AWD
- Nissan Altima AWD
- Toyota Camry AWD
- Volvo V90
Those above are good cars for snow driving, but you will get better handling and performance from an SUV. Here’s the top SUVs for snow conditions.
- Acura RDX SH-AWD
- Chevrolet Tahoe 4WD
- Chrysler Pacifica AWD
- Ford Bronco Sport
- Honda CR-V AWD
- Hyundai Kona AWD
- Hyundai Santa Cruz AWD
- Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe/Laredo
- Mercedes-Benz GLA Class 4Matic
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Outback
- Toyota RAV4 Hybrid
- Kia Telluride AWD
What is the best Honda for snow?
According to the KBB.com guide, the Honda CR-V all-wheel drive from 2022, is the best Honda for driving in snow.
As well as the features already discussed further up the page, it also comes with extra ground clearance, forward collision warnings, front-emergency braking, and even blind spot monitoring.
How to drive safely in the snow
It is always advisable to check the weather forecast before you go out because. Driving in the snow is not advisable. You could get stuck and stranded if it snows heavily. However, there are tips on what to do when driving in the snow to avoid getting stuck
- Do not speed. Instead, drive slowly.
- Slowing accelerate and brake at a steady rate to avoid your car sliding off the road.
- Avoid climbing hills and if you do, do not stop
- on the hill.
- Turn the car to slide when you start to lose control.
- Ensure your tires are properly inflated before driving.
- Turn off the cruise control to avoid losing control if you go off track.
- Make sure the tank is filled before going out to avoid being stranded in the snow.
- Have an emergency shovel in your car in case you get stuck.
What to do if you get stuck in snow
Despite following all the tips for driving in the snow, you may still be stuck in the snow in situations like when it snows heavily. When you find yourself in such situations, here is what you should do.
- Look around your vehicle to see if there is snow on your exhaust pipe or tires.
- Clear any snow you see.
- Ensure the traction control is disengaged.
- Get into the car and try moving it in low gear. Also, make sure you do not touch the accelerator with your foot.
- You can get people to help you rock the car too and fro slowly, till you get enough grip to pull out of the snow.
- If still stuck try laying a matting under the driving wheels of the car using a carpet. You can use the car’s floor mat, or tree branches.
- If that doesn’t work, you can sprinkle salt to help the ice melt, or cat litter to improve the traction.
- You can also use antifreeze to melt the snow.
- Don’t forget to engage the traction control once back on track.
Related questions on Honda Civic snow driving performance
How much snow can a Honda Civic handle?
Honda Civic is only capable of handling up to 2 to 4 inches of snow. This is because it has a ground clearance of 6.7 inches which limits its ability to handle deep snow. Therefore, it’s better to drive Civic in snows that are not more than 4 inches to prevent the car developing faults.
Does a Honda Civic need snow tires to drive in snow?
While the stuck tires of Honda Civic are not bad for driving in snow, you can always change them to snow tires. Snow tires are tires specially designed to navigate through snow.
Their softness doesn’t change despite the weather and their unique tread enables them to effectively move through the snow.
Also, snow tires are useful in minimizing the fuel needed to move the car through the snow (offer better gas mileage). However, you should be cautious about the type of snow tires you use and where you use them. This is because, in some places, there are laws regulating the type of snow tire you use and the season you use them.
Does Honda Civic have a snow mode?
No, Honda Civic lacks a snow mode. A snow mode is a system that helps cars drive effectively in the snow by increasing the speed of the wheels and the rates of gearshifts.
Sadly, Honda Civic does not have a snow mode, however, it has features that produce the same effect such as Vehicle Stability Assist and Traction Control.
How do I make my Honda Civic better in snow?
As mentioned above, Honda Civic has certain features that improve its snow driving abilities. Some of these features include the traction control, stability control, and ABS.
However, the best way to improve your Civic’s snow performance is to invest in a set of snow tires.
How does Honda Civic Si handle in the snow?
Honda Civic Si has features designed to enhance its ability in slippery terrains. These features include the front-wheel drive, anti-lock brakes and traction control.
By implementing, Honda Civic Si handles the snow reasonably well.
Additionally, it has other safety features such as lane keep assist, collision mitigation, and adaptive cruise control, all of which are helpful when driving in snow.
To conclude, a Honda Civic is good in the snow, but not comparable to a 4×4 as one example. If you live in a place where snow is infrequent in winter months, it’s the perfect car.
However, if you like in a climate with constant or frequent snow, the Civic won’t be for you.