As many of you are painfully aware, much of the country has spent the last few weeks in the grip of a Polar Vortex—what people used to just call miserable cold and snow. It’s as if the Cold Miser himself has had our little corner of Michigan in his icy clutch. Naturally, this has made for some challenging driving conditions.
Of course, we have outfitted our 2014 Honda Accord coupe with winter rubber, in this case the Michelin X-Ice Xi3, as recommended by our tire and wheel partner, The Tire Rack. When it comes to braking, the Michelins have been up to task. But when it’s time to put the power down, they’re struggling here, as the Honda Accord’s torquey V-6 easily overwhelms the front tires. To be fair, that’s a frequent issue even in nice weather on the original equipment rubber. “I’ve taken to doing second-gear starts almost everywhere,” says associate web editor Jake Holmes. “But the Accord also tends to understeer and wash out quite a bit when you try to accelerate when the wheel isn’t perfectly straight.” Unfortunately, there’s no easy workaround for that.
Associate editor David Zenlea notes that you can’t disable the Honda Accord’s traction control without giving up stability control as well—a less-than-ideal situation for coping with deep snow. “I often like to disable traction control so as not to get bogged down accelerating from a stop, but almost never disable stability control—you never know when a patch of black ice is going to send you spinning through a corner,” he explains. Although, sometimes, that does sound like fun: “That said,” he adds, “the Honda Accord is fun and easy to chuck around with all nannies disabled, a credit to its progressive throttle and honest-to-goodness handbrake.”
Mostly, though, there’s little to incite levity in this crushing cold. “I wish the seat heaters would get warmer and heat up faster,” says Holmes, “but that’s a small problem in the grand scheme of things.”