Snow tires vs Pirellis
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    1. #1
      Junior Member amarshall's Avatar
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      Snow tires vs Pirellis

      We haven't had a significant snowfall yet in New England. Wondering what everyone's experiences are with the Pirellis in snow. They almost look like a summer tire.

      Thinking about upgrading to snow tires.

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    3. #2
      Junior Member Volvolic's Avatar
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      My case might be an outlier, but my Pirelli All-Seasons have held up perfectly in Michigan snow for the past 50,000 miles and 16 months. Unless it's very deep slush/snow, I never have had traction issues with the Pirellis, and the Vehicle has always maintained its demeanor even with high-speed Interstate driving in a couple of inches of compacted snow.

      That being said, no doubt, dedicated snow tires will be much better and much safer, in general.
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    4. #3
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by amarshall View Post
      We haven't had a significant snowfall yet in New England. Wondering what everyone's experiences are with the Pirellis in snow. They almost look like a summer tire.

      Thinking about upgrading to snow tires.
      I live in the greater Boston area, but I grew up in Sweden.

      I have yet to use these Pirellis in snowy weather, but juding by how they performed on cold wet roads I'm not impressed.

      In general, my perspective is that it depends very much on where you live and work in New England.

      If you live in or near the city, you probably have roads that are plowed and salted down to bare pavement during most snow. Some snow storms may be more significant, but these days the Governor always closes the roads and asks people to stay home, so most people probably won't drive during those.

      For people who live in the city or suburbs it can thus be argued that snow tires are just a waste of effort and money.

      This is especially true since typically snow tires, while they perform better in snow and on ice, are louder, handle worse and perform worse on dry or wet roads.

      Personally I live in/near the city, and still opt for winter tires, but this is because of my Swedish past. I just can't bring myself not to. Over there you get it beaten into you that you have to switch tires twice a year and it has just become part of what I do.

      For many years I used so called "Alpine" or "Performance" snow tires. They can best be described as "mild" winter tires, without the dry road performance and noise penalties of more rugged snow tires, but also without some of the winter performance benefits. I did this because I noticed that I almost never had to drive in snow. These performance/Alpine style winter tires seem to be getting more and more rare. I used to run Continental ContiWinterContact TS810's or Michelin Alpin PA4's.

      Most people wouldn't need dedicated winter tires though, even in New England. A good set of all seasons (which these Pirelli's are not) should be sufficient. Personally I really like ContinentalsExtreme contact DWS06 tires. I have never had better cold/wet traction than with those. I use these in the summer rather than summer performance tires to give me more overlap in the spring and winter and make changing tires more flexible. (Pure summer performance tires get really had and slick once it starts getting cold, even without snow/ice, so deciding when to switch can be tricky)

      Now, if you live further out where roads are not treated as well/quickly your calculus may be very different.

      This year I almost didn't get snow tires, but I changed my mind. Per my other thread, I wound up with Continental's new Vikingcontact 7's.

      VikingContacts 1-6 were only sold in Scanidavia, Russia, and Canada (I believe) but Continental felt so confident in the seventh iteration that they combined their milder climate winter tires with their Scandinavian style harsh winter tires and now sell them here too. They claim that they are remarkably quiet and controlled on dry roads for a real winter tire and thus far I agree. They are a little louder than the Pirellis, but not around town, only at highway speeds and even then not terribly so compared to Hakkapeliitta's and other harsh winter tires I've driven in the past.

      Winter performance remains to be seen, but I have had very good experiences with Continental in my past. The Vikingcontact 7's were a really good deal on Tire rack too.

      I'm at the point where I almost would not consider any other brand than Continental.
      Last edited by mattlach; 11-14-2019 at 01:13 PM.

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    6. #4
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      Same as volvolic, I live in western Canada and drove the original all seasons on a V90CC including to the Rocky Mountains, no issues for 2 winters.
      Snow here is not wet like east coast.

      I have a feeling that CC tires are different somehow from V90 non CC, not only in size.

      This being said of course winter tires will be better.


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    7. #5
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by brabbit View Post
      Same as volvolic, I live in western Canada and drove the original all seasons on a V90CC including to the Rocky Mountains, no issues for 2 winters.
      Snow here is not wet like east coast.

      I have a feeling that CC tires are different somehow from V90 non CC, not only in size.

      This being said of course winter tires will be better.


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      So, this has not been my experience at all.

      I wonder if you are right, and the tires are different.

      I was very disappointed in the Pirelli's that came with my S90.

      I'm not usually an aggressive driver, but one day I was waiting forever to merge into traffic off of a side road. An opportunity arose, and I popped the car into "Dynamic" mode, cut the wheel and gunned it. I made it in, but to my surprise I wound up with a little bit of oversteer, and had to counter-steer to correct in order to stay on the road.

      Road conditions were damp, with a few, but not many leaves.

      My S80 T6 with my Continental ExtremeContact DWS06's would just have contact driven that without a hint of losing traction.

      Now, I don't have a 100% clear picture of how much of that difference was the car vs. the tires, but I'd expect the much newer S90 to handle things like that better, not worse, so I blame the tires.
      Last edited by mattlach; 11-25-2019 at 09:46 PM.

    8. #6
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      My CC was virtually brand new last winter. Had zero issues driving it in Maine. With only 8K miles on the tires now, don't expect issues this year either (we had a "cute" layer of freezing rain covered by a sleet/snow mix a couple of days ago. No issues going up my fairly steep driveway--or coming to a stop at the bottom. Roads themselves were clear.)

    9. #7
      Junior Member amarshall's Avatar
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      We do a lot of mountain driving so I may bite the bullet and get the snows. I'll try it for one storm see how they do.

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    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by amarshall View Post
      We do a lot of mountain driving so I may bite the bullet and get the snows. I'll try it for one storm see how they do.

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      Your V90 tires are quite a bit different than my V90CC, this could explain the difference in driving opinions on this forum.



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      Last edited by brabbit; 11-17-2019 at 10:16 AM.
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    11. #9
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      I did not have good experiences last winter in Chicago with the OEM 20” Pirellis. The car slid quite a bit more than I was used to. I just had a set of 19” black/machined TSWs and Nokian Hakka 3’s installed last night. They weren’t cheap, but Discount Tire will store the OEMs for $75 per season. I’m sure now it won’t snow much...

      E1BAAA3B-FE1E-4D7E-AEF0-9C2FF79CD0CE.jpg747D8386-19C6-413C-BE8E-F0BD4ADB87DD.jpg5E7B42EF-874A-45BA-8469-6D040B39230B.jpg746D695B-1240-4FD6-AAA5-E1D12E49F4E6.jpg4C44AF7C-6C32-49A7-933B-3AE2AF709B93.jpgE1BAAA3B-FE1E-4D7E-AEF0-9C2FF79CD0CE.jpg747D8386-19C6-413C-BE8E-F0BD4ADB87DD.jpg5E7B42EF-874A-45BA-8469-6D040B39230B.jpg746D695B-1240-4FD6-AAA5-E1D12E49F4E6.jpg4C44AF7C-6C32-49A7-933B-3AE2AF709B93.jpg











      Quote Originally Posted by amarshall View Post
      We haven't had a significant snowfall yet in New England. Wondering what everyone's experiences are with the Pirellis in snow. They almost look like a summer tire.

      Thinking about upgrading to snow tires.

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by urbaita View Post
      I did not have good experiences last winter in Chicago with the OEM 20” Pirellis. The car slid quite a bit more than I was used to. I just had a set of 19” black/machined TSWs and Nokian Hakka 3’s installed last night. They weren’t cheap, but Discount Tire will store the OEMs for $75 per season. I’m sure now it won’t snow much...

      E1BAAA3B-FE1E-4D7E-AEF0-9C2FF79CD0CE.jpg747D8386-19C6-413C-BE8E-F0BD4ADB87DD.jpg5E7B42EF-874A-45BA-8469-6D040B39230B.jpg746D695B-1240-4FD6-AAA5-E1D12E49F4E6.jpg4C44AF7C-6C32-49A7-933B-3AE2AF709B93.jpgE1BAAA3B-FE1E-4D7E-AEF0-9C2FF79CD0CE.jpg747D8386-19C6-413C-BE8E-F0BD4ADB87DD.jpg5E7B42EF-874A-45BA-8469-6D040B39230B.jpg746D695B-1240-4FD6-AAA5-E1D12E49F4E6.jpg4C44AF7C-6C32-49A7-933B-3AE2AF709B93.jpg
      It is not the snow but cold temp. No season tires which people in US call all season are ....not so good. It is like wearing regular shoes on the winter.. sure can walk around but feet get cold, wet, slide on snow and ice. Same shoes in the Summer are too hot, etc. If you drive ONLY in the city, then no season can get you around. Personally, all of our cars have second set of wheels with proper winter shoes since mid 90s. Sure it is extra cost but extra insurance and safty paid for itself maty times.

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    13. #11
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      I went with summer/winter tires this year. Frankly, I wish I had stuck with the All-Seasons. I never have to drive in the snow and ice. I stay off the roads in those situations because other people here can't be trusted.

      If you have to drive in winter weather, I'd get Winter tires for those months and stick to All-Seasons for the rest of the year. The OEM Scorpion Verde All-seasons on my V90CC were not great in snow. Continental DWS tires are much better if you want to stick with All Season all-year round and only drive in light snow. They don't fit to my V90CC's 19" wheels, but do fit to some other wheel sizes Volvo uses.

      Off-topic: The summer tires are great, but not worth having during the late fall/early spring months when it's often a bit warm for winter tires one day but too cold for summer tires that morning and night. I will gladly trade the little bit of extra comfort and grip the summers lend in ideal conditions for better braking and lateral grip as the temperatures change - not to mention the lack of concern about whether my summer treads will crack simply because it was too cold for them.
      Last edited by matt1122; 11-25-2019 at 12:51 PM.
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    14. #12
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      I'm not usually an aggressive driver, but one day I was waiting forever to merge into traffic off of a side road. An opportunity arose, and I popped the car into "Dynamic" mode, curt the wheel and gunned it. I made it in, but to my surprise I wound up with a little bit of oversteer, and had to counter-steer to correct in order to stay on the road.

      Road conditions were damp, with a few, but not many leaves.
      I've had an almost identical experience in the V90 Cross Country. It's the only time the car has missed a step. No leaves in my case.
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      I bought my V90CC in December 2018 and we have a 2016 XC90 as well. Both have the pirelli all seasons and I feel are serviceable in winter weather. I have driven both vehicles in different types of snow (slush, deep snow, etc) and never had any issues. I just got a set of Nokian snow tires for the V90 because I ski and like having a car with the extra assurance of snow tires for the real bad stuff. It’s piece of mind and worth the additional cost. I will keep all seasons on my other wheels as it will make it less of an issue for those early and late storms if I change my wheels over late/early. My previous car was a Subaru and I had a summer/winter setup. They give you the best of both worlds but I had many late nights swapping winter wheels when a heavy storm popped up early.
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      Chipping in that the packed-snow braking performance on the Stock 19" Scorpion Verdes is not good.

      Performance in slush was fine, but fresh fallen snow was not great.

      The V90CC AWD system was very capable, and was confidence-inspiring on the uphill of steep snowy passes.
      Sadly, on the downhill - where capability is set by the tire, not the technology - the stock tires fell way short.
      Still hunting a set of 18's so I can load on the new VikingContact7 for this winter.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Zetec2000 View Post
      Chipping in that the packed-snow braking performance on the Stock 19" Scorpion Verdes is not good.

      Performance in slush was fine, but fresh fallen snow was not great.

      The V90CC AWD system was very capable, and was confidence-inspiring on the uphill of steep snowy passes.
      Sadly, on the downhill - where capability is set by the tire, not the technology - the stock tires fell way short.
      Still hunting a set of 18's so I can load on the new VikingContact7 for this winter.
      Yesterday received some snow which gave us a little taste of no-season tires that came on our V90... unsafe. less than inch on the ground, applied little of brake pressure to perform normal/gentle stop.. ABS fully on and way too long braking distance. At some point road ahead was closed and we were forced to turn around, front was not gripping while making tight turn in the middle of the street. We went home, parked it and jumped in our old A4 with proper winter shoes... no problem with stopping or turning. Good thing that winter set is arriving on Tuesday.

    18. #16
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      We got our first snow yesterday.

      I took this as an opportunity to test the Continental VikingContact 7's.

      First I drove the S90 T6 over a snowy patch of road, and gunned it. The car launched without a hint of wheel spin.

      Then I took the 2000 V70 (same tires, different size) for an extended drive in the white stuff. It behaved very well for a FWD car.

      I think I hvae found a winner in the VikingContact 7's. They were surprisingly affordable on Tirerack too!

    19. #17
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      I just took another drive, not in the S90, but in my 20 year old front-wheel drive V70.

      These Continental ContiVikingContact 7's are amazing.

      I went up and down as many unplowed hilly back roads I could find, and did plenty to try to provoke the car into a slide, and just couldn't.

      Very impressed. These are probably the best winter tires I've ever used. Who needs studs anyway?

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      I'd love to hear your thoughts on the Nokian R3 as it progresses during the winter months. I have the R2 Suv for the past three years, I absolutely love it. The way I'm switching the all season tires then switching to winter I feel like have another 3 years left in the R2.
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    21. #19
      Member volvobuff's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by amarshall View Post
      We haven't had a significant snowfall yet in New England. Wondering what everyone's experiences are with the Pirellis in snow. They almost look like a summer tire.

      Thinking about upgrading to snow tires.
      Nah, I wouldn't bother. Here in Plymouth, we have gotten by very nicely with a variety of All-Season tires on our Volvos for twelve years. Of course, the winter weather might be a bit more severe in Duxbury.
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    22. #20
      Member volvobuff's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      I'm not usually an aggressive driver, but one day I was waiting forever to merge into traffic off of a side road. An opportunity arose, and I popped the car into "Dynamic" mode, cut the wheel and gunned it. I made it in, but to my surprise I wound up with a little bit of oversteer, and had to counter-steer to correct in order to stay on the road.
      Quote Originally Posted by matt1122 View Post
      I've had an almost identical experience in the V90 Cross Country. It's the only time the car has missed a step. No leaves in my case.
      FWIIW, I have occasionally experienced a fair amount of torque-steer in my (former) FWD 2017 S90 and (current) FWD 2018 V90 -- and I am not all that aggressive a driver. Be that as it may, I have been pleasantly surprised to notice that my new 2020 V60 FWD has virtually no torque-steer when driven similarly. The steering and handling are also substantially improved over the larger SPA models and my former 2015.5 V60s. Volvo has hit a home run with the new 60 series SPA models.
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    23. #21
      Junior Member amarshall's Avatar
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      I answered my own question today. On to snow tires. First drive today. Fine on cornering and driving. Like being on ice skates trying to stop.

      Quote Originally Posted by volvobuff View Post
      Nah, I wouldn't bother. Here in Plymouth, we have gotten by very nicely with a variety of All-Season tires on our Volvos for twelve years. Of course, the winter weather might be a bit more severe in Duxbury.
      10 miles makes all the difference in the world.
      Last edited by amarshall; 12-03-2019 at 11:01 AM.
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    24. #22
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by volvobuff View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      I'm not usually an aggressive driver, but one day I was waiting forever to merge into traffic off of a side road. An opportunity arose, and I popped the car into "Dynamic" mode, cut the wheel and gunned it. I made it in, but to my surprise I wound up with a little bit of oversteer, and had to counter-steer to correct in order to stay on the road.
      Quote Originally Posted by matt1122 View Post
      I've had an almost identical experience in the V90 Cross Country. It's the only time the car has missed a step. No leaves in my case.
      FWIIW, I have occasionally experienced a fair amount of torque-steer in my (former) FWD 2017 S90 and (current) FWD 2018 V90 -- and I am not all that aggressive a driver. Be that as it may, I have been pleasantly surprised to notice that my new 2020 V60 FWD has virtually no torque-steer when driven similarly. The steering and handling are also substantially improved over the larger SPA models and my former 2015.5 V60s. Volvo has hit a home run with the new 60 series SPA models.
      We are not talking about torque steer.

      At least I'm not. My T6 is AWD and doesn't even have a hint of torque steer.

      I'm talking about oversteer.

      My guess is that Volvo decided to be a little bit sportier than the S80 and shift more torque to the rear wheels when you step on it.

      Not quite sure why. "Sporty" and "4200 lb sedan" don't really belong in the same sentence.

      Either way, the end result is that the AWD version of the S90 is a little bit tricker to drive in the slippery stuff than it's predecessor, the AWD S80.

      I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. In a light little car I'd love this. In a heavy car like the S90, over steer seems wholly undesirable.

    25. #23
      Junior Member amarshall's Avatar
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      Tirerack has the Continental VikingContact 7s for $200 /piece. Just ordered those.
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    26. #24
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by amarshall View Post
      Tirerack has the Continental VikingContact 7s for $200 /piece. Just ordered those.
      Which size did you get them in? You paid a bit more than I did.

      The rule of thumb with winters is always to go narrower (and if possiblle smaller rim, taller sidewall) than you use in the summer.

      My car shipped with 245/45R18's. I wound up getting the Viking 7's in 225/50R18. They wound up costing me $163.99 a piece. Really a great price for what you get!

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      I’ve never been impressed by any of Pirelli’s tires. Don’t know why they’re a highly regarded brand. Continental’s DWS 06 are the best all-season tires in the snow from all the tests I've seen, and in my personal use, I'd agree to the point that I've never felt the need to get winter tires.

    28. #26
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      We are not talking about torque steer.

      At least I'm not. My T6 is AWD and doesn't even have a hint of torque steer.

      I'm talking about oversteer.

      My guess is that Volvo decided to be a little bit sportier than the S80 and shift more torque to the rear wheels when you step on it.

      Not quite sure why. "Sporty" and "4200 lb sedan" don't really belong in the same sentence.

      Either way, the end result is that the AWD version of the S90 is a little bit tricker to drive in the slippery stuff than it's predecessor, the AWD S80.

      I'm not quite sure how I feel about that. In a light little car I'd love this. In a heavy car like the S90, over steer seems wholly undesirable.

      The difference in front to rear AWD power distribution should be minimal from P3 to SPA, unless you have the Polestar optimization with the 2.0 software upgrade and the drive mode in Polestar. Reasoning for change: market demand for the sport setting to handle sportier = Volvo's desire to remain somewhat competitive in this segment.
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    29. #27
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      I'm having these put on our V90 CC this week:

      https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires...D&autoModClar=

      They sure look up to the task for handling our average winter duty - reviews are also very good.
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    30. #28
      Junior Member Volvolic's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Bmo Pete View Post
      I'm having these put on our V90 CC this week:

      https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tires...D&autoModClar=

      They sure look up to the task for handling our average winter duty - reviews are also very good.
      I have heard good things about Quatrac 5. It's considered to be a really good All-Weather tire! It was my sensible choice when trying to choose between Nokian WRG4s, Quatrac 5s, Toyo Celcius, and Cross-Climates. Quatrac 5s were the only ones with a sub $200 price.

      I was going to go with the same one, but I'm still on my first set of Pirellis, and they have hardly worn down with 50k miles of pure Interstate driving.
      2018 Volvo V90 CC T6 Polestar'd

      What It's Like To Own A Volvo V90 Cross Country?? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYbC8bg-N8c

    31. #29
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by mattlach View Post
      We are not talking about torque steer.
      No, there's no torque steer pull whatsoever. If I had my hands off the wheel the car would go straight, not turn more than 90°.

      I just asked for too much power too early in the corner and the electronics couldn't compensate for whatever reason.

      The rear wheels kicked loose during the turn and lost their grip on the road, so the back fishtailed out rather than following the direction the wheels were pointing.

      My P3 V60 RD did something similar in more situations. The SPA V90 CC can handle the wider turns better when this happens - it's vastly improved.

      But it seems to still have problems if you're making a 90° turn and go WOT and the traction is just wrong.
      2017 V90 Cross Country T6 AWD | Osmium Grey / Charcoal | Convenience Package, Bowers & Wilkins, HUD, Rear Air Suspension, Polestar Optimization
      Past: 1995 Volvo 854 T-5R | 2001 Volvo V70 XC 2.4T AWD | 2007 Volvo XC70 2.5T AWD | 2015 V60 T6 AWD R-Design
      Family History: 1983 Volvo 245 | 1987 Volvo 744 Turbo | 1993 Volvo 854 | 2001 Volvo S80 T6 | 2005 Volvo S60 2.5T AWD | 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD | 2015.5 Volvo S60 Cross Country

    32. #30
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by matt1122 View Post
      No, there's no torque steer pull whatsoever. If I had my hands off the wheel the car would go straight, not turn more than 90°.

      I just asked for too much power too early in the corner and the electronics couldn't compensate for whatever reason.

      The rear wheels kicked loose during the turn and lost their grip on the road, so the back fishtailed out rather than following the direction the wheels were pointing.

      My P3 V60 RD did something similar in more situations. The SPA V90 CC can handle the wider turns better when this happens - it's vastly improved.

      But it seems to still have problems if you're making a 90° turn and go WOT and the traction is just wrong.

      I don't think they got it wrong. I think they did this on purpose. The performance driving auto journalists always request more torque to the rear wheels, and when you give them what they want, this is what you get. A car that is slightly better on the track, but introduces some risks on the road, and most people never take their cars on the track. Especially a 4200lb luxo barge.

      My S80 T6 AWD was the most forgiving in this regard of any car I've ever driven. Just point the wheel where you want to go and mash the accelerator, even to irresponsible levels and it would never give you much of any under or over steer. It would just go where you wanted it to. I liked that.

      Auto journalists are not most drivers. It's folly to give them what they want, as it rarely represents the real market.

    33. #31
      Member matt1122's Avatar
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      What? The traction in the real world is what is wrong, not the power distribution.

      The ESTC system can't compensate is all. It's supposed to manage the yaw of the vehicle and keep it traveling in the intended direction by using the brakes to adjust the vehicle's heading. Because the rear wheel is loose, the front wheel ends up gripping the road and the vehicle rotates even more around it.

      Volvo may well have the best stability control system out there, but it's not ever going to be perfect.
      2017 V90 Cross Country T6 AWD | Osmium Grey / Charcoal | Convenience Package, Bowers & Wilkins, HUD, Rear Air Suspension, Polestar Optimization
      Past: 1995 Volvo 854 T-5R | 2001 Volvo V70 XC 2.4T AWD | 2007 Volvo XC70 2.5T AWD | 2015 V60 T6 AWD R-Design
      Family History: 1983 Volvo 245 | 1987 Volvo 744 Turbo | 1993 Volvo 854 | 2001 Volvo S80 T6 | 2005 Volvo S60 2.5T AWD | 2013 Volvo XC60 T6 AWD | 2015.5 Volvo S60 Cross Country

    34. #32
      Junior Member mattlach's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by matt1122 View Post
      What? The traction in the real world is what is wrong, not the power distribution.

      The ESTC system can't compensate is all. It's supposed to manage the yaw of the vehicle and keep it traveling in the intended direction by using the brakes to adjust the vehicle's heading. Because the rear wheel is loose, the front wheel ends up gripping the road and the vehicle rotates even more around it.

      Volvo may well have the best stability control system out there, but it's not ever going to be perfect.
      No one is demanding perfection.

      It's just that in real use scenarios I find the S90's AWD to be a huge downgrade compared to the S80.

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