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2016 Forester Limited CVT
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Disclaimer: This is a review for Joe/Josephine drive who might also own a minivan and are more interested in getting places safely.

Me: Driving experience: 50 years. Learned to drive in the Rochester/Buffalo in the 70-'s in rear-wheel drive beasts where winter driving was not an option. Boston-area commuter for 40 years, average 10 driving ski trips a year. About 30 years on various mid sized front wheel drive imports, with Blizzaks on them. At one point maintained four family cars with Blizzaks. I'm a pretty average driver, more interested in MPG than 0-60. I can get 34 mpg without much effort and I don't drive like grandma. I drive in any weather, drive at posted speeds and always at speed appropriate for conditions. I now drive solo most of the time and am never pressed for time. I give the other guy a break, don't tailgate and give myself plenty of time to get places. Been in or witness to dozens, if not hundreds of (what could have been) dangerous traffic incidents. I only have my winter tires on December through March. It's common for me to drive in storms. I consider myself highly skilled at winter driving. I don't let any winter tire get below about 4 or 5 cm tread depth. I also drive White Mountain National Forest forest service roads in the summer as a volunteer. I use my car to get me places and on the way explore the lands I travel. I respect my car's limitations, challenge the car but never expect more than it can give. I keep my cars maintained above manufacturer's schedules. I keep my cars for 10 years or 200K miles, whichever comes first. I don't take most opinions too seriously unless the reviewer discloses their own driving history and expectations.

The car: After 30 years on Blizzaks, reading people benchmark performance, I figured I may have more of a tire than I need or will ever need and could save some money. I am on my second set of General Winter Tires and am quite pleased. I purchase a narrower tire for the winter, 215/45 R17 on my 2016 Forester.

The experiences, last week:

200 miles north from Boston on I-93 and I 89 to Sugarbush during an ice storm. Weather: rain transitioning to sleet transitioning to freezing rain/fog. Road conditions: wet changing to slush, changing to partially melted hardpack snow to wet hardpack snow. Temps started at 34F and by the end of the trip they were about 25F with freezing rain continuing the whole 4 hour trip. Two-lane highway usually had two tracks, right down to the pavement, left combination of slush and wet hardpack snow. Transition between lanes was about 3" dense snow. Once out of the morning commuter traffic, I was driving no more than 55mph. Everyone else was running about 40 mph. Thus, I was doing a lot of lane changes across slush and snow tracks. I never felt any sliding, the tires always gripped the road firmly. Consistently held traction changing lanes through slush, partially melted ice grooves. No pulling. Probably made about 50 lane changes over the entire trip. Braking on exit ramps was competent and no sliding.

Second/Third day, from ski lodge to Mad River Glen Route 47? The road is a consistently-pitched mountain-gap crossing. The ski area is near the top, about 4 miles from the start. There are a couple sharp turns which require slowing down. Road was wet, completely hardpack snow with freezing drizzle all day. The Generals just chugged me up the hill along with all the other winter-tire equipped vehicles. There are always vehicles that can't make it up, just slowing to a stop mid-road and then their tires just spin. Pulled around a spinning sedan on a narrow, curved spot on the road no problem. Parking lot had about 6" of unplowed, heavy, well-churned snow, made an easy sharp right to park. On the way back to the lodge, on the downhill, I simply gripped the road. The driveway is all uphill, narrow and steep right from the bottom and most cars have to go further down the road, turn around and get a good running start from down the road to get up it. It was plowed and sanded but had about 2" new-fallen snow on it. I just made a sharp right turn and pretty much from zero mph just chugged up the hill, fully gripping.

Fourth Day: Awoke to 10" of overnight snow and temps in the single digits. Drove 50 miles through the winding, hilly, narrow backroads of northern Vermont to get to another ski area. Roads were mostly plowed and always hardpacked snow. Didn't see pavement for 50 miles. I averaged 45-50 mph on these road. Never a scary moment. I've attached some photos.

Drive home: Interstate. Tires are typically noisy on pavement and my gas mileage usually degrades 4 mpg.

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