Volkswagen tests two new models on snowy Canadian terrain

Every spring, Volkswagen sets up a testing camp near Saint-Alexis-des-Monts, two hours north of Montreal, to test the all-wheel-drive features of its vehicles, and this year it tested new models.

This time around, Volkswagen tested the 4Motion systems on the Golf Alltrack and a forthcoming vehicle, the Atlas. The company hired winter driving experts Carl Nadeau and Simon Dion-Viens to drive a snow-covered course, according to a press release.

“A lot of people don’t adjust their driving to the conditions,” Dion-Viens said. “Even if you have a four-wheel drive, you’ll accelerate more on certain surfaces, so you can’t just go out and drive as you normally would.”

“One of the worst things is that people tend to tense up and grip the steering wheel too tight,” Nadeau said. “That makes everything worse -- the stiffer you are, the less you feel what’s happening with the car, so your reactions are more abrupt and then you’re throwing the car in slides and reacting abruptly to that.”

The 4Motion system in both vehicles routes 90 percent of engine power to the front wheels for maximum efficiency. When 4Motio senses slippery conditions, it engages a device to send up to half of the power to the rear wheels for better traction. It can also use stability control to correct an issue when it senses one wheel slipping.

The 4Motion system has special modes -- Off-Road Mode2 and Hill Descent Control -- that help to help navigate a variety of terrains. Both vehicles passed the terrain tests.

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