ATVs – Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Can-Am, Suzuki, Yamaha, Argo, Kazuma

June 17th, 2011 admin Posted in Vehicles No Comments »

We wrapped up our ATV information this week, so we are posting it this Friday. We didn’t cover every ATV model and make here at, but we covered some of the most popular. We went into Can-Am, Suzuki, Yamaha, Argo, Kawasaki, Polaris, Arctic Cat, and Kazuma. As it turns out there are some really exciting choices out there for ATV riders, regardless of whether or not the the machine is for riding fences, cutting grass on your acreage, racing, hunting, etc.

As usual, most of online interest is for ATV parts and accessories (by far) because there always are repairs that need to be made, upgrades done, and different applications for these all terrain vehicles.

Some would be surprised to hear that, but it’s a fact that is well established in the Internet world.

When we were researching ATVs we were most interested in the racing machines over the hunting and sportsmen ATVs.

However, we did notice that the quality of design by manufacturers has really jumped in the last years. As far as power-train, engines, braking systems, and chassis go – there have been improvements that are worth mentioning. So we did.

In our menu below you can see the discussion on the latest ATV makes and models now on the market. On a purely personal level I was most impressed by the Can-Am ATVS overall – why? Going by reviews of riders and owners who have mostly complimented Can-Am for their versatility and durability. As far as power, wheel-base traction, and steering – these machines faired up really well. Not to say that the other makes and models were “lesser” in all sets of criteria – just saying that these owners tended to be very consistent and vocal.

I’ll come right out and say it – your humble editor has never even owned or driven an ATV of ANY kind, so I have had to rely on the first hand accounts of riders and owners across the United States. You can read their reviews in our data collection below.

Short List of ATV Manufacturers

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Toyota Prius In Cold Winter Icy Conditions

December 21st, 2009 admin Posted in Vehicles No Comments »

So earlier in another post we reviewed a 2006 Prius we had bought and we didn’t have much to say because we had just got it, but now we have had some time to drive it on a long trip, and a lot around the city. The winter has now come down upon us and we have been driving it in the snow and in some extremely cold weather. We’ve been driving the Prius around in temperatures lower than 26 degrees C (which is -14.8 degrees F), so we have something to say about it’s handling in the ice and snow, as well as it’s interior climate controls in such frigid temperatures.

Driving a Prius in the snow is like any other front wheel drive car – you have to be careful you don’t drive into a snow drift, or any snow that has accumulated in grooves and ruts that have been developed over time during the cold winter months. Because the Prius is a front wheel drive car it handles itself quite well under slippery conditions like black ice. But the Prius has a couple of major advantages in winter driving that I want to talk about here today.

How The Prius Is For Heating (and keeping its heat)

The Prius has been simply amazing when it comes to keeping its heat in the interior where there is -26°C (-14°F) conditions. One thing that we both noticed when we were driving in cold weather was the lack of noisy fans blowing warm air into our faces, drying out our eyes, and making it uncomfortable during the drive. We don’t know why this is with the Prius, except that we really appreciate this comfort aspect. We do know from reading on the Internet, and reading the manual for the Prius, that the hybrid batteries are always putting off heat even when the car is turned off. Since the passengers are always basically sitting on a big battery, they can’t help but be affected by this, and we can tell that this is attributing to our comfort level in cold temperatures.

I was very concerned that the Prius would not be a good car for winter driving or any winter climate period. I noticed that the doors of the Prius were very thin (obviously for weight reasons) and I couldn’t imagine extreme temperatures in the minuses would be a good thing for the car, or for the passengers and the driver.

We are not engineers but we can only speculate, as I have above, why this car is so comfortable in cold weather. When we leave the car when it is -25°C, or even as low as -35°C, when we return after a couple of hours, it’s just not as cold as your traditional vehicle is. We can see in the backseat of the Prius, on the right-hand side, there is a small vent which they warn you in the service manual not to cover up. I don’t know what this vent is for but something is going on here. How can a car with thin doors hold its heat so well? I don’t know, but it does. This has been an extremely pleasant surprise as we live in Canada in the prairies, and we are deep in snow sometimes, and the temperatures fall well below 30°C periodically through the winter months.

Another thing we notice is that the car heats up quickly after we begin driving. Because the vehicle has not been completely cold soaked due to the big onboard batteries, the recovery time is less than any other vehicle we’ve ever owned in Canada. This is another plus that you get with the Prius. Sometimes we do have the fans on full blast, but then we set the climate control panel so that the fans are not blowing in our face, and instead blowing into our feet and into the windshield.

How The Prius Is For Cold Weather Starting

Because the Prius has a four-cylinder engine, and expertly designed by Toyota engineers, it is an easy engine to start in a cold soak condition. But, the Prius starts better than any other four-cylinder car I have ever been in during frigid winter temperatures. We chalk this up to modern engineering and the obvious advancements in engine design. Another factor with cold weather starting is the “thermos effect” that the Prius has. When you turn off a Prius, you will hear a strange sound under the hood for about 10 seconds or so, and that is hot water (radiater fluid) transferring from the engine into the thermos which is designed to keep the batteries warm. There is a heat exchanger affect between the fluid in the thermos and the batteries, and when the engine is asked to start again, all of this hot thermos fluid transfers back into the engine making a cold weather start easier.

Now, it is only fair to say that we really don’t know how the Prius starts in extreme cold weather conditions if it has been cold soaked all night long. Then you are dealing with the most extreme example of cold weather starting. While I suppose it’s not completely true, to correct myself – we did stay in Saskatoon one time when it was -25°C overnight. I have to say again though, when we woke up in the morning and got into the car it was frigid cold for sure, but we touched the brake at the same time we touched the start button and there was not even a hiccup when the Prius came back to life. Within five minutes after starting we drove away and within five minutes after driving we were comfortable again. I have driven big Chevrolet Caprice cars, big GMC trucks, and big Ford sedans that took way longer to heat up in idle and in initial driving. Read the rest of this entry »

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