The STI is a beast in the snow, able to get through anything and willing to play whenever asked. It’s misleading seeing other cars spinning their wheels and not moving at intersections and being able to pull away like normal. I’ve got “performance” winter tires on it, so not all-out snow tires, but they’re perfect for around here and the amount of snow we get.
The chassis tuning and excellent steering feel make for predictable slides and precise recovery. The turbo lag of the EJ25 becomes very apparent in 2nd gear pulls on ice and snow. Could be surprising if you aren’t ready for it, but it’s just another check in the Fun column for me.
The Neon feels completely different from the STI in the snow, but it has plenty of its own tricks. The Neon ACR has a great suspension and weighs almost nothing. Those things make for great snow driving just as much as they help on the dry asphalt. The Neon is wearing whatever the cheapest snow tires from Tire Rack were. They suck on dry asphalt, but they’re fantastic in the snow. The Neon is FWD with an open differential, but I made it through everything I attempted.
But this isn’t a tire comparison, so let’s stick to the Neon. Being a “car of maximum affordability” is an asset in a winter car. You can hear and feel everything. Being FWD, you have to plan ahead a little more than with the STI, but the lighter weight of the Neon means that slower speed slidey maneuvers are much more effective. The STI rarely feels heavy to me, except when driven back to back with the Neon.
Winner? STI, but not by as large a margin as I expected. More snow to come, and it’s the STI that I’m itching to take out again. It’s also the STI that I trust to safely transport my family in conditions like these.
...yes, I know that “STI is better than Neon in the snow” is not exactly a revelation.