Volvo has been preparing for the expected icy winter weather by putting the V40 through its paces in the Tamworth Snowdome.

Behind the wheel of the cars and tackling the slippery indoor ski slopes was Made in Chelsea star Louise Thompson.

The reality TV personality was finding out how much of a difference winter tyre technology makes when it comes to gaining grip in treacherous conditions.

Louise Thompson Made in Chelsea 3


Since they hit the market, motorists have been viewing winter tyres with some scepticism as they wonder if they can really boost handling in the wet and improve braking distance on the ice.

However, more and more motorists and vehicle experts are lauding the benefits of the specially designed rubber. Ms Thompson was ready to find out just how good they really are!

Standard tyres

She drove two identical Volvo V40 hatchbacks up the slope, with one fitted with standard tyres and the other on special winter compounds.

Furthermore, in an additional test, Ms Thompson added snow socks – a temporary alternative to winter tyres – to each vehicle to see if these improved performance.

So, how did she fare?

On the standard tyres, the celebrity struggled to go even five metres, as the rubbers struggled to gain any traction on the route uphill.

Snow socks

When switching to the winter tyre, the difference was remarkable. Handling was noticeably easier, as she cruised effortlessly to the 100 metre marks, while turning and cornering with ease.

“I’m amazed that it makes such a difference,” the 24-year-old enthused. “One of the cars has amazing grip and can get all the way to the top, while the other can barely move, so if you’re going to be driving in the snow, I definitely think it’s important to have winter tyres.”

In the second test, fabric snow socks were added to the standard tyres and the car once again tried to climb the slope.

Snow socks on standard tyres

This simple addition to the car helped the Volvo to climb to similar heights as the winter tyres, proving how useful the short-term solution can be if you are ever caught in a snowstorm or are forced to tackle an unexpected frost.

According to the Department of Transport, the addition of winter tyres or snow socks to a vehicle will help to stop up the UK seeing a repeat of the 5,000 accidents caused by driving in poor weather conditions that were experienced in 2012.

Snow socks on standard tyres 2

Nick Connor, managing director of Volvo Car UK, said: “We wanted to demonstrate, in the most severe conditions possible, the effectiveness of having winter tyres or snow socks fitted to your car. There’s definitely a degree of scepticism out there about how useful they can be, but this test dispels the myths once and for all.

“Winter tyres and snow socks are available nationwide from our dealerships and we hope this has given motorists reason to believe they’re a worthwhile investment.”

Louise Thompson Made in Chelsea

The special compounds in winter tyres work at the best when temperatures drop below seven degrees and can help improve stopping distances by eight metres when driving at 30mph in the snow.

Although its not mandatory for cars to be fitted with winter tyres in the UK, unlike in Austria, Switzerland and Germany, drivers are still urged to look into an investment in winter tyres, as they could help you get from A to B more safely this Christmas season.


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