On a frozen lake I was able to explore the AWD system’s skill at minimizing wheel slip and skids. My low speed antics attracted
attention from a grumpy fish and game warden who wanted to know where my helmet was. Apparently cars become recreational
vehicles when driven on frozen lakes in my state. Now I know. No citation was issued.
The AWD system has an industry-exclusive front axle disconnect feature (also shared with certain Jeep and Ram 4X4’s)
for reduced parasitic drag in 2WD mode. Combined with the 5.7 Hemi’s ability to toggle between V8 and V4 mode the
370-hp Hemi is rated a respectable 15 / 23 (city / highway) mpg.
While my ’63 Dart winter beater sits immobilized, the AWD Charger stands ready. Notice the un-shoveled driveway.
I quit clearing it once I discovered the Charger’s ability to roll through 10-inch drifts with ease.
When the only other vehicles on my street were Jeeps, the AWD Charger went anywhere I steered it. Wearing all-season
radials – and not winter-spec tires – made the feat even more amazing.
My house sits in a small valley. On each end of my street, the road rises steeply to form a 50-percent grade. In my 2WD cars it
required plenty of momentum to avoid getting stuck. With the AWD Charger, I could actually stop the car on the hill, and restart
any time. Wheel slip sensors directed power to the tires with the best bite to get the car moving.
Inside Charger’s sporty cabin, I marveled at how the HVAC system defrosted the windshield within a minute after initial morning startup.
The snow covered glass sun roof (top of picture) waits patiently for spring. Likewise, Charger’s all-wheel-drive system is equally at
home on dry summer roads as it is here. No driver activation is required. It knows when to pitch in – and when to let the rear
wheels do the work. –Steve Magnante