It tests your driving skills for sure…
Driving a muscle car in the snow doesn’t sound like a smart idea, but as you’re about to see that really depends. For most drivers, a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with a lot of power isn’t a good thing to use in slick conditions. I’ve seen many a muscle car driver in a winter storm struggling just to get moving, rear tires spinning, etc. But the issue is a little more complex.
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In the first video, we see a guy with a 2019 Dodge Challenger AWD. These cars are popular with people who live in areas where it snows a lot and don’t want to own a second snow vehicle. Unfortunately, you can’t get all-wheel drive for a Hellcat, that would be amazing. Maybe Stellantis should go in that direction instead of just talking about killing V8 engines?
Anyway, this guy is located in Pennsylvania and it looks like there was a pretty decent storm there with the roads covered. Also, he seems to realize just because he has all-wheel drive doesn’t mean he can just slam on the accelerator and brake pedals like conditions are normal. He’s traveling under 30 a good portion of the time, probably because he knows stopping takes longer.
The second video is from a Dodge Challenger owner in Tennessee. While it snows there, the guy doesn’t seem to be nearly as experienced in dealing with it. It’s not just that the car doesn’t have AWD, it’s that the driver got his car stuck on I-65 for 3 hours. He couldn’t even get it to his house. While the side roads have a nice coating that’s probably pretty slick, at least he isn’t dealing with much accumulation.
There are a lot of reasons for why a vehicle might not do well in the snow, and which wheels the engine powers isn’t even close to the top of the list. What tires you put on your car is huge, I’d argue the top item. I’ve seen plenty of 4-wheel-drive trucks and SUVs slide around uselessly because they have all-season tires which probably are worn down and not properly inflated.
Another huge factor is driver skill. Do you know to steer into a slide and not away from it if you want to stop? Do you know fast starts and slamming on the brakes can cause you to lose all control? Snow driving takes practice, especially if you’re driving something more challenging like a muscle car.
People might think I’m crazy, but the most favorite vehicle I’ve ever had for driving in the snow was a little 2-wheel-drive pickup truck. It was a wild child with the white stuff covering the roads, but that truck taught me more about controlled slides appropriate power, even steering wheel inputs, etc. for winter driving than any 4-wheel- or all-wheel-drive vehicle ever could. It wasn’t overly powerful, but it had essentially no weight over the rear axle.
With unusual weather in Texas and elsewhere, some people are understanding why a lot of muscle cars are garaged for the winter in more northern areas. That’s not to say you can’t drive them in snowy conditions, but the other factor is there are other drivers who don’t know how to handle the white stuff. The risk of having some idiot slam into your beloved muscle car because they don’t know how to drive in snow is very real, and that’s why the winter beater exists.