While it might be fall, here in Metro Detroit the first big snowstorm has fallen. The area received over a foot of snow in a matter of 12 hours. So when it came to driving out and about in the snow, we chose our long-term 2014 Dodge Charger R/T Plus AWD Sport. While we could have grabbed the keys for our long-term 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Sport Crew Cab 4×4, the Charger seems to be our favorite choice for the crazy Michigan snow days.
Even though Dodge doesn’t produce the Charger R/T AWD anymore, the HEMI-powered all-wheel-drive muscle car loves the snow. Ever since we wrote an article about how much we love this setup on the Charger, we have gotten tons of e-mail on a monthly basis asking if Dodge will ever bring it back. We really hope they do.
The Charger AWD Sport package was first introduced in the 2013 model year, with the package being available on four trim-levels (SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, and R/T Plus). Of course, the SXT models featured the award-winning 300 horsepower 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 mated with the ZF-sourced 8-speed automatic which is still the same powertrain in today’s Dodge Charger SXT AWD models. The R/T models featured the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with 370 horsepower, 395 lb-ft of torque and four-cylinder mode Fuel Saver Technology, but paired with the Mercedes-sourced 5-speed automatic.
What made the AWD Sport package so unique was the fact that it not only added Gloss Black accents, 19-inch polished aluminum wheels with Gloss Black pockets, body-color spoiler, 556-watt Beats Audio system, but also was the first application of the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters and “Sport” mode transmission calibration on the Charger AWD. While Charger SXT and R/T AWD Sport models received black cloth sport seats, the SXT Plus and the R/T Plus like our car, got a choice of premium black or red heated Nappa leather seats.
While our Charger R/T Plus AWD Sport came from the factory with P235/55R19 Michelin MXM4 all-season tires, our car now has 65,300 miles on the clock, so the Michelins were replaced a long time ago with wider P255/55R19 Yokohama YK740 GTX all-season tires. Those tires have about 28,000 miles on them currently and while many Charger owners switch to something like a set of Bridgestone Blizzaks, the Charger’s AWD system allows for maximum traction in the snow even with a set of all-season tires with as many miles as we have on ours.
How the Charger AWD system works is the active transfer case features a front-axle-disconnect system that helps with the fuel economy when it disconnects when the all-wheel-drive system is not needed. The Dodge Charger AWD Sport seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive with no driver intervention. The all-wheel-drive system activates when the outside temperature reaches 38°F (or 3.33°C) or lower, when the windshield wipers are activated, or of course when the system sense wheel spin. Our car features a ZAutomotive Tazer programmer, that allows us to switch from the original computer setting where the system decides when all-wheel-drive is needed, forced all-wheel-drive for all maximum traction 100% of the time, or forced rear-wheel-drive to allow is to have 100% drive for allowing us to have the same fun a normal Charger R/T driver would have.
Our Charger R/T Plus AWD Sport has never had an issue in the Michigan snow. The all-wheel-drive system will pretty much go through anything as long as you don’t get the chassis high ended in a big snow mound. The system does take a second to find the rear wheel to send power to on thick ice, but it isn’t enough to stop the car completely, at least from what we have put our car through thus far. Even when active, the system does like pushing power more towards the rear wheels and will let the car step out for a quick second before getting help from Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control to get control of the situation. Even with 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque under the hood, the all-wheel-drive system allows the driver to easily get back control of the car with ease at reasonable speeds.
While we still believe that this particular package has been the best all-around package ever on the Charger, we have debated on making a serious of videos about how the car does in everyday Michigan winter conditions. Usually, we try to focus more on the Mopar vehicles that are currently available for purchase from a Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealer, Alfa Romeo/FIAT studio, or Maserati dealer, so we are asking you (our followers) if it is something you would be interested in watching on our YouTube channel over the long Michigan winter. Let us know in the comments below.