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Discussion Starter #1
We're thinking of replacing our 2001 Sebring this year. We'd love to get a Charger V-6 with the 8-speed tansmission. The wife doesn't want to give up the FWD for winter driving here in MI. Dodge offers the AWD version, but the numbers show a mileage drop over the RWD version from 31 to 27 hiway.

So does anyone here have any real-life mileage figures for the 2013 Charger V-6/8-speed in either RWD or AWD?

Also wondering if anyone has any winter driving experience with the RWD version. All our vehicles over the past 25 yrs. have been either FWD or 4WD, so we're not familiar with how electronic stability control improves RWD in snow.
 

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KOG
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RWD is not really nice on ice. Or snow. We don't have much of that problem here and a friend of mine who just got an SRT Charger got it with three season (no winter) tires for the better grip they have otherwise. If I lived in Michigan (which you can't pay me to do. We have friends in Kalamazoo, but only visit in the summer) I would not even consider RWD. And AWD is excessive for most purposes.

One of my employee couples (both in different businesses) have a 3.5 Charger, a 318 Durango and a 4.7 Ram 1500. They just don't appreciate FWD.

Get a minivan and be happy.
 

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The traction electronics (ESP/ESC) help RWD by limiting wheel slip (like a posi, but by applying the opposite brake and controlling the throttle opening), but it can also work against you (like trying to climb a slippery surface).
We had a gentleman trade his 300M for a 300C in 2007 on a snowy winter day and he was back with the car that same afternoon. It seems that he could not pull up his driveway where the M had no problem doing it before. When the rear wheels spun, the (electronic) engine throttle was cut back in order to reduce wheel slip.
We found that by pushing the 'ESP off' button in to limit the electronic intervention, he was able to get enough throttle to then climb his slippery, uphill driveway.
Another customer went to Buick when he was ready to trade in his LHS and Chrysler had no large FWD offering in 2005.
RWD will handle traction differently than FWD and you may not like it. I would suggest taking a road test in snow this winter to get a feel for it. It is fairly competent and better than it used to be, but if you are used to FWD, you may not like it.
I have been driving Chrysler FWD small cars since 1978 and while RWD has its advantages, I would take the FWD 'snow dog' so as not to get stuck. That Horizon was like a snowmobile.
This is why you see sandbags in the bed of front-heavy 2WD pickups in winter. Good tires are another must.
Would you shop for a 200/Avenger or its replacement? It is good that you have given yourself time to consider your next car and not having to make an immediate decision. Test drive some different cars this winter to get a feel for what choices you and the wife are comfortable with.
 

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While I no longer live in the snow belt, i drove FWD cars in the winter snows for years. FWD is the next best thing to AWD for traction. How about the Avenger?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Actually we've had Cirrus/Sebring vehicles since '97. We're looking to move up to a slightly larger, more comfortable car. I'd like a Challenger, but the wife insists on 4 doors, even though we rarely have anyone in the back seat. I'm not fond of either the Avenger or the 200 or 300.

We were supposed to replace the Sebring last fall because it needs new tires, at least two new wheels, a new exhaust, a fender repainted, new rotors, and it has 155,000 miles. We ended up struggling through the winter and nursing it along this summer. I'd like to get a replacement while the weather is still nice enough to enjoy it before winter.

The Charger V-6 with the 8-speed auto has better mileage ratings than the Avenger V-6. The disadvantage is the RWD. AWD would solve that issue, but then the mileage drops and it costs more. I wonder how real-like mileage stacks up against the EPA ratings.

RWD isn't new to me. I've had several but that was all prior to ESC which I've never experienced. I know I couldn't get by with just normal RWD.
 

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You may find that a Journey, T&C or Grand Caravan are the only FWD Chrysler vehicles that are larger than the Avenger/200 and fit your desire for FWD traction and stability.
Equipped with the PentaStar, these vehicles are quick, quiet and comfortable and you and the wife might want to consider a test drive to see what you think of them.
These are great all-around, all-weather, everyday vehicles. They just seem to do everything well.
The upcoming Cherokee might also be considered as well. The traction technology, V6/9-speed, road manners, ride, interior appointments, fuel economy and size look to make this a highly desirable and class-leading vehicle. The 9-speed Cherokee will be available as a FWD and that may be all you need to get through most anything.
http://www.jeep.com/en/2014/cherokee/#model=limited&color=deep_cherry_red
 

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I vote to check out a Journey, great car! We loved ours till we needed more space.
 

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More space? minivan.
 

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If I lived in Michigan or any of the "snow" states I would definitely want FWD at a minimum and would prefer 4WD.

I haven't owned a RWD vehicle equipped with ESC (yet), but I have heard of situations IC spoke of where the traction control kicks in and the ESC cuts power to the engine just when you need it the most.

As it is we have a 2010 Journey SXT FWD and a '06 Ram 4x2 (Hemi). We don't get much snow here in east central VA so IMHO 4WD is not worth the extra expense. Nice to have, but not necessarily needed. If it snows that much we can get around with my wife's Journey. A buddy of mine has a '98 F150 4x4 and he's used the 4WD about a half a dozen times in the time he's had it.

Overall, the best "snow" vehicle I ever had was a 1986 LeBaron GTS (FWD). That car was like a tank in snowy/icey conditions. I liked the feed back through the steering wheel that it had.

The only RWD vehicle I had that did well in the snow was a '79 Monza 4 speed manual. As long as the snow wasn't too deep, it too, was a tank in the snow. I never got stuck with it when I lived in Denver. I could motor in the snow forever in 3rd gear at 35 mph and not lose traction.

My Ram does okay in the snow as long as there is 300-400 lbs of weight in the bed. It has the antispin differential, but by the time it kicks in I'm already going sideways.

Regardless of FWD or RWD, good M+S rated or snow tires do make the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, I certainly appreciate all the comments and advice given. However, I need to clarify some points.

A minivan is out of the question. Period.

An SUV, CUV, or Jeep is also highly unlikely. We already have a GC and she hates driving it.

She wants a car or at least something that looks and feels like a car... sedan, coupe, hardtop... with 4 doors and a proper trunk.

We don't need more cargo space or room for more passengers, just a bit more interior room and seats that are not quite as low as our Sebring, meaning easier to get in and out of.

SInce we have snow here 4-5 months of the year, traction in snow is the next requirement. FWD or 4WD have worked well for us. The GC in 2WD leaves a lot to be desired, but it doesn't have ESC.

The obvious replacement would be the Avenger/200, but then we're back in basically the same vehicle we have now... and have had for too long.

The next step up is the Charger/300, which get even better mileage than the Avenger/200. She likes the 300, I like the Charger. Both are available with AWD which would seem to be the ideal solution, although at an added initial cost and lower mileage than the RWD versions.

SInce RWD now features ESC, which neither of us has ever expeienced, my thought was that it might be close enough to FWD to work in winter. There are a lot of Charger/300s driving around up here and most don't appear to be AWD. We don't have any steep driveways or hills to climb. Just need to be able to keep control on normal roads with snow for extended periods. All-season tires in good condition is a given fact here.

So what I'm seeking is real-life experiences with RWD with ESC versus FWD from someone in an area where snow is the norm in winter.

I'd also like to know how the EPA mileage figures compare with real-life mileage in the configurations mentioned.
 

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KOG
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A minivan is out of the question. Period.

Well, there you go. You don't want advice about something that actually works, you want style. So buy the style and take what traction you get.
 

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The new Cherokee will be very car-like in normal driving and is much smaller and more nimble in day-to day driving than the Grand Cherokee.
Not wanting to consider a minivan is fine, they aren't everyone's cup of tea. Especially if you don't really need one. I can understand that you want something more like a sedan.
Back to a Charger with Pentastar and RWD, possibly late this November and definitely this December we will have a snowy day. I can feel it starting in my bones.
Test drive a Charger (pretty much everything has ESC now) and see if the traction requirements are to your liking. Most get around fine in blizzard conditions and handle quite competently in most any slippery conditions. The ESC has also saved countless 'black ice' near tragedies by invisibly correcting the vehicle's path, many times unknown to the occupants. You may hear a quiet 'brrrt' from an ABS solenoid and the ABS/ESC light might blink once, but other than that many people don't realize that anything out of the ordinary has just happened. It is a modern marvel that uses the individual wheel brakes and throttle to counter an over-steer or under-steer slide, it does so instantly and without panic or over-correction. It saves lives and fenders.
Can I stop thinking about snow now? :lol:
 

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I've only ever had RWD cars & 4x4 pickups, and live in North Dakota. I'd think the RWD LX's should be fine on ice/packed snow, or in fresh snow that's not too deep yet. I'm always impressed with how well my Challenger gets around when I use it in winter. It does better than my pickup does in 2wd thanks to the traction control, ESC and also the sure grip differential. I do notice my ESC engaging since my normal winter driving style involves a level of intentional controlled oversteer that it doesn't want to let me do :)

Another thought: Is a 2nd set of wheels, with winter tires an option for you? Or even just swapping winter tires onto the car for those months when they would help?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Ahhh, thanks. Sounds like I've explained my questions better now.

FWIW FWD is just a reference point for winter traction, not a requirement. I've been doing a lot of research and see that most FWD systems also have ESC nowadays so I'd expect that they would be better than what I'm using as a point of reference. However, let's stay on topic of RWD with ESC.

Most of our driving is on two lane paved roads between towns, then a short period of in-town driving, then back home. If there was a big snowfall or a blizzard in the forcast, we either take the Jeep or stay home until conditions improve. However, frequently the weatherman is wrong and we find ourselves 50 to 75 miles from home when the weather turns bad. We always get home but it's a white-knuckle experience, especially at night.

I wish waiting for snow for a test drive was an option, but we need to make the decision before then. Thus, the reason I'm looking for actual experiences.

ptschett; How does your mileage compare with the EPA estimates for the Challenger? Just trying to get some idea of whether they're realistic.
A second set of wheels is a possiblity that I've considered before, mostly to preserve the OEM wheels from salt corrosion, which is one of the reasons the Sebring needs two new wheels.
 

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I find the EPA window-sticker numbers to be reasonable for my car. With a window sticker of 15 city/18 combined/24 highway my worst tank is at 13.5, average is 19.8 and best tank is 25.5 for the last 2 years (I've kept records in the "Car Minder" iPhone app.)
 

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I dont see any problem with rwd since you have already come to some conclusions.
- good tires
- no offroading or steep roads to some mountain cabin
- trying to stay at home at the worst periods ( if more people could do this....)
A modern rwd car with esc basically behaves like a fwd with the exeption
for traction wich comes from the nose heavy fwd set up, so yes they have lower traction and there isnt much you can do about it.
But on the other hand you seems like a wise man and try to avoid extremes and using plowed roads so i dont
see much of a problem here.
I think you´d be fine with a charger.
 

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Waiting for the new 200 might be the best option.

Charger and 300 are both fine. You would want to have a second set of wheels with snow tires, in my opinion. Our 300C is nowhere near as good as the 300M in snow.

The V6 provides lots of power. The Hemi is a totally different story of course but if you're talking cost and gas mileage of AWD, you're talking V6 ;) The eight speed is great. If you can get the paddle shifters or sport mode transmission setup, that will be a good addition.

We take the minivan when it snows until the streets are plowed. The 300C can deal with the snow, sortakinda, if we have to, but it's not a "snow car."

Worst car I've ever driven in snow was an AWD Audi. Second worst, 1976 Camaro with nearly bald tires. Third worst, 1977 Fury with brand new bottom of the line Coopers. From that experience I learned to buy the best tires I could afford, not the cheapest I could find.
 

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You can always add some weight in the back to help the situation. Believe me when I say that it helps. The further back the better. A couple of large sand bags in the rear of the trunk really transfers the weight around.
 

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KOG
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Tires have been mentioned. Tires are the single most important component on a car. Period. Whatever you wind up buying, get the best tires you can.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tires don't seem to be an option, other than a size to fit the wheels selected. Are you suggesting replacing the tires on a brand new car?

Looking at some other vehicle's features, I see ESC and ATC listed separately. Are they two different systems or one?

I'm getting the impression AWD might be the only option for snow.
 
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