One reason you buy a car like the Chrysler 300 AWD is to handle winter driving conditions. It’s supposed to keep you on the road not in a ditch and in control not sliding around like a glorified hockey puck. Chrysler flew me to Michigan to drive the Chrysler 300 AWD in exactly the conditions we all fear and see if it lived up to its reputation. So, what was it like doing all the things your driver’s ed teacher told you never, ever, to do in the snow?
It was awesome with awesome sauce on the side.
The trip started in Marquette, an hour and a half flight north of Detroit, where I was up early to drive two hours further north to the Keweenaw Research Center (KRC). I had my choice between the Dodge Charger AWD or the Chrysler 300 AWD and picked a nice, shiny 300. Our own Nathan Adlen joined me with a mission to get some good video.
We turned off of the pavement onto a snowy, unplowed road that could just as easily have been a wider than average footpath. Did I mention it was unplowed? I drove into the snow until Nathan thought it was the perfect spot to shoot. As he shot video in the freezing cold, I watched from inside the toasty warm Chrysler 300 AWD and worried we’d be stuck. I planned to blame Nathan if this happened.
He lucked out because even in snow a bit deeper than we’d realized and in a situation where we had to back up an incline to get to the paved road, the Chrysler 300 AWD lived up to its billing. It wasn’t an elegant drive backward but, truth be told, it was pretty fun slip-sliding our way through the snow.
The real fun was at KRC where a variety of courses demonstrated how well the Chrysler 300 AWD system works. It kicks in only when you need it and did so smoothly, guiding the car up steep, ice coated grades.
It performed just as well on an obstacle course of orange cones with turns that would make you cringe on a snowy exit ramp. That driver’s ed instructor I mentioned earlier would have flunked me for taking turns like I did on this track, but through it all the AWD kept me in control.
The last track, a tight circle that you could spin around to your heart’s content, changed from packed snow, to solid ice, to frozen ground and the Chrysler 300 AWD handled it like a champ. I slid around that circle, happily drifting and trying not to squeal in delight except in my head. The AWD didn’t throttle the driving experience by taking away my control as a driver, but enhanced it with better handling.
It was a ridiculously good time and I think even Nathan enjoyed himself once he thawed out. The Chrysler 300 AWD proved it’s got the chops to handle the snow while still letting you have fun behind the wheel. Look for Nathan’s video of the event, coming soon!
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.