By on March 31, 2011

TTAC Commentator Topgun writes:

I’ve been a long time reader of TTAC and am a big fan of the New or Used and Piston Slap columns. I am in the market for a new or lightly used (CPO) car and have a preference for rear wheel drive. I have a budget in the 20-25k range for this purpose. This car will be my only car; hence it should be able to handle daily driver duties (25-30 mpg would do) without being a complete snooze to drive (that’s where the rear wheel drive part comes in). A 4 door isn’t strictly necessary since I am single with no kids.

The 2011 Mustang V6 and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe seem to fit the bill nicely. I’ve test driven both and found them a hoot to drive. The fuel efficiencies, ride, and interiors are also up to the mark. However, I can only get the 2.0T version of the Genesis Coupe for the same money as the V6 Mustang. So, the Mustang seems to offer more value for the money, live rear axle notwithstanding.

The real confusion starts when I think about my future location. You see, I’ll be moving to Michigan this summer to start my new position and expect to stay at said company/location for at least another 3 years. Is RWD in Michigan winters really a bad idea? If not, what sort of precautions should I take? Should I invest in a set of winter tires or would regular all-season rubbers do? In case you feel RWD (especially a live axle) in snow is a one way ticket to the nearest ditch/fender, my backup FWD and AWD choices are the 2010 GTI and 2010 Subaru Impreza respectively. I like the GTI in this match up but the Mustang still beats both of them in the bang for the buck category.

If there are other car choices for my specific situation that I may have missed, please do let me know. I did test drive the Mazda 3 and although it is a good car, I didn’t really feel any affinity to it. I feel older BMW/Audi/Merc cars are money pits. But if you think one of them is still reliable, do point it out to me. I also decidedly do not share the love of Panthers that you and many of the B&B have. No V8′s either for fuel economy reasons. I was going for new/CPO for warranty purposes since my wrench skills are average only (Oil changes, basic diagnostics and maintenance etc). Inputs from Steve Lang on easy to maintain older rear drive and fun to drive FWD cars are however welcome.

I need to make a decision soon (in a couple of week’s time), so kindly expedite the matter. Thanks in advance for any and all assistance in this regard.

Steve answers:

You seem to have your eye on two very nice models. The Ford Mustang in V6 form is an absolute blast to drive and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe is a bit more of a touring coupe. But may be the better choice if you’re considering Michigans pockmarked roads.
I won’t talk you out of either car or recommend another. They are both good fits. As a former resident in the upstate NY area, what I can recommend is that you get top quality snow tires. If you have a good set coupled with traction control, ABS, stability control, tire pressure monitor etc., either car should be perfectly fine.

Oh, one more thing. Do NOT go out when there is two to three inches of the fluffy stuff around. Wait until the area has been plowed and salted and even then, be cautious. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen FWD and AWD cars stuck in the ditch or wrecked because their drivers thought they could contradict the laws of physics. Unless your plans are to stay in the U.P. I would proceed with either one of these two vehicles and purchase those snow tires for the winter season.

Sajeev answers:

Yup, Steve nailed it.  Good snow tires are a must.  Doing it cheaply is a good idea, grabbing OEM wheels from a similar car is better looking (and cheaper?) than a wheel/tire package from a Tirerack-type of vendor. In the Mustang’s case, any V6 Mustang since 1994 sports a nice set of rims for your snow tires. I wouldn’t be surprised if a Sonata wheel bolts up to a Genesis with no problem, even if the offset might look a bit off. Also check craigslist for your platform’s usual suspects, that’s usually cheaper and easier than a U-Pull-It yard.

I’ve been trying to come up with “comps” to your choices and criteria, but I got nothing.  I haven’t driven the Mustang yet, but the V6 Performance Package has all the right upgrades missing from the base Mustang. It looks stellar on paper, even with a live axle. Push comes to shove, I would rock that car and never fear a Michigan winter.

Need help with a car buying conundrum? Email your particulars to mehta@ttac.com, and let TTAC’s collective wisdom make the decision easier… or possibly much, much harder. In a rush?  Don’t be shy about asking to cut in line.

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56 Comments on “New or Used: Who Is The RWD Coupe Market’s Top Gun?...”


  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    Good ice and snow tires with traction control will do you just fine, just be certain they have the “snow flake on the mountain” symbol on the sidewall.
     
    Sajeev is wrong about the Mustangs to get your winter wheels from, you need them from a 2005 and up model as the offset was changed.
     
    But get the Mustang it will be more durable and have better resale value when you do decide to sell it.

    • 0 avatar

      How much different?  I’ve seen 2004 and earlier with 2005+ wheels and the difference looks pretty mild.  Probably a moot point, I betcha finding 2005+ wheels is easier anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Even when new, Mustang rims are almost laughably cheap, especially for 16″ rims that would be perfect for snow tires, but not desirable to the Saleen wannabes crew.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      @Sajeev ~3/4″ more offset on the newer ones so the early wheels will stick out about that much more, and if you want the option of using chains should it get real bad that is a deal breaker. Many of the people who put the newer wheels on the older cars spring for the spacers to make up the difference. That’s what I did to put “Bullit” wheels (30mm offset) on my 1st aero gen Panther which came with 9-13mm offset depending on the exact wheel and year.

    • 0 avatar

      I didn’t consider chains, that’s a very good point. Thanks.
      Oh, our Facebook page needs pics of your Aero Panther…just sayin!

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’ll try and post pics of both of my Panthers a 92 CV and an 03 ‘Rauder.
      About the chains I failed to consider that they may not be an option, I know they won’t work on the ‘Rauder, and they may not have clearance on the new ‘Stangs either.

    • 0 avatar

      I think, if you live in a snow prone area where you get terrible winters, you are probably smarter to just buy a 4 or AWD car so you don’t need to have a second car.  Snow Tires or Chains are nice but who really feels like having to go threw that every time there’s a storm?
      My 300 SRT8 handled pretty well this winter with regular all season tires – and I have alot of Rear horse power to worry about.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Throw in a set of strap chains for a bit extra “insurance” and you’ll be good to go. Also a tow strap or chain – strictly to help others who weren’t as smart as you, of course! Be careful out there, but remember this: All (90+%) cars used to be RWD! We had snow back then and not as many plows, or no plows where I lived when growing up, and we made it just fine.

  • avatar
    twotone

    First choice — BMW 3 Series. Second choice — Infiniti G35/37. I’ve lived here in Denver for over 30 years, always drove RWD cars with four real winter tires. Never got stuck.
     
    Look what vehicle is “riding on rails” while the others are doing fine:

    http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m180/two2tone/pb-110225-suv-jwphotoblog900.jpg

     

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Lightly used 300 with a Hemi.  Get snow tires.  No it’s not a coupe but make like Jack Baruth and fill the car up with girls ready to party.

  • avatar
    TEXN3

    Definitely a great video. RWD and under $25k? Coupe, I’d get a new V6 Stang or a used V8 Stang. Sedan, I’d get a used CTS.

    I’ve been thinking about getting a used CTS to replace the old TL in a few years. The Mustang wouldn’t be bad either, once the youngest is in a booster seat of some sort.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Have you considered the Nissan 350Z or Infiniti G35? Both are in your price range if you are looking at ’08-’09 models, not sure you going to find CPO however.

  • avatar
    th009

    Personally I would find the live axle incompatible with Michigan’s potholed roles, but YMMV.
     
    Either way, good snow tires on all four wheels are the way to go.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    When the road is plowed  and is pretty much flat the Mustang shod with summer tires does OK.
    Shocking!
    Otherwise get a set of blizzaks and some winter rims and put them on in October or you may end up stranded.
     

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Nothing to add. Both are great cars. The concept of you NEED FWD or AWD where it snows is just plain silly. What did they do in 1965, just sit at home for five months out of the year??? Make sure you get all of the traction goodies in what ever you select (ETC, ESC, locking differential, etc.) and invest in a set of steel rims (salt and grime is tough on finished bling bling rims) and some great snow tires.  In all but the most extreme conditions; when you probably need to stay home anyway you’ll be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      The concept of you NEED all of the traction goodies in what ever you select (ETC, ESC, locking differential, etc.) where it snows is just plain silly. What did they do in 1965, just sit at home for five months out of the year???
       
      Me, I *want* AWD, and I have a blast driving in the snow in the winter (yes, with good snow tires).

    • 0 avatar
      TEXN3

      I agree for the most part, but AWD in any season on non-paved roads is a definite plus. At least that’s how many in the Rockies see it. If we only stuck to the roads during winter, or any other season, then we’d have a 2WD car right now…as long as it’s still a wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam P

      AWD means not having to chain up in the Washington state mountain passes when this alert is showing (and it shows a lot during the winter).
      “I have a four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicle. Do I have to install chains when signs indicate that chains are required?
      As long as your vehicle is equipped with traction tires, chain installation is generally not required on four-wheel/all-wheel drive vehicles.”

      http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/winter/faq.htm#explain

    • 0 avatar
      HoldenSSVSE

      @th009

      They didn’t have posi-traction in 1965? Doesn’t just about every car today come with ETC/ESC, and isn’t it required for all light vehicles in the next model year?

      Glad you like your AWD, a skilled driver can take a RWD car further in the snow than an unskilled driver in AWD. People’s Exhibit A (although not related to snow); the video of the rock crawling Panther that was on TTAC a few days ago. Now that is a skilled driver (and a bit crazy)!

      AWD is good for one thing only – getting you moving, that’s it. Well and avoiding in most circumstances of having to get out and put on chains if required by local rules. It doesn’t help you stop, it doesn’t help you turn, and in the hands of an inexperienced driver creates a dangerous false sense of security.

      Numerous AWD/4WD vehicles rendered helpless in this video, largely due to poor driving skills:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XLtYHqon1w

      And check out this 4WD Power Stroke Ford, and other 4WD/AWD vehicles rendered completely helpless on this rather gentle hill, again, poor driver skill in most of these examples:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d5exATIaQiI

      Learned to drive in the northeast in a ’77 Chevy Caprice, including in the snow. Drove a ’97 V8 Thunderbird through two South Dakota winters, and all it had was posi-traction. You don’t “need” AWD in the snowbelt and the OP wants RWD.

    • 0 avatar
      th009

      @HoldenSSEVE, I didn’t say he needs AWD (in another post I did agree on snow tires).  You said he DOES need all the electronic toys to help RWD cope with winter.
       
      If you think driving AWD makes me a worse driver, well, it’s your right to believe that …

    • 0 avatar
      cronus

      Do you know what they did in 1965?  They got out and pushed.  I would rather use technology.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      AWD/4WD do offer other advantages than getting your going. It does help you turn, keeping all 4 wheels turning at the same speed. Power on and it does tighten up your turn, assuming on open front diff. It also helps you stop safer because again all the wheels are tied together so they turn at the same speed. Of course modern VSC and ABS have gone a long way to eliminate that advantage. But when the snow gets bad my Scout is the only way to go and the less capable modern AWD vehicle with it’s aids stays at home. With the quality factory Ford wheels, non-chrome, stand up to salts quite well and since so many people do put the bling rims on their Mustang a set of used aluminum wheels are actually cheaper than new steel wheels.

  • avatar
    chainyanker

    I’m not sure what that video is supposed to prove. Had their route included just one stop on a decent grade then suddenly they’re just another stuck idiot that should have known better than to take a car like that out in that weather.

  • avatar

    Sajeev and Steve both live south of the Mason Dixon line. I’ve lived in Michigan my entire life and have managed to avoid getting stuck driving RWD, FWD, 4WD and AWD vehicles. Yes, if I had my choice, in winter I’d want all four wheels capable of traction, and if not that,  FWD, but if you know how to drive in the snow, you can drive a RWD car without getting stuck. Remember a couple of things. Volvos were RWD for a long, long time, and it snows a bit in Sweden. It also snows in Dearborn, where the Mustang was designed and developed. Plenty of folks around Detroit drive Mustangs in the winter. Heck, I do embroidery for the Motor City Camaro & Firebird club and their members manage to keep F-body cars, not noted for traction in slippery conditions, on the road. My guess is that modern Mustangs are also a bit more balanced in terms of weight, with a greater percentage of weight on the rear end than earlier generation Mustangs.
     
    Sajeev & Steve’s advice about good snow tires, though, is critical with RWD. You can get away with all-season radials with FWD or 4/AWD, but snow tires make a real difference with RWD.  I once had a beater stripper ’68 Valiant with a slant six and very skinny tires. Somehow I fell into a set of radial snow tires that fit and shod with those tires, it was a blast to drive in the winter.
     
    FWIW, the Bridgestone Blizzaks that I tested on a Mazda6 last year were terrific.
     

  • avatar
    DarkSpork

    I would be willing to bet that the Mustang with winter tires would be fine except in heavy snowfall (snow up to the bumper). I live in the mid-west and there seems to be a 50/50 mix between people who park their rwd sports cars in the winter and people who drive them.

    A friend of mine drives his 2011 V6 Camaro on the stock all seasons (he bought a winter beater and it broke down before the snow even hit the ground). He does, however park it and walk/get a ride in heavy snow. A lot of the people who buy these cars up here can’t afford a second car, so I do see a few Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers drive around in the winter. I typically see more SUVs, pickups, and sometimes FWD econoboxes in the ditch than “muscle cars” simply because people with “muscle cars” seem to drive much more carefully in the winter.

    Another one of my friends, however had a panther and a RWD Volvo and they were terrible in snow/ice on all season tires (the Volvo was worse than the Panther).
    FWD is easier if you plan to run all-season tires simply because there is more weight over the drive wheels, but you still may have issues with traction on steep inclines, lots of under steer (even at lower speeds), and stopping can prove a challenge. (note this is with “all season” tires).

    Almost anybody who has had dedicated winter/snow tires for a winter will tell you it’s a must. While I understand it’s not a must (the work vehicles I use have all-season tires) it makes a huge difference. I have Continental ContiWinterContact TS 810 tires on my Focus and my wife’s Accord and it was about $70/tire on either car (I consider it cheap insurance). The difference is huge. Our cars understeer less in deep snow, stop much better (ABS rarely activates in her car, mine doesn’t have it), and we can start on virtually any incline. Snow up to our bumper is the limit. Most people who are unfamiliar with the concept of snow-tires are very impressed. Only drawback I can think of is wheel-spin at WOT, but why do you need to drive WOT in the winter anyhow?

    In conclusion I agree with the above. Get the Mustang and get a dedicated set of winter tires/wheels for it and be happy. If it seems expensive to get the dedicated winter set consider that you are putting half the wear on your all-season/summer tires that you’d otherwise be putting on them. Sorry for the long post.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      “If it seems expensive to get the dedicated winter set consider that you are putting half the wear on your all-season/summer tires that you’d otherwise be putting on them. Sorry for the long post.”

      This is the biggest thing most people miss with the concept of snow tires. They don’t end up costing you anything, because you would have to replace the “three” season tires (as they are called in Europe were winter tires are mandatory in winter) half as often.

  • avatar
    talkstoanimals

    I grew up in snowy western NY in a family that owned a series of RWD sports cars and trucks, so I can say with confidence that you should be fine with RWD as long as you use dedicated snow tires and will be living somewhere with storage space for the off season wheels/tires.

    As a former owner of both a MKV GTI and at 2010 Mustang GT, I can also say that either the Mustang or the GTI are great, fun cars to drive.  My Mustang was a reliability nightmare and got lemon lawed back to Ford, but I think it was probably abnormal in that regard.  The Mustang was surpirisingly utile for that type of car and was a better handler than the GTI.  It also drew more attention and led to lots of interesting conversations, FWIW.  The GTI was a little more refined and far more practical.  And it still handles well and has a fantastic motor.  MPGs with the GTI were in the low to mid 20s, which was less than I had expected, especially since it prefers to drink premium. But then, it also loves to be caned, so mileage should be better if you can exercise a little restraint. Either car is a solid choice.

    If you can stretch your budget to get there – take a look at the BMW 135.  I now have a 2011 135 that I loooooove so far.  It’s insanely fast, returns an average of about 25 – 26 mpg in mixed driving (also on premium, sadly), handles pretty well for street use (a little too understeery for the track, perhaps) and with the M Sport package, I personally think it has a cool bathtub sort of look.  I’ve never driven one with with the N54 twin turbo motor you would get in a ’08-’10 CPO 135, but fuel pump issues aside, I hear they’re great as well.  And the N54 is highly tunable, unlike the N55 (so far) in the newer models.

    Lastly, I tested both the Infiniti G37S coupe and Nissan 370Z when buying the BMW.  Both were excellent, though the 370Z offers far too little utility IMHO.  You owe it to yourself to look at CPO versions of both of those cars as well.

  • avatar
    ajla

    You could always lease a 3-series.
     
    BMW current offers
     

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    My GTI sucks in the rain, I cant imagine it would be any better in snow.  The low end torque and not real traction control dont do anything to improve the feel in slippery situations.

    I like the Gen coupe, but I think the current 2.0T is a lame duck engine.  That car is screaming to get the DI 2.0T from the Sonata.  When it does, that would probably be my choice.  But until then, I definitely vote for the Mustang, especially in Michigan.  I think you can even pick up a brand new one within your budget.

  • avatar
    Bluliner

    I’ve lived with RWD in Chicago winters my whole life…it’s not a big deal. I’ve also gotten ‘caught out’ in snow with a Mustang track toy (complete with R-compounds) when mother nature decides it wants to snow 3-4″ in October…just because. That was interesting to say the least.
     
    Winter tires are nice to have, but if you have no realistic place to store 4 wheels for 8-9months out of the year (such as living in an apartment) – you can go the all-season route and drive carefully. Without any traction control, ABS, or stability management I have never gotten stuck or gotten into an accident in the snow. Really, it’s not that difficult to slow down and pay attention.
     
    On the Mustang; forget the V6. Buy a 2010 with the old 4.6L V8 as they make a wonderful noise, are quick, and will hold their value better. You’ll never regret owning a V8 car while you may 2nd guess yourself if you buy a V6 model.

    • 0 avatar
      Brendon from Canada

      If you don’t have a place to store the tires, I’d just as soon spend a few dollars and rent some storage; I can’t imagine it would be that expensive, and snow tires make a tremendous difference.  

      Steve’s comment about not going out in 2-3″ of snow might not fly either – I’m a few hours across the border in Canada and 2-3″ of snow happened with fairly regular frequency this winter.  At about 6″ my BMW starts acting like a snowplow, but I can still get through the fluffy stuff up to 8″ or so… albeit with traction control OFF.

      One helpful hint is to go out and play in a clear parking lot (make sure there are no curbs, holes, etc – no need to damage rims/suspension) – and do it EVERY winter early in the season to remind yourself what it feels like to slip and slide.

      Oh, and either vehicle should be fine – I’d grab the IRS Hyundai to cope with the roads in Michigan – I was last there 2 years ago and it was pretty rough in some sections….

  • avatar
    Sam P

    Can you save up for a little while longer and get a V6 Genesis Coupe? The Hyundai V6 is an aural pleasure.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Now there is a sentence I never thought I would see… a Hyundai engine making aural pleasure?!!?

      Actually, I have never even heard of these, so not really knocking it, just sounds funny to those of us that used to own an Excel.  But I cannot possibly imagine it makes better sounds than a V8 Mustang.  If he were to go overbudget, thats the way to go IMO.

  • avatar
    vvk

    E46 M3 comes to mind.

    If you want to save money, there is always Mercedes C-coupe, which is excellent. It is also a bit more practical, which the hatchback.

    Other choices are SLK, Z4 and Boxter. These are usually bought as toy cars, so look for occasional use and very low miles.

  • avatar
    hakata

    I advise getting a second set of inexpensive rims to mount your winter tires so you can swap them easily. It saves winter wear on your good rims and allows you to change at your convenience. I also advise going a size down for winter rims. Tires are cheaper and the smaller contact patch is beneficial for traction in precipitation. As a bonus, you may even like the ride better.

    In SE Michigan, I would run winters from about end November thru end March depending. If you don’t want to give up all hoonery for four months, you can get performance winters which are near as good as summers (a little more squirmy due to tread design). You lose a little traction though, and they wear quicker.

    • 0 avatar
      Motorhead10

      hakata has it right. I daily-drive a manual transmission Mustang in the Northeast. I put a set of Blizzaks on the stock 17×8 wheel (the Bullitt style) then bought the same wheel in a staggered 18×9, 18X10 combo for the warm months. Usually end up putting the snows on Dec 1 and look to get the fatties on there April 1 (ain’t happening this year, though). The traction control, snow tires and manual transmission – I have never been stuck. If there’s that much snow, I stay put. I traded a 96 Impala SS for the Mustang and did the same thing. Never a problem. Got a set of police wheels with snow tires for the winter. Even though the smaller wheels didn’t look as good as the stockers I pretty much had the left lane to myself from December to April.

  • avatar

    You want snows whether or not you have AWD. the reason: AWD can help you go, but it can’t help you stop. That’s another reason why a lot of people with AWD (or 4WD for that matter) end up in the ditch: they think being able to go means they can stop, too.

    • 0 avatar
      993cc

      Another reason why AWD cars end up in the ditch is that by reducing wheelspin on acceleration, the AWD keeps drivers from knowing how bad the traction is.

    • 0 avatar
      talkstoanimals

      AWD can help you go, but it can’t help you stop.

      So true.  I wish someone would explain that to the people who breeze down the interstate at regular speed in their AWD cars and trucks at the time they’re sold….

  • avatar
    993cc

    I grew up in the seventies on the steepest hill in our town in PA.  Pushing stuck cars up the hill was considered part of or civic duty, so I believe I have a large sample to draw my experience from.  Mind you this is before widespread adoption of radial tires by U.S. car makers, and the false concept of an “all season” tire had not yet been foisted on a gullible public. 4WD was still rare as to not be counted as well.
    Last place:  Rear wheel drive with summer tires.  These ALWAYS got stuck.
    Next:  Rear wheel drive with snow tires.  Better, but got stuck nearly as often.
    Next:  Rear engine, rear drive with summer tires.
    Next:  Front wheel drive with summer tires.  Always radials because the cars were always sold that way.
    Best:  Rear engine, rear drive with snow tires.  NEVER got stuck.
    I suspect people were reluctant to put snows on front drive cars, because you had to buy four and radial snows were rare.  The only time I ever saw snows on a front drive car was on a Saab 99 ferrying people to a church retreat at a remote hunting camp, through foot deep snow, after the Wagoneer got stuck.
    Of course none of this speaks to stopping ability.  If you are driving in snow, use four winter tires or stay home.  If you want better traction front drive is better.
     
     

  • avatar
    VespaFitz

    I’ve owned three front wheel drive cars: a ’98 Saab 900, an ’01 Jetta Wagon and an ’87 Sentra SE.

    Every one of those cars absolutely sucked in the snow, even with snow tires.

    On the other hand, my wife’s 528iT, her 318ti and my 1983 Pontiac Parisienne (all shod with four snows) were fantastic.

    The only front wheel drive car I ever thought was any good in the snow was my father-in-law’s ’84 Eldorado. It’d go anywhere. Trouble was, every time you touched the brakes it wanted to swap ends.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      That’s weird. My 1998 SAAB 900 was really good in snow even with high performance all-seasons. To the point of being far more controllable than my 1998 Subaru Impreza 2.5RS. In fact, when it snowed, my wife always drove the SAAB because she felt a lot more confident sliding around the slippery stuff in it. My 1986 SAAB was even better in snow. It could go through unbelievably deep snow with worn out high performance tires.
       
      Just curious, was your SAAB automatic or manual transmission?
       

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    If you’re going to be in Michigan, having lived there, you’ll definitely want a good set of all-seasons (for the rain), and buy a set of dedicated snows for the winter.

    At your price point, any sporty car will do fine, so I’d get the car with the best overall utility and reliability.

    I’d get the Impreza hatch. It has the best reliabilty of all the cars you’re looking at, by far. The hatch gives great versatility for whatever you might do. And the Subie is fun to drive. If you want to go all-sport, lots of mods are available, almost as much as the Mustang.

    Have fun!

  • avatar
    gessvt

    I’d avoid RWD if you are relocating to the western side of the lower peninsula or the UP.  Lake effect snow is too unpredictable.  Not much fun if you’re at the office all day and there’s 10″ of fresh snow on the ground at 5 p.m.

    Southeast Michigan?  Different story.  Hoon away with your RWD snow-tired beast.  We had RWD FoMoCo products all throughout my childhood and teen years.  Two big bags of sand in the trunk and a set of all-seasons rarely failed us.
     

  • avatar
    eldard

    Driving pleasure vs survival. Oh, the agony…

  • avatar
    cronus

    Having driven a Mustang GT year round in Michigan for the past ten years I’ll call myself an expert on the matter and share what I’ve learned.

    Snow tires are a requirement, I’ve used Blizacks and Dunlop Graspics both with good results.  The Dunlops were better in deep snow and good for ~6″ of snow  before I was worried about making it through.  The Blizacks are better at handling and in wet weather but more then 4″ of snow gets a little iffy.  Chains and studs are illegal on the roads here so I’ve never used them.

    I look at the genesis coupe when I was car shoping a couple of months ago and one of the things I didn’t like was that a limited slip was only available in certain packages.  I think it’s a nesessity in the snow because often you have to turn off the traction control to get moving.  That and the fact that you couldn’t get it in yellow with the 2.0T dropped it off my list.

    I ended up ordering a V6 Mustang in grabber blue with the 3.31 limited slip and 6mt.  I’m going to use the stock 17″ wheels for my snow tires and buy some nice summer tires and wheels.

  • avatar
    topgun

    Thanks a lot guys for all the input!!  As my request would have indicated, the new V6 ‘Stang was my first choice. Now, I’m convinced enough to go get it. Just to be clear, I’m not a complete novice when comes to driving in the snow having lived in Cincinnati for the past 3 years. However, I’ve never needed snow tires here, making do with FWD and all seasons.
    @Cronus, you indicated Dunlop Graspics as a good choice. My research indicated the same. Are there other good ones? (I did note you mentioned Blizacks) I am also intrigued about Sajeev’s suggestions of getting older wheels from ’05 model year mustangs. May need to do some more research on that.

    • 0 avatar
      cronus

      @topgun

      I think between the two I like the Blizacks better, they’re only a little bit worse in the snow but the handling is much better and they’re much better in the rain.  My dad has a set of Michelin X-Ice on his car and they seem to be similar to the Blizacks.  My sisters car has a set of Firestone Winterforce tires on it and they do great in the snow but I wouldn’t even try putting them on my mustang.  They have a very chunky tread and I think the handling would be terrible.

      One thing you need to keep in mind is that even with snow tires there will be a couple days per year where you won’t be able to get anywhere.  When there’s a foot of snow on the ground you need ground clearance.  If you live in one of the heavily populated areas snow removal is pretty good but where I live the main roads are usually clear but it takes 2 days before the subdivision gets plowed out.
       

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Be careful with people comparing tires, because there are many different ones. Bridgestone has two lines of Blizzaks, the WS, and LM. The LM is the “performance” option with stiffer sidewalls, higher noise and greater wear. There are also different generations of each.  The latest ones are the WS70 and LM-60. I have WS60s on my car, and my sister bought WS70s. They are better in every way, not saying the 60s are bad, they are actually very good and you may get a good price on some leftovers. I have also had Dunlop Graspic DS-2s, and Michelin X-ICE 2s, on my cars. Out of three I drove with regularly, the Bridgestones are the best out right, with the best snow, slush and wet traction, tolerable road noise, and decent handling. The Michelins were the best on ice, but suffered on snow and slush. They were also really load. The Dunlops were the quietest, and a very good comprimoise between snow and ice between the Michelins and Bridgestones. Now keep in mind that only the Michelins are the current model. I have also driven in cars with the Firestone Winterforce, and they seem to be as good traction wise as the Blizzaks, but are way loader because of their stud-able design.
      Here’s a good video from tirerack.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8MnCH-Z0QY&feature=related

    • 0 avatar
      hakata

      Based on what I hear and use: Blizzak WS-70 for a touring-style winter with max traction, Dunlop 3Ds or Pirelli Sottozeros for performance winters. For RWD I’d err toward traction versus performance. If you go performance, try the 3Ds – they are toward the traction end of performance versus the Pirellis, which are better for FWD/AWD. See:
       
      http://www.tirerack.com/tires/surveyresults/surveydisplay.jsp?type=W&VT=C
       
      I see the Michelin Alpins are also highly rated, but I don’t know anyone who’s used them since they are so freakin expensive. From the ratings, it looks like they tend toward the less traction end of the spectrum.

  • avatar
    Andy D

    I havent bought   snow tires  since I got  rid  of  my  LTD wagon. My 88  Bimmers do  OK in  snow up to  8″ deep on all seasons  yr  round.  One  has  LSD and  that  makes a difference. Driving in  snow is  the only  time  I wish  for  a stick shift.   I drove bugs  for 20 yrs. The  biggest  problem  with a bug in winter  was  keeping  the  windshield defrosted.  I had Jeep Wagoneers for  many  yrs  and  they are  good  too.   But  I dont  push  the  cars  . I know  traction  is  poor   and  I dont  get  freaked out  if  I  drift  a  bit. Mostly  you  dont  rely  on  the  brakes. fuggedabout  ‘em.   You   can  use  the  gas  sparingly  and   just   chug  around at  low  rpm.  Narrow  high  profile  tires  are  much  better  than  the  rubber bands  most  new  cars  ride on.  I always  carry a D handle  steel  coal shovel too. L’m not a fan of BMW post 1990, but they all have a 50/50 weight balance which makes them stable.

  • avatar
    Buckshot

    A Mustang in the snow?
    That´s unheard of in my snowy country.
    That´s about the worst choice you could make.
    Rwd choice: BMW 3-series
    Much better choice:  Audi S3, Audi S4 or Audi TT Quattro
     
     

  • avatar
    rpn453

    FWD is typically better in snow, and AWD is way better, but I wouldn’t let that hold you back.  I’d take a Mustang or Genesis with a manual transmission, LSD, and good winter tires over anything with all-season tires for winter driving.  I’d also be eager to go out with fresh snow on the ground, as that is the funnest time to drive at legal speeds.  It’s best at night when slow drivers are scarce and easily avoided.  Take a shovel.
     
     


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