USA TEST DRIVE | New Dodge Charger
Dodge, until recently, had been steering the reborn Charger in the same retro-muscle-car direction as the Challenger coupe but the Charger now takes a different course. Instead, it gets a more modern saloon car look on the outside—one that contrasts the Challenger’s.
Starting with the looks, it has a rather sleek modern shape to put it in line with the rest of the Dodge range. It cuts through the air with precision instead of blasting through with brute force and a lot of noise like the car from the 60’s did so well, and the front end looks mean, especially in black or dark grey.
Engines available include a sensible but punchy 3.6-V6 which is good for a mediocre 292hp, a 5.7-V8 and 6.4-V8 developing 370hp and 470hp respectively, and finally a 6.2-V8 with a huge supercharger giving 707hp and 0-60mph in 3.3seconds. Theres’s also a rather humorously named ‘Scat Pack’ which gives another 15hp on top of the 6.4’s 470hp as well as some Mopar intake and cylinder block upgrades. The car I have here is the 5.7-V8 HEMI with a smooth 8-speed auto box from Chrysler – a V8 obviously being the natural thought when you think of a Dodge Charger. This model reaches 60mph in 5.2 seconds and unsurprisingly lives up to the stereotype of being a big lump of car with a big lump of V8 engine producing less power that you’d hope from a big V8 but making a lot of noise while doing so.
Big doors in front make getting in and out easy and an elongated roof line makes getting into the back-seat positions easy—even if you’re 6ft—with plenty of headroom all around. The rear-seat legroom is a little tight for long-legged tall people and the rear windows are high up on the car but that’s for safety. If a passenger is sitting in the middle then they will have a transmission tunnel between their legs and raised seat cushion to also deal with. Overall, interior materials and trims are top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch materials everywhere and nice buttons.
Standard equipment on this mid-range model is plentiful, with heated leather seats, LCD instrument display screen, Bluetooth media system, cruise control and sports suspension boxes already ticked.
As said above, this 5.7-V8 delivers 370hp complete with a lovely roar through exhausts when you choose. It can be quiet when cruising around but with a lot of force if you boot it. The V8 also has cylinder shut-off to become a V4 when more power isn’t required. For such a big lump of car, ride quality isn’t actually too bad – it never leans but it does become a little bouncy when you have a few passengers. The Charger’s ‘UConnect’ 8.4″ media system is one of the best I’ve come across on a non-European car, thanks to the responsive touchscreen and easy to navigate menus. An available smartphone app provides cool features like door locking/unlocking, remote starting, and flashing the headlights to find the vehicle in a car park, as well as showing a notification when the car’s alarm is tripped.
Base price for the new Charger is just under $28,000 which I’d call pretty good value for a punchy American muscle car with stunning looks, great engine choices, perfect transmission and decent tech. If you want the ultimate 707hp Hellcat Charger, it will set you back $63,995 but, do you really need 707 horsepower? Maybe want, but the HEMI 5.7-litre in this test car does the job very well.