New For 2014
In addition to the Rallye Appearance Group and the Blacktop Package, 2014 sees the arrival of the Redline Package. This latest package includes black twenty-inch wheels with a red lip, a rear spoiler, sport seats, a firmer suspension, a Beats by Dr. Dre audio system, a slight boost in engine output, and shift paddles for the transmission. The Redline Package is available on the SXT and SXT Plus (rear-wheel-drive models only).
Although the classic Dodge Charger of the late 1960s was a mid-size two-door coupe, today’s iteration is a full-size four-door sedan. The Charger was reborn for 2006 as a Dodge sibling to the well-received Chrysler 300. A redesign for 2012 sharpened the style and made the Charger a handsome beast. At the same time, the interior received a major, and much-needed, upgrade. Now the powerful sedan serves up its classic, American-style performance in a manner that’s sophisticated rather than brutish.
The Charger is an American sedan in the classic idiom: big, brash, and powerful. Although its styling is extroverted (very extroverted, with some of the available appearance packages), there is substance beneath the style. It comes in the form of powerful engines — a V-6 and two V-8s — and also in the chassis tuning and overall refinement. The car is quiet, the interior well finished. The steering is well weighted, and the chassis is responsive. The ride quality with the touring suspension is good, but the sport suspension gets quite firm — pair that with the twenty-inch wheels and it crosses over to harsh.
The Charger SE, SXT, and SXT Plus use a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that makes 292 hp, although the cold-air induction and sport exhaust that are part of certain option packages raise that figure to 300 hp. In most models, it’s mated to an excellent eight-speed automatic. In base SE trim, though, you have to pay extra for the eight-speed; otherwise you get three fewer gears, at a cost of 2 mpg on the highway and 1 mpg in the city. Even the V-6 cars can be fitted with a sport suspension, upgraded brakes, and high-performance steering. The SXT Plus adds more luxury equipment, and the Rallye, Blacktop, and Redline packages amp up the muscle-car style.
The V-6 may be good, but the Charger is more of a V-8 car. Step up to the R/T (which is offered in four guises) to get Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. Its smooth 370 hp is parsed out by a five-speed automatic — more gears would be nice, and they’d help fuel economy. Both the V-8 car and the V-6 can be had with all-wheel drive rather than rear-wheel drive, but it adds more than $2000 to the cost.
In the SRT8, the Charger becomes a fully realized muscle car, albeit one with room for five. The SRT8 brings the larger, 6.4-liter (or 392-cubic-inch) version of the Hemi V-8, good for 470 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The SRT8 is additionally fortified with Brembo brakes, adaptive damping, and high-performance hydraulically assisted steering. You won’t find all-wheel drive, though, as SRT8s are rear-wheel drive only. The Super Bee is the slightly decontented version, which is $3000 cheaper than the regular SRT8. Super Bee buyers give up quite a bit of standard equipment, including leather, heated/ventilated seats, navigation, and power tilting/telescoping steering; they also forego the opportunity to order adaptive cruise control/forward-collision warning, a sunroof, or the 392 package. What they do not give up is the ability to shred the rear tires at will.
- Roomy and comfortable
- V-8, RWD performance
- Surprisingly civilized
You won’t like:
- Stiff ride with sport suspension/twenty-inch wheels
- Plus-size exterior dimensions
- SRT8 fuel economy
- Chrysler 300
- Chevrolet SS
- Ford Taurus/SHO
- Hyundai Genesis