Review: 2005 Dodge Magnum

The Manufacturer

The Magnum surely won't appeal to all tastes, but if you're taken by its striking appearance, it's certainly worth a closer look. The roomy interior and ample cargo space make it an appealing SUV alternative, with better road manners and head-turning styling in its favor. The Hemi-powered Magnums, although certainly more fun to drive than the six-cylinder models, can be startlingly thirsty, despite the presence of the highway-biased Multiple Displacement System. The 3.5L variant is the best package for most consumers. Magnum pricing is highly competitive, and the Chrysler Group's warranty terms--including seven-year/70,000-mile powertrain coverage--are generous. Review the IntelliChoice Ownership Cost Value ratings closely, however, as there's notable variance among trims and drivetrains. Find the right combination for you, and you'll be rewarded with a distinct, rewarding machine with the heart of a muscle car.

Striking to behold and--thanks to its Mercedes-Benz-cribbed chassis design and available Hemi V-8 engines--great to drive, the Magnum is a truly compelling alternative to the ubiquitous midsize sport/utility vehicle.

What's Hot

  • Nice 3.5L V-6, excellent Hemi V-8s
  • Quiet, composed ride; surprisingly agile
  • Looks like nothing else on the road

    What's Not

  • Hemi fuel economy
  • Not as spacious as midsize SUVs
  • Shape limits cargo space

    Entirely new for the 2005 model year, the Magnum rolls into 2006 with few noteworthy alternations--with one exception: The muscle-bound SRT8 model storms into showrooms in the summer of 2005, featuring a 6.1-liter/425-horse Hemi V-8. Priced under $40,000, the Magnum SRT8 backs up its 85 additional horses with a sport-tuned suspension, high-performance Brembo disc brakes, and Goodyear Eagle F1 tires on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels, and standard leather seating over heavily bolstered sport seats.

    Depending on trim level, Magnum buyers can opt for such niceties as a power moonroof, heated seats, front- and rear-seat side curtain airbags, power seats with leather, and power-adjustable pedals. There's also an available six-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system, the subscription-based Sirius satellite radio, well-executed rear DVD entertainment system, and the innovative UConnect hands-free communication system, which features wireless integration with Bluetooth-enabled cell phones and personal digital assistants. One particularly worthwhile option on the RT and top-dog SRT8 models is the excellent DVD-based GPS navigation system with a full-color LCD. A roof rack is optional as well, and SXT and RT models offer all-wheel drive derived from the excellent Mercedes 4Matic system.

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