New Car Reviews

2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus – Groundhog Day

Miles to date: 20,952

Long-Term 2012 Dodge Charger Update: Fall 2012 ( 3 of 5 ) Miles to date: 20,952

Clearly, the optional Blacktop package wasn’t designed with Michigan’s beat-up roads in mind.

When it comes to service and maintenance with our long-term 2012 Dodge Charger, it’s starting to feel a bit like Groundhog Day. In both June and July we dealt with a corroded airbag harness that was causing the instrument panel to show a malfunction. In October we were again thrown back to June, having picked up on a shimmy in the steering wheel indicative of another bent wheel.

Since we still weren’t keen on the idea of spending $375 to replace a wobbly wheel, we made our second call to Alloy Wheel Repair Specialists, a mobile service that pounds the wheel back into tolerance. Our decision proved to be even wiser than we expected when we discovered not one but all four wheels were out of round. One hour and $260 later, the Charger’s twenty-inch wheels were spinning smoothly again. With winter and its resultant worse roads just around the corner, though, we’re bracing ourselves for yet another bent wheel. Clearly, the optional Blacktop package wasn’t designed with Michigan’s beat-up roads in mind.
With the Charger in good health again, our editors were back to their usual activities: enjoying the sportier aspects and dissecting the less fulfilling attributes of our rear-wheel-drive sedan. “Every time I get behind the wheel of this black behemoth, I am delightfully surprised by how powerful and refined the 3.6-liter V-6 is,” wrote associate web editor Donny Nordlicht. “I could use a little more oomph in this big sedan, but that’s due more to the extra-tall gearing of the eight-speed transmission. At least the transmission is buttery-smooth when you put your foot in it on the highway to make it drop two or three gears to get some passing power.”

“The steering is surprisingly good,” said associate web editor Ben Timmins. “As much as we grouse and complain about steering racks on new cars, this one is pretty accurate. Too bad the ride and handling duo don’t match: turn-in is acceptably quick, but the incredible heft of the Charger and its soft suspension mean that you’ll have to wait a tick or two before the car actually settles into the turn.”
As we wrote this update, our Charger was on its way east to draw some fresh opinions from some new drivers. Look for new perspectives from senior editor Joe Lorio and New York bureau chief Jamie Kitman in our November update.


  • Body style 4-door e-segment sedan
  • Accommodation 5-passenger seating
  • Construction Steel unibody


  • Steering Rack and pinion with hydraulic power assist
  • Lock-to-lock 2.6
  • Turning circle 37.7 ft
  • Suspension, Front Control arm
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink
  • Brakes F/R Vented disc
  • Wheels 20-in. aluminum wheels
  • Tires Firestone Firehawk GTV
  • Tire size 245/45R20


  • Engine 3.6-liter DOHC Pentastar V-6 engine
  • Displacement 3.6 liters (220 cu. in.)
  • Power 292 hp @ 6350 rpm
  • Torque 260 lb-ft @ 4800 rpm
  • Transmission 8-speed automatic transmission
  • Drive Rear-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 19/31/23 (city/hwy/combined)


  • Headroom F/R 38.6/36/6 in
  • Legroom F/R 41.8/40.1 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 59.5/57.9 in
  • Wheelbase 120.2 in
  • Track F/R 63.4/63.8 in
  • L x W x H 199.9 x 75.0 x 58.4 in
  • Cargo capacity 16.5 cu ft
  • Weight 3996 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 52/48
  • Fuel capacity 19.1 gal
  • Est. fuel range 439 miles
  • Fuel grade 87 octane (regular unleaded)


  • standard equipment

    • 3.6-liter DOHC Pentastar V-6 engine
    • 8-speed automatic transmission
    • Four-wheel antilock disc brakes
    • 18-in. aluminum wheels
    • Stability and traction control
    • Keyless entry and ignition
    • Hill start assist
    • Tire pressure monitoring system w/display
    • Touring suspension
    • Electro-hydraulically-assisted steering
    • Color electronic vehicle information display
    • Remote start system
    • 8-way power driver’s seat w/4-way power lumbar adjustment
    • Heated front seats
    • Rear armrest w/cup holder
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/one-year subscription
    • Universal garage door opener
    • Uconnectfi voice command w/Bluetoothfi
    • Uconnect Touch w/8.4-inch display
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • USB port
    • 6 premium speakers


  • Charger SXT Plus
  • $2,000
  • Nappa leather seats
  • Security alarm
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Power 4-way passenger lumbar adjust
  • Heated and cooled front cup holders
  • Front overhead LED lighting
  • Driver and passenger lower LED lamps
  • Power front seats
  • 18-inch aluminum wheels
  • Rear stabilizer bar
  • Blacktop package
  • $1,495
  • Sport mode 2
  • Paddle shifters
  • 9 speakers w/506-watt amplifier and subwoofer
  • Sport leather bucket seats
  • 20-inch gloss black aluminum wheels
  • Gloss black grille
  • Performance suspension
  • Adaptive cruise control group
  • $925
  • Adaptive speed control
  • Forward collision warning
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Navigation/rear back up camera group
  • $995
  • SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link w/one-year subscriptions
  • Rearview camera
  • Garmin navigation system