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- Highs Available serious Hemi V-8 power, aggressive looks, good handling for its size.
- Lows Too much weight for the base V-6, lacks the luxury of its rivals, poor quality interior materials.
- Verdict The Charger is a throwback full-size, rear-drive sedan that's part muscle car and part family hauler.
The Dodge Charger is a rare breed: a large sedan with ample room for the family and affordable power for fun. The rear-wheel-drive Dodge boasts two available Hemi V-8s that deliver either 370 or 485 horsepower, while the standard V-6 produces up to 300 horses and can be had with optional all-wheel drive. All three engines are backed by an eight-speed automatic transmission. While it may be a bit brash for some tastes, the Charger is a certified value for those who want four doors for haulin’ people and a V-8 for haulin’ ass.
What's New for 2017?
For 2017, the Charger lineup adds the heritage-inspired Daytona (powered by a 5.7-liter V-8) and Daytona 392 (6.4-liter V-8) models. Both have unique styling with satin-black exterior accents and a specially outfitted interior, as well as 20-inch wheels with wider, stickier rubber and upgraded brakes. Every Charger has an updated Uconnect infotainment system. Along with the other additions, the Rallye Group package brings new Hyper Black 19-inch wheels, and the SXT and R/T trims are now available with houndstooth cloth seats.
- SE: $29,090
- SXT: $31,090
- R/T: $35,990
- Daytona: $41,090
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Not every Charger has a mighty Hemi V-8 under the hood—what a pity—but they do all share an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive; all-wheel drive can only be fitted to the base V-6 engine. The 3.6-liter six develops a decent 292 horsepower, with output increasing to 300 horses with the optional Rallye Group package. Even with the extra power, however, the V-6 Charger is slower than most of its front-drive rivals, thanks in part to its chunky 4096-pound curb weight. The Hemi-powered V-8s generate 370 horsepower (5.7-liter) and 485 ponies (6.4-liter), providing more satisfying power and rowdy sounds. Despite its size, the Charger can be surprisingly athletic on the road, although obstacles like railroad crossings and potholes disrupt its composure. The big-bodied sedan is remarkably balanced when cornering, too. And though the V-6 version we tested had nearly identical cornering grip, the Daytona’s hefty horsepower advantage amplified the fun.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Charger’s interior features a classic muscle-car design that is highly functional yet the opposite of luxurious. The interior’s uneven panel gaps and middling quality diminish the cabin’s ambiance. Apart from excellent rear-seat legroom, the Charger's passenger space is slightly below average, and the front buckets have extra bolstering that is supportive but intrusive after long periods. The base model comes with a few niceties, but higher trims and options add features that include a power-adjustable steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated and cooled front seats, and heated rear seats. The Charger is a terrific travel companion, with useful interior storage space and a large trunk that held the most carry-ons among its rivals.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Aside from the base model, every Charger has a version of the excellent Uconnect infotainment system that comes with an attractive 8.4-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The entry-level Charger SE has a 5.0-inch Uconnect display with two USB ports and a six-speaker stereo. The rest of the lineup has the larger screen with more features. Options include navigation and a 10-speaker BeatsAudio sound system.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Overall Safety Rating (NHTSA)
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.