The Dodge Charger is a full-size, four-door sedan that makes a bold design statement and backs it up with serious horsepower. A wide range of models is available, but all are comfortable cruisers, offering drivers a friendly haven from traffic and bumpy freeways.
The model line ranges from the basic but entertaining 2.7-liter Charger SE to the high-performance 425-hp SRT8. Between them are 3.5-liter V6 and 5.7-liter V8 models. The 3.5-liter V6 delivers entirely adequate performance for the mid-grade SXT model, while the V8s generate thrilling acceleration performance and make all the right noises. All-wheel drive is available for all-weather capability.
The Charger illustrates just how multi-talented and accomplished today's high-performance cars are compared to the unidimensional hot rods of yesteryear. The Charger has all the pavement-ripping, gut-thumping power of the old muscle cars, but it's packaged with modern creature comforts and tempered by handling competency. With either V8 engine, the Charger is fast in a straight line, and it corners better than those muscle cars of the past. However, it is large and heavy, measuring more than 16 feet in length and tipping the scales near two tons, so it's not as nimble as a sports car, or even a pony car.
On the inside, the Charger has plenty of room for a family of five, but the interior is largely plastic and the sightlines are partially obstructed in several directions. Buyers can opt for several entertainment features that will pacify both the kids and the adults. And if you need to carry cargo, the Charger has a large trunk with a handy split-folding rear seat.
The Charger used to be the only V8-powered large American car on the market, but it now faces competition from the Pontiac G8 and an improved Ford Taurus. The Charger offers a lot of room and great straight line power, but it appears to be falling behind the competition in driving dynamics and interior quality.
For 2009, the Charger gets a new taillight design, the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 gains power, and all-wheel-drive models get Active Transfer Case with Front-Axle Disconnect. SE models add alloy wheels, additional interior chrome trim and more equipment, while the SRT8 model adds more standard equipment, a retuned suspension, and new calibrations for the anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control systems. The SRT8 also adds a Super Bee package. LED lighting becomes standard for the front cup holders on all models, and the MyGIG hard-drive radio is now called UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS when ordered with navigation system. Front side and curtain side air bags now optional instead of standard on most models.
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* Images, pricing and options shown are examples, only, and may not reflect exact vehicle color, trim, options, pricing or other specifications.