The Dodge Charger manages to be both a family sedan and a performance car, as classic models were in the 1960s. While it has a mix of American, German and Italian heritage, the Charger lives up to the tradition of being able to be optioned up in almost every way. It can be a run-of-the-mill sedan that just happens to have rear-wheel drive, a plush cruiser with bells and whistles, or a screaming machine that’s ready for the drag strip. Aggressive styling and lots of powerful engine choices help its case here.
2011 to Present: Dodge Charger
The Dodge Charger was redesigned for 2011. Still a four-door, five-seat full-size sedan with rear-wheel drive, the Charger was refined to offer better performance along with more comfort and technology. The base Charger SE came with a new 3.6-liter V6 with 290 horsepower, which was mated to a five-speed automatic transmission found in early versions. The Charger also included 17-inch aluminum wheels, power driver’s seat, keyless entry and start, a USB port and Bluetooth. Upgrading to the R/T also included the 5.7-liter V8 with 370 horsepower, and all-wheel drive was available on this model. Common options included leather upholstery, navigation, HID headlamps and a power sunroof.
For 2012, some V6 models were equipped with a new eight-speed automatic for better acceleration and fuel economy. A new SXT model sat between the Charger SE and R/T, with the V6 engine, dual-zone automatic climate control, an 8.4-inch touch screen and other features that were optional on the base Charger SE. The high-performance Charger SRT8 also returned to the lineup, now with a 6.4-liter V8 with 470 horsepower. A Superbee package with bolder styling and upgraded mechanicals was available, and all-wheel drive was now an option on V6 models.
Few changes were made to the Charger in 2013 and 2014.
For 2015, the Charger was given a comprehensive facelift that makes it look a little more rounded up front. The eight-speed automatic was now standard on all models and the interior was covered in more upscale materials. Active driving aids were added, such as forward collision warning and automatic braking. Even more performance models were added, including an R/T Scat Pack model with the Charger SRT’s power, the SRT 392 with bolder looks and the 707-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat with its supercharged 6.2-liter V8.
Few changes were made to the Charger for the 2016 model year.
The Charger and the related Chrysler 300 are stand out rear-wheel drive models in the full-size sedan segment. Large cars like the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus could also be considered, while higher trims might compete with cars like the Toyota Avalon and Hyundai Genesis.
Earlier Dodge Charger Models
The Charger was reborn for 2006 as a four-door sedan counterpart to the Dodge Magnum wagon, and also a partner to the more upscale Chrysler 300. The base engine for the Charger SE was a 3.5-liter V6 with 250 horsepower, which was an option on both the 300 and Magnum. Common options were leather upholstery, automatic climate control and a Boston Acoustics audio system. The R/T, however, featured that equipment and a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 with 340 horsepower in classic muscle car fashion. The high-performance Charger SRT-8 was also introduced, with a 6.1-liter V8 putting out 425 horsepower, complete with more aggressive styling and big wheels. All versions got a five-speed automatic transmission.
For 2007, the Charger got available all-wheel drive on all but the SRT8, and the SE trim now came standard with a 190-horsepower, 2.7-liter V6 and a four-speed automatic transmission.
In 2008, the Charger got subtly revised interior styling that mainly included upgraded materials. A new SXT trim was wedged between the SE and R/T, featuring many of the SE’s options including the 3.5-liter V6. HID headlamps were a new option, as was a hard drive-based navigation system and an infotainment system called MyGig. A rear-seat entertainment system with Sirius Backseat TV was also available.
In 2009, the R/T was upgraded to 370 horsepower and fuel economy improved on V8 and all-wheel drive models alike.
Option packages were shuffled and side curtain air bags became standard for 2010 ahead of a new model in 2011.