Let’s face it: Two-door pony cars aren’t practical, and full-size sports sedans are expensive. The Dodge Charger, a rare breed with ample room for the family and affordable power for fun, lands somewhere in the middle. 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. Unrefined interior materials and a cornucopia of in-your-face appearance upgrades make it the antithesis of near-luxury rivals. But its mix of performance and practicality is unique in its class. 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.
What’s New 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 for 2017. 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. Models equipped with the 5.7 also receive an active exhaust system for a burlier soundtrack. Every Charger has an updated Uconnect infotainment system, with the optional 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation adding multi-touch gestures for functions such as pinch-to-zoom. Along with the other additions, the Rallye package brings new Hyper Black 19-inch wheels, and the SXT and R/T trims are now available with houndstooth cloth seats. Existing color choices are joined by Destroyer Grey, Green Go, Octane Red, and Yellow Jacket; White Knuckle and Contusion Blue are renamed carryover hues.
Trims and Options We’d Choose
The Charger is perfect for those who seek a pony car such as the Dodge Challenger or the Ford Mustang yet need a useful back seat for parental duties or pure practicality. While the V-6 is rather mundane for our liking, it can be paired with all-wheel drive for as little as $31,340. True Mopar fans will only be satisfied with the big, 485-hp 6.4-liter V-8, which the R/T Scat Pack model makes quite attractive, for a starting price of $41,090 (we rank the SRT version, which includes the 6.4 and additional go-fast bits, and the 707-hp SRT Hellcat as separate models). But the standard Charger R/T makes a sensible case with its 370-hp 5.7-liter V-8 while being plenty fleet day to day and more affordable at $35,990 to start. We’d also add:
• Driver Confidence Group (blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, heated exterior mirrors, and a backup camera with rear parking sensors) for $1395
• Super Track Pak (sport-tuned suspension, Mopar cold-air intake, functional hood scoop, and enhanced body kit) for $1205
Together, those options bring the total to $38,590. While we’ve outfitted more luxurious rivals such as the Nissan Maxima and the Kia Cadenza for about the same money, neither can match the Dodge’s Hemi power and muscle-car heritage.