By on May 11, 2011

So I’m driving a $69,000 Cadillac CTS-V, and it makes me wonder—if you can only spend half as much, how much performance do you sacrifice? And if you can spend twice as much, how much can you gain? Today, the first question. If you’re seeking a V8-powered, rear-wheel-drive sedan, but have a budget in the mid-30s, the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T is your only option.

For 2011, Dodge has excised the aggressive chunkiness from the Charger’s exterior, substituting smoothly flowing curves. Scallops in the hood and bodysides provide a link to the classic 1968-70 car. The sedan’s face remains suitably menacing, with a large, protruding crosshairs grille. This face notwithstanding, the new Charger is prettier, and less distinctive. Though the 199.9×75.0×58.4-inch exterior dimensions remain about the same, the new car looks longer, with too much visual mass for $995 of bright red paint. The no-extra-charge metallic gray of the tested car much better suits the big body. Even so attired, the Charger lacks upscale aspirations—that’s the related Chrysler 300’s territory. Instead, the Charger’s achieved intent is “four-door muscle car.”

The same is the case inside the new Charger: more flowing lines, limited luxury. The silver patterned trim plate that spans two-thirds of the instrument panel has a retro vibe, though the materials and workmanship here and elsewhere in the interior are mostly up to 2011 standards. Some switches continue to look and feel cheap, and some elements lack finesse. For example, why is the hood over the instruments a couple inches thick? The entire instrument panel could be much more compact with no loss in functionality. The graphics on the 8.4” touchscreen are unusually large, good for usability but not so good for a refined appearance. The best part of the interior: the attractively styled, comfortably upholstered door panels. The most disappointing: the $3,000 Road & Track package no longer includes the aggressively bolstered seats from the SRT8. Instead, synthetic suede center panels have been added to the Charger’s minimally bolstered, less enticing standard seats.

The windshield has been laid back a few degrees, and the windows have been enlarged about 15 percent, so the view from the driver’s seat is considerably less gangsta than before. Given the size of the instrument panel, though, drivers under 6-2 will still want to raise the seat, and even then will feel like they’re wearing a car that’s a couple sizes too large. On the other hand, those who shop at the “big and tall” store might find the XXL interior they’ve been looking for. Room is similarly plentiful in the comfortably high back seat. Perhaps because of its encapsulated conventional hinges, the trunk isn’t as roomy as before (15.4 vs. 16.2 cubic feet). Some midsize sedans have more space for cargo. A split folding rear seat remains standard.

The Charger R/T’s standard 5.7-liter V8 kicks out 370 horsepower at an easily accessible 5,250 rpm, and sounds good while doing so. Torque: 395 foot-pounds at 4,200 rpm. A far cry from the CTS-V’s 556 horsepower, but still about 100 more than in the typical V6-powered midsize sedan. Even though the curb weight is up over 200 pounds, to 4,253, this is a quick car, with a zero-to-sixty in the low fives. Impediments to visceral thrills lie elsewhere. Effective soundproofing reduces the sensation of acceleration and responses to the throttle lack immediacy. The ancient Mercedes-Benz five-speed automatic deserves much of the blame for the latter. A new eight-speed automatic, available with the V6 at the start of the 2012 model year and with the V8 at some point in the future, should improve responsiveness and acceleration. A six-speed manual would provide an even more direct, responsive connection, but this option is restricted to the related Challenger coupe.

The Charger’s chassis similarly feels distant and slow to respond. The Road & Track Package didn’t only lose the SRT’s seats this year. It also lost SRT-like suspension tuning. In standard Charger R/T tune the steering feels light and numb. In sharp contrast to the CTS-V and the late, lamented Pontiac G8, where progressive oversteer can be dialed in almost intuitively, with the Charger it’s necessary to dig deep into the throttle to affect the attitude of the chassis. Though lean in turns is moderate, the Charger always feels every bit as large and heavy as it is. Easy to control, certainly, and far from the floaty land yachts of yore, but a satisfying tight connection between man and machine proves elusive. A $400 Super Track Pak, which includes firmer suspension tuning, should help, but how much? Unless this package makes a huge difference, the Charger simply isn’t in the same league as the CTS-V dynamically. Instead, it’s a modern embodiment of the classic large American sedan, complete with a (mostly) smooth, quiet ride. More controlled and capable, but the spirit remains the same.

Ultimately, the Charger R/T isn’t remotely a half-price substitute for a CTS-V. Compared to the Cadillac, the Dodge feels large, soft, lethargic, and disconnected. Whatever was done to make the revised Grand Caravan ride and handle so well needs to be done here, and hopefully will be done for the upcoming SRT. As is, I didn’t much enjoy driving the big sedan. Nevertheless, the Charger does fill a gaping hole in the market. In every way save trunk space it’s a superior substitute for Ford’s Panthers, now in their final months of production. With ample V8 power, predictable handling, a quiet ride, and a roomy interior, the Charger should fill the Crown Vic’s shoes quite nicely. Watch your speed, or you’ll see a big crosshair grille (further enhanced with flashing lights) in your rearview mirror often.

Bryan Galczynski of Suburban Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep in Novi, MI, provided the car. Bryan can be reached at 248-427-7767.

Michael Karesh operates TrueDelta, an online source of automotive reliability and pricing data

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101 Comments on “Review: 2011 Dodge Charger R/T Take One...”


  • avatar
    mtymsi

    My only comment on the new Charger is I really like the new styling which considering I thought the previous model had horrid styling is a huge improvement.

    • 0 avatar
      twotone

      These are popular “un-marked” cop cars here in Colorado. I look carefully before passing one.

      • 0 avatar
        Advance_92

        My Charger checklist goes like this:
        Steel wheels with trim rings? Cop.
        Stock alloys and illegal tint? Cop.
        Works in every state I’ve encountered Chargers so far, though I haven’t been too far south where tint is more common.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      I like the previous taillights and doors better.

      The new one just doesn’t look quite right trying to Frankenstein the sides of the classic 1960s Charger with cut-down overhangs and the new corporate face.

  • avatar
    jaje

    I love this idea of comparing a 30k to a 65k to a 120k sedan to see the performance envelope. I’ve always been a proponent you don’t have to spend a lot to get a fun to drive car. You don’t need a lot of power to have fun.

    I thought the Charger and 300 were built off a Benz platform so the poor handling / brakes / feel is surprising. I did test drive a charger with the small v6 years ago and was very disappointed at the power, weight and tiny windows making it hard to see out of.

    • 0 avatar

      Not so surprising if you’ve driven a recent E-Class…

      • 0 avatar

        I agree with you Mike when you say the E’s steering is dead on center and a few degrees off. But, do you think that’s because Benz drivers are always distracted and they want to ensure we don’t drive out of our lanes? It feels deliberate to me.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      The LX chassis has always been Chrysler – it actually owes about as much to the French as the Germans. As the Renault 25 begat the Eagle Premier, which in turn was a huge engineering inspiration for the LH chassis. And, if I’m not mistaken, there’s elements of the LH (which was conceived to be compatible with AWD and RWD) in the LX. Benz’s contribution pretty much amounts to some suspension bits, the 5-speed automatic, the 4matic AWD system, and some interior components.

      • 0 avatar
        M 1

        The 300, at least, was basically a re-bodied E class. As a matter of fact, the parts that weren’t Benz are the parts you list: suspension, trans, cosmetics.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        No, the LX was not a rebodied E-Class. Maymar is right: the Daimler donations amounted to the rear suspension, five-speed AT, turn signal stalk, and relentless decontenting. Most of the car was already done before the DCX marriage.

        Many lazy journalists, more than a few Mopar fans, dealers and Chrysler itself played up the Benz angle for a few years. It’s not done so much now, partially because of the messy divorce, and partly because most people know that recent Benzes, well, suck.

  • avatar

    Not too bad, has an improved front face with a nice agressive stance.
    The interior is a vast improvement from the Rubbermaid interiors of years past although the nav screen seems too large IMHO.
    Perhaps it’s the camera angle but if the view looking forward is an improvement over the previous model, then I can only imagine how bad it must have been.
    The Charger is the kind of car that looks a lot better in RT trim then it ever would as a plain old sedan.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    The Truth About Chargers is that I’ve never gotten used to the 4-door design, and their interiors strike me as cold, hard, and plasticene.

    I didn’t know the transmission was a vestige of the bad old Daimler days. Dumping that will be a good thing.

  • avatar
    garythompson

    I kind of liked the old styling because it was distinctive, the new version has a profile like a four door Mustang. Maybe Ford should copy it…

  • avatar
    aspade

    I was impressed when I looked at this at the auto show. The only thing I really hated about the last gen was the shallow greenhouse. The 2011 certainly isn’t good in that regard but it’s much closer to tolerable. And it remains roomy with a big motor.

    If I were going to buy a sedan today it would be this or the Genesis.

  • avatar

    I didn’t include a pricing analysis in this review because the Charger has no direct competitors. But if you have something you’d like to compare it to, that can be done here:

    http://www.truedelta.com/prices.php

    Also no reliability stats for the redesigned cars yet. How soon we have these will depend on how soon enough owners get involved.

    To help with the Car Reliability Survey:

    http://www.truedelta.com/reliability.php

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      Michael, how is reliability on the R/T and SRT Chargers before the redesign? When they cae out I thought they looked terrible but I’ve changed and especially the black SRTs are looking better and better.

  • avatar
    nikita

    You are right about the color, but $995 extra for rent-a-car red? It makes the car look cheap in the picture. Ive also never gotten used to a four door Charger, but Its really the functional replacement for the Polara, as most new Chargers I see are painted black and white.

  • avatar

    Will be interesting to read back2back tests with Holden/Falcon V8s as they are the competition here the last version was trashed for poor front suspension,

  • avatar
    Scott

    Big, heavy, comfy if not very interesting to drive, V8 engine, retro styling – my dad will love this car. But then, that’s the demographic Dodge is aiming at. You couldn’t pay me to drive this thing, or any other two-ton monster, no matter how fast it goes in a straight line.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      I was just thinking the same thing. This the type of car my 70-something year old dad always purchased and would love. Me, not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      From what I’ve seen, the Charger hits two markets: older sedan buyers, and younger guys with money, both from rural or near-rural customers. In a particularly adroit bit of product planning, the 300 hits the same marks, but among urban buyers.

      Or, to be crude, the Charger is likely to have “Daytona” graphics and some NASCAR stickers; the 300 gets aftermarket chrome and dubs.

      I will say, the new 300, in certain colours, is a much, much classier looking car, both versus the Charger and it’s predecessor.

  • avatar
    340-4

    Ah, but this, or the SHO?

    I wish this car came with a stick. That, and the optional red interior, would put this in my driveway. Perfect for blasting across Montana.

  • avatar

    Love the new back. The Front seems pretty evolutionary, maybe a bit too “pickup truck,” but that’s the corporate face, and it’s better than the Mazda grin.

    But the side… I haven’t totally warmed up to the scoop/scallops. it’s like they tried to give it elements from the Viper. Maybe it’ll grow on me. I miss the kickup at the C-pillar.

    Anyway, I think this would make a beautiful 2-door, with clean styling implemented with a few classy retro touches. The Challenger is a bit too something, and I haven’t figured out what yet.

    Also, why all the performance touches, big honkin’ engine, R/T badging, etc., if your only shifting option is two pedals and moving the lever from P to D like your great-aunt’s LeSabre? I’d rather row my own with a slant-six than drive a sporty car with a slushbox.

    • 0 avatar
      SVX pearlie

      The Challenger is a bit too BIG, for starters.

      But then, so is the Camaro, and sheer size doesn’t seem to be hurting that car’s sales.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee

        The Camaro is too big?! That thing is positively cramped compared to the Challenger, and even the Mustang

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        Exterior size … Challenger is 198″ long, Camaro 190″ and Mustang is 188″.

        None of the three are paragons of interior space efficiency, though: the ratio of interior space to exterior length ranges from bad to atrocious, but then that’s not really a primary objective for that segment.

        The Charger is another two inches longer than the Challenger. Interior space is definitely better, but it’s still not particularly efficient — cars nearly 20″ shorter can have similar legroom.

      • 0 avatar
        SVX pearlie

        Thanks, th009. That was exactly my point:

        They’re like reverse-Tardis cars – big on the outside, small on the inside.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I would have preferred if Dodge had aped the dual scallop of the classic car instead of the modern rendition…

    • 0 avatar
      M 1

      Yeah, that side treatment looks like an afterthought. Ruins the whole car.

  • avatar
    salomervich

    The Road and Track package is not basically an appearance package:

    Carger R/T Road & Track has all the Rallye Plus and R/T Plus equipment including:

    •Performance, black leather-trimmed seats with suede insert
    •Unique Exterior with 20-inch chrome-clad aluminum wheels, R/T heritage badge & black grille with black honeycomb insert
    •3.06 Rear axle
    •Road & Track high-speed engine controller

    if you want the handling that has been compared to an M5, you need the Super Track Pack, which includes:

    ■245/45R20BSW 3 Season Performance Tires
    ■Goodyear F1® Brand Tires
    ■3-Mode Electronic Stability Control
    ■Heavy Duty Performance Brakes
    ■Delete Load Leveling and Height Control
    ■Performance Steering
    ■Sport Suspension

    A lot for $400 don’t you think? And it really changes the car. Take a drive and you’ll see.

    • 0 avatar

      I looked for a car with the Super Track Pak, but none were available. It does seem the way to go for someone who cares about handling. This package requires the $3,000 R&T Group. The total price is about the same as last year’s R&T Group, which included the performance steering, suspension, and brakes. But there’s no way to get seats that deserve the “performance” tag. They say the buckets in this car are “performance seats,” but they aren’t.

      The Super Track Pak deletes auto-leveling rear shocks. But these shocks aren’t listed among the standard or optional features. I suspect they’re standard on the R/T, but this isn’t stated anywhere.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I still think the new V6 is a better value. (PS: If Chrysler wants to keep unloading them on rental fleets I’ll gladly pick one up cheap at CarMax in about 24 months. Thank god they ditched that god awful 2.7V6.)

  • avatar
    windnsea00

    I’ve noticed so many brands are sharing that same wiper blade design now!

    I’ve seen this wiper blade on Toyota’s, Camaro’s, Ferrari’s, Fiat’s, etc. I thought it was Toyota’s own design when it first came out on the 2007 Camry, I guess not.

    • 0 avatar

      And now… The Truth About Wiperblades!

      Seriously, though, I know what you mean. When my family purchased its first-ever import-badged car — a 1990 Honda Accord — I was struck by how much thought had given to such a ‘basic’ feature. Different-sized blades to match the sweep of the windshield, mounted to artfully-swept arms, complete with a “spoiler” attached to the driver’s-side wiper to smooth airflow.

      Those wipers were great examples how well-engineered Japanese cars of that time were, compared to their domestic brethren. And that level of attention to detail extended to the rest of the car — something I found shocking, having grown up among J-Cars, K-Cars and the occasional Century or Ciera A-body.

      Now, over 20 years later… well, even Dodges now have import-style wipers, but I still doubt the rest of the Charger is as sublime and smoothly integrated as that ’90 Accord was (to be fair, I doubt a 2011 Accord would match it, either.)

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        I had a 1966 Valiant with little spoliers on both wipers. This feature was even described in the owners manual, the intent was to hold the wiper blades to the glass at highway speed.

        Agreed that the mid ’80s – mid ’90s was the golden age for Japanese cars, modern mainstream cars are all pretty much fungible, the Japanese have cut costs and the domestics have upped their game…

      • 0 avatar
        windnsea00

        What drove me nuts was how some passenger wipers would not swipe far enough to the left and would thus leave a large triangle for water to drip down. Ford Windstar/Freestar and the last gen Focus are a perfect example.

      • 0 avatar
        fincar1

        And, starting with my 1980 Accord, the wiper arms could be folded away from the windshield when washing the windshield or the car. Lord, I still can’t do that on my 2003 Silverado.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        You could do that on 1960s Beetles already …

  • avatar
    Ryan

    After seeing this model in person, I can tell you my exact thoughts. As I approached from the rear: Wow!?! That really looks great! As I moved my way forward: Ahh, another Chrysler rental car special. Half hearted attempt, if only the rest of the car was as appealing as the classy rear.

  • avatar
    Wheely

    “With ample V8 power, predictable handling, a quiet ride, and a roomy interior, the Charger should fill the Crown Vic’s shoes quite nicely.”

    Ouch. I doubt the designers had that goal in mind.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, I think they very much had this goal in mind. This car was shown to police agencies before it was introduced to the general public. I think Chrysler paid a lot of attention to what police want in a car when developing the new Charger. And what do police want? Something like the Crown Vic, only better.

      • 0 avatar
        John Fritz

        So true Michael. Ford made a mistake abandoning the Panther platform. There still is and always will be a small but dedicated market for these type of RWD cars. With practically all of the design cost amortized, I draw a blank as to why Ford didn’t give the Crown Vic a current overall redesign, offer it with a V8&V6 and keep it in production.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        There may be enough of a market for this type of car — but would it be a viable market for TWO of them? A Panther redesign wouldn’t have been cheap, and in the end most people can’t tell whether their car has FWD or RWD.

      • 0 avatar
        Lee

        Oh, like say, a Falcon or Holden Caprice.

  • avatar
    KitaIkki

    The “Road&Track” package lost the SRT seats and the tighter suspension. What’s left? Just oversized wheels and badges? For $3000?

  • avatar
    kkop

    I drove a rental of the previous generation Charger a few months ago, and was pleasantly surprised on the whole. This must be the last sedan that will fit taller people well. I was able to find a perfect position behind the steering wheel (that telescopes and tilts), even had room to spare with the seat all the way back; couldn’t quite reach the pedals anymore! Can’t remember the last time that happened, if ever. Center console doesn’t cut the shins, like almost every other sedan does.

    The only downside (and I’m surprised this wasn’t noted in the test): If you set the seat way back, you lose the use of the armrest on the door because you’re basically abreast the B-pillar. A two-door Charger would fix that.

    I’d consider buying one if I could find a Dodge dealer that gives a damn. I stopped by before they got the new model in. Name and phone number were noted with a promise to call when one was available for a test ride. That was the last I heard from them… Business must be very good?

  • avatar
    mjz

    Sorry, but an unacceptably mediocre review for what shouid be celebrated as pretty much the last affordable RWD sedan available in America. You can buy this for the price of a “No-Doze” Camry and Accord with mid-level trim. Would you really drive one of those craplastic cars instead of a CHARGER? How sad.

    • 0 avatar
      Ubermensch

      If you care about resale value, visability, smaller packaging, fuel economy and reliability, yes, you might choose an import over a Charger.

      Just because a car is the only of it’s kind doesn’t automatically give it a positive review. You do know you are on The TRUTH About Cars, right?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        If there was an import vehicle in this price range with similar space and features you might have a point. Well, perhaps you do, if you count the Genesis Sedan, which comes pretty close price-wise. Going Japanese you’d have to step up to the Lexus GS or Infiniti M, and going to Europe for your import won’t do anything for reliability or resale value (actually, the Genesis, Lexus GS and Infiniti M probably aren’t going to have phenomenal resale either given their current sales rates).

        Personally, I prefer the new 300 to the new Challenger. The recently announced Executive trim package with the real wood trim and mocachino leather is the kind of symphony of brown I can really get behind, especially with the gorgeous bronze metallic paint the Autoblog photos show.

      • 0 avatar
        PenguinBoy

        @Nullo – I wonder if the “executive” 300 will become the defacto replacement for the Town Car? In which case both of these will do well with fleets – the Charger with Police, and the 300 Executive with the Taxi companies.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @NulloModo –
        If you want a V-6 Genesis, then the price points are comparable. But if you option up Genesis to match the Hemi Charger engine-wise, you’re talking 43 grand. Either way, though, I don’t think people who are shopping for the “born to be bad” Charger are going to be cross shopping the “born to be generic” Genesis.

        And I’m with you on the 300 – I saw the revised model for the first time the other day and it looks amazing.

    • 0 avatar

      If you care about resale value, visability, smaller packaging, fuel economy and reliability, yes, you might choose an import over a Charger.

      #1 Everyone takes a hit on resale value.
      #2 Visibility has been improved over the older models – but, it’s all about the style.
      #3 If I wanted a smaller car (which I don’t), I’d buy a SMART FORTWO.
      #4 If I gave a damn about gas prices, I wouldn’t own an SRT8 and an S550. I’d buy a PRIUS – LOL.

    • 0 avatar

      These aren’t my only three choices, are they?

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, people who consider the Genesis will cross-shop the 300, not the Charger. And the character of the LXs better fits the positioning of the 300.

  • avatar

    Still a pretty ugly face (although reminiscent of the ’59 Dodge; just not nearly as nicely done), but a much better rest of the body, although the sides are still too high and the windows two slitty in the rear doors. And what is that damn prndl doing on the center console???!

    • 0 avatar
      PenguinBoy

      The prndl thing on the console should be replaced by push buttons on the dash!

      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_ewpEPV7ANWI/SdW_mjwAZSI/AAAAAAAAPNk/6KMscRoah1M/s1600-h/mopp_0905_04_z%2B1964_dodge_440_station_wagon%2Bpush_buttons.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Yeah, “prndl” was the name of some government bureaucrat who overruled Chrysler engineer “rnd21″, who designed the A-727, the first auto that could match the times of the legendary racing Clutchfoot clan.

  • avatar

    “On the other hand, those who shop at the “big and tall” store might find the XXL interior they’ve been looking for. Room is similarly plentiful in the comfortably high back seat. Perhaps because of its ”

    AND THAT’S THE REASON I LOVE THIS CAR…
    http://www1.epinions.com/review/2011_Dodge_Charger_epi/content_539334839940

    As long as you get the R/T package, you get plenty of luxury items without having to spend long. Navigation is standard, heated/cooled cup holders are standard and the new technology suite is BETTER than the newest SYNC package. Can’t wait till I get the new SRT8 300c.

    Only downside is that the SE Charger’s radio is hard to see and ventilated seats aren’t an option on any trim.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    I was a tepid fan of the previous Charger and this one, at least as I’ve seen it in nature, is a big improvement. I really like what they did with the sides and back. That thing has one sweet ass! Now, I haven’t sat in one let alone drive one so I can’t comment on the dynamics, but aesthetically speaking I think Dodge hit it out of the park with this one.

  • avatar
    potatobreath

    I’ve driven the Charger V6 a few times, but I really don’t like the tacky silver/grey instrument surround. It reminds me of aluminum tread plate, but not quite. I also prefer the previous model’s rotary temperature knobs too.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Spend $25K on a used G8 GT or $30K on a used G8 GXP and be in love with your inexpensive RWD scream machine.

    On the drag strips the R/T Chargers make the G8 GT community LOL; it is simply no contest. G8 can hit the traps around 104 to 105 MPH, the R/T Charger 99 to 101 MPH, 1/4 mile times about 3/10 to 1/2 a second better on the G8.

    • 0 avatar

      Seconded. If you can find a G8 GXP, that’s a great way to go. I couldn’t when I was shopping last year, so I went with a CPO first-gen CTS-V, which is a solid alternative for similar money or a bit less — 400 hp, Brembos, 6 spd, and a real suspension.

  • avatar
    Junebug

    Going on 52 years of age I’ve out grown the need to play Ernhardt on the highway. I want a nice 4 door, RWD, car with a comfortable ride, room, and an engine that will git r done IF I need it. This fits the bill nicely. I’ll wait till the new 8 speed auto comes out and then another year to see how that works out. I’m in no rush to purchase but I will be following this car like a blood hound beside a Georgia sheriff!

  • avatar
    geozinger

    My wife’s co-worker has a Hemi Charger and she is impressed with the car to say the least. As much as I would like something with some more space and big motor, I think I still would rather go for a Mustang, Camaro or Challenger.

    As noted in the comments, the new breed of muscle cars aren’t that much smaller than a full sized sedan. I’ve kind of liked the styling of the Charger, but am old enough to remember the originals (my older brother had one back then) and some styling aspects of this car seem too copycat-ish.

    Chrysler has done a good job of updating the car and they deserve full credit for doing so. No one else of the domestic mfrs. is doing anything like this (car), I’m glad to see them making it happen.

  • avatar
    psarhjinian

    On the other hand, those who shop at the “big and tall” store might find the XXL interior they’ve been looking for. Room is similarly plentiful in the comfortably high back seat.

    In an indictment of how badly packaged many cars are, both the Nissan Cube and Versa are about as roomy (the Cube a little more, the Versa a little less). In both those cars I can sit behind myself.

    As a tall person (6’9″, 240lbs) I’ve found that, very often, very small cars are much better “fits”, even in the rear seat.

    • 0 avatar
      geozinger

      @psar: Aren’t we kind of comparing apples to oranges? Not much can beat a FWD layout for seating and cargo efficiency. The Charger and other similar RWD cars still have to package a transmission and live rear axle and/or suspension. A FWD layout doesn’t need the space for the long trans or the more bulky rear end components.

      It’s been about three years since I’ve driven a Charger, but I didn’t think it was packaged all that poorly.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    @Michael Karesh:
    “Compared to the Cadillac, the Dodge feels large, soft, lethargic, and disconnected.”

    I’d say that compared to the Cadillac (CTS-V, I presume), about 99.3% of ALL cars feel soft, lethargic and disconnected. Maybe the Charger is in good company?

    • 0 avatar

      True, but it’s a matter of degree. There are quite a few imported sedans that have a much tighter, more precise feel than the Charger. The Pontiac G8 indicated how an affordable, large RWD sedan could ride and handle with proper tuning.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Obama’s 4 dollar gasoline
    killed the Charger
    Few mourned.

  • avatar

    When I was in the market for a new car after getting rid of my 2011 Turbo Sonata I test drove Ford’s Taurus and Fusion. I tested Buick’s new Regal then I drove a V-6 Charger, three separate times. I then drove the Hemi.
    I now own along with my ’68 Fury and 2k Cherokee a 2011 R/T Charger in Black. I’ve had it for a month now. For 32k out the door I’ve heated cloth seats that I preferred over leather (think summer heat). The car has Nav w/backup camera, 20″ chrome wheels and a 506 amp surround sound stereo. The 8.4 touch screen controls everything from the seat heat to satellite radio to security and lighting options as well as nav. The standard equipment is too much to list here.
    The Hemi is smooth and fast. My average mpg last tank was 20.6 and I get 25-26 highway with just over 2k on the odometer. Honestly, if I couldn’t afford the gas I wouldn’t have bought it anyway. Handling, no doubt the car “feels” big at times, but it’s a big car. Throw it around curves and zip it around highway traffic and you’d swear it feels smaller, nimble with steering that’s accurate, tight and a suspension that soaks up north east Ohio’s potholes nicely. I actually look forward to the drive to work and enjoy the stares and thumbs up as a bonus I didn’t expect. Mostly I enjoy being behind the wheel, listening to the everything from CNN to the Who, feeling the power of the Hemi when I want it and settling back into the seat. It’s no CTS but it’s a great car to be in and I like it’s aggresive looks.
    In my 28 years of driving everything from my first old Plymouth to little Acuras I can say that this car, to me is well worth the price for how much I enjoy it.

    • 0 avatar

      Why’d you get rid of the Sonata?

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        I was wondering the same thing. It’s curious but I have seen no less than 10 1-2K mile 2011 Sonatas traded in at Chevy, Ford and Chrysler dealers in the past month. What is the deal? Are they boring, unreliable, uncomfortable on long trips? They seem like great cars. We checked on all 10 and they were freshly traded in for Malibus, Taurus, Traverse, Chargers, F-150′s etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Patrickj

        Pulling left at highway speed comes up quickly in a Google search for the 2011 Sonata.

        http://usnews.rankingsandreviews.com/cars-trucks/daily-news/100901-NHTSA-Investigating-2011-Hyundai-Sonata-for-Steering-Issues/

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Don’t the turbos Sonatas also spew gasoline from high pressure lines?

  • avatar

    “Why’d you get rid of the Sonata?”

    I’m sorry, I can’t discuss the particulars of the return of the Sonata due to an agreement with Hyundai.

    I can say that I do enjoy the steering and handling of the Charger over cars I owned in the past.

  • avatar
    AJ

    I really like this new Charger. For a four door, everything the previous one should have been. Nice job Dodge.

  • avatar
    steveua

    @CJinSD – he traded it in because of the left pull issue. It is apparently endemic in these cars, especially in the turbos, and it is something Hyundai can’t figure out. Too bad, as they seem like nice cars, and I want Hyundai to do well, along with Kia. The Kia Optima, which shares the same, well, almost everything, does not seem to have the same issues – Kia does have a different suspension, it would seem obvious that therin lies the issue.

    @MK – yes, you really should give the R/T a second go around by driving the super track pack-equipped Road and Track package – it makes a heck of a difference; I’ve owned both 2011 models and the handling differences between the two are night and day – the STP behaves a lot like the G8 with regards to progressive understeer and accuracy. You are not doing the performance cred of the car any justice be driving not driving the STP R/T. STP adds a 13.5:1 ratio steering rack, better shocks, bigger sway bars, better tires, and performance brake pads, and you can turn ESP all the way off if you like (3-mode ESP).

    @MK – what did you think of the seat comfort?

  • avatar

    I just test drove this Charger RT over the weekend because I’m seriously thinking of getting it.
    I think the new styling is a huge improvement over the last model; so much so that I think I want this more than a Challenger.

    All in all, a decent review, but what’s left out is all the TECH that this car is packed with. It comes with more sensors and gizmos than you’d think you’d need. Blind spot detection, rain sensing wipers, hill start assist…it even has rain brake support that warms the rotors to keep them dry. the Uconnect system blew me away, and all but talking to it, is very similar to MyFordTouch. The review also doesn’t talk about how this 370HP Hemi can shut cylinders off in Eco mode to squeek out 27mpg (EPA nums.). I’ve traditionally gotten two points over EPA estimates, so i’m guessing all the highway driving i might do in this car could get near 30mpg. That’s amazing for a car of this size and power. (Not saying other brands don’t, so don’t brand flame).

    Is it gonna be a slolom master? Probably not. But it was incredibly comfortable to drive, civil in town, and when you put your foot in it, oh man does it light up. I hope the new 8spd. tranny will come out soon so I could get that. But if not, the 5 spd. auto is “ok.” Sure didn’t seem any worse than my current 41TE Chrysler trans….which is actually not nearly as bad as its reputation.

    I’m a regular Dodge/Chrysler fan, and I was caught offguard by the new Charger. This car was uncharacteristic of the Dodge name…..because it was so good.


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