By on July 7, 2011

I have had a love affair with Chrysler that defies logic for years. Back in 1988 my parents had one of the [then] new Chrysler minivans. (Yes, I know a love affair that starts with a minivan has to be unhealthy.) When it came time for me to buy my first car, I had my eye on a very lightly used  1997 Eagle Vision TSi, then came a brand new 2000 Chrysler LHS, the very pinnacle of the Iacocca years in many ways.Large, FWD, competitive. Then Mercedes came on the scene promising to “synergize” the product development and lineup. The plan sounded good and had a promising start with the Chrysler Pacifica and the Chrysler 300 HEMI C convertible concept which looked so hot I wanted to have ovaries implanted so I could carry its children. Ultimately however the production 300 turned out to be one of the bigger disappointments due to its plastactular interior. Since then, Chrysler had been trying to see how many vehicles can be built from the Chrysler 300. Chrysler soon created the EU-only Chrysler 300 wagon, Dodge Magnum, Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger to join the 300 sedan. Problem was; there was only enough cash around for a few nice interiors or half a dozen chintzy boxes. Guess which Chrysler chose?

When the Dodge Charger became available in the press fleet, Michael Karesh and I decided to try one out, read his take here. Prior to its arrival I told myself I needed to keep my expectations suitably low, the last rental Dodge Magnum I drove made me want to put my eyes out. Every car buff has heard about the dreadful interiors coming out of Auburn Hills for the past few years, so I won’t dwell on them. Suffice it to say when the Dodge arrived I told myself as I was signing the paperwork “as long as the interior doesn’t look like a Rubbermaid tub I’ll be happy.” Not only were my expectations exceeded, but they were exceeded by a margin I didn’t think Chrysler was capable of anymore.  One slip behind the wheel and I was greeted by squishy plastics, suitably retro gauges, a leather wrapped steering wheel and a ginormous nav screen.

The only negative I found upon first inspection of the new interior was the large metallic/plastic/what-the-heck-is-that?? trim that dominates the driver’s side of the dash. I appreciate the ­­­­­ retro vibe, but the fit and finish just didn’t seem up to the rest of the interior, which is a pity as other than that the interior is finally, and firmly, class competitive. With every step forward must come a bean counter, and that guy was allowed to ditch the Mercedes style keyfob for something that likely comes with a $2,500 Tata Nano. For shame. At least if you opt for keyless go, nobody ever has to see it except you and the lining in your pocket.

Back on the outside, the familiar brash form of the previous Charger is still there but a tad softer. The Charger still screams “American performance”. The grill is suitably brash and the “Toxic Orange” paint our press loaner arrived in would be perfect in a modern day remake of the Dukes of Hazard. The result is a polarizing one; passengers either loved or hated the look, and that’s important for Dodge’s future: many of their best products in the past have elicited similar reactions from shoppers and I hope that never changes.

One push of the start button and the Charger R/T’s main selling point roars to life: the 5.7L HEMI. This V8 beast cranks out 370 ponies and 395 ft-lbs of twist in a segment where a 268 HP Toyota Avalon is considered near the top of the pack. This feature alone sets the tone for the Charger experience like no other. Balancing out those extra ponies is about 700 extra pounds vs the Avalon. Despite the weight difference, our 4,319lb bright orange tester ran to 60 in 5.4 seconds, considerably faster than the 6.2 seconds we managed in the Toyota Avalon we tested last year. Since Chrysler has not fitted the Charger with a fun-sapping brake/accelerator interlock, burnouts are both easy and deliciously fun.

Balancing out the Delta-rocket style thrust the 5.7V Hemi produces are lackluster seats, hard and narrow rubber on the stock wheels and some unexciting fuel economy. The front seats offer no lateral support what-so-ever as the 2011 R/T’s “Road & Track” package no longer includes the SRT seats like the 2010 package did. The stock tires and wheels which are both narrow and lack grip add insult to the slip-and-slide. Luckily the aftermarket has many a solution for the rubber/wheel issue but the seat upgrade will set you back some serious cash, and keep in mind that modern seats have occupant sensors for the airbag system. It’s a shame there is seemingly no factory solution for this problem. Perhaps less of an issue for buyers is the 5.7L HEMI’s fuel economy. Rated at 16/25, our real world economy varied a great deal more than the Avalon. On a flat highway we averaged 27MPG for a 40 mile journey at 65MPH, but my daily commute up and over the Santa Cruz Mountains pushed our 750-mile average down to 18.9MPG, a commute on which the Avalon had scored a 22MPG average.

As you can imagine with such a larger car, headroom is excellent both front and rear. A lunch time trip with five healthy Americans proved as easy and as comfortable as you can find this side of a Mercedes S-Class. In a car this big, you’d expect a big booty, but the smallish trunk lid foreshadows the decidedly mid-size trunk which at 15.4 cu-ft is 7 percent smaller than a Ford Fusion’s cargo spot and only 15 percent bigger than that of the compact Ford Focus. In general, the full-size car label no longer guarantees large luggage capacity. So on paper, the Charger’s smallish trunk is fairly competitive with the likes of the Toyota Avalon (14.4) and Hyundai Genesis (15.9). Compared to the other ‘mericans, the Buick Lucerne boasts 17 cu-ft, and the Ford Taurus’s ginormous booty will schlep 25 percent more warehouse store bagels in a 20.1 cu-ft trunk. On the flip side, the rear seats fold down to reveal a large pass-thru and the wide and fairly flat rear seats make three baby seats across a tight but entirely doable adventure.

For the last decade or so, Chrysler had been well behind the pack when it came to electronic gadgets and decent navigation systems. Fortunately as we have seen in the new Journey, the tide has finally changed. Even the base Charger SE receives Chrysler’s new uConnect 4.3 system which grafts a 4.3-inch touch-screen LCD to the basic radio features.

The base system allows easier browsing of iPods and USB devices than competitor’s systems without a full featured LCD like Lucerne and Avalon. Anyone stepping up from the SE model (which will be most buyers) will be treated to the uConnect 8.4 system (with an 8.4-inch touch-screen LCD) with or without navigation. Chrysler decided to eschew button proliferation making functions like heated seat and steering wheel controls available only within the uConnect interface. The result is a clean dash that is easy to navigate.

Speaking of that 8.4-inch screen, it’s another completely unexpected feature of the new Charger. At 8.4-inches, the screen is large by any measure and includes nice touches like an oleophobic coating so your fingerprints aren’t visible and a strong backlight making the system very readable even in bright sunlight. The system’s graphics are far more visually pleasing to my eye than the new Ford My Touch system, and unlike MyTouch, the system was incredibly responsive and it never crashed. Menus are laid out fairly logically and the available nav system is as easy to use as any hand-held Garmin. This is entirely because uConnect uses an integrated Garmin system for navigation. Unfortunately, neither Chrysler nor Garmin seems to have made voice commands available for entering a destination, leaving you to risk distraction while manually entering the address on-screen. Also missing in uConnect is voice command of your USB music device or iPod ala Ford Sync and My Touch. Ford’s My Touch may be slow and crash frequently, but its functionality has become the bar by which other systems are measured. In this light, uConnect falls short. To be fair, BMW’s iDrive, Audi’s MMI, and Mercedes’ COMMAND (which cost significantly more) also fall short of the MyTouch system in terms of access to your tunes. My local dealer hasn’t been told what map updates will be like, hopefully they will be easy and cheap like the rest of the Garmin lineup. Checkout our YouTube overview to see uConnect in action:

Speaking of that iPod integration, the system refused to recognize playlists on my iPhone 4, albums on my iPod classic, and it occasionally refused to connect to my 1st generation USB iPod. I am told that Chrysler is working on the software bug but I haven’t heard of any final fixes as of June 2011.

Let’s talk value. With a starting MSRP of $30,395 for the Charger R/T (minus the inevitable cash on the hood), the Charger is the cheapest V8 sedan in America. With the Mustang GT starting only a grand less, depending on the deal you work, the Charger could just be the cheapest new car in America with a V8, period. The green in the crowd will of course deride the gas guzzling nature of high cylinder counts, but I think the cheap V8 theme is something Chrysler should hang onto.

How does the competition stack up? Well, if this was 1971 instead of 2011, there would be more competition in the full-size RWD non-luxury sedan segment. With the demise of Pontiac and the Holden derived G8, the Hyundai Genesis is the only non-Chrysler RWD product in this price range and I’m not sure Charger shoppers are cross-shopping that wannabe-Lexus. Our R/T tester rang in at $38,110 essentially fully loaded with radar cruise control, heated steering wheel, navigation and backup camera. This is about $5,000 off the Genesis’ $43,000 single flavor pricing. Admittedly, the Genesis delivers the promise of greater reliability and a more luxurious interior, but I’d still call the Charger a name-defying good deal.

On the FWD front, we have the V8 Lucerne Super for $42,220. I need say nothing more about the Buick other than: yes, it is your father’s FWD V8 Buick. From the land of the rising sun we have the Toyota Avalon with an interior that is more inviting and an exterior style that is far from polarizing. If you want the car that checks all your boxes but elicits little passion, the Avalon is the perfect $38,645 driveway accessory.

Perhaps the most appropriate competition for the Charger, and the biggest impediment to its success can be found in the Ford Taurus and the Charger’s own cousin, the Chrysler 300C. The 300C is to my eye the better looking vehicle inside and out and in my informal cost comparison is essentially the same price at $38,170 (so much for Chrysler clawing their way up-market). Compared to the Taurus SHO however (starting price of $38,155 and $43,900 when equipped comparably to the AWD version of our Charger R/T tester at $39,328), the Charger lacks the full-size cargo capacity, bevy of electronic doo-dads like massaging seats, voice command of most features and the more luxurious interior of the Ford. Ford’s EcoBoost V6 may also be the superior engine with its broad power band capable of matching our observed 5.5 second run to 60 in the Charger, but it lacks that sultry V8 burble. At the end of the day, while I would probably pay the extra five-grand to step into the SHO, I have to admit a large, soft, RWD sedan is all kinds of fun, and for that reason alone the Charger might finally make sense.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

84 Comments on “Review: 2011 Dodge Charger R/T Take Two...”


  • avatar
    william442

    Gee, this car is almost as “quick” as my 1965 Corvette L76.

  • avatar
    tsoden

    I REALLY want to like this car… but I still stumble with the uncertainty of reliability…

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Nice review, Alex. Sounds like this is at long last a competitive vehicle. Any comments on handling versus some of the competitors you mentioned (including ‘stang, Genesis)?

    PS – massaging seas?

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      The Genesis handles with more precision, but I have to chalk the majority of the difference up to the tires that are standard on the Charger. The chassis is competent to be sure.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I still have a fondness for Chrysler as well, but I’m watching the reliability stats as to whether I will ever buy one again – I WANT to, however.

    Time will tell and I am keeping an eye on them. I like what I see so far and I like the new Charger…a lot.

    A person at work owns a new 300 and it is extremely sharp. I need to find out who owns it so I can talk to him/her.

    • 0 avatar
      SimonAlberta

      This thing about “reliability stats” is all well and good but in my view I think we’ve reached a point where it is becoming meaningless.

      What does “reliable” even really mean these days? The fact is that MOST owners of MOST, no make that ALL, vehicles don’t have too many real problems. By “real” I mean ones that leave you stranded, not “niggles” with air con and electronic doo-dads. If a vehicle starts, goes, steers and stops then it is “reliable” in my book even if there are things that need sorting at each scheduled service or, sometimes, more urgently.

      And no, I don’t think I have low standards. I just think too many people have become so pampered that they can’t tolerate even tiny inconveniences without going ballistic about it and making everything a real drama.

      And even for those unlucky enough to buy a real pup, the actual inconveniences are often small enough (tow truck/loaner vehicle/ride a taxi for a few days, wow…real hardships!) that even they can look back on their “dog” with reasonable positivity as long as the DEALERSHIP looked after them OK.

      For me that is the crux….I would by a SOMEWHAT iffy vehicle as long as I trust the local dealership but I wouldn’t buy the best vehicle on the planet if the local source was known for poor service.

      • 0 avatar

        Tolerance for “niggles” varies considerably from person to person. Some people only care if a car leaves them stranded. Others absolutely don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of taking the car to the dealer for anything beyond a quick oil change.

        I can identify with the latter, as a recent seat heater repair in my Ford Taurus X required two unexpectedly lengthy trips to the dealer which sucked up about five hours of my scarce time.

        For either group, but especially for the latter, I hope to start providing some reliability stats for the new Chryslers soon. We do need more participants with the new Charger and 300.

        To help with the Car Reliability Survey, with just about any car:

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

      • 0 avatar
        tankinbeans

        Count me in as one who would only be t-ed off if the car leaves me stranded. Other things would be annoying, but it wouldn’t be the end of my life to have to wait to get them fixed until the resources became available.

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’m not sure that anybody considering a Charger R/T is also cross-shopping an Avalon or Lucerne…

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    Other than the Fugly side scoops (what were they thinkin’?) and the ass end which looks like J-lo after a 6-month long binge on cheesecake, brownies and Haagen-Daz, the design is fine….geesh what a hideous vehicle.

  • avatar
    PintoFan

    Although I understand that they might technically be in the same market segment, comparing an Avalon or any other generic FWD slush machine to this car makes no sense whatsoever. Your average Avalon buyer wouldn’t get anywhere close to this car. Same thing for your Charger buyer, they aren’t looking for beige. They both fulfill desires that are on almost complete opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • avatar
    DPerkins

    What DOES a nice interior really cost (the manufacturer)? Anyone inside the business willing to give us an idea?

    It seems that manufacturers are willing to place thousands on the hood to sell cars, but are unwilling to put money into the one thing that customers/drivers see each and every time they drive the car.

    • 0 avatar
      AKADriver

      There have been entire books written on that subject, but basically, it had to do with the corporate culture at the big three, GM and Chrysler especially. They would design a car for price point X, spec’ing competitive materials and quality. The project managers then had incentive to “find” ways to drop the production cost a few hundred bucks by cheaping out on things that couldn’t be quantified on a balance sheet, like interior quality; they’d look like heroes to upper management for apparently creating cost savings from thin air. Then when the resulting ugly product needed cash on the hood to sell, they could blame it on marketing, because the car was competitive “on paper”.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1 – exactly. It just seems such a no brainer to have a good quality interior.

  • avatar

    I agree with EVERYTHING you said here.

    The only real competition to the Charger is the 300c from a value/performance/comfort standpoint. The Genesis doesn’t even come close.

    I feel that the Uconnect system is actually a very good system which only needs a few updates. It is actually far better than the newest version of Sync on the Ford’s which is currently in recall for defective screens and software.

    Wait till you see the newest Uconnect in the 2012 SRT8! It offers a suite of performance data that virtually no other car on the entire market offers. That’s why the 2012 SRT8 will be my next car – trading in my current SRT8.

    I have a Charger R/T review on Youtube too.

    I reviewed the smaller, base Uconnect system in my SE Charger video. I was so excited about the technology, I felt it was prudent.

  • avatar
    obbop

    I am far, far, a galaxy away from being a pro car reviewer but pondering the word amount devoted to describing storage room comparison in the trunk how about comparing the available space between the Charger and a Mack dump truck?

  • avatar
    Junebug

    I like this car, I love the color, it’s nothing like the Pukes of Hazard orange. But, I’m holding out til next year for the 8 speed trans I’ve heard was coming and I’d get that new v-6 instead of the Hemi anyway. I wish, and I hope, they make a version that doesn’t try to be nascar racer. I mean, it’s a big 4 door car, make it handle of course but not ride like it’s a 2 horse wagon. Why in God’s holy name do companies think every car has to compete on the Autobahn? Somewhere between the 1966 Buick duece and a quarter, and the BMW M5, there is a happy medium where you can drive a long trip and not get pounded like you’re racin at Bristol. I know, 16″ wheels, tires that aren’t rubber bands, seats that have a little padding. Anybody else got lower back issues?

    • 0 avatar
      zenith

      Agree on the tire issue.
      Another aspect is that governments aren’t cleaning roads like they should and there’s a lot of junk out there to run over.
      A 70-series tire does a whole lot more toward saving that expensive rim than does a 40- or 50-series.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Yeah. My MX5 doesn’t like my lower back, either – or is it the other way around? Keep a hand towel rolled up in the car – it works. Believe it or not, that’s the main reason I got rid of my 1996 Ranger and bought my Impala!

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      Ummmm, hey guys, the old man cars were mentioned in the article… the Buick, the Avalon, etc. Take your pic, the comfortable V6 big sedans with nice soft riding 70-series tires are all over the place. Even Dodge will sell you a Charger with wimpy wheels, high profile tires, and a V6. Or even a V8, the “base” RT comes with the same rims for those of you with bad backs.

      The rest of us can pay extra for a real muscle car with those awesome rims and low profile tires so we can pretend we are on the autobahn, or in Hazard county!!

  • avatar
    pb35

    Alex, how did you find the 5spd transmission? Other reviews I’ve read feel that 5 speeds aren’t enough. This car is 3 speeds away from me trading my 7 year old G35 for a new R/T. I grew up in a Mopar family but never lusted after a new one till now. I bought my first new car in the late 80s so I was a Ford guy for a long time.

    BTW, since you mentioned Buick, I was browsing their site on Sunday and they compared the Lacrosse to an “Infinity.” A pet peeve of mine since I own one. Ridiculous!

    • 0 avatar
      Alex L. Dykes

      Personally I think the 5 speed is OK for the V8 but not the right dance partner for the V6. I have to say that while the 5 speeds are fine, it’s the way the Merc tranny shifts that I have a beef with. The shifts are lazy. Slap the 6-speed ZF that Jaguar uses and 6 would be better than the 8-speed units I have driven. The problem with the ZF 8s is that there are finally too many gears for the driver with “sporty” intentions.

  • avatar
    Z71_Silvy

    This car blows the Taurus SHOW right out of the water. And once the Taurus SHOW gets the failed MyFord Touchy system, there is no point in comparing them. MFT will be the downfall of the “new” Taurus (along with the terrible looks with the Toyota inspired grille).

    And 19MPG with the PROPER V8, RWD Charger is fantastic. Despite Ford’s dishonest marketing arm, A V6 that gets V8 mileage is not economical. In real world driving from real people, the Taurus SHOW gets 16-18. And with the future repair and maintenance costs with the Taurus SHOW, the only logical choice is the Charger. Better interior, MUCH better exterior, a PROPER infotainment system (“proper” meaning it functions), and a proper price, it’s clear that the Charger is the best large sedan in America.

    • 0 avatar
      MikeAR

      That’s twice I’ve agreed with you lately. I don’t like your relentless Ford bashing but comparing the SHO and the Charger, there is no comparison. The Charger is the much better car and a relative value compared to the Ford. I do think that Dodges in general are priced a few thousand higher than they ought to be though. It is a shame about the crappy seats in the new R/T, if I were in the market, I’d look at an 09 or 10 model. I kind of like their looks a little better anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The person who is interested in the SHO isn’t going to be the same one interested in the Charger. Despite being similar in size, price, and performance, the cars really are very different in mission and overall execution.

        Ford benchmarked the Audi A6 for the new Taurus, and while the Taurus isn’t a luxury car, the focus on the SHO is refinement, technology, and comfort vs. the Charger which is more of a traditional red blooded muscle car.

        The SHO will give you a quieter cabin, more technology and comfort/convenience options, and a smoother powertrain with an engine whose sweet spot goes from 1,500 rpm to redline. The Charger will give you that sweet V8 burble, more aggressive styling, and the possibility of smoky tail-happy RWD handling antics.

        I find it interesting that the now-Italian-owned member of the D3 is the one producing the most traditionally American of cars, but I’m glad that Chrysler is keeping the legacy alive, and the devotees of big cheap RWD power are likely grateful as well. As far as what car is best, it will really depend on the individual buyer.

        The SHO has serious performance chops (in the recent LAPD testing regiments the EcoBoost Police Interceptor, which is basically a Taurus SHO, scored the quickest lap times out of the tested vehicles) but the Charger is probably more ‘fun’. The SHO, with its larger trunk, standard AWD, greater refinement and larger list of luxury options is probably more livable day to day, but the Charger has a more edge, primal, soul-stirring personality that some may prefer to quiet, understated performance.

      • 0 avatar
        MikeAR

        Nullo, I agree with you too. The Charger happens to be more what I like in a car. If I needed a 4 door car, the Charger would be my only choice. Rwd with a V8 and fun to drive can’t be beat. The thing is that I don’t really care about interiors except seats so I would most lilely look at the previous generation used.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      Almost 19 MPG? That’s astounding! As I was reading that paragraph, I was expecting something like 8.9 MPG, not 18.9.

      22 vs 19 in the real world? I’d gladly take the 15% hit in MPG for the 1,000% increase in smiles. At $4 a gallon, that’s less than $200 a year difference for my wife’s <25 mile commute and even less than that for my shorter commute.

      I am really liking the Charger. At first I had an allergic reaction to them because they had two too many doors but I've come to accept that the world doesn't want intermediate & fullsize 2-door hardtops anymore and can appreciate them for what they are and I love them – kick-ass anarchy machines that you can haul a family around in or take your co-workers to lunch in and not have to apologize and make excuses.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      M/T got 19 mph in the SHO they tested. That’s borderline miraculous for a car that big with that kind of performance envelope.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Sorry Z71,

      I simply cannot agree with you that this blows the Taurus out of the water. My dad purchased the SHO last summer, and here’s the key: it’s AWD! There is no way you can effectively get that much power to the pavement with RWD in anything other than perfect conditions.

      Yesterday here in Seattle, it was dry, sunny, and the warmest day of the year so far (perfect conditions). This morning, 58 degrees, overcast, and a light mist (causing the usual traffic slowdowns for inexplicable reasons) which makes it very dangerous to drive a high-HP RWD beast. It’s one of the reasons I sold my 1971 LTD with the 429 (about 300hp net). It was just too easy to get sideways in the thing.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        The Charger comes with AWD too.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Modern traction and stability controls take the skill requirement out of driving a high performance RWD car in light mist. AWD is available in the Charger anyway.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @CJ:

        Most folks who buy AWD for these cars don’t do it so they can handle a light mist. Try this car with, say, four inches of wet snow on the ground – the average Corolla driver laughs at that, but you won’t be able to get this Charger up a mild hill without four or five friendly guys to push you. Ditto for big-engine Challengers, Mustangs, and Camaros, not to mention BMWs and Benzes without AWD – they’re all borderline un-drivable around here during the winter. Even the cops park their Crown Vics and Chargers, and break out the Impalas and Tahoes.

        AWD definitely pays off in climates like the one I live in.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Damn. I actually agree with a CJinSD post. And besides, half the fun of this much power is kicking out the rear. AWD kills all the fun, sucks more gas, adds cost, complexity, and weight.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Some of us really *like* getting sideways at times.

        I really want this car. I love the homage to the ’69 Charger (my first car and the prettiest thing Mopar ever built). I love the Hemi and the value proposition of this thing is perfect.

        I really, really want to love the Taurus SHO, but the damn thing leave me cold. The interior is claustrophobic, the styling is too busy, the reat sight line is awful and it’s too expensive. It strikes me as overdone. And, for the record, no one really needs AWD. I do just fine up in the country with V8 RWD and four Blizzaks, haven’t gotten stuck yet.

        And, to say it again because it needs saying, we need classic American-style cars. I just got back from vacation in Scandinavia and I saw an incredible number of American cars on the road, both old and new. I saw a lot of 300Cs, big pickups and Mustang GTs. With gas at about $8.50/gallon, that shows how much these cars resonate with people.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      But the Charger dosen’t come with ecoboost! Whatever thats supposed to do.

    • 0 avatar
      Z71_Silvy

      I forgot to add…AWD is for people who cannot drive.

      Ha…look at that…another HUGE mark AGAINST the gimmicky SHOW.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        I strongly disagree. AWD with a manual tranny and studded winter tires is all kinds of fun on snow and ice. You simply cannot drive at the limit all the time like that on public roads in the summer. FWD and RWD with the aforementioned setup is still fun, but so much slower to accelerate out of the corners.

        Good review, though I’d like to see some pics that encompass a more complete view of both the interior and exterior. It would be nice to see the “large metallic/plastic/what-the-heck-is-that?? trim” in the context of the entire dash layout. The pics provide interesting views, but I can’t tell whether anything actually looks good or bad without a broader perspective.

  • avatar

    The one thing I hate about the 300 and Charger is that there are no dedicated buttons to activate heating or ventilation unless you go through the touch screen. Why the hell was it neccessary to put the memory settings on the door? Why didn’t they do what Mercedes did in the S550 and put the seat climate buttons up here?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    The Charger and 300 were terrific cars before the redesign (assuming one could handle the chintzy interiors), but these are the complete package. Here’s the problem: that Hemi, as sweet as it is, is going to be a tough sell with gas prices being what they are. And that’s a goddamn shame.

    In the end, I think Chrysler is going to have to do what Ford did with the Taurus SHO, and do a boosted V-6.

    How about a test of these cars with the new Pentastar engine?

    • 0 avatar

      The Pentastar Engine is a great choice for these cars. I’ve driven it. Rides smooth, quiet and doesn’t have the higher fuel costs.

      Problem is, with the Hemi and SRT8 out there, you don’t want the V6 and most people will be willing to pay more for the Hemi just to have more power and more features. I’m currently spending about $60 a week on my SRT8 which returns (me) about 10mpg. The new SRT8 will have better mileage thanks to cylinder deactivation, but, that fuel cost isn’t gonna stop them from selling out as soon as they make it into showrooms.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        @bigtruck:

        If all you’re spending is $240 a month to feed that beast, your commute must not be very long.

        Yeah, the SRT is a hoot. I drove one a few years back, and when I opened it up for the first time, it was pure NASCAR – I swear I could hear Robert Duvall telling me “rubbin’, son, is racin’.”

        The good news for Chrysler is that you’re probably right – the new SRT model will definitely have no problem finding buyers, and they won’t care how much gas the thing uses. The bad news is that the buyers for the more basic models will definitely care.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      From what others have posted the SHO has the same fuel economy as the V8 R/T (at around 19mpg) so why would Chrysler need to change?

      • 0 avatar
        srogers

        The SHO gets 20 mpg combined, an AWD Charger gets 18. That’s a 10% difference, and can make or break a vehicle as we head on into this decade of expensive gas and CAFE standards.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    I like it and I love the new rear treatment, the whole full width tailight thing. My only issue is the small trunk for such a big car. The Charger has a 15 cu ft trunk while the Avenger has a 13 cu ft trunk. The difference in their interior volumes is only 4 cu. ft. When I buy a big car I want it to be big inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      patman

      This is a problem with just about every sedan these days – rear overhang is apparently a crime so trunks can’t have much length to them anymore. It’s somewhat made up for by decklids being so much higher but what space there is is hard to get at because of tiny openings – narrow because of the fender structure wrapping around for rear collision strength and short because of the fastback rooflines.

      The difference between our current Impala and our previous LeSabre is remarkable and the difference between either of those and any of my family’s old Volvos is astounding. The LeSabre may not have been any bigger in the trunk by the numbers than the Impala but I could get much larger items in it due to the long and wide lid with much larger and accessible opening and it much easier to pack with luggage or packages than the Impala. The Impala you have to feed items through the modest opening and then crawl halfway in there to arrange them – I don’t mind compromises like that in my Mustang, but in a family sedan, it’s annoying. With the eminent demise of the Panthers and passing of the LeSabre & Park Avenue, we may never see a real sedan trunk again.

      • 0 avatar
        Educator(of teachers)Dan

        That’s my only beef with the Malibu. The trunk is actually a decent size, but the opening is a mail slot. I know when car shopping I’m going to have to bring my golf clubs along just to see how easily they will fit in the trunk.

      • 0 avatar
        salhany

        That’s why I’d love to see the 5 door hatchback “sedan” make a comeback here. Skoda offers the Octavia in such a form, and Chrysler did long ago with the Dodge Lancer.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      It’s not that small. I had no problem putting a lot of big items in the trunk of my ’08 Charger and my ’10 Challenger. I took home a 40″ TV set in my Charger’s trunk with no problems, and got a couple of speakers in their boxes in there, along with a DVD player, without flipping down the seats. My friend has gotten into the trunk of his 300 to work on the stereo, without a problem, and he’s huge.

  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    Glad I got the Holden errr Ponti while I could.

  • avatar
    windswords

    “Problem was; there was only enough cash around for a few nice interiors or half a dozen chintzy boxes. Guess which Chrysler chose?”

    Problem was; there was only enough cash around for a few nice interiors or half a dozen chintzy boxes. Guess which the Daimler overlords chose?

    There, fixed for it ya.

    Now that Chrysler has more autonomy (Sergio doesn’t micromanage) and a partner that actually values them they will not build cars with those horrible interiors. Even when Cerberus had them the first thing they did was to start to upgrade them. This isn’t rocket science – unless you’re Daimler.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Getting a better quality dash but losing the comfortable and supportive seats of the previous generation is a pretty big trade off. I think I’d rather have the seats, since I’m usually looking out the windshield but always seated while driving.

  • avatar
    MLS

    “With every step forward must come a bean counter, and that guy was allowed to ditch the Mercedes style keyfob for something that likely comes with a $2,500 Tata Nano. For shame. At least if you opt for keyless go, nobody ever has to see it except you and the lining in your pocket.”

    Huh? Having rented a 2011 Charger, I find the new keyfob far more upscale than that offered with the previous generation. (That companywide design was saddled with rubbery buttons and several obvious “blanks” where the optional power sliding door/liftgate buttons would be on a minivan’s fob.) To my eyes, the 2011 keyfob is more than acceptable for the Charger/300’s price point: though there are still “blanks,” they’re better integrated and therefore less obnoxious, and the genuine metal on the Dodge badge and at the base of the fob are nice touches. Which competitor offers something better?

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Dear Lord, don’t let my wife see this car. She’s already been haranguing me about one since one of her coworkers got a Hemi Charger last year. She loves the color orange on everything, and this would be a real bad omen for my bank accounts…

    Now, a Challenger in this color, could be a whole different story…

  • avatar
    salhany

    Why all the comparisons to the Avalon? I can’t imagine two cars less similar. No one’s cross shopping one with the other.

    I really have never warmed to the Charger/300 cars. Bad visibility out due to those idiotic tank sight windows and high beltline, brash and obnoxious styling that to me screams “I am profoundly insecure about my masculinity,” poor gas mileage and spotty reliability. I fully understand that they sold very well at first so my opinion is in the minority, but I’ll take a pass on these things.

  • avatar
    cdotson

    “…the Charger could just be the cheapest new car in America with a V8, period”

    If you constrain this statement to “cars,” you may be correct. The cheapest vehicles in North America with RWD and a V8 have been trucks for years.

    The Ram 1500 Express is a regular cab, short-box 4×2 pickup with the 5.7L Hemi that starts at $22,855. You can configure a Ram 1500 ST 4×2 regular cab/short-box with an optional 4.7L V8 for as low as $20,095. Sure, they’re more spartan than the Charger and lack techno-wizardry, but honestly how much is the typical RWD/V8 buyer willing to pay for those items?

    And THAT, B&B, is my theory as to why trucks have always been popular amongst those (like myself) who don’t truly “need” a truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Ian Anderson

      The good part about trucks? Good luck blowing up that solid rear axle compared to the LX car’s IRS. On all other counts, my dealers don’t stock cheap V8 Rams, so bring on the Hemi Charger! And I’m far from a Mopar guy.

      This or a Coyote Mustang… I’ll have to decide in five years…

      • 0 avatar
        BigOldChryslers

        I thought that the RAM1500 came standard with IRS with the latest redesign?

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        The current Ram has a solid axle located by trailing arms and a panhard bar with the weight supported by coil springs. This was a shift from the solid axle being located by leaf springs. Oddly, I’ve seen Chevy pickups from 40 or 50 years ago that had coil springs and trailing arms, but the press pretended that Chrysler had pioneered coil springs on pickups.

  • avatar
    kkop

    I rented a 2010 Charger, and must say I loved it, chintzy interior or not.

    The Charger is one of the few cars that let tall drivers adjust all of the important variables to reach a good driving position (seat, steering wheel tilt and telescope). If the 2011 is similar in that respect, I will seriously consider buying one.

    The only downside is that once I have the seat adjusted for my 6’4″ frame, I can’t rest my arm anymore since it now rubs the B-pillar :-( A two-door Charger would be nice, but I guess that’s what the Challenger is for.

    Small price to pay though after suffering in just about every other sedan (and many trucks) on the market. In most, there’s not enough leg room, and with the new fad of flaring center consoles, no more chance of splaying legs to avoid hitting steering wheel.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil

    I prefer the previous body style. The slash on the flanks seems out of place. I liked the previous rear end more too. Small problems, It still looks plenty hot.

    Its nice that they spiffed up the inside tho. Since this is where I would spend most of my time, it would help if its interesting to look at and easy to use.

    I was in my friends ’08 stang gt california convert recently. I was suprised how poor the execution of dash was. The seats were OK tho. I was suprised that the shaker system sucked. It was loud but really inaccurate. Sounded like a cheap loud boom box. How is the radio on this car? Yes, I know, the sound of the engine is wonderful, but i occasionally like other forms of music.

    Great review, BTW. “the Chrysler 300 HEMI C convertible concept which looked so hot I wanted to have ovaries implanted so I could carry its children”. HAHAHA, not exactly the first thing that popped into my mind, but close…

    • 0 avatar
      bunkie

      Are you really surprised that a sound system with the moniker ‘Shaker’ sounds like a boom box?

      Then again, a convertible makes for a lousy listening room so what does it matter?

  • avatar
    kumardip84

    The Charger is one of the couple of autos that let tall drivers adjust all the vital variables to reach a very good driving position (seat, steering wheel tilt and telescope). If the 2011 is related in that respect, I’ll seriously look at acquiring 1.

    Mobile Mechanics Perth

  • avatar
    potatobreath

    I wonder when Chrysler will put a manual transmission in this thing.

  • avatar
    derek533

    Personally, I think the new Charger is one of the sexiest looking vehicles on the road today two and four doors included. Just something about the taillights as well as the side treatments. It just is pleasing to my eyes.

    I’ve sat in both trim levels and honestly thought the seats were pretty decent to be honest.

  • avatar
    info@carsinpedia.com

    I saw one on the highway recently and I think the redesign was well done and makes this a very attractive car. I think the car is more attractive than the old one.
    The best line…”which looked so hot I wanted to have ovaries implanted so I could carry its children”…. of a great review,

  • avatar

    This review has no comment at all on handling.

  • avatar
    pg123456789

    We need more RWD cars like this.

  • avatar
    Lee

    For what it’s worth, the 300 Wagon was sold in Australia too.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    I have never considered buying a Dodge, and this vehicle does not change that for me. It isn’t Dodge’s fault either. They have almost always been a viable choice. Their pluses and minuses have rarely made them either desirable nor detestable.

    The car stands out in a good way. But it does not look like what the sticker price says it should. I would not pay that.

    While I recognize the need to make a profit and that one of the best ways is to raise the prices of a car, my image of Dodge does not merit the price.

    This Dodge costs too much.

  • avatar
    Keith Tomas

    Um, I’d cross-shop a Genesis over this. The Genesis is much better-looking and has above-average fit and finish. Oh, yes, a very competitive V-8 engine. The Charger concept simply does not work as a four-door, at least not to me. And still world-class ugly from certain angles.

  • avatar
    welshy411

    This car is a fantastic performance bargain and overall value.
    It drives like a BMW or Mercedes (after all it is on the E Class chassis). The V8 models (RT & SRT) have the 5 speed automatic Mercedes unit that has been around for 25 years now and is a highly reliable and durable transmission capable of 300,000 miles or more provided it is maintained.
    I own a 2005 Dodge Magnum R/T since new and it is far more relaible and dependable than my last three japanese vehciles were. My two Acura TLs (04 & 06) were quite problematic with transmission, power steering, brakes, and so on, our 2005 Nissan pathfinder was the worst vehicle I ever owned. It was at the dealer every few weeks after it hit 57,000 miles. So for those of you who make statements about relaibility, Consumer Reports rated the Japanese cars I had as stellar, yet they were full of problems, and they rated my Magnum as average and it now has 132,000 trouble free miles. Not only that, but my front struts lasted until 124K, brakes lasted to 95K,and teh front ball joints were replaced at 90K and that is all that has required replacement thus far.

    Consumer Reports only has a response rate of 8% so hardly a relaible resource.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributing Writers

  • Jack Baruth, United States
  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Vojta Dobes, Czech Republic
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Cameron Aubernon, United States
  • J Emerson, United States