By on October 28, 2015

2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8

As I continue the search for the family hauler that is less emasculating than the minivan I currently drive, my eye wanders to hot wagons. Like the Subaru I featured a few weeks ago, a quick wagon looks a bit more “menacing” on the road than a bloated van. It’s likely much more rewarding to drive to boot.

Besides a better drive, other senses can be engaged; for many enthusiasts, a great engine note can trigger primal urges. The sound of a proper #Murican V8 tops the list for many. Personally, I can’t help but turn my head anytime an uncorked HEMI, Coyote, or LS drives by.

That leads us to today’s subject: the 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8.

A limited edition with a 425 horsepower HEMI V-8 rather than the pedestrian 340 horsepower unit, the SRT8 has an undeniable street presence. The leather-clad interior, embroidered with SRT logos, would be great for my spill-prone kids, but less than ideal for those with sharp-clawed dogs.

This one for sale in Texas looks to be the recipient of some clever badge and/or package fiddling, as it carries a “Hemi Interceptor” nameplate and a cruiser-worthy push bar that is sure to scare anyone who dares linger in the left lane. I know there was a patrol version of the Magnum, but I can’t find any records of the SRT8 hitting police departments.

The missing feature that would likely seal the deal on a Magnum for me would be a rear-facing third row of seats, as found in the big old wagons of the ’60s and ’70s (and Volvos thereafter). I have that occasional need to haul a few extra kids or inlaws that makes the seven-passenger capacity of my van so invaluable. Though, having an excuse to not haul in-laws could be a selling point.

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60 Comments on “Digestible Collectible: 2006 Dodge Magnum SRT8...”

  • avatar

    Too bad about interior by Rubbermaid though.

    • 0 avatar

      I had a Durango with the same PlaySkool interior; it is very durable but feels cheap. If you like a refined interior you will hate it; if your goal is durability and easy cleanup (kidproof) you may like it.

      How well that R/T package will hold up with 129k miles already clocked is big question mark.

      • 0 avatar

        I hated the Rubbermaid interior too. Not as bad as the ’00-’06 Impalas but dark, gloomy and plastic fantastic. Felt like you were looking out of Vader’s mask.

      • 0 avatar

        “How well that R/T package will hold up with 129k miles already clocked is big question mark.”

        Right off the bat I’d say the front end will need to be rebuilt, LX cars as with most Chryslers are notorious for chewing through ball joints and tie rod ends like candy. Not too terribly scary or expensive to be honest, but a genuine annoyance. My friend with an ’06 Magnum SXT must have gone through atleast two full rebuilds in the space of a few years before dumping the car. Part of the frequency may very well have been low quality replacement parts. Other than that, the Merc-sourced 5spd transmissions are quite durable, refreshing for a chrysler vehicle which hasn’t had a durable transmission since the torqflite 3spd automatics in the early 90s. The remaining question is then electrics, another notorious weak spot for Chryslers. They’re so bad in fact that beyond the actual wiring issues, the wiring DIAGRAMS themselves from the factory oftentimes have mistakes, making diagnosing and troubleshooting more difficult.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah, I had an ’04 Durango as well and you’re spot on regarding the interior. At least this one is two-tone. Mine was monochrome depressing gray, hard plastic everywhere. Still, I enjoyed that truck.

        This Magnum looks good….I’d take it any day and twice on Sundays over the best minivan. Yeeech!

        • 0 avatar

          I love these SRT8 Magnum’s. Debadge it and its the ulimate sleeper. I normally don’t like the Dark Vadar all black look but this is one car that look perfect completely murdered out as the kids say.

          And as the owner of an ’02 Playskool Dakota I can report the interior is indestructible. Hard? Yes! Boring? Yes! Still looks brand new after many years and miles. YES!

          • 0 avatar

            That interior does hold up well. After 10 years ownership I sold my 05 Durango with 140k and, after a quick wipe down with Maguires, all the tan on tan plastics still looked like new.

            The Hemi & 5 speed autobox are also pretty bulletproof.

  • avatar

    Too bad that it wasn’t redesigned with the Charger and 300.

    Awd with the pentastar V6 would have been nice.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t give a damn what any of the auto “enthusiasts” have to say…

      A redesigned Magnum would have made more sense than the Viper. If it had the Jeep’s power train for 392 HEMI+ AWD it woulda been a MONSTER and sales leader at SRT.

      EVERYTHING I love about my Jeep SRT minus the ride height.

      More cargo space.

      The enthusiasts don’t know D*** about SALES.


  • avatar

    Chris, you might wish to check out whether Audi made a 4.2-liter A6 wagon with rear-facing jump seats. My ’98 A6 had such seats, which were great when my wife and our young daughter went on excursions with another couple and their daughter. The pedestrian 18-valve 2.8l six-cylinder lump was not inspiring (178bhp?) but a later model with a V-8 might do the trick.

    • 0 avatar

      “he pedestrian 18-valve 2.8l six-cylinder lump was not inspiring (178bhp?) but a later model with a V-8 might do the trick”

      The 12V (don’t think they ever made an 18V) 2.8L “Lump” may very well be the most reliable and durable engine Audi has every bestowed upon us. Not the most powerful unit, but in something like an A4 with a stick shift, they are really fun and satisfying to drive IMO, and sound great with a slightly raspier exhaust.

      • 0 avatar

        In the 90S with auto, the 2.8 pulled hard enough, but you didn’t get anywhere at speed quickly. It was geared to shift around 35mph as well, which is annoying on town roads where you’re going between 30-40 constantly.

    • 0 avatar

      The Ford Taurus wagons (I believe through their entire production run) had the rear facing jump seat as well.

      I would imagine tighter safety standards have all but killed these rear facomg jump seats off; though I understand the Fisker had one; maybe it was the last one in production. Nowdays these seats would be required to have shoulder belts and head rests; the jump seats in my Taurus and other station wagons were lap belts only.

      • 0 avatar
        Chris Tonn

        Re: Taurus wagon; it may have been optional, but definitely not standard on all wagons.

        Dad had a ’94 in which I took my drivers’ test. No third row on that one.

        • 0 avatar

          I drove one of these wagons from new in ’87 to when I traded it on a Ford Windstar in ’95. The third seat was useable for small kids, BUT in retrospect, the liftgate was not reinforced (from a buddy who added an intrusion beam to his) and I can’t figure out where the crumple zone was in a potential rear collision. (Probably the foot well.) In short, time to move on to a safer design for passengers 6 and 7.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think the A6 wagon had rear seats in the US for very long. Finding a 4.2 one won’t be easy either.

  • avatar

    “…for the family hauler that is less emasculating than the minivan I currently drive…”

    Men use the right tool for the right job.

    Boys worry about whether they’re “emasculated” by their tools.

    That said, I do wish that there were more variations on the minivan theme. I only have two kids, so our LWB Sienna is a little bigger than we need most of the time — a modernized Mazda 5 which actually included some of the benefits of being smaller (MPG, price) would be better, if it were available. But the Sienna is a better for my needs than anything else on the road — and I did consider the Magnum as an alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      That may have been my driving ennui seeping through. My van is indeed the right tool..that doesn’t mean I can’t dream of other options.

      • 0 avatar

        I have been trying to replace my Sienna for 3 years and can’t find anything remotely as practical for dogs and kids.

        Good luck to you.

        • 0 avatar

          My Sienna is the best tool available for the job. It’s a very good vehicle!

          About the only machine in existence which might be an upgrade for my purposes is a Tesla Model X, but it costs 2-5x as much as the Sienna. Also, I haven’t had a chance to sit in or drive one yet, so it might not be as good.

          Having the right tool for the job does take some of the fun out of precautionary car shopping, though!

        • 0 avatar

          +1 to the both of you.

          The minivan for all its flaws is superior to the fake SUVs championed by the ignorant, and the Sienna is probably the best of those minivan choices.

    • 0 avatar

      I think the best current answer is the flex I have an XC70 with the third row and like it a lot I would think a V70R would be awesome. I don’t really need all the room that a minivan has as I drive 70% of the time alone and My my wifes drives our durango every day so I like something a little better to drive. Also I should note at this point most CUV’s have better driving dynamics then minivans.

  • avatar

    In Europe, Chrysler sold a version of the Magnum as a 300 Touring Wagon with the 300 front clip. Too bad we never got that car here in the US.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Interior aside, this is a very cool car and would make for a great family hauler that certainly is different. Bolt up a nice flowmaster or Borla exhaust and rumble your way through the pick up line at school. A bonus feature would be setting off car alarms in the parking lot…

    • 0 avatar

      Those aren’t the only attributes that are important in a family hauler.

      I looked at the Magnum, but the terrible MPG talked me out of it.

      Also, one of the reviews I read said it “handles like a large American sedan”. After zooming around wallowing GM beasts in my dad’s Honda Accord in the mid-1990s, that struck me as a Very Bad Thing.

      Also, now that I’ve experienced sliding doors, I’m not going back until my youngest can climb into the back seat and strap himself in. Assuming that he stays the youngest. I’d be willing to try gullwing doors, though – and I’ve said many times that they’d be awesome on the Ford Flex – and would solve the 3rd row access problems that made me write it off in favor of a real minivan.

    • 0 avatar

      Plus RWD and mucho torque. God gave us 2 buck a gallon gas just so we could drive cars like this.

  • avatar

    This car was at or near the top of my list years ago, until after close inspection after a test drive.

    The rear hatch hinge is located a foot or so forward on the roof line, so that carrying anything of any length including many roof boxes would make opening the hatch impossible.

    Other than that, see Big Truck’s comments above.

    Viper schmiper. What a waste.

  • avatar

    The cargo area is too small for the proportions, its a little smaller than a Crosstour’s.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    “a rear-facing third row of seats, as found in the big old wagons of the ’60s and ’70s (and Volvos thereafter).”

    Mercedes still has the rear jump seat in the E-class wagon, and I would assume you could find some AMG version without a ton of effort.

    • 0 avatar
      01 Deville

      As a driver of 2001 V70 I have looked into the E500 4-matic wagons, but maintenance is scary. I don’t mind wrenching on cars but some parts and procedures are dealer only and the dealers charge about $200 an hour.

    • 0 avatar

      I believe, for some strange reason, the third row isn’t an option in the AMG E-Class (or at least isn’t on the current generation, so dating back to 2010 or so).

  • avatar

    I can’t get past the Playskool interior, dated front fascia ( compared to the new LX cars) and that it’s more of a form over function vehicle. Still better than a sedan, but you can’t put as much (or much oddly shaped) stuff in the back compared to a “normal” boxy wagon. And compared to a minivan? No thanks.

  • avatar

    Say what you will about Chrysler and their build quality, but they know how to shoehorn a brutal powerplant into a wagon. This is coming from a guy who had a ’96 Roadmaster, by the way. I still remember when I was in my last semester of college in 2006, I was driving to tentative job interviews, decked out in my best threads. On the way back home, I decided to stop by the local Dodge dealer to check out the Magnum SRT8. Between my practiced-all-day polished demeanor, nice clothes and assurance I was looking for a gift for myself, I was handed the keys to one for a test drive.

    Yeah, it was fun.

    What really stands to me was the my head being pressed firmly into the headrest as I realized no production vehicle has any business hitting the city speed limit in about two seconds. When I gave the keys back, I said I’d give it some thought, but I never came back. Now I’ve got the money and the wherewithal, but all these noble steeds languish on Craigslist with assurances of “ran when parked.” Damn shame. That said, I do sincerely believe in the longevity of the modern Hemi and the 5 speed autos they hooked up to these.

  • avatar

    I never really cared for the looks of the Magnum, a real problem that I had with it was the gunslit windows. I saw one w/ limo tint and chrome pillar/door handle accents, and all I could think of was what funeral home did this car escape from!! :-)

  • avatar

    Seems to me as if it’s fashionable to crap on the interiors of these cars as if they were the only ones made with cheap feeling plastic. The last two taxis I was in, a Prius and a Camry, had interior panels that were way cheaper looking and feeling than any LX I’ve ever seen. I had a 2010 and a 2012 Civic. Honda seemed to distract from the cheep plastic by making the design overly busy. Plus, about once a month, I had to disconnect the Hondas’ batteries to get the radios to turn off.

    If Dodge made an AWD Magnum with the 3.6, I’d love to have one.

  • avatar

    You people interested in a used ChryslerCo vehicle are crazy.

    • 0 avatar

      Ajla: Maybe for you. But I’ve owned just about all makes, including some foreign (Toyota, etc). And the most bullet proof were my Chrysler products.

      My current Chrysler 2007 Magnum SXT has 140K on it and it has NEVER ONCE left me stranded. Can’t say that about most of the other car brands I’ve owner (over 20 cars), with FOMOCO being the ABSOLUTE WORST of any of the them. I had a Mercury that I use to flip a coin and state that “Heads, I won’t make it there. Tails I won’t make it back”

      • 0 avatar

        You interested in a’14 Charger RT?

        • 0 avatar

          If I was replacing my Magnum, it would be for a Charger, Ram 1500 or Jeep. I’m fine with a V6, but I wouldn’t turn down a Hemi in a Ram 1500

          Do I want yours? Probably not. I don’t want a Hemi Charger. My 3.5L v6 Magnum is just fine.

          And if it’s “SOOOO Bad”, get rid of it. Go buy a GM or Ford or whatever you want. Just because you have had problem doesn’t mean everyone does!

          Sometimes, it’s the operator and not the vehicle.

          Unlike the Mercury I sunk $6K in over 4 years, or the Lincoln that was a electrical nightmare, or the Ford that had a rear axle self destruct at 10K miles, the F-150XL that had transmission and fuel issues or …..

          • 0 avatar

            It is a bone-stock 11 month old car. What “operator error” could be going.

            And I am getting rid of it the day it goes out of warranty.

          • 0 avatar

            ” Just because you have had problem doesn’t mean everyone does!

            Sometimes, it’s the operator and not the vehicle.

            Unlike the Mercury I sunk $6K in over 4 years, or the Lincoln that was a electrical nightmare, or the Ford that had a rear axle self destruct at 10K miles, the F-150XL that had transmission and fuel issues or …..”

            The learned defense mechanism of ChryCo fans both amuses and scares me. So if someone has a problem with a Chrysler, it’s their own fault, but when you had a problem with a FoMoCo product, it isn’t your fault?

            There’s a damn good reason mechanics all over have such low opinions of Chrysler products. When you turn wrenches on all different makes and models all day year in and year out, you see patterns forming. The wealth of gathered data by many different groups (consumer reports, TrueDelta, etc etc) not to mention the implications of the terrible resale of most Chrysler vehicles confirm the narrative.

        • 0 avatar

          ajla & gtemnykh:

          Getting rid of it after your warranty expires is fine. Lot of people do that.

          As for operator vs vehicle issues. My cars, regardless of make/model receive regular service. And I treat them equally, they are not pampered. They tow trailers, haul loads, etc. I’ve towed WAY beyond my Magnum’s capacity more then once without issue. Including towing a fully loaded F150 with a bed full of scrap metal.

          “The learned defense mechanism of ChryCo fans both amuses and scares me”. You comment that I am blaming FOMOCO and not Chrysler is a joke. If it is a operator issue, the problem would be spread across ALL cars, not just a specific brand/model/etc. I should experience issues regardless.

          However, this is not the case….

          My Chryslers have been bulletproof. Several of the GM cars I’ve owned were very good, But Fords were the absolute worse. That $6K Mercury I owned for four years and drove it all of 10K-11K miles in total over those four years! I average 20K-25K a year. And my Magnum has never once broke down and stranded me.

          Consumers Reports is a joke, I accept ZERO of what they say. I have a washer and dryer that was “recommended” that is a piece of junk and is in a lawsuit with the manufacturer for mold.

          I trust my prior experiences, mechanics I know and trust and what I research. And most mechanics I have worked with state that each manufacturer has their share of problems.

          I trust no review at face value, since they are often biased. I see LX cars doing duty as police cars, taxis, limos, etc locally all the time. Can’t be all that bad if I see them in hard daily use?

          And GM and Ford have great resale value ? Just for fun I ran a Buy from dealer pricing on KBB for a 2009 Dodge Charger SXT (87K miles) stock (no special features) and the fair purchase price is $11,278. A stock 2009 Ford Taurus SEL (77K miles), fair purchase price…..$ 9,281. Impala LTZ with 88K ….. 10,797??? Both are higher trim levels then a SXT.

          Are you going to state that now KBB isn’t right ? I just chose a full size car and the year at random.

          In the end, you buy what you like. If you don’t like Chrysler products, then please, don’t buy them!

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve owned all kinds of cars and lots of Mopars they weren’t the most reliable but they were close plus what you pay for one used they are hard to beat as long term beaters.

  • avatar

    Buy one and have great insurance, because it will end up in a section 8 development before you know it…or across the border.

  • avatar

    I ordered a 2005 Magnum SXT with the 3.5 right after we drove one in Minnesota in the summer of 2004. The design was and still is spectacular (I’ve always liked station wagons) and if Dodge would reintroduce the Magnum we would be in line to order one again. It does need new styling cues from the Charger and Challenger and some swept side wings like the 1957 Dodge!
    Ours performed well with no maintenance issues and was totaled after an female illegal immigrant from El Salvador, driving a POS Sentra, hit the car while my wife was driving to her work. Apparently red lights do not pertain to third-world “drivers” as she was racing down the bike lane to cross the intersection.
    The damage was so intense that the wiring harness system had to be replaced and our insurance company would not pay the cost. My wife was not injured at all.

  • avatar

    Nothing proves your manhood more than raising kids succesfully and caring for animals. Stand up like a man and be proud of the Minivan.

  • avatar

    Couple of things I notice:

    All Mopar police cars that I am aware of came with column shifters. That left room for laptops or other hardware in the center.

    Mopar police cars do not have any police badging on the car.

    Hemi Interceptor badge can be purchased online for $20-$30. Sounds like the person wanted to make his Magnum look cooler

  • avatar

    I had a rented Magnum with the Hemi and AWD combo for one trip. I thought it was cool and drove well. However, visibility out of the car was horrendous with the high belt-line and tiny windows. As a family vehicle, I’ve found this is a real issue. If the little ones can’t at least see out of the side windows in the back seat, they get bored and carsick… just speaking from experience on this one… great idea, poor execution on the Magnum. Lucky I didn’t get hit with clean-up charges by the rental agency.

    • 0 avatar

      My daughter has been in my Magnum since she was about 2. She love it and used a booster seat as she got older. She could see just fine. and if she got bored, she popped in a movie and watched TV

  • avatar

    I’ve had my magnum for 7 years and have 160k on it now, bought it used with 30k. What a great car, probably one of the best cars I’ve owned. The Hemi is great, my kids love it, and I still love driving it. The interior is not the nicest, but it has held up well. The front suspension had to be rebuilt at 100,000, but I would attribute that more to NYC roads than the car. Its easy to work on if there’s a problem.
    The best things I did to it were the Borla exhaust and K&N intake, it sounds great. The best advice buy one that was maintained and not heavily modified. I still have the 18 inch wheels on mine and always replace the 16 spark plugs with Champions. It had Bosch plugs when i bought it and never ran right, i put the stock champions and it ran beautifully. Champion plugs every 30k, and a PCV catch can make all the difference on these early Hemis.
    I plan on replacing this with a Charger when the time comes, but I still enjoy the Magnum.

  • avatar

    Other options:
    Buick Roadmaster up until 1996
    Mercedes E class up until 2001 (not sure about the rear facing seat after that)

  • avatar


    I went to a customer meeting in a colleague’s Hemi mommy rocket some years back.

    A 30 minute ride in the back seat that felt like my kidneys were being turned into a smoothie.

    All the while he was going on about how the suspension bits were sourced by Daimler-Benz and how great it handled.

    It sure felt like the rear suspension was hitting the stops, and if not, it telegraphed every bump in the road straight up my spine.

    Fast, yes
    Fun, Probably
    Comfortable, maybe in the front seat.

  • avatar

    Sounds like you really need a van though. Personally, I’d say screw it and get a mercedes 4×4 sprinter.

    However- Magnums are great. Don’t know why Chryslers are so polarizing. They’ve been good ever since they started sourcing decent transmissions. The interiors may be plasticky on some models but they do seem to hold up well and are well screwed together, at least on the bigger cars and trucks. I can give you my anecdotes which would be about meaningless to you (they’re positive).

    TBH, I’ve had the good fortune never to have a domestic lemon of any make.

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