By on June 2, 2018

2018 Dodge Challenger Shakedown

When the first LX-platform Chryslers appeared in late 2004, buyers who had long grown wary of the automaker’s products took solace in the fact that the new 300 and Dodge Charger/Magnum borrowed so many components from bedmate Mercedes-Benz.

While not a direct carryover, the front and rear suspension, floorpan, and five-speed automatic transmission (among other items) all boasted German heritage. DaimlerChrysler found itself with a hit on its hands. Thirteen years later, after many updates and styling refreshes, LX cars still trundle off Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly line and into the waiting arms of North American traditionalists.

It was long expected that, after FCA hit snooze on a planned 2019 platform swap, we’d see new underpinnings for the old rear-drivers by 2021. Hold your horses, says CEO Sergio Marchionne.

The executive, who revealed the company’s new five-year plan on Friday (sans Chrysler, Dodge, and Fiat), suggests the future Dodge Charger and Challenger might stick with the current platform, albeit in heavily modified form.

Side note: the 300 is all but guaranteed to die, as per earlier remarks by Marchionne.

In the company’s last five-year plan, the LX cars were poised to gain Italian architecture for the 2019 model year, most likely the rear-drive Giorgio platform used by the Alfa Romeo Giulia. Last year, however, Automotive News reported that the Maserati Ghibli’s underpinnings would set up shop beneath the American full-sizers.

That’s a problem, as the Ghibli’s now expected to adopt the Giorgio platform towards the end of the automaker’s five-year planning window. In other words, right around the time the next-generation Dodges roll out of Brampton.

Comments reported by Motor Authority late Friday show FCA has second thoughts about the Giorgio platform.

“We may not necessarily have to go as far as the Giorgio architecture for Dodge as long as we are willing to commit to a significant upgrade to the current architecture to make it competitive,” said Marchionne. “That’s something that’s already started.”

He continued: “Certainly by the time we finish with that architecture, you will not recognize its origins. We may maintain its bare-bones structure.”

Marchionne implied that the Italian platform might not be the best fit for models boasting V8 engines of up to 707 horsepower. “The problem with Giorgio is from size and capability standpoint it reflects much more of a European performance requirement than it does the American heritage of Dodge,” he said.

Without giving a timeline for the revamped platform’s completion, we’re left assuming the 2021 date is still in play. Should FCA go this route, it means the next generation of cars could maintain the current generation’s generous proportions, though perhaps not their weight. A diet seems unavoidable. It’s necessary if FCA wants to offer, say, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with eTorque mild hybrid assist in the future lineup.

Let’s hope the engineers erase an Achilles Heel in the process. Meaning, of course, the Challenger’s dismal performance in the small overlap front crash test.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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142 Comments on “2021 Dodge Charger and Challenger: Out With the New, In With the Old (Platform)?...”


  • avatar
    dwford

    This latest 5 years plan is even less specific than the last one (most of which never happened). Can anyone point to spy photos of ANY FCA prototype for ANY of it’s brands that was taken recently (besides the Jeep pickup). What are they really even working on right now? Seems like the total focus over the last few years was paying down the debt, and very little was spent on new products.

    • 0 avatar

      HD ram spy shots out there. My guess that is the current focus.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      LET ME BE CLEAR:

      The current chassis underpinning the 300/Charger/Challenger is a stout, robust, rigid one, in ways that very few vehicles, of even much costlier makes, can equal.

      The 300/Charger/Challenger (as well as Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango) handle rough and broken pavement (covering much of the deteriorating highways and byways of the 2nd world-like U.S. infrastructure) better than almost any current Mercedes (I’ve been shocked at how fragile 2016 MY+ Mercedes chassis are), BMW (bloat and float), Ford (why do I even mention the awful and flinty Ford brand here?), Guangzhou Motors products (the Alpha and Sigma platforms are very good in terms of torsional rigidity, but te vehicles they are underpin are let down by cheap components and trim and poor ride quality), Toyota (almost all Toyotas have been hollowed out into cheap-feeling vehicles in terms of suspension and solidity), Honda (see Toyota), KIA/Hyundai (see Toyota and Hyundai), Nissan (among the least solid vehicles, near Mitsubishi-level),etc.

      Go drive a 300 at a high rate of speed down an awful stretch of roadway, and do the same with all other makes, up to and including sedans and coupes costing much, much more.

      With the exception of certain sedans such as the Audi A8 (phenomenal torsional rigidity that is actually worthy of supercar status), few vehicles can match the solid ride that the 300/Charger/Challenger (and Grand Cherokee and Durango) offer, and this is a result of what is actually excellent chassis robustness/stiffness and very excellent and precise spot welding that FCA developed and used in this platform.

      Anyone who rents and drives as many vehicles as I do, if honest and observant, must concede that this platform is outstanding in terms of ride quality, solidity (even at high speeds over broken pavement), and overall resistance to bending and flexing.

      This chassis solidity, along with muscular, full-throated motor pairings, and fantastic transmissions, are why I so strong advocate for this line of vehicles.

      TL;DR version: Not only are these chassis/platforms not broken, but just the opposite, they are among best in class in terms of torsional rigidity, to the point where they dominate the CamCordimaAlibuPalaTaurUsioNata class of vehicles, and equal or best much more pricey German* sedans.

      So why fix or replace what isn’t broken or wrong, but already best in class?

      *I’ve been shocked at how cheap and flinty many Mercedes Benz vehicles’ chassis have felt in rentals I’ve had over the past 3 years, to the point whereby it’s an insult to what used to be one of Mercedes historical strengths, to wit, basing all of their vehicles, whether large, medium or small, on a very solid, rigid chassis.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “TL;DR version: Not only are these chassis/platforms not broken, but just the opposite, they are among best in class in terms of torsional rigidity, to the point where they dominate the CamCordimaAlibuPalaTaurUsioNata class of vehicles, and equal or best much more pricey German* sedans. ”

        Yep.

        Really the only people scream “ancient Mercedes platform!” are the ones that will never buy a Chrysler anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Advance_92

          FCA should just start making a 2000-era E Class. That would shake things up, and would probably bring in the nostalgics and people that want a nice, simple(ish) car that works and is nice to drive.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I like your idea, but shoot for earlier like MY95. The DC merger screwed up Mercedes for years.

          • 0 avatar
            MyerShift

            Actually, it was Chrysler that was never able to recover from the sellout and take over by Daimler-Benz in 1998- Chrysler had no influence on Mercedes-Benz itself.

        • 0 avatar
          OzCop

          Too much truth in this statement…

      • 0 avatar
        jfk-usaf

        HaH! An FCA product that is “Best in Class”… They may have a rigid frame but that’s where it ends. Consistently reviewed as being at the bottom of their class and have poor reliability ratings. As far as crash tests go the Dodge minivan (marketed to families mind you) was one of the least safe vehicles they you could buy. Grand Cherokee and Libertys explode like Pintos when rear ended. I own a 2014 MB product that I am not entirely thrilled with but Id still take it over any FCA product. Junk…

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Have to agree with you 100% on this one. No need to fix what isn’t broken.

        I’d never buy one of these, but that is simply because they are not to my taste. But they really are fantastic cars now that they have put decent interiors in them.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Nobody is going to care as long as they manage to get 300-400lbs out of it. I know I won’t and I’ll buy one of them with bells on.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Not one new article on TTAC in nearly 3 days!

      Is there a Canadian 4-day holiday, writers strike, or or other issue?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Wondering the same thing! No new posts on a weekday is rare!

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        Provincial election on the 7th .. Toronto Star, the parent company of vertical scope has an editorial stance further left than the NYT. I’m sure they won’t tolerate any voice/opinion from the right !

        • 0 avatar

          Across the VS empire there are issues with WordPress. Nobody can log in to post articles.

          As far as I know, the IT people over in Downtown Canada are working on it. We can’t even post a housekeeping technical difficulties post.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            Tell Verticalscope to pony up for some real, significant upgrades FFS, lest I drop my subscription.

            It’s bad enough that I’ve had to read Jack Baruth’s phoned-in garbage lately, let alone his little brother’s (“Bark” or “Mark”) typical crap.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Don’t give them any ideas.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            IT over in downtown?

            I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray…

            youtube.com/watch?v=AxrWwVtr2iw

          • 0 avatar
            Adam Tonge

            Are you on a mission of mercy?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You drove a Hyundai to get here. I drove an eighty-thousand dollar BMW. THAT’S my name.

            Always. Be. Closing.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            TTAC going for nearly 4 days without a new article, op-ed, news story-ish thing?

            (Some of June 2nd, and all of June 3rd, 4th and now (?) 5th?)

            Even the strike at Caesars Windsor has been resolved.

            Open thread time: Why is Tim Horton’s so busy in the early morning (garbage donuts as in really small, tasteless, and awful coffee, also)?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            I just figured it was a Canadian holiday like Hoser’s Day or something. Tim Horton’s must put crack in their coffee.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            TTAC should dedicate a week to hockey, including little known facts and tidbits aboot The Hanson Brothers from Slap Shot.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            @ DW To be perfectly honest, your right ..Timmys coffee is swill.

            I expect the Mounties will shortly be at my door to revoke my citizen ship, for that statement. !

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            To be fair and complete, Starbucks offer tastes completely burnt and is ridiculously overpriced.

            Dunkin’ Donuts had the best coffee of any chain when I did drink coffee, which I no longer do, as caffeine really GRINDS MY GEARS overdrive.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    As long as the LX cars are continually refreshed and updated with new features, I see no reason a new platform is necessary. The current one is “old” so what? It doesn’t lack in any way compared to it’s rivals.

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      manda

      Agreed. Best Domestic large cars in my opinion.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      The LX is approximately 500 lbs heavier across the board than GM’s Alpha and Ford’s S-550 (Mustang) platforms. That may not matter to you, or even to most buyers, but it is one way the Fiasler bones are indeed lacking relative to the competition.

      • 0 avatar
        ahintofpepperjack

        The LX platform cars are larger than the Alpha platform and the Mustang. I’m not sure they really compete.

        The Camaro V6 weighs 3,400lbs. The Mustang 4 cylinder weighs 3,600lbs. The Challenger V6 weighs 3,800lbs. The Challenger is 9 inches longer than the Camaro and Mustang and has a usable back seat.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          The Challenger isn’t competing with the Mustang and Camaro? Oh.

          • 0 avatar
            Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

            Yeah, someone may want to tell FCA the Challenger doesn’t compete in that segment. They seem to believe otherwise.

            And FWIW, there are Alpha-based sedans as well, and the nearest dimensionally to the Charger (Cadillac CTS) is 300-500 lbs lighter than the Mopar. Different segments and buyers, of course – people actually still want to buy Chargers, unlike modern Cadillac sedans – but also very telling of the LX’s geriatric status.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            “That may not matter to you, or even to most buyers”

            In other words it doesn’t matter.

            If there were tangible detriments with the older platform such as a lack of trunk space, legroom, integration of new features, etc it would be one thing.

            But they have no tangible issues. Just whiny journalists.

          • 0 avatar
            ahintofpepperjack

            JohnTaurus, In my opinion the Challenger does not compete with the Mustang or Camaro.

            The Mustang and Camaro are essentially two seat sports cars now. I’d say they compete more with the BMW 2 series Audi A5, and maybe the 370Z. The are willing to sacrifice weight and interior space for improved handling.

            The Challenger never handled that great, it wasn’t designed to. It’s a two door Chrysler 300. Big, comfortable, cool looking.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            That would be because it was cobbled together from a large car platform, and they were designed from the ground up as sports cars.

            Since when did any Camaro or Mustang have a roomy rear seat over their decades of history?

            And, since when is “sacrificing weight” a bad thing for performance cars? “Yes, Jim, this is a great sporty car, it just isn’t heavy enough!”

            The Challenger isn’t marketed as a personal luxury coupe. Its a sports coupe. The 300’s interior and elegant styling would be far more appropriate if what you claim were true.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            “And FWIW, there are Alpha-based sedans as well, and the nearest dimensionally to the Charger (Cadillac CTS) is 300-500 lbs lighter than the Mopar. Different segments and buyers, of course – people actually still want to buy Chargers, unlike modern Cadillac sedans – but also very telling of the LX’s geriatric status.”

            Oh maybe V6 Dodge buyers aren’t stupid enough to buy a Cadillac costing 20k+ more for a 2 liter 4 cylinder model?

            The Charger is the last one standing for a roomy RWD sedan that blue collar people can afford.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        The most cost-effective way for FCA to take weight out of their profitable V8 RWD models would be redesign the Hemi V8 with an aluminum block and heads. That would remove weight from the nose of the Charger and Challenger while also reducing the weight of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500.

        The fuel economy requirements are easier it the footprint is stretched out to 57 ft^2 so there may be advantages to keeping the Charger and Challenger longer than the competition.

      • 0 avatar
        Maxb49

        “The Mustang and Camaro are essentially two seat sports cars now.”

        We frequently use the back seat of our Mustang. It certainly isn’t a two-seat car.

    • 0 avatar
      NG5

      FWIW, it seems they are still outselling the much more recently designed Camaro.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        And the pitiful Mustang.

        Mustang sales are down almost 9% for the year

        Challenger sales on the far superior platform are up 4%

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          ‘Stang sales are down because Ford fanbois are waiting for the Mustang CUV, lol. What a disaster that thing’s gonna be. They’ll be able to take out more parked cars and hydrants pulling out of Cars & Coffee with those CUVs….”Huh huh huh, watch this, bruh”

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      So long as you don’t hit anything that is.

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      65Goat389

      Regarding the current LX chassis, how does it *really* and *honestly* stack up? Every other brand has made improvements (or at least attempted to build off of a global platform), constantly bragging about huge percentages of torsional rigidity and weight savings. I’d like to see some articles comparing the current modern GM chassis vs the LX.

      Someone claimed that a Cadillac CTS was 500 lbs lighter, but I looked up the weight of a CTS V, and got the answer 4141 lbs. And while the CT6 probably has more interior room, in 4.6 liter turbo trim, cars.com says it weighs in at 4,426 lbs. https://www.cars.com/research/cadillac-ct6-2019/specs/usc90cac232e0/

      The Camaro lost weight in the most recent big redesign, but it’s a smaller car so I think the previous Cadillac examples are better comparisons. And the ZL1 weighs 3,883 – 4,118 (could all the trick options add that much weight? I guess so.)

      So I would love to see the LX lose weight if possible (any muscle car person knows the old adage, “Less weight more speed”, right?), as long as it drives the same on the road (as a cruiser/GTO). It would be tons of fun to see the Charger be able to handle as well as a CTS V. Is it possible? I hope so. And could a new chassis yield even *more* interior room? I would assume so. Lastly, as somebody already mentioned, if they could make the Hemi with a *reliable* aluminium block and heads, that would be super cool and certainly help shave off some pounds on the nose.

      I’m not a MOPAR fanboy, far from it. I’m just looking for some links to some reliable information and comparisons of a Charger vs. CTS V or vs. other V8 sedans so that I could make an informed decision.
      Thanks all!

  • avatar
    JSP

    It’s a shame that Daimler Chrysler didn’t work out. I really like the idea of a more affordable American E-class. Imagine if the 300 has been evolving alongside the E.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Here is you an (affordable?) American E-Class, its even a Chrysler.

      https://miami.craigslist.org/pbc/cto/d/chrysler-class/6564751575.html

      It even has “EVERY POWER OPTION” (with manual windows).

      A Rare Rides candidate for Corey, in all seriousness.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Used Mercedes E-class are already very affordable with excellent online forums to help with DIY repairs. The problem is you need a backup car to drive while you wait for parts and time to install them.

    • 0 avatar

      “It’s a shame that Daimler Chrysler didn’t work out.”

      Blame UAW.

      • 0 avatar
        Flipper35

        Blame Diamler for bleeding the $4.5b in cash Chrysler had at the time for developing new products.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          That “marriage of equals” in reality turned out to be Diamler stealing the bride’s dowry and skipping town.

          • 0 avatar
            Advance_92

            Funny considering they got bought by Fiat, who made their money backing out of a GM merger…

        • 0 avatar

          It was Eaton’s idea to merge with Daimler. Daimler looked at US automakers with well deserved disdain and would never consider merger, only takeover and Chrysler had to pay for that dearly.

          And then Dr.Z got tired negotiating with UAW and warned LaSorda that if he does not pacify UAW he will get rid of Chrysler.

          Americans have no one to blame but their CEOs and UAW who sell out “true believers” for personal gain.

          • 0 avatar

            Yes it was Eatons idea. He was worried that Chrysler was a target for a hostile take over. He seemed to fear this would be bad for him personally(no golden parachute). So he worked a deal with MB that was really not great for either company but got him 23 million in extra shares an extra 30K a month added to his pension for life and a one time 24 million in cash. So yeah Eaton is kind of the bad guy here. He also started cost cutting when Chrysler was getting it’s mojo back in the 90’s while this did put more cash on the books (Lutz has argued Chrysler should have bought MB instead of the merger as their balance sheet actually looked better at the time) it cost them dearly when some well loved models had issues from cost cutting (AC problems in early LH cars Neon head gaskets etc)
            MB came in and had a huge culture clash which they partially tried to deal with by offering early retirement to a number of key American engineers (what could go wrong). They also incorrectly viewed the low end of the American market (sound familiar cough VW). Take the LX as an example they had them use more expensive MB parts and suppliers to help lower the the cost of MB cars which resulted in raising the cost of the American cars. To deal with that they decided Americans didn’t care about things like interior quality which resulted in not only new models being cheapened out (Nitro playskool interior) but things like my 2004 300M is way decontented from the 1999 model. Now I will give credit to DR Z at least he somewhat understood the need for Dodge to get truck investment money and Jeep. But when he left to go head up MB in Germany the profits again fell under the new US boss. Dr Z decided it would be cheaper and better for his legacy to cut his losses particularly with the low end of the US market diminishing and the high-end growing.
            None of this had anything to do with the UAW. MB has plenty of issues with Unions in their home country I doubt the UAW presented much of an issue. Non of the various reports from former employees or any articles I have read on the mater pointed to the UAW as a factor in the Decision to cut and run.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            I’d love for someone to write a nice counterfactual history article in which Lutz becomes CEO over Eaton.

            That could have changed Chrysler’s and GM’s history.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I love my R/T and plan on buying another after this. As long as it’s RWD with a V8, I don’t care if it’s a refresh or a new platform.

    • 0 avatar
      MoparRocker74

      +1 to that exactly.

      To the platform itself, I cant think of anything Id change. The Hemi could use an update (5.7 being over 400 hp for one) and maybe some refining of the suspension to lock in the hanlding. One HUGE pain point is the stupid 5x115mm bolt pattern. Go with a 5×4.5 hub that’s backwards compatible and save us a WORLD of pain when looking for wheels.

  • avatar
    happycamper

    I ended up with one of these as a rental car, the hemi version. I do not see the attraction of this vehicle. The dashboard looks like a melted blob of plastic, the interior is dreadful. Performance is underwhelming.

    Just for fun, I looked up the specs while I sat in the hotel room. Acceleration is the same as an Accord or Camry with the optional engine. It weighs the same as my 2018 Odyssey minivan, nearly 1000 lbs more than the Camry or Accord.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      It is in a size class above Accord and Camry, and it has plenty of performance versions that would leave those two in tears.

    • 0 avatar
      Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

      Fiasler buyers hand their money over for (perceived) image and performance. Honda/Toyota buyers want (perceived) quality and longevity.

      Absolutely no one is cross-shopping between the two.

      • 0 avatar
        happycamper

        I guess my point is the RT has no performance advantage to a Camcord, and would be embarrassed in anything involving corners.

        Stepping up to a higher performance above RT adds around $7000, which puts it in an entirely different class of vehicles, all of which would be more desirable.

        • 0 avatar
          MoparRocker74

          Youre wrong there…an R/T is good for 0-60 in the low-mid 5 second range if you have even mediocre driving skills. The best a cammcord can do is a full second behind that so no, and R/T will leave you for dead. Against the 3.6 Mopars, sure you stand a chance, which means the strongest cammaccords are competitive with the weakest Challenger/Charger. Let that sink in.

          • 0 avatar
            happycamper

            I guess I was strictly going with Motor Trend/Car and Driver numbers. I am guessing they have accurate, repeatable testing.

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “all of which would be more desirable.”

          For $42k I can get a 485hp sedan that does 0-100 in under 10 seconds and has a useable backseat.

          I don’t know if any alternative to that exists.

          caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-scat-pack-test-review

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          As others pointed out, it certainly does have a performance advantage.

          You drove a rental and are judging the whole line up based on that. A lot of people do that. “Oh, I’d never buy a Fusion Sport, I rented an S and it was cheap.” lol no kidding it was cheap with adequate performance only. Its the base model! It seems to just be a great way for those biased against them to put down American cars while holding the Japanese up as though they’re just exquisite and impeccable.

          • 0 avatar
            PenguinBoy

            “…holding the Japanese up as though they’re just exquisite and impeccable.”
            I put a couple of thousand kilometers on a rental spec Camry, and I can assure you it was neither exquisite nor impeccable. The higher trim versions may be nicer, but I can’t imagine buying one of them either.

            I have nothing against Japanese cars, and currently have a Japanese car in my fleet. But if I was in the market for a sedan, the LX cars would be on my list; the Camry wouldn’t.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            JohnTaurus, I am afraid you are misquoting happy camper. S/he got the Hemi version, not the base version. And Charger interiors – alongside general fit and finish – are known to not be stellar.

            I guess you found it really hard to accept that someone saw the product for what it is, and just wasn’t impressed like you were.

      • 0 avatar
        ernest

        @ middle aged Miata man
        it’s true… but hilarious, since I’ve got one of each in the garage.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “Acceleration is the same as an Accord or Camry with the optional engine.”

      I don’t know what sources you looked at, but this is incorrect.

      motortrend.com/cars/chrysler/300/2018/2018-chrysler-300s-v-8-first-test-last-old-guard/

      motortrend.com/cars/honda/accord/2018/2018-toyota-camry-xse-v6-vs-2018-honda-accord-touring-20t-comparison-review/

      caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-honda-accord-20t-automatic-test-review

      caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-dodge-charger-r-t-hemi-test-review

      Maybe if you compared a 2006 RT to an ’18 Accord 2.0T or ’18 Camry V6.

      A Camry V6 isn’t exactly low cost these days either.

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        I agree that Challangers don’t have luxury-car interiors. But guess what, neither do Accords and Camrys. In fact, I would say the Challanger is nicer than the Camry in terms of materials, and the 300 is better than any of them. The top trim 300s have leather that rivals anything coming out of Germany in quality.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Honda, with the 2.0T, may do OK now, but will surely be left behind if TOYota, for instance, amps-up their V6! (Whoops..my bet is that they’ll $hit-can the V6 for a turdo for this Camry’s MMC!) They’re gonna get their backsides stomped six ways to Sunday by either the 300 or Charger with a HEMI!

        If they could re-do the 300 without the gun-slits for windows, since the headroom in the back is likely superior to the Charger…! (The Ohio Highway Patrol had a cross-section of their vehicles on display at the Toledo Auto Show this year, including a standard-issue Charger Pursuit, and I found out that the back seat of that thing is damn cozy! Enough that I think it would be miserable as a rear-seat passenger in a normal, civilian R/T, much less the police-spec, puke-proof Pursuit!)

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          After sitting in both, the Accord wins against the Camry in overall interior execution.

          The elephant in the room is the reliability of the turbo Hondas! The Accord 1.5Ts may be susceptible to the fuel-in-oil problem plaguing the CR-Vs, and early 2.0Ts are having problems with loosely-clamped hoses on the intercoolers popping off, leading to drivability issues and a Christmas tree of warning lights on the dash!

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Oh God! Loose hose clamps? That never happens except to the most unreliable engines. Seriously? An all new engine with a non threatening issue. Stop the presses.

            You should donate a dime to charity for every exclamation point you use, you’d be quite the philanthropist. Or talk to your doctor Xanax.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            So I’ve been told, on all counts [excla..J/K]. :-D

            Dr. Xanax? Actually I see his PA, Pro Z. Ack!

            The problem on the 1.5Ts was enough that the Chinese government ordered a stop-sale, and in a page from their “Head In The Sand” book, seem to be dragging their heels on finding a solution in the NA market, a-la the V6 transmission debacle, the early VCM issues, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      @happycamper- see that’s just disingenuous, you looked up the performance in your hotel room, well lets see (from C&D): 2015 Charger RT (regular 5.7) 5.1 0-60, 0-100 12.3, 1/4 [email protected] 2018 Camry XSE 5.8, 14.4, &14.4 @ 100. 2018 Accord 2.0T 5.5, 13.6, 14.1 @ 102.

      So it’s not the same, you might think because the 1st number is a 5 that they’re the same- it’s really not even close. Over a full second faster to 100 and in the 1/4. I’m not much into magazine racing, I just looked it up because I didn’t believe that the ’18 Camry and Accord caught up to the Charger. I will say since the Accord is a turbo, somebody will probably tune it for cheap, but it certainly isn’t faster stock.

      • 0 avatar
        MrIcky

        —and from motortrend- the 2011 Charger RT with the old 5 speed is still faster than the 18 camcord. Had to check both sources… so just making crap up I guess.

  • avatar
    moff90

    If it ain’t broke…
    Besides, what competition do they have, especially the Charger?

    • 0 avatar
      gmichaelj

      how about the Kia Stinger?

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I was walking out of Costco when I saw a loaded Stinger GT (V6/AWD, black paint, red leather interior) sitting there advertising the Costco Auto program.

        Member price: Just a few ticks under $50K. Good grief, I think I’ll haggle on a Dodge thank you very much.

  • avatar
    gmrn

    Looking at photo #9 in CL link. That back seat is huuuuge!
    There appears to be 5 people in the back seat with room for more!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Least we forget the Toyota Camry is still using essentially the same platform that was introduced in 2001.
    Keeping the LX platform and tweaking it makes the most sense.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      To be fair, the new one is on new architecture, but yes, using old platforms is only an issue if you’re selling under an American nameplate.

      • 0 avatar
        quaquaqua

        The amount of whiny, inaccurate comparisons in your posts never gets old, John. Anyway, the reason it’s particularly pathetic that Dodge will never ditch the ancient Mercedes platform here is that they didn’t even develop it themselves, nor do they seem remotely interested in that ever changing. It’s not the laziness of, say, Ford giving us a terrible Taurus platform over 10 years ago and never changing it. Not that that platform was ever any good to begin with, but I digress. The difference there is that the Taurus is Ford’s own architecture and they’ve proven they *can* decently engineer a car when they feel like it. Dodge just keeps trudging along with someone else’s ancient platform without showing any signs of them using their own development teams for… well, anything. And considering what they’ve done with the Journey and Grand Caravan, you can’t just say “oh, they’re clearly not changing the Charger because the platform is so good!” They just don’t want to put any effort into the Dodge brand at all. And these comments show that’s not gonna change. So byebye Dodge, I give you five years, tops.

        • 0 avatar
          George B

          quaquaqua, the US domestic brands have to find on the order of $1k cost savings per vehicle to cover legacy costs from when they employed a much larger number of UAW workers. I’m convinced that they know how to make better cars, but right now they’re simply trying to survive in a very competitive auto market with extra cost weighing them down.

          • 0 avatar
            mikey

            Hello ..Raising my hand..I would be a GM Canada UAW/CAW/UNIFOR ..”legacy cost”

            2nd, and 3rd tier employees do not have pensions. Existing pensioners like myself , have frozen pensions,and benefits covered by VEBA and in my case HCT.

            With every passing day “legacy costs” are shrinking. Within 10 -20 years they will disappear completely .

        • 0 avatar

          Chrysler did develop the LX they had actually started developing it early in the 90s. When MB came along MB revised the suspension and drive line to USE MB parts so they could spread around costs.

          • 0 avatar
            manbearpig

            Do you have a source for that? They were busy modifying Renault’s platform for the LH cars in the early ’90s!

          • 0 avatar

            The LH cars were designed in the late 80s start of the 90s. According yo Allpar LU page and a forum post from Bob Sheaves (former Chrysler engineer) around 93-94 the built 360 powered modified LH rear drivers and internally called them LX. When MB came along they were well on their way to developing a rear drive production LH. It was originally going to be powered by the Jeep 4.7 but MB engineer s decided it more sense to go hemi as mileage would be the same. They then added the MB parts.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            From what I’ve read the LX which was the RWD version of the LH dusted off was ready to tool when MB came in and ordered the modifications to accept the MB parts. And no the LH was not build on a modified Renault platform even if it was the only body they had for test mules.

        • 0 avatar
          Pete Zaitcev

          Taurus was actually a Volvo. So surprisingly there’s no difference between borrowing CD and borrowing E-class.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            The Taurus was on an actual platform. The LX shared some suspension components and a gearbox for some models. There is a difference between “borrowed parts from” and “built on”

  • avatar
    pdog_phatpat

    Screw it, lets bring back the panther platform!

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Car & Driver has a feature on the lowest-mile CHP Panther CVPI in the fleet in the latest issue, and almost a decade after the last one rolled off the line, most cops still prefer it to the Charger Pursuit, or either of the Ford offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        Middle-Aged (Ex-Miata) Man

        “…[M]ost cops still prefer [the Crown Victoria] to the Charger Pursuit, or either of the Ford offerings.”

        It was much the same back in ’96 after GM discontinued the B-body Caprice. Local police departments scrounged around for every last one available, as officers greatly preferred them over the CVPI of the time.

        • 0 avatar
          Sub-600

          It’s like anything else, retired cops are going to rave about whatever they drove in their primes. Go to the Old Cop’s Home and someone will bend your ear about their Dodge Polara, lol.

          • 0 avatar
            Pete Zaitcev

            In fact I heard that modern cops came to love Explorer. It’s pursuit qualified, so no problem there. But it offers a large internal volume both up front and in the back. Can easily carry the extra equipment.

          • 0 avatar
            bunkie

            “It’s got a cop motor, cop suspension and cop brakes. It was made before 1975 so it runs good on regular gas”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      LX is the new Panther. Fleet till at least 2025, maybe retail too? Been calling it for at least a year.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        The LX wont solder on as a fleet vehicle after retails sales stop, unless we are talking about a few weeks. They just don’t sell enough to fleet to make it profitable to keep the line running with that little volume.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Even with the police sales?! I’d almost say there’s a two-way split between the Charger Pursuit and Explorer Police Interceptor, with the Tahoe Pursuit in third, and Taurus Police Interceptor taking the rear, based upon what I see between my locality, Toledo Police, and the Ohio Highway Patrol.

          (Don’t know if the Michigan State Police has released their annual recommended list of police vehicles. A local cop I know is partial to the Explorer, only because his agency has been a Ford shop forever, and he said that the room in front is indeed the deal-breaker.)

          • 0 avatar
            Sub-600

            Here in Syracuse, the city police, county sheriffs, and NYS troopers are suddenly appearing in Explorers and Tahoes more often. It’s still predominantly Chargers for all three agencies, though I think SUVs are the future. That’s not necessarily a good thing, especially in the city where police driving skills are suspect (no pun intended). SPD officers are involved in lots of crashes, the guys who drive giant snow plows don’t hit as many parked cars as the police do, lol.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Panther was still running for police/taxi/fleet after retail sales were discontinued in 2007. LX will as well, the only way it would not in my view is if/when sales dipped below five figures.

          • 0 avatar
            TwoBelugas

            Ford made no effort in any performance variants of the Panthers. The Marauder was a factory neutered disaster that couldn’t keep up with an 7 year old Impala SS.

          • 0 avatar
            geozinger

            @TwoBelugas: WRT the Marauder… I was still on the Mercury mailing list back then. I was thoroughly excited to see a revival of a storied nameplate, at least among the Mercury cognoscenti. I ordered the DVD and the other sales materials and got my hopes up.

            But then, the reports started coming in and it was very nearly a trim package on the GrandMa. I’d hoped to buy one as a dual-use family car and cruiser, but glad now that I didn’t sign up for the waiting list.

            I now see these cars “donked” and think what a golden opportunity had Ford done it right.

            Somebody should lose a finger over this. What a disaster…

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            The Panther was not pulled from retail in 2007, a retail version was available until the 2012 model year. Granted the 2012’s were only available in Gulf Council Countries. The Grand Marquis and Town Car continued on the retail order form until the end. Yes the GM was not required to be stocked but the TC was. Ford also dominated the police market with over 50% of market share. There was a taxi version that also dominated that market. The TC also dominated the livery market. The Charger is the worst selling police car and there is no livery version of any type, Charger or 300.

            Since the Caprice went away the Charger has a new home at the bottom of the list of police car sales. They just don’t stand up to police duty. Here is one of my state patrol’s former unmarked cars. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=4880&acctid=8445 like so many Hemis it needs a new cam shaft and lifters.

            Then you see things like this the Autauga police Dept trying to off load a couple of 2015’s early to an even poorer agency. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=113&acctid=762

            And they are not the only ones trying to unload them early. https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=84&acctid=3704

            Gotta love this one’s description https://www.govdeals.com/index.cfm?fa=Main.Item&itemid=138&acctid=867 with the has the normal Hemi “engine tick”. Though I have to say that is probably the highest mileage I’ve seen on a Charger.

          • 0 avatar

            The charger front end was never really designed for rough service which I gather is the main problem, if you look at the lower control arms on the LH and LX and mounting points there is some surprising similarity very European looking compared to the massive lower control arms Ford tended to use. That and not being roomy enough. I know the brakes were an issue until 2013 when they upgraded them. I think they are still not best in class but not bad anymore. I know the early cylinder deactivation Hemis had lifter issues but I think they fixed that (GM had the same issue). Hemis and honestly most mopar V8s I have been around (LA magnums etc) seem to develop a tick but doesn’t really seem to hurt them.

          • 0 avatar

            I forgot to mention it’t not like Ford had no issue certain version of the 3.5 have big waterpump issues and I have seen a few come across the block with “engine starts has water in oil”. Either way the market has moved to SUVS the explorer interceptor is way more popular then the Taurus and Dodge is launching a Durango pursuit. I have actually started to see a few Tahoes too.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Interesting about the front ends.

            Any semblance of an aftermarket solution to this?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            @ Mopar 4wd, I didn’t say Ford’s current Interceptors don’t have their problems just that most agencies did a batch and called it after the poor showing of the early cars. I’m already starting to see a shift back to the Tahoe in a couple of fleets around here. One in particular replaced their entire fleet with Chargers and it busted their budget bad. They had run out of fuel money by July and the cost of maintenance and repairs was more than double the Crown Vics. The other problem was they had a high incidence of 1 car accidents, ie cops putting them in ditches and taking out light poles. They then went to Tahoes then to Interceptor Utilities and just recently back to Tahoes.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Nice post Scoutdude, good info.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    “It’s necessary if FCA wants to offer, say, a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with eTorque mild hybrid assist in the future lineup.”

    Weight reduction perhaps, but I don’t see this happening. Chysler’s strategy in the mid to late 80s was to spin up cheap [to mfg] models for profitable niches. LX is the new K-car in this regard, don’t be surprised to see the traditional drive-train formula as Dodge will be the only game in town.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    So a brand new ground up platform built to handle ~500HP is worse suited than a hodgepodge ~300HP Frankenstein platform built 20 yrs ago? Interesting.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I wonder if drivers testing mules get any leeway from the local authorities? Say you were testing a Challenger 392, the light turns green and you bump the tach up to 6,000 rpm and sidestep the clutch, the car sits in one spot for a second and then you bang second and emerge, sideways, from a cloud of smoke. A quick correction and you’re off…but you get lit up by the man before you can really get on it. You could say it’s a prototype and it got away from you, show him your FCA credentials and hope for the best. If it was a Charger you could claim it was the next gen squad car, maybe that would work. They can’t do everything on the test track, they’ve got to eventually beat those mules on the street.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I’m sure it would depend on the cop but I’d bet nowadays they would throw the book at them as hard as they can seeing the car company as having deep pockets.

    • 0 avatar
      jf1979

      For what it’s worth, I was eating lunch at a sub place in Dearborn a few years ago and there was a table of Dearborn police in the place as well. Keep in mind in Dearborn Michigan mules, prototypes, test vehicles are commonly seen in daytime hours. The cops were talking about how they loved to hide out and catch Ford manufacture plate vehicles, how they were usually able to find some reason to impound them, etc. So, probably no leeway.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Impound them for WHAT?!

        I’ve gotta think that the biggest employer in town might have something to say about that when the tax bill comes! (Assuming that FoMoCo IS Dearborn’s largest taxpayer!)

  • avatar
    geozinger

    Speaking as a guy who’s just in the last couple of years nearly clawed his way out of the mess that the Great Recession caused me, I think I understand the appeal of the LX cars.

    They’re the biggest, quietest, nicest cars most average folks can afford. As much of a Mustang fan that I was when I was younger and as much of a Chevy fan as I have become, the Challenger is still my aspirational muscle car.

    It would have been interesting to see what the Giorgio platform would have done with a Hemi in it; too bad they don’t think it will work. As I understand it, the Giulia is a great handler and road trip car. However, a LX platform modified for the third decade of the century shouldn’t be all bad.

    One of the strengths of the LX are the proven mechanicals. I don’t know how tough it would be to make the car offset-crash worthy and lighter at the same time, but it would be wonderful were it to happen.

    Looking forward to getting my 2027 Challenger R/T in time for my retirement!

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      “They’re the biggest, quietest, nicest cars most average folks can afford”

      And that notion scares a lot of “enlightened” people.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        A dying breed indeed.

        Once upon a time the lists of RWD sedan/coupe platforms with optional V8 affordable by the average working stiff was too long to list. That was the bread and butter hallmarks of the American car.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Very tangentially on topic: Harry’s Garage just posted a couple of interesting YouTube videos in which Harry drives an eBay-purchased 1969 Silver Shadow from his home in the UK to the Arctic Circle in Norway. What struck me were the similarities between the Shadow and contemporary American sedans. The Rolls undoubtedly had better materials and assembly quality, but apart from an independent rear suspension it was the same basic recipe. (A ’69 New Yorker or Imperial also would have been unibody, so even that wouldn’t have been a distinction for the Shadow.) Worth a watch.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIdNcbsgOiM

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8kLE9vVlJ0

  • avatar
    golden2husky

    …When the first LX-platform Chryslers appeared in late 2004, buyers who had long grown wary of the automaker’s products took solace in the fact that the new 300 and Dodge Charger/Magnum borrowed so many components from bedmate Mercedes-Benz…

    An interesting point. I guess if you never had/drove any MB products from the 2000s the fact that it had Mercedes components would be a good thing. The reality is that when MB left the designed to a standard mindset and went to a price point model they were not good at it. The Mercedes from that era were horrifically unreliable and lost the impeccable build quality that they known for.

    • 0 avatar
      TwoBelugas

      In the early 2000s Mercedes brand was still riding the good will generated by the W123 and W140. People still remember their reputation before people realized the change in the W220.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ golden2husky – Tiny sample size, my circle’s experience with MB is consistent what you say. Check that: I had a great-uncle who had a W123 with some ankle-biter issues, but it wasn’t bad car on the whole. Apart from that, the one stinker in the bunch was a boss’s ’00s C-Class. And she’s a longtime MB customer, so it’s been interesting to ride in her ’90s, ’00s, and ’10s examples. The pre-1990 and especially pre-1980 cars really stood out when compared to the rest of the market.

  • avatar
    Ban-One

    “blah, blah, blah, straight line speed.” “blah, blah, blah, 1/4 mile times.” “blah, blah, blah, 0-60 times.” “what? gas mileage? handling? safety? no, no, no, those things don’t matter to the Average Joe. this car is for the Average Joe who can only afford to borrow $50K for a practical coupe and wants 14 mpg as gas creeps up on $4 a gallon, and is willing to slow to a 20 mph crawl on a highway exit sweeper! this is the only remaining choice for us Average Joes! we don’t care about reliability, because us Average Joes will just borrow some more money on another 84 month loan when we trade in in a couple years! you know, cause ‘merica!”

    • 0 avatar
      Sub-600

      Lighten up, Francis. Why don’t you hop in your Prius and putt-putt down to Starbucks and get some decaf. Good grief.

      • 0 avatar
        Ban-One

        what are you talking about? i’m an Average Joe. i drive a brand new challenger and a ram full-size crew cab, both of which average 11mpg (when they are not in the shop), and neither of which will fit inside my garage. but they both have hemi’s, and that is important to Average Joes like me! combined i owe over $100K on them, which is the most an Average Joe like me can afford, particularly since i just refinanced the mortgage on my $60K home to come up with the down payments. when i want a coffee, i hop to the McCafe drive-thru and ask for a hot cup o’joe (and 3 big macs), you know, cause ‘merica!

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Is somebody’s BMW in the shop again?

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “Ban-One”.

        Internet user name checks out.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          He who whines about sticker price has never checked ATP against MSRP.

          If all you want is a HEMI R/T you’ll be under $35K out the door. You can get a Daytona for not much more (much nicer interior in the Daytona IMHO) or you could even get a no frills 392 for less than $40K by the time you’re done haggling.

    • 0 avatar
      BoogerROTN

      And this is what happens when the homeless can access free wifi in Starbuck’s new public restrooms.

      Here’s to hoping Ban-One didn’t follow through with “upper deck” Tuesday.

    • 0 avatar
      reclusive_in_nature

      Awfully nice of your wife’s boyfriend to let you play on his computer.

      • 0 avatar
        Ban-One

        my wife doesn’t have a boyfriend, i’m an Average Joe! my wife has a prison penpal, but his parole officer won’t allow him to own a computer. speaking of computers, my challenger has an onboard cpu that tells me when it is time to take the car in for service. about once a month it flashes a ‘check engine’ light, which i guess is fancy computer speak for “time to take the car back to the dinghy 80s era dodge dealership for a check up.” my car is so modernized, its like it’s from the future! that makes me feel like a futuristic Average Joe!

  • avatar
    pdl2dmtl

    @DW – then tell me this: how come a few years back there was an article on this very site mentioning that you cannot lift one of these cars on a jack to replace a flat tire without bending the chassis?

    Assuming we’re talking about the same cars….

  • avatar
    pmirp1

    I say continue to build the Challenger, Charger and 300 for ever. There is no competition. Ford and GM have nothing. The Germans make too expensive cars with four cylinder turbos. There is no competion form Japan. The closest is the 5.0 v8 Genesis. but those are too expensive.

  • avatar
    rjg

    Right now a charger with a 392 is my current sub-100k “dream car”. And that’s coming from a long-time German car fanboy. The charger manages to look good, sound good, be quick and offer most modern tech features without all the over-complication of the Germans. Even the fuel mileage isn’t terrible when you compare it with cars (and SUVs) that offer similar size and performance.

    As for handling, I really enjoyed driving my rental RT a few months ago around LA. It’s big, but there’s something very engaging about it. And even a base RT handles better than most of the CUVs/SUVs that pass as family cars these days.

    I prefer the straight-forward interior design to anything the Germans currently offer and actual quality seems to be fine (nothing rattles, bends, squeaks etc in the interior). Atleast as good (in some ways better) than most GM and Ford offerings as well. Definitely prefer the interior design to any other mainstream mid-size/full-size car.

    Whenever I hear about a redesign being pushed back I breathe a sigh of relief. Agree with some comments above that all they really need to do is address small overlap crash performance and add some aluminum components (ideally engine block) to save some weight. In reality, I suspect that FCA will ride the LX platform as a cash cow (with few or no updates) until it becomes unsellable. At that point, they’ll kill the entire Dodge brand.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    Are the staff having the day off for sensitivity training? WordPress has advised me for each of their last 73 updates to advise my site administrator of the latest super duper features. Being a procrastinator, I have not got around to it for 11 years, but today I throw caution to the winds!

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    If only FCA had an existing sporting RWD sedan platform.

    *Looks at Alfa Romeo. *Looks at Maserati.

    Hmmm….

  • avatar
    SportyClassic

    LX cars still trundle off Fiat Chrysler’s Brampton, Ontario assembly line”

    Uh no.

    2006-2010, LX Charger
    2011-Present, LD Charger
    2008–2014, LC Challenger
    2015-Present, LA Challenger

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