The Dodge Charger was re-introduced in 2006, with much of the same muscle-car character as its 1960s ancestor. Featuring a big, roomy interior, a choice of powerful V6 or V8 engine as well as rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, it has a lot of appeal for any mid-size car buyer.
Four different models of the Charger cover the range from comfort-oriented V6 sedan all the way up to true four-door muscle car. The Charger SE and SXT models include a 3.6L V6 that uses variable valve timing to make 292 horsepower and 260 ft-lb of torque. The Charger R/T comes with a 5.7L Hemi V8 that produces 370 horsepower and 395 ft-lb of torque. It features a multi-displacement system that shuts down some cylinders while cruising to save fuel. The R/T is also available with all-wheel drive. The new all-wheel-drive SRT8 gets its power from a massive 6.4L V8 making 470 horsepower and 470 ft-lb of torque. SE, R/T and SRT8 models utilize a 5-speed automatic transmission with Autostick manual control, and in the SRT8 drivers have the option of a push-button SPORT mode. SXT models make use of an all-new 8-speed automatic. That unit is available on the SE.
Across the Charger model line, a short- and long-arm front suspension setup and independent multi-link rear suspension help give the Charger a smooth ride without sacrificing control. SRT8 models also include active damping for a more controlled ride. All-wheel-drive versions of the Charger provide all-weather handling and have an active transfer case and front axle disconnect that helps improve fuel economy.
The base Charger SE is very well equipped for the price. Standard equipment includes 17-inch aluminum wheels, a CD/MP3/WMA stereo with a USB port, power-adjustable front seat, steering wheel audio controls, power windows and locks, keyless entry, dual-zone air-conditioning, traction control, electronic stability control and six airbags.
The Rallye package adds 18-inch wheels, satellite radio, dual-zone climate controls, heated mirrors, fog lamps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power-adjustable front seats and an upgraded stereo with an 8.4-inch touch-screen display.
The base R/T's 5.7L Hemi V8 already means it's a serious performance machine. Anti-lock brakes are standard, as are 18-inch aluminum wheels. The R/T gets a spoiler, HID headlamps, fog lamps, heated mirrors, a touch-screen stereo with Bluetooth and satellite radio and remote start. The R/T Plus package adds leather seats, heated and cooled cupholders, heated rear seats and power-lumbar for the driver and front passenger. The enthusiast-oriented Road/Track package upgrades the Charger with a bona-fide performance suspension, 20-inch chrome wheels, a 3.06 rear axle and a performance engine controller.
The top-of-the-line SRT8 offers huge Brembo brakes front and rear, mounted behind 20-inch wheels and fat tires. Inside you'll find a 900-watt Harman Kardon audio system with 19 speakers and a 12-channel amplifier. Also on tap is an 8.4-inch touchscreen display that serves as a hub for audio, climate, navigation, phone, and driving controls. Front seats feature 12-way power adjustability.
Options across the lineup include adaptive cruise control with collision warning, heated steering wheel, blind-spot detection, rain-sensitive wipers, Garmin navigation, a rear-back-up camera, a 500-watt stereo with subwoofer and a power sunroof.
Big news for the 2012 Dodge Charger is the addition of a new SRT8 model to the lineup. With a 6.4L, 470-horsepower Hemi V8, big Brembo brakes and 20-inch wheels, and 2-mode adaptive dampers, the new model is a menacing performance sedan. Elsewhere, SXT models come standard with a new 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, while the unit is optional on SE models.