2015 Dodge Charger R/T Review
The classic muscle car comes of age. But will it amount to anything?No Comments
The trick with a muscle car is to give you that feeling of going right out to the edge, without the fear of falling over it, tumbling a dozen or so times, and hitting the ground and being devoured in a massive fireball. The Charger pulls this off brillia
When the 'new' Charger was launched in 2006, it was part of a much larger wave of nostalgia-fueled vehicles that included the also-just-re-launched Pontiac GTO and the never-went-away Ford Mustang. While the Mustang may be the best at recapturing the look of the gas-guzzling era, the Charger is far superior when it comes to delivering pure, raw, unadulterated muscle-car badassery.
Although only really changing the front end might seem minor, the changes are actually quite radical, and also quite effective at pulling the Charger into the 21st Century. The biggest change is the wraparound headlight design, which gives the Charger a dose of high style that it hasn't had since the 1960s.
The entire grille was re-configured, with the headlights now leading into each other in a shape that manages to replicate that of the taillights, without being too obvious about it (or looking as boring, if we're being honest).
The gauges have been streamlined, and are now easier to read. It's a little too much with the fake chrome accents in the interior, however. A few here and there is one thing, but someone at Dodge seems to have gone a bit crazy with the Outline tool in Photoshop. Still it's a spacious interior that recalls the glory days of six-passenger capable sedans, even though there's no bench seat in the front and it only really seats four, unless you want to be cramped.
The Sport seats in the R/T are well bolstered, but not sports-car tight, so you can still feel like you're able to relax in them, and maybe even pull off the gangster lean, if you know your history.
It doesn't take much pressure on the accelerator to make the Charger overtake just about any other vehicle on the road. After all, 370 hp is nothing to sneeze at, and with nearly 400 lb-ft of torque, the Charger R/T is more than rarin' to go.
You don't get the neck-snap that the Hellcat gives you, but then again, how often are you going to do that? Once or twice to impress some people? More if you make it to the track on a regular basis? Trust us when we say that the 5.7-liter HEMI is fast enough.
Where do you have to be in such a hurry anyway?
But for a perfectly reasonable (except for the fuel economy) daily driver, capable of both blowing Porsches off the road and making trips to the poultry market, the Charger is hard to beat.
The Charger is eminently capable of conducting itself in a serious manner when cruising through neighborhoods, but on the open highway it sheds its innocent veneer and becomes the furious Hell-beast it secretly longs to be.
We were a tad disappointed in the HEMI's sound however, which has been tamed by an engine cap and copious sound baffling, but it least it hasn't been artificially sweetened. The lack of throaty vigor also helps the R/T blend in with polite society - something the Hellcat can never do.
But when it comes to unbridled jackassery, there's no feeling that can top the feeling of invincibility that overcomes you in the Charger. As fast as it is, however, the Charger never feels beyond control.
The trick with a muscle car is to give you that feeling of going right out to the edge, without the fear of falling over it, tumbling a dozen or so times, and hitting the ground and being devoured in a massive fireball. The Charger pulls this off brilliantly.
Dodge offers the usual complement of driving modes: Sport, Comfort, and Normal, but the Charger is so powerful that we found the composure of Comfort mode was sufficient to offer a satisfying sport/luxury balance, since a simple tap of the accelerator is all it takes to remind you what car you're driving.
The Charger's five-link rear suspension keeps things remarkably composed, even when certain road conditions cause all sudden starts to become displays of fishtailing, and the R/T's performance brakes are capable of reigning in even the most overenthusiastic speeder.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Drivetrain Layout: Front engine, rear wheel drive
Power Output: 370 hp / 395 lb-ft
Fuel Economy (mpg): 16 city / 25 highway
Base Price: $36,685
As Tested: $36,685 (incl. $995 destination)
Drive Confidence Group: Blind-spot monitor, side-mirror courtesy lamps, power heated mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, rear parking sensors, backup camera
Plus Group: 20' aluminum wheels, auto-dip side mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, HID projector headlamps, LED foglamps, overhead LED interior lighting, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, illuminated cup holders, rear parking sensors, backup camera, 8-way power front seats, power heated side mirrors, nappa leather front sport seats with ventilation
Technology Group: Adaptive cruise control with full stop, advanced brake assist, automatic high-beam control, blind-spot monitor, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, power heated side mirrors, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, power-adjustable pedals, power tilt/telescope steering column
Navigation / Rear Backup Camera Group: Navigation with 8.4-inch touchscreen, HD radio, satellite radio, backup camera
Premium Group: 10-speaker Beats Audio sound system, 20' aluminum wheels, adaptive cruise control with full stop, advanced brake assist, auto-dimming side mirrors, automatic high-beam control, HID headlamps, blind spot monitor, compact spare tire, LED interior lighting, forward collision warning, navigation with 8.4-inch touchscreen, HD radio, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, illuminated cup holders, lane departure warning, rear parking sensors, backup camera, power-adjustable pedals, 8-way power front seats with ventilation, power tilt/telescope steering wheel, rain-sensitive wipers
Wheels and Tunes Group: 10-speaker Beats Audio sound system, 20' aluminum wheels
Individual Options: Black painted roof, compact spare tire, power moonroof, 8.4-inch touchscreen with navigation