3.6L Pentastar V6
300 HP @ 6,350 rpm
264 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
The iconic Dodge Charger might be the last of the four door muscle cars, but that doesn’t mean it can’t further develop itself in terms of refinement and everyday usability. For 2015, a surprising new feature has been added to the list of options and we just had to try it out.
Being built in Canada, the rear-wheel-drive Charger never made it to the top of the shopping list for most Canadian families for one simple reason; it was rear-wheel-drive. Now though, equipped with all the confidence needed, it winks its eye to everyone that missed out previously and invites them to discover what a clever all-wheel-drive system can do in a muscle car.
The AWD V6 SXT Charger starts at $37,995 and offers quite a lot of gear as standard. On the safety front, you get an assortment of airbags, stability control, tire pressure monitor and brake assist. Automatic headlights, remote starter, keyless entry, dual zone climate control, heated front seats and a wicked sound system will make life a lot nicer. Also included as standard are the Uconnect infotainment system with the 8.4” touchscreen LCD display, steering wheel mounted controls, phone connectivity, USB, and 60/40 rear folding seats. Optional equipment fitted on our test car was the Rallye package that added the front R/T look, 300 HP rating, paddle shifters, 19” rims and sport mode, while the premium group package installed added leather seats, ventilated front seats, auto wipers, navigation, power adjustable front seats, heated rear seats, lane departure warning, HID headlights, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and park-sense rear system with rear view camera. As tested, the total monetary value was $45,480, not bad at all considering all the above.
The Charger is simply an awesome car to look at, from every angle it means business and the “American Muscle” pedigree is more than evident. The long hood and trunk, low stance and insane width are simply a direct reference to the passed, to classic cars we all grew up in and will always have a soft spot for.
The interior is completely redesigned versus the early models and is all soft to the touch and well put together, for the most parts. It is simple and functional, minimizing the need to take your eyes off the road to control something. The multifunction steering wheel has all the controls built into the back side including paddle shifters, so good luck training your fingers to press the right thing.
Being on the large side on the outside surely says a lot about the available room inside. Five adults will sit in comfort even if they are taller than average. Legroom and headroom are very generous in the back seat and the centre tunnel will cause negligible inconvenience. The trunk however is a tad smaller than expected, as at 467 L it is about 35 L short of the class average.
The new all-wheel-drive system is available only with the sweet revving 3.6L Pentastar engine that is rated at 300 HP thanks to the Rallye package. The V6 makes a great noise and feels very smooth and it helps hit 100km/h in 7.7 seconds. The new TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic gearbox shifts through gears quickly and is a joy to use in manual mode, while in auto it is smooth, decisive and packs great off-the-line ability. Throttle response is good and acceleration on the go is very strong also thanks to the 264 lb-ft of torque available. Running costs aren’t going to be that high, thanks to the reasonable fuel economy returned. During out week behind the wheel, we averaged 11.4lt/100km, which is not bad considering the size, performance and weight.
On the road, the Charger will pleasantly surprise you in terms of ride comfort and refinement. It is a very smooth ride, handling bumps, humps and joints with remarkable skill, soaking up the hits before they shake up the passengers. The all-around independent suspension is also quiet and remains composed even after really severe impacts. The comfy ride has taken away some edge from handling, but the Charger is fun in the corners as well. The steering returns little in terms of feedback and the moment you put it in sport mode the AWD system is instantly engaged, so if you like power slides, this car is not for you. If however, you like a heavy car that can turn with lots of confidence, this car might be what you’ve been looking for. Understeer is the “turn in too fast” experience, but once too much understeer is detected, the AWD system kicks in and helps the front end grip a bit harder to balance out the dynamics. In sport mode, there is a tad less understeer to begin with but no more fun mid-turn. The brake pedal feels firm and linear and the brakes themselves are quite strong and can bring the car to a complete stop in 44m, resisting fade well.
Overall, the all-wheel-drive Charger is able to fulfill your dreams of owning the looks of an American muscle car, without the fear of winter hazards or tiresome ownership. It is a sophisticated and modern sedan, with tons of safety and convenience features in a large body with a drivetrain that will not disappoint. If you don’t believe me, help yourself to a test drive.
Minor Quality Concerns
The buttons behind the steering wheel get easily confused with the paddle shifters.