2016 Dodge Charger SXT review

2016 Dodge Charger SXT review

The Charger has been updated over the years, but what’s always made it good remains

The Dodge Charger is now in its second year of an update that brought a Dart-style front fascia and a number of other new design elements. In fact, every body panel was altered with this update, not just the nose. Overall, the redesign achieved its goal of keeping the Charger fresh for a few more years.

It’s easy to try to dismiss the Charger as a vehicle from another era, when full-size three-box American sedans were the default vehicle of everybody who didn’t own a truck or a hatchback. But the addition of the newest tech and innate convenience features combined with a very modest starting price can still surprise at a time when there are much smaller sedans claiming to be premium that easily surpass the Charger’s sticker price.

Under the hood of the Charger is a 3.6-liter V6 good for 300 hp, with power sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission (that no longer uses the recalled Monostable shifter, by the way). This is the base engine and, even though the Hellcat Charger offers more than double the horsepower count, the performance is more than enough to keep things moving. Acceleration comes without the nose lifting, thanks to all-wheel drive, and nosediving on hard braking is kept in check as well — impressive for something this big.

The Charger’s wide stance would suggest a propensity to lean in the corners but this is something that Dodge engineers have managed to keep a very tight lid on. The Charger stays very well composed in the twisties even if there is a bit of protest from the wide tires, and there is not as much body lean as you’d expect in something this large. That’s perhaps one of the best parts of the chassis; the Charger is nimble enough to perform sudden maneuvers without much drama, which is probably why the police agencies of so many states are fond of it. The fact the platform itself is not exactly new makes this quality all the more impressive, even though the turning radius is not a tidy as it could be.

2016 Dodge Charger SXT Premium Rallye Photo 5

The interior of the Charger in SXT Premium trim is a spacious and comfortable space in which to spend time, and it makes a good use of the materials in a way that doesn’t bore the eyes. The cabin feels well put together, and despite the abundance of black plastic up front the interior looks and feels reasonably luxurious. A few details like cross-stitching on the seats and center console, as well as the door panels, add an expensive feel to the cabin. There is still plenty of plastic to go around, but it doesn’t feel like the cheap, shiny kind that some other sedans in this price range still serve up from time to time. When it comes to infotainment, the corporate UConnect touchscreen remains one of the more intuitive systems out there with easy-to-read icons and an easy-to-reach surface, and all the controls are easy to decipher.

Overall, the cabin feels well proportioned, it’s easy to climb into and out of, and there’s generous headroom.

With a starting price of $32,990, the Charger offers a lot for the buck, and optioned with the Rallye pack and the AWD Premium Group it arrives right at the $40,000 mark. Much smaller premium sedans have no trouble reaching this price point with a few options added on. I’d keep it closer to the starting price if ordering one, just to stay out of the Chrysler 300’s price range.

2016 Dodge Charger SXT Premium Rallye Photo 9
OTHER VOICES:

We’ve had the same basic Charger around for quite a while now — yes, engines have changed, as have transmission options, body panels and suspension…everything except the fundamental bones (and Chrysler execs have even argued that point with me). Some folks decry the lack of advancement, but the Charger doesn’t really need anything new. It’s possibly the best current example of the classic full-size, rear-drive American car (or AWD as the case may be), ironic considering it’s made in Canada using a lot of German components by an Italian car company headquartered in Belgium. But hey, globalization!

Point is, I always enjoy spending time in a Dodge Charger, whether it’s a gussied-up V6 like this or a monster Hellcat. Interior furnishings can best be described as plain but effective — there’s a lot of black rubber and plastic, but everything comes across as well-screwed-together and free of squeaks and rattles. More importantly, it’s easy to get comfortable, and the UConnect infotainment system that controls the stereo, phone, navigation and seat/steering wheel heat remains easy to learn and use.

Don’t think you’re compromising by picking the V6, either. No, it’s not the supercharged Hellcat V8, or even the SRT 392 “big block”; instead, it’s a well-mannered, efficient engine with plenty of power even if your plans include the occasional track day. Push the “Super Trac Pack” button on the dash and make sure everything is in sport mode, and the car converts to a pretty damn good sports sedan, firing off quick shifts from the 8-speed automatic transmission and generally behaving better than a 2-ton domestic sedan has any right to do.

The entire full-size sedan market is in the crapper right now, but Dodge manages to keep moving Chargers at a decent clip. No surprise — it’s a throwback in the best possible sense.

Andrew Stoy, digital editor

2016 Dodge Charger SXT Premium Rallye Photo 7

The Dodge Charger SXT Premium is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 producing 300 hp, connected to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Photo by Autoweek

As Andy said, the Charger is part of a dying breed — the rear-drive full-size American sedan. Sure, this Charger is actually about as American as poutine or Tim Hortons, but it’s the last dying breath of an American staple.

While the Charger is considerably better at destroying tires in its Scat Pack or Hellcat trims, this stylish V6-powered SXT isn’t a slouch. Much to my surprise, engaging the launch control proved that this Charger could actually hustle – albeit much more quietly than its V8 counterparts.

Unlike the remaining sporty rear-drive American sedans, the Charger handles like a yacht on the water — it rolls, it dives and that’s perfectly fine. The soft suspension means that this thing also absorbs bumps along the roadway without rattling your teeth loose.

The Uconnect infotainment system might give you troubles when connecting an iPhone while using third-party media apps like Spotify or Pandora, though for those who just use MP3s and podcasts to avoid listening to the radio — you’ll be fine. Despite the Beats Audio badging everywhere, I didn’t feel that this stereo system was much better than the one found in the regular Charger.

All in all, if you are looking for a big family cruiser, and don’t want a crossover or something vintage, the Charger is a good-looking, fun-driving, decently efficient highway hauler.

Wesley Wren, associate editor

2016 Dodge Charger SXT Premium Rallye Photo 8

The Dodge Charger SXT Premium is equipped with a 3.6-liter V6 producing 300 hp, connected to an eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. Photo by Autoweek

OPTIONS: AWD premium group including leather trim seats, SiriusXM traffic with five-year traffic subscription, SiriusXM travel link with five-year travel link subscription, bi-function HID projector headlamps, UConnect 8.4 NAV, GPS navigation, HD radio, Beats premium speakers with subwoofers, 552-watt amplifier, power front driver and passenger seats, driver/passenger power four-way lumbar adjust, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, heated steering wheel, ParkView rear back-up camera, ParkSense rear park assist system, blind spot and cross path detection, adaptive cruise control with stop, full speed forward collision warning plus, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, advanced brake assist, exterior mirrors with courtesy lamps, automatic high beam headlamp control, rain sensitive windshield wipers, power adjustable pedals with memory, power tilt/telescope steering column, auto adjust in reverse exterior mirrors, driver’s auto-dimming exterior mirror and memory for radio, driver seat and mirrors ($5,995)

Dodge Charger And Challenger Go Mango At New York

Thursday, March 24, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Posted by Take a trip down memory lane with Dodge’s Go Mango Challenger and Charger models, displayed at the New York Auto Show.

If you’re aching for Mopar’s “good ol’ days”, the American car manufacturer has prepared a surprise consisting of a new paint addition to the Charger and Challenger model line-up. Initially, Dodge announced that it will only make the color available for SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat models, but in the meantime the parent company decided to offer the option on “lesser” models as well – no need to stay exclusive if the demand is pretty high, right?

We’ve seen a tremendous response from our customers after we announced the return of Go Mango at the 11th annual Spring Festival in California. In fact, nearly half of all SRT and Hellcat orders are for Go Mango,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America.

This intriguing hue was first introduced as an option, in the 1970 Dodge Challenger, and offered again (albeit in limited numbers) on some Charger R/T Daytona and Dart models in 2006 and 2016, respectively.

Dodge adds the new color to its list of revived heritage paint schemes, which includes the “Plum Crazy” purple, “B5 Blue” and “Sublime” green.

PHOTO GALLERY

 

REVIEW: 2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack – The Sedan With Muscle Car Chops

Nicole Wakelin September 29, 201

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack

The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack hits every muscle car button. It looks aggressive and ready to chew up the road. It sounds incredible when you turn on the engine, even though it will likely wake your neighbors. It also has more horsepower than any sedan should rightly possess. The one thing it has that is decidedly unlike a typical muscle car is enough room to take the family around town, along with all their cargo.

Muscle cars are not typically known for being family friendly. They have backseats that no human can sit in unless they’re also a contortionist. Trunk space is typically meager and comfort is eschewed in favor of sportiness. The Charger somehow manages to pull of being a family sedan with lots of performance. It’s the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of cars, but without any evil tendencies of which we are aware.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack Trunk

Let’s start with the practical side of the Dodge Charger, because it’s bonkers that you can even say that about a muscle car. We took the Charger RT Scat Pack on a weekend camping trip. Two adults, two kids, sleeping bags, a cooler full of hot dogs and beverages, camp chairs, the whole kit and caboodle. We fit and so did our stuff. We didn’t have to sit on the trunk to close it and the kids didn’t have to deal with bags stuffed into the backseat. Everything simply fit thanks to 16.5 cubic feet of trunk space. If you’ve got more stuff and fewer passengers, the rear seats even split 60/40 to accommodate longer cargo.

The drive to the campsite was two hours and, despite being a car that’s all about the horsepower, it was a comfortable trip. The kids had plenty of room in back to spread out without getting in each other’s spaces. Up front both passenger and driver get 8-way power adjustable seats with 4-way power adjustable lumbar support. The Nappa Leather/Alcantara Suede Seats w/Logo ($1,595) package adds ventilation to the front seats and heated seats all around.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack Seating

The front seats are heavily bolstered, but wide enough that even those with broad shoulders won’t feel squished and uncomfortable. It’s a reminder that this car would like to take a ride or two on the track and that you’re going to need that bolstering to stay firmly in place on the corners.

That’s the practical. Now, let’s talk about the fun stuff.

This monster has a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque. Press the gas pedal and you will be rewarded with a roaring engine as the car rockets forward. Getting up to speed on the highway takes no time at all. You’ll find you have to ease up because you’re suddenly at the speed limit without even realizing how you got there so quickly. There’s your muscle.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack Rear

Despite being large and having a hood that is nothing short of imposing from behind the steering wheel, handling is easy. It’s responsive with no sloppiness. Sharp maneuvers through heavy traffic are easy thanks to quick acceleration and solid braking which provide plenty of control and confidence.

The Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack does a fantastic job of combining the key features of a sedan with all the performance of a muscle car. It is spacious, comfortable, and attractive with quality finishes throughout the interior. It’s also an aggressive beast of a car that is intimidated by nothing and leaves you feeling in complete control. The drawback to all that power in a car this size with such a well-appointed interior is fuel economy. It’s rated 15/25/18 city/highway/combined which will have you stopping at the pump more often.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack Dashboard

The infotainment system is Chrysler’s Uconnect which is one of the most intuitive systems available. The touchscreen rarely requires more than one tap to respond and the menus are organized in a way that makes sense. The Beats Audio Group ($995) adds 10 Beats premium speaker with subwoofer and a 552-watt amplifier. Roll down the windows, hit the highway, and crank up the sound and it is worth every last penny.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack Profile

The Dodge Charger made an impression on everyone this year with the Hellcat, but that isn’t the car for everyone. You can get plenty of performance from other cars in the Charger line-up like the RT Scat Pack. It’s slightly less crazy than the Hellcat, still has loads of power and style, and gives you a chance to drive a family sedan that will make all those minivan drivers weep over their multiple cupholders.

2015 Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack

Base Price: $39,995
Price As Tested: $44,275 (not including destination charge)

Likes

  • Style
  • Powerful Performance
  • Family Sedan Comfort in a Muscle Car

Dislikes

  • No Manual Transmission Option
  • Fuel Economy

How Dodge made the 2016 Charger Pursuit safer for cops

Charger Pursuit cop car Dodge Chrysler Hemi, 2016 police fleets

Dodge lays down the law with the 2016 Charger Pursuit. Photo by Wesley Wren

In a push for safety, Dodge ditched cabin laptops

Computers and police cars have always been an awkward match; now Dodge has tried its hand at remedying the problems of modern patrol work with the 2016 Charger Pursuit.

The traditional way to do computer work in a cruiser is to fix a laptop to the dash or console. Sometimes these laptops are on swivel bases, but more often than not they’re fixed. This causes two problems: The computer can interfere with the passenger-side air bag, putting a second officer at risk; laptops can also cause a major distraction while driving. The Los Angeles Police Department was dealing with both of these problems and approached Dodge.

current cop car

An active Detroit Police Department cruiser shows the terrible amount of clutter that officers face. Photo by Wesley Wren

Dodge answered by throwing the laptop in the trunk … well, the laptop and just about everything else that got in the way. Instead, Dodge expanded its Uconnect screen to 12.1 inches and fixed a keyboard to the center console. Dodge also made it possible to tether a keyboard via USB or use a Bluetooth keyboard — all in the name of versatility, space and passenger safety. The Uconnect screen controls everything that an officer would use: the light bar, the camera, the siren, a phone and anything else a department wants to program into the system. Dodge chose to leave a portion of the system open to allow different departments to customize the Charger.
New Charger Interior

The 2016 Charger Pursuit freed up the passenger air bag thanks to the 12.1-inch Uconnect screen. Photo by Wesley Wren

The Charger Pursuit is equipped with a heavy-duty suspension and other cop goodies, but you won’t see any SRT8 or Hellcat Charger Pursuits. The 5.7 Hemi is the engine of choice for the highway patrol units, with the 3.6 Pentastar six-cylinder pushing the rest of the Charger Pursuits along. TorqueFlite eight-speeds are the only available transmissions. Also, these come with all-wheel drive, so they should be capable in snowy climates.

Charger Pursuit Front

The 2016 Charger Pursuit just looks menacing. Photo by Wesley Wren

You’ll start seeing these new Charger Pursuits cycle into fleets within the next year. Try to keep them out of your rearview mirror.

2015 Dodge Charger SXT

Text: Calvin Chan, Photography: Don Cheng

The glistening spotlight is on the 707-horsepower Hellcat twins but people might forget that the Dodge Charger is offered in more sensible flavours down the price ladder. Nine of them in fact. There are four engines to choose from, one V6 and three V8s, a new 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission, and the option of AWD exclusive to the V6. And you would’ve never guessed that all this is built and assembled in our own backyard of Brampton, Ontario.

Dodge labels the Charger as a four-door muscle car so I curiously brainstormed on other vehicles I could compare it to. Pontiac G8? Extinct. Chrysler 300? The older cousin. Ford Taurus SHO? Reminds me of a cop car. Chevrolet SS? Not in Canada, buddy. Cadillac CTS-V? Well, the new one isn’t out yet. Email me if you think of more but it’s fair enough to say that the market competition is fairly limited. And who wouldn’t more of these hairy-chested family haulers anyways?

For me, the engine is what really defines a muscle car. Looks are second. Fire-breathing V8s are the preferred choice but we’re here to look at the more prudent V6 engine for the fuel-conscious customers. Our tester came equipped with the base-spec 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 that delivers an output of 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. However, the optional Rallye (WALL-E?) package ($495) we had equipped uses a unique cold-air induction system, a sport-tuned exhaust and an engine calibration to vamp up the figures to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft, a slight increase of 8 and 4, respectively. A single digit difference is hardly going to be noticeable but just because it doesn’t have eight cylinders does not make it slow. The V6 is quite powerful and offers a lot of punch once you travel up the RPM range. It doesn’t struggle getting up to speed and it works well in conjunction with the new 8-speed TorqueFlite transmission to provide direct and fluid gearshifts.

Speaking truthfully, the six-banger is uninspiring to say the least. We tested the 2015 Chrysler 200C a few weeks ago that used the same V6 engine, but that exhaust was exhilarating and sounded real mean – even conjuring up comparison with the Maserati Ghibli’s exhaust note. On the other hand, the Charger’s noise output is on the hush-hush side of the musical sheet, making us drool and dream of two more cylinders every time we mash the throttle. Looking on the bright side you’ll certainly get the fuel economy to match, and V6 advocates will know that. They would be more than happy to sacrifice noise and horsepower numbers for lower dollar signs at the pump.

In this case, our V6 tester averaged 13.0 L/100km – hardly economical but we barely drove it on the highways and were mostly sandwiched in stop-and-go traffic. Dodge’s official fuel numbers are 12.8 L/100km in the city and 8.6 L/100km on the highway but the smart consumer knows that these V6 engines only need 87-octane fuel. Dodge’s V8 engines require 89-octane and up. The added gears in the new 8-speed transmission aids the cause as well, resulting in one of the best highway fuel consumption in its class.

The Charger’s V6 engine also comes with the exclusive option of All-Wheel Drive ($2,200) aka. the anti-burnout feature that we Canadians love but don’t necessarily need. I see no problem slapping on some winter tires and using careful throttle management when the snow hits the ground. It’ll save some weight and marginally help at the fuel stations as well.

The Charger is a big car and it feels like one behind the wheel too. The front hood is enormous and the steering wheel is huge and hefty. Luckily, outward visibility is good and the myriad of safety tech keeps our blindspots and rear view in check. One of the downsides to the Charger however, is that the electric steering feels fairly numb and void of feedback. It’s not always a bad thing for a car with these colossal dimensions but it does manage to zap out any sportiness from the drive. Sport mode doesn’t do much to remedy it either, it holds the revs longer and slightly oh-so slightly tightens up the steering. The ride and suspension are top-notch though. I haven’t been in a sedan this comfortable in quite some time. Your family won’t be complaining but it’s not going to “wow” them either – that honour is reserved for V8 graduates.

Every body panel except the rear doors and roof have been resculpted and restyled for 2015. The new design pays homage to the Chargers of the past and the looks are unmistakably American. It looks mean, real mean. To some people’s dismay, the front fascia has borrowed much inspiration from the Dart, making it look slightly less special and ominous. But the Rallye package ($495) we have on our tester adds some black front panels to make it look like the more expensive R/T models and a rear body-coloured spoiler for a more aggressive demeanor to match up with it’s steroidal muscle-car image.

The Charger looks even better when you opt for the R/T Scat Pack, SRT, or Hellcat trims – the front grill is morphed into a cleaner and more sinister-looking design. The rear fascia on the other hand doesn’t look like it’s changed much from the previous generation and it still sports that “racetrack” LED taillamp that reminds me of the Lincoln MKC. This particular Redline Tri-Coat Pearl paint also seems to blend in with your polar bear’s Coca-Cola bottles.

As expected from a full-size sedan, the interior is cavernous and littered with storage compartments. The front seats are massive and tall people won’t have any problems getting in or out. There’s no sunroof (an option for $1,395) either so the amount of headroom is more than enough. I stand 6’1 with a slender figure but I still feel like a dwarf sitting in this car – the seat bolsters are so wide that I strenuously slide every time I take a hard corner.

I like what they’ve done with the two-tone black and red cabin design. It’s eye catching and manages to express upscale qualities without looking garish. The new three-spoke steering wheel is a nice touch too and like every other FCA product it gets those “puppet” paddle shifters mounted behind and above the audio controls. The media interface is one of the easiest and most responsive ones on the market, kudos to FCA for that. Volume knobs are also present but there’s still a lack of heated seat/wheel hard buttons – that’s just a personal preference. Overall, it’s a well-appointed interior. Easter eggs are scoured throughout the Charger’s interior too including the hammer-style gear shifter, which is a welcome throwback to the older Charger’s T-shaped knobs, and a “Dodge Brothers” reference on the center-console storage mat.

Our Dodge Charger SXT Rallye AWD sits on the sensible end of the MSRP spectrum, starting at $37,995 and ringing out at $45,480. That’s almost $7,000 in options but for a full-size four-door muscle car with such characterful styling and every gadget and gizmo in the book, it’s almost a steal. How would I spec it? Even though I live in Canada I would do without the AWD ($2,200) and save that money for the Rallye Appearance Package ($495) and the Black Painted Roof ($1,395) – these upgraded looks will confuse most people into thinking it’s a Hellcat. I would also do without the Premium Group Package ($5,295) as the list of standard options prove to be more than I need – heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, and a remote start system just to name a few.

In spite of the decent fuel economy, the V6 is hard compromise. To the sensible and frugal buyer that desire good looks and family-hauling usability, the SXT is a no-brainer choice. It’ll be the angel on your shoulder praising your decision every time you’re at the pump. But I’ll be honest with you, the entire time I’ve been writing this review my mind has been fixated on a moment last week when a V8-equipped Charger overtook me on the highway. He was driving like a jerk full throttle and weaving in and out of traffic but I must admit, the noise from that engine tug at my heart strings. You’d only have to fork over an extra $3,900 to go from an SXT to the V8-equipped R/T too. Just give up the premium options, the sunroof, the AWD, and before you know it you’ve got yourself enough cash in your budget for a new set of winter tires, a 5.7-litre HEMI V8 engine, and be able to pay off the fuel difference for more than two years. Hallelujah.