Everybody knows the new Dodges for their big motors, smoky tires, and that one commercial where two Dodges get looked at funny by the guy in the Durango Christmas tree shopping. After driving a Dodge for about 9 months and 27,000 miles, I felt necessary to share what I thought of it.
(Full disclosure: I’m biased towards FCA, deal with it.)
So, what was I driving? A 2016 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track in Jazz blue. This is one of the worst named cars on the market (well it’s since been replaced by the Daytona, but still). This car is really called the Charger Road /Track Road & Track. The only way it could be worse is if they just called it the Dodge LaDodge. The worst part about this name is that this car would have no business on a race track. The car included a 375 hp Hemi V8 through the industry standard ZF 8-speed automatic, sending power to two relatively skinny 245 Goodyear Eagle F1 tires. This was a good recipe for burnouts.
I really love the way this car looks. The slick DRLs, the blacked out grill with the red R/T badge, the 20 inch wheels with the black inserts, and the wonderful racetrack tail lamps. Also, there is no chrome on this car, anywhere. For a car that really is more often seen as a rental, I got a ton of compliments.
It’s red! It’s Suede! It’s got a big touch screen! Those are really the only things that matter here. Sure, there are a few materials that could have been better, but I love this red suede interior. That’s all the matters here. Build quality is quite solid, with well aligned panels and minimal rattles. Storage is plentiful, and the seats are comfortable. Have I mentioned they are red?
8 might be a little ambitious, but this car felt fast. It rarely needed to work hard in every day driving, with far more power than the tires can handle. Sure, there’s the Hellcat or 392 engine options, but who really needs that much power? I had more than enough fun with 395 lb ft of torque. Shifts were smooth and predicable, with the transmission always willing to downshift if necessary (it wasn’t often necessary because of all the torque).
They worked. Surprisingly not a lot of brake dust. Not sure what else to say here.
Ride and Handling 6/10
This is a big car. A really big car. It weighs well over 4000 pounds. It also has the Road & Track suspension and 20 inch wheels. It was firm, but never harsh. Handling is about what you’d expect from a heavy sedan that tries to be a sports car. Also, the Goodyear tires suck. Seriously, it did not take much to get the rear end to step out. The tires are way too skinny for the car, but even then, these tires did not inspire much confidence.
This car has nav, back up camera, heated and ventilated seats, auto climate, heated rear seats, HID headlamps, power seats, LED lights everywhere, and a decent sound system. Plenty of gadgets for my taste, but now that I have a car with radar cruise control and blind spot monitor, I wish the Charger had that as well.
A 4 here is probably generous, but this engine is quiet. You can tell it’s a V8, but I wish it made some more noise. Fortunately Dodge solved that problem this year by replacing the Road & Track package with the Daytona, which includes a cold air intake and 2-inch exhaust. I’ve yet to hear one myself, but I’ve been told it does not disappoint. The sound system, as I said above, was average. Just a 276 watt 6 speaker system.
I can’t put a price on mine, but they were offering the 2016 Charger R/T with 20% off at the end of 2016. So, for about $30k, you can get a big sedan with 375hp through the rear wheels with Nav and red suede seats. That’s a steal in my book. As far as ownership costs, the didn’t have a single issue, so it just required an oil change every 10k miles. Average lifetime fuel economy was a shocking 24.60 MPG, measured manually by tracking every fill-up. My single best tank was 99% highway and I got 27.80 MPG. Even with the big V8, it’s pretty fuel efficient. It does, however, require mid-grade fuel.
So after lazily only including 8 categories, the vehicle finished with a 59/80. I really enjoyed the Charger and feel it is still the best vehicle FCA builds. You can tell it’s an old Mercedes chassis underneath, but only because it is still such a solid car. Anybody looking for a big sedan should give the Charger (or the 300, if you’re into that) a look.