Words: Stephen Spyropoulos
Photography: Stephen Spyropoulos
Published: April 21, 2016
For a lot of people, their earliest memories of the Dodge Charger came from the cult classic 1969 General Lee. Featured in the Dukes of Hazzard television series during the 70s and 80s, the badass orange coupe was built to be a racecar and helped the boys run moonshine across state lines.
While Dodge Chargers of today have grown an extra set of doors and are “highly unlikely” to be doing any of that debauchery, it still represents the good old brash and bold full-size American sedan that we’ve come to love since its re-introduction back in 2006. Ten years later, the Dodge Charger is still standing after undergoing some cosmetic surgery to the front and back ends to help keep it current with the times.
We have become accustomed to hearing just how awesome and the politically incorrect the HEMI V8 R/T, SRT 392 and Hellcat trims charge down the street. Lest we forget that it is also refined, comfortable, and actually quite luxurious, even in the V6-equipped SXT models. But don’t tell anybody that; the Charger has a tough guy image to maintain.
Relying on the solid underpinnings inherited from Mercedes-Benz, a fantastic 8-speed automatic that can be found in Audis, BMWs, and Jaguars, and a really intuitive infotainment system, the Charger is a serious bang for your buck deal. Under a luxury brand name, a sedan with this much content and prowess would probably run you another $20,000 if not more.
The Charger is a large car, plain and simple. It’s wide and rather heavy as well. Yet, the Charger is somehow satisfyingly responsive and changes directions like it is on rails. Meaty steering and flat cornering masks the feeling of its size. I was also genuinely impressed with its ride quality. The suspension absorbs ruts and bumps with just subdued impacts. It is a cruiser that feels at home not only on long road trips, but on city streets as well.
My tester was the SXT model paired with a 3.6-litre V6 motor that pumps out an extra 8 horsepower thanks to the Rallye Appearance Group Package, bringing the total output to 300 horsepower. Now over the years, the V6 versions of muscle cars often had a bad rep. “They’re too underpowered, they’re not loud enough, and they’re unexciting.” However, this V6 engine is actually quite rev happy and even sounds great under hard acceleration—it ain’t no slouch. During my test week I averaged a respectable 11.9 L/100km with a mix of 30/70 highway/city. Not too shabby.
Also, thanks to the AWD system featured on this particular car, getting off the line to beat traffic was quick and effortless. When pushed hard, the Charger responds by giving you all that it’s got. While the 6-speed manual that can be had in a Dodge Challenger will never be found in a Charger, the 8-speed TorqueFlite automatic held up its end of the bargain with smart shifts and smooth transitions. Downshifts are great with the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and the transmission always seems to be in the right ratio.
The interior of the 2016 Dodge Charger is spacious, comfortable, and well appointed. I would have personally opted against the Pearl White inserts on the black leather seats, as jean stains and black marks become your worst enemy. But other than that, the cabin is an attractive mix of retro and modern. Patterned metal trim surrounds the gauges, shifter, and touchscreen, and the tops of the dashboard and door panels are padded thick to ensure nothing feels cheap.
On the outside, the Jazz Blue Charger is stylish with LED headlights in the shape of elongated horseshoes, a blacked out R/T grille, a body-coloured rear spoiler, and a set of sporty 19-inch chrome wheels—all part of the Rallye package ($495). It’s easy to mistake it as an undercover police vehicle too, as many cops in the GTA drive modded Chargers as well. I guess that’s why nobody ever wanted to pass me on the road.
The square-screened infotainment system dubbed “Uconnect 8.4” is one of the better-designed units available today. The touchscreen-based system is very easy to use thanks to its logical screen layout, large fonts, clear graphics, and a handful of conventional knobs to help out with commonly used functions.
The Charger’s coupe-like silhouette does pay homage to the General Lee, but most of all it represents a continuation of the spirit originally brought forth by Dodge in the late 1960s. Charging into the night like an orange bolt of lightning, the Charger is here to stay.
As tested, the Charger came out to $48,470. This puts it in line with other large sedans like the Chevrolet Impala and the Nissan Maxima, both of which feature powerful V6 engines as well. But it’s only when you pair the Charger up with a V8 motor does it really start to separate itself from its rivals.
The Achilles heel to this great vehicle it seems, is that it has issues with reliability. Dodge hasn’t been doing so great with the ‘problems per 100 vehicles’ rating that’s conducted by J.D. Power & Associates yearly. They are below the industry average, and a buyer looking for performance and affordability should take this result into account. But that is what warranty is for, ain’t it, because ratings and mumbo jumbo aside, the Charger ticks off a lot of boxes in the must-haves department and presents great value for what is essentially, a snazzy four-door muscle car.
型号 Model: 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Rallye AWD
顏色 Paint Type: Jazz Blue Pearl
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $39,595
試車售價 Price as Tested: $48,470
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 3,052
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,040 / 1,905 / 1,510
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,914
引擎 Engine: 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 with 24-valve DOHC
最大馬力 Horsepower: 300 hp @ 6,350 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 264 lb-ft @ 4,800 rpm
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 12.8 / 8.6 / 10.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 11.9
輪胎尺碼 Tires: P235/55R19 all-seasons