Dodge Charger

Model Overview

In the mid-2000s, Dodge revived the Charger not as the two-door muscle car we once knew, but instead as a large sedan. With its bold styling, available V-8 power, and high-performance SRT Hellcat trim, this four-door sedan puts pressure on rivals like the Chrysler 300, Chevrolet Impala, and Nissan Maxima with extra attitude and a little sportiness.


The original Dodge Charger, based on the Dodge Coronet, was released in 1966 as a two-door fastback with a choice of several V-8s paired to a three- or four-speed manual transmission or a three-speed automatic. Dodge released a street version of the 7.0-liter V-8 Chrysler Hemi engine in 1966, and 5.9-liter V-8 440 Magnum engine in 1967.

A redesigned Charger arrived in 1968 with a more compact pony car design and was equipped with a new standard 3.7-liter straight-six along with a range of V-8s. In addition, the Charger R/T (Road/Track) boasted a 5.9-liter 440 Magnum engine and Scat Pack bumble-bee strips along the sides. The famous Dodge Charger Daytona model, built for NASCAR, debuted in 1969 boasting an 18-inch nose and 23-inch tall rear wing that produced enough downforce to improve the car’s high-speed handling and came standard with the 440 Magnum engine with an available 7.0-liter Hemi.

The third-generation was introduced for the 1971 model year with a new split grille and more rounded body style. The Daytona model was discontinued and the R/T was now dubbed Rallye. With decreasing sales of the high-performance engines and trims, the Dodge Charger turned into more of a luxury car during this generation. The now more luxurious fourth-generation Dodge Charger was offered as a two-door coupe and came with only three V-8 options paired to a three-speed manual or automatic or a four-speed manual transmission. In 1978, Dodge discontinued the Charger to make way for the Magnum, Dodge’s new luxury car. From 1983-1987, the Charger nameplate returned, but only as a performance package for the compact front-wheel drive Dodge Omni 024 that was equipped with a 2.2-liter four-cylinder.

The Dodge Charger nameplate came back again for the 2006 model year as a large rear-drive sedan that offered a choice of 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V-6 or a 5.7-liter and 6.1-liter V-8 paired to a four- or five-speed automatic with available all-wheel drive (for the exception of the SRT-8). High-performance trims included the R/T, SRT-8, and the Super Bee, all equipped with Hemi V-8s. The new Charger had an upscale variant, the Chrysler 300, and a wagon variant, the Dodge Magnum. In a comparison between the 2008 Dodge Charger R/T and the Pontiac G8 GT, the Dodge Charger lost. About the Charger, we said: “Inviting cabin, Hemi-fed liveliness, and classic square-jawed good looks, but starting to feel old-school and overpriced.”

The Latest Generation

The 2011 Dodge Charger received a redesign both inside and out with the most significant changes made to the front fascia and taillights. In 2012, a new 3.6-liter V-6 replaced both the 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V-6, the 6.1-liter was increased to 6.4-liters and the 5.7-liter received a power increase. The five-speed was carried over for 2011 but was replaced by an eight-speed automatic later in production. In a First Drive review of the 2011 Charger R/T, we commended the car on its much improved interior and performance over the outgoing model, but did not like the slow shifting five-speed automatic.

The Dodge Charger received a refresh for the 2015 model year featuring a restyled exterior, improved interior, a standard eight-speed automatic across the lineup, retuned suspension for sharper handling, and available all-wheel drive on the V-6 models. In a First Drive review of the 2015 Charger R/T with the available Scat Pack performance package we said, “For performance-minded buyers, the R/T Scat Pack is probably the best value to be had in the whole Charger lineup.”

When Dodge released the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat, it became the most powerful and fastest production sedan ever built. Equipped with a supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi V-8 churning out a whopping 707 hp, this brute of a sedan can hit 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and finish the quarter-mile in 11.8 seconds at 124.3 mph. In our First Test review we said, “Sure, you could build a more powerful car for less money, but the 2015 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is the only 707-hp sedan available with a five-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and is EPA-rated at 13/22/16 mpg city/highway.

Why You’d Consider One

The Dodge Charger should please the sedan shopper looking for available V-8 power, aggressive styling, and a good ride-handling balance.

Why You’d Look Elsewhere

Consumers looking for a sedan with good fuel economy, class-leading acceleration with a V-6, and a luxurious interior may want to look at one of the Charger’s competitors.

Body Types: Sedan
Loading ...
Loading ...
Loading ...