What’s not to like about Dodge’s 2011 Charger R/T with all-wheel drive? Hey, it has a potent, tire burning 5.7-liter, 370-hp Hemi V8 that’s coupled to a 5-speed automatic transmission (an 8-speed is coming). And despite the cars 4450-pound curb weight, it still gives goose bumps when flooring the accelerator from a standing stop.
But it still doesn’t compare to the 1963 Dodge Ramcharger with TorqueFlite, 4-speed push button automatic transmission that a friend of mine had back then. Under full throttle shifts from first to second and second to third, the tires would scream. That was exciting especially since it was an automatic trans – and a push button one at that. But gas prices then weren’t $3.29/gallon as they are today. And the Ramcharger gulped it with gusto.
But in this day of high fuel prices, the Charger’s Hemi incorporates fuel saver technology to maintain EPA mileage ratings of 15 city, 23-highway mpg. So it’s a compromise that still provides driving excitement. And if you want even more head-snapping zip, there’s an SRT version with a 470-hp 6.4L V8.
With a touch of retro Charger, the car’s front end looks nasty, like it wants to eat everything in its way. And the full-length taillight array is exceptionally cool using 164 bright LED bulbs in a continuous pattern. It’s destined to become a signature look for Dodge. With the lights on, tailgating motorists can’t miss the brilliance, especially in foggy, rainy, snowy weather.
And speaking of inclement weather, Charger’s AWD system is perfect here in the Snowbelt. With all that pent up power and torque, it’s a much-needed feature especially on snow-covered roads.
Chargers’ cabin is comfy and accommodating. The front seats are supportive and the rears spacious enough for two adults. The rear seat backs are nicely angled for an easy nap. In fact they’re more comfy than first class airline seats.
All instrumentation is easy to read and use and my test car came with the optional and large, touch screen GPS nav, rearview camera, Blind Spot and Cross Path Detection, Nappa leather seats, “heated” second row seats, keyless ignition, heated/cooled front cup holders and much more. Dodge really loaded the Charger with content (like dual analog and digital speedometers) that is more common in high-priced Euro cars.
The only detracting interior points are too much cut rate appearing plastics and “A” pillars covered with a material that will eventually fade from the sun. The dash, however, is covered in a nice glare-free, grained, rubberized vinyl.
Back in the trunk, capacity is rated at 15.4 cubic feet or two Pullman hardsiders, or, three golf bags with the long clubs removed and stacked atop the bags. Fold the 60/40 seatbacks and the clubs can remain in the bags.
Shod with 19-inch Michelin tires, Charger has a pleasing ride that is midway between firm and soft, but smooth. Handling is taut and it takes Route 22 cloverleaves with grace and with only a smidgen of body lean. Charger remains planted and with electric steering, parking is easy.
Now here’s the bad news. To get all the aforementioned goodies, a fair base price of $32,545 escalates to $38,385 with $3570 in extra cost options and an $825 delivery charge. That’s encroaching into the Euro luxury car arena of which the Charger is not. But for the car enthusiast, this Charger will bring back memories of yesteryear.
To check out a Charger, stop by Brown-Daub Dodge in Easton, Young Dodge in Bethlehem or Keystone Dodge on Lehigh Street in Allentown. And to automatically receive auto news and reviews from Nick Hromiak, click on the “Subscribe” notation on this page.