Dodge Charger comes in a variety of options from V6 to the Hellcat Redeye
CASEY WILLIAMS | Auto Reviewer
Nothing about the Dodge Charger is subtle. It’s a sexy, muscular beast built to slay the left lane rather than kicking out peeps at the valet stand. Whether you choose the most affordable V6 version or the balls-out Hellcat Redeye, you’ll feel like a star on your own personal dance floor.
The Charger is available with eight models and five engines that escalate from a 292 horsepower V6 through a 370hp 5.7-liter HEMI V8, 485hp 6.2-liter V8, 717hp supercharged V8, and unholy 797 horsepower supercharged V8 in the SRT Hellcat Redeye.
All those cars move expeditiously, but I prefer the bookends of the efficient V6 and voracious Redeye V8.
For around $30,000, you can buy a base Charger with the 3.6-liter V6, which produces ample power in a roomy sedan with rear-drive and an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Its Mercedes-derived chassis is a dream to drive. Better, it delivers up to 19/30-MPG city/highway (a little less with optional all-wheel-drive). It’s a lot of car for the coin.
But, if we’re laying down cards, my favorite is the Hellcat Redeye widebody I recently tested. Step into the V8’s throttle to hear the demonic howl from the supercharger as it kisses 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds in route to a 203-mph top speed.
It’s intoxicating, especially for a full-size road runner, but fuel economy ratings of 12/21-MPG city/highway bring sobriety.
Regardless of engine, the Charger is very pleasant inside. Big comfy seats and generous rear legroom welcome passengers who admire a wide driver-focused dashboard reminiscent of early-70s Challengers. It’s dressed in carbon fiber and houses Chrysler’s intuitive infotainment touchscreen in top models. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 4G Wi-Fi, navigation and Harman Kardon audio are ready for the asking.
A sueded steering wheel, heated/ventilated front seats, and a heated steering wheel add delights that you’ll want to caress.
It’s a big and heavy car, but — especially with the widebody package — it handles like a much smaller toy. A softer ride compliments the more leisurely V6 while firmer calibrations with an adaptive electronic suspension ensure nothing from the engine goes to waste.
The Redeye dances over rough city streets but settles comfortably on the highway. Even the loud exhaust calms itself at cruise. It will annoy your neighbors, but not your ears on long drives.
There’s nothing subtle about the smooth, muscular style of base Chargers, but the attitude ramps up progressively as horsepower and window stickers climb. When you reach the summit, a satin black hood, 20-inch carbon black wheels, fender extensions and orange brake calipers have poseurs doing double-takes. The little Hellcat logo on the grille and decklid should warn them off.
This Charger tops the second muscle car era with the Redeye’s V8, but there’s no shame in buying the affordable and efficient V6. When better muscle cars are built, and we’ll see them soon, they’ll be electric and far better for it. Until then, revel in all the car’s German American heritage has wrought.
The Charger’s affordable $30,570 base price rose to an astounding $92,150 for the nastiest version of all.
Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.