Vital Stats

Engine:
5.7L V8
Power:
370 HP / 395 LB-FT
Transmission:
8-Speed Auto
Drivetrain:
All-Wheel Drive
Curb Weight:
4,450 LBS
Seating:
2+3
Cargo:
16.5 CU-FT
MPG:
15 City / 23 HWY
We won't beat around the bush: The all-wheel-drive Dodge Charger is not a brand new car. This generation launched in 2011, AWD models and all. But for 2013, Chrysler has added an optional sport package to the AWD model, available with both the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or the sweet, sweet 5.7-liter Hemi V8. The upgrades for this new sport pack are mainly cosmetic; a gloss black grille, new 19-inch alloy wheels and body-colored rear spoiler make up the list of exterior changes. Inside, there are new sport seats and paddle shifters, and the eight-speed automatic transmission has been reflashed for better performance.

But because vehicles like the Dodge Charger mainly stick out in our minds as being rear-drive bruisers, Chrysler wanted to give us the opportunity to test out the LX platform's foul-weather prowess. And perhaps no place more appropriate to test such a system was way up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in the dead of winter.

Driving Notes
  • It's not a new formula by any means, but we still adore the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 under the hood of the Charger. 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque are more than enough motivation to get this hefty (4,450-pound) sedan up and moving with a quickness, even with all-wheel drive.
  • We also had a chance to drive the AWD Sport pack on a Charger with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6, and the new eight-speed automatic 'box is really slick. Unlike other eight-cog units, you won't find the transmission frequently jumping back and forth between gears.
  • Fuel economy isn't anything stellar back in the V8 model, though. Combined with all-wheel drive, the Charger R/T AWD Sport achieves 15 miles per gallon in the city or 23 mpg on the highway. Still, that's about par for the class – a two-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis with the 5.0-liter V8 achieves 16/25 mpg.
  • On our drive through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, we mostly encountered long stretches of two-lane backroads that, while throwing the occasional curve our way, were mostly straight and flat. This is ideal Charger territory, as the big sedan is perfectly poised to be a solid, comfortable highway cruiser above all.
  • We had the chance to pilot the Charger AWD Sport around a few handling courses in the snow, and there, the car offered safe amounts of fun. The Charger uses a rear-biased AWD system that only sends power to the front wheels when moments of slip or poor traction are encountered, but this means enthusiasts who like a bit of tail-wagging hooliganism in the snow will be very happy.
  • Even with that rear bias, the big Dodge never failed to snap itself back into line when we intentionally tried to break its butt loose. And since we were able to drive the Charger on a number of snowy, icy test courses, it was easy to see that this AWD system works well in all types of road conditions.
  • After so many years of lackluster cabins, it's nice to be able to praise Chrysler interiors. Here in the Charger, we found both the sport cloth and leather seats to be immensely comfortable, and the overall fit and finish to the interior is quite nice. We especially like the carbon fiber-look trim pieces added to the Sport model for 2013.
  • Perhaps the best thing about the Charger's interior is the Chrysler UConnect system – there's a reason why it's an award-winning piece of technology. The 8.4-inch screen is super easy to navigate, but this system's biggest win is just how responsive it is to touch commands. Other automakers really should take note.
  • What's great about this whole package is that the fullsize, loaded sedan tops out under the $40,000 mark. That's comparable to fully optioned midsize sedans these days (like a Ford Fusion Titanium, for instance). Yes, those smaller cars are no doubt better on fuel economy, but for bang-for-the-buck performance, the Charger is really something special.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 81 Comments
      godwhomismike
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nearly 30 photos, and not one of those are of the interior, which you praise. :|
      XJ Yamaha
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't that the same mileage as the AWD hemi with the 5 speed transmission? Maybe i'm incorrect, but I thought the 8-speed was supposed to help in that aspect.
        fuzzyfish6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @XJ Yamaha
        It is, we think Steve made a mistake here.
        Tom
        • 1 Year Ago
        @XJ Yamaha
        The 2013 R/T AWD Sport STILL has the 5 speed, so the article is wrong. RUMOR says the 8 speed may come to Hemis in 2014, but as of now, ONLY the V6 has the 8 speed. I assume the 8 speed will bump MPG a tiny bit (1-2 MPG highway, 2-3 city); but will have a HUGE impact on acceleration.
          Kyle
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          The biggest improvement for the hemi and 8 spd combos will be in fuel efficiency.
          Abstract20
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          2014 Models will have the 8 speed auto for the 5.7 Confirmed - Chrysler employee here
          Tom
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Tom
          domingorobusto, since I can't reply directly to your comment, The MB 5 speed has VEYR slow shifts. Even in my R/T with performance transmission programming (more aggressive than this one) it's much slower than the 8 speed will be. In addition, the first gear in the new 8 speed is actually lower, and the spread is much better; the Hemi will actually stay in its power band much easier - as broad as it is, it will still be a HUGE advantage. I think that the MPG gains will not be that big with the 8 speed though, check out allpar and their released 2014 GC 8-speed specs; the GC is only gaining like 2/1 (city/highway) with the 8 speed on the Hemi.
      Awhattup
      • 1 Year Ago
      Very good bang for the buck.
        Patrick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Awhattup
        Very much so. Makes me think of the Pontiac G8.
      Steven J. Ewing
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hi, all. Thanks for the comments. The V8/eight-speed error was an editing mistake, and you're right, the current Charger is only available with a five-speed automatic on Hemi models. Text has been updated to reflect that the eight-speed car I drove was a 3.6-liter V6.
      alistair.dillingham
      • 1 Year Ago
      Nice, but I prefer it in 300 clothing.
      T
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm looking forward to driving the 8-Speed. However, I'd still like a manual option on the Charger and the 300.
      Ryan
      • 1 Year Ago
      So, now, I'm very confused here. As a huge, huge fan of the Charger in all flavors, I know that the 8 speed is coming in the Charger R/T (and SRT) with the Hemi V8 engine (as well as in the Grand Cherokee V8, where it has been announced, and the 300 V8, and eventually the Ram V8 as well). However, I was under the strong impression that these cars (The LXs with the V8 and 8 speed) would not be built until (at the earliest), mid-2013. So did you drive an early build press car that had the 8 speed and a Hemi in it? Or did you drive an SXT with the Pentastar V6 and the 8 speed and then an R/T with the Hemi V8 and the 5 speed and now you're combining the conversation about them? You either drove a very special mule or you drove two different cars, either of which seems like something you'd at least mention in the article... Either way, I've been curious about the Sport package and now I know that while I truly dislike the wheels, the rest of it seems appealing on paper, as it is essentially the Rallye/Blacktop package which is available on the RWD Chargers. I'm also impressed that the AWD system performs well in serious testing, as I have not had a chance to test it myself. I know that it isn't up to the levels of more complicated, non-rear-biased, systems, but I (from a performance and hoonigan standpoint) prefer the rear-biased system as long as it works well enough to keep me from wiping out in New England winters but puts smiles on my face when I have it on bare tar.
      Mark Martin
      • 1 Year Ago
      Does the V8/8spd still have cylinder de-activation?
        Abstract20
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mark Martin
        All of the new 5.7L HEMI's have MDS (multiple displacement system)
      Basil Exposition
      • 1 Year Ago
      Photographers must love shooting this car. Looks spectacular from all angles.
        mark
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Basil Exposition
        Looks spectacularly Ugly.
      M-M
      • 1 Year Ago
      How in the world does this car weight more than a new 7-series BMW?
        Zcd1
        • 1 Year Ago
        @M-M
        Huh? A 750iX-drive starts at 4745 lbs. (!!!!!!!!!)
        fuzzyfish6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @M-M
        The 7 series has a base curb weight of 4,300+ lb with RWD. This is 4,400lb with AWD; a RWD LX is around 4,200lb.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @M-M
        [blocked]
      BOXER
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is this FULL TIME AWD???? Also looks like the same car to me what's so new about it. Has anyone been behind these things at night time? The led tail lights way are too LOUD... You guys need to get rid of the cheesy looking rope of lights. Looks cheap. Plus I have to go the gym and work on muscles to compliment this thing...Is this The Jersey Shores Edition? It's T-Shirt Time!!!
      Dynamho
      • 1 Year Ago
      4,450 lb?!? It's an SUV in disguise.
        Chris
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dynamho
        It's a pretty big car, by today's standards, so what did you expect? When taking into consideration that the Challenger weighs SRT-8 weighs about 4,200 lbs, the fact that this even larger vehicle, with 4 doors, awd, and a lot more luxury features weighs what it does doesn't really come as a surprise.
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