2014 Charger New Car Test Drive
Dodge Charger is an American muscle car, pumped, powerful, and full of swagger that takes you straight back to the wildly optimistic American sedans of the '60s.
At the same time, it's handsomely designed and has world-class fit and finish. From crankshaft to door handles, everything operates with fine precision and the promise of long-lasting service. Ride quality is very good, and the solid structure soaks up road surface irregularities. Yet the steering is lively and communicative, keeping you in direct touch with the road, and braking performance is exemplary. A full-size, four-door sedan, Charger is a roomy five-seat hauler.
Like any serious performance sedan, Charger is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available for winter traction. V6 and V8 engines are available.
For 2013, a new cold-air induction system and sport-tuned exhaust boot the standard 3.6-liter V6 up to 300 horsepower with certain option packages. The 292-horsepower version is still standard and, realistically, that's plenty for most drivers. The V6 Charger with 8-speed automatic delivers best-in-class fuel economy: up to 19/31 mpg City/Highway in the EPA estimate.
Even with the 370-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and optional all-wheel drive, the Charger is a full-size family sedan with both strong performance and surprisingly thrifty EPA fuel economy, with an EPA-estimated 15/23 mpg City/Highway.
At the top end, the super-performance 2013 Charger SRT8 benefits from the addition of launch control and three driver-selectable modes for its adaptive damping suspension.
From the outside, the 2013 Charger looks a lot like an older rendering of the American sedan, but that appearance is misleading. The retro look is a self-confident exercise in sinuous American styling. The reborn Charger has been around since 2006. Model year 2011 brought a fresh new look that we like even better than the 2006-10 edition. The original Dodge Charger was launched as a 1966 model. General Lee was a '69.
The interior, however, is anything but old style. It's richly furnished with cutting-edge conveniences, advanced technology and the no-nonsense functionalism buyers demand. A first-rate, 8.4-inch touch-screen navigation system is coupled with a rearview camera and ancillary controls for climate and audio. The navigation system is sensationally intuitive, transparent, and pleasing to use, among the best we've seen. It's very easy to read and very easy to understand. Underscoring this user-friendliness, the audio controls for volume and tuning are accomplished with old-fashioned, practical radial knobs, easy to operate while driving on rough roads. And following through, each of these knobs is furnished with a nice rubber feel as you make your one-touch adjustments.
Dodge Charger is a classic combination: a full-size Detroit sedan with strong performance and unmistakable American looks, selling at an attractive price. Compared with the full-size Dodge sedan of 20 or 30 years ago, a new Charger will reward the owner with exciting styling, world-class engineering and impressive value. You no longer have to buy American because it's patriotic. With cars like this, you buy American because it's smart.
The 2013 Dodge Charger is available with V6 or V8 power. Rear-wheel drive is standard. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available for SXT, SXT Plus, and R/T models.
Charger SE ($25,995) comes standard with a 3.6-liter 292-hp V6, rear-wheel drive, 5-speed automatic transmission with manual selection, cloth upholstery, 6-way power driver's seat, 60/40 split rear seat, cruise control, manual tilt-telescopic steering column, power windows with express front up/down, rear window defroster, 4.3-inch touch-screen audio and media center, six audio speakers, USB port with iPod control, auxiliary input jack, power door locks, keyless remote, push-button start, power trunk-lid release, two 12-volt outlets, intelligent battery sensor, LED-illuminated front cup holders, rear seat armrest with cup holders, map pockets front and rear, illuminated sun visor vanity mirrors, front overhead console, LED-illuminated rear handles and reading lamps, electronic color vehicle information center, urethane shift knob and steering wheel, trunk cargo net and full trunk liner with emergency deck-lid release, dual deck-lid lamps, and 17-inch aluminum wheels with 215/65R17 all-season touring tires. The Connectivity Group for SE ($495) includes Uconnect 4.3S voice command with Bluetooth, auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls and leather-wrapped shift knob. Also optional is an 8-speed automatic transmission ($1,300).
Charger SXT ($28,995) comes standard with the 8-speed automatic and the Connectivity Group, plus halogen fog lamps, heated power mirrors, dual-zone front climate controls, humidity sensor, LED-illuminated front/rear map pockets, front overhead console with dome lamp and universal HomeLink, 8.4-inch touch-screen display with Uconnect 8.4 voice command, premium Alpine 276-watt audio, 12-way power driver's seat, heated front seats, automatic defog, and remote start. Charger SXT Plus ($30,995) adds leather seats with accent stitching,12-way power front passenger seat, heated rear seats, ambient lighting in the front foot wells, LED illumination in the overhead console, heated and cooled cup holders, security alarm, and 18-inch wheels with 235/55R18 all-season performance tires.
Charger R/T ($29,995) features the 5.7-liter 370-hp Hemi V8 with Four-Cylinder Mode Fuel Save Technology, mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission; plus HID headlamps, cloth-upholstered sport seats, 160mph speedometer, and chassis and mechanical upgrades the handle the additional horsepower. Otherwise it is equipped the same as the SXT. R/T Plus ($31,995) adds back all SXT Plus equipment, including leather covering for the sport seats. Charger R/T Max ($36,495) adds mirror-mounted puddle lamps, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning, a rear parking sensor, rear cross-path sensor, SmartBeam headlamps, the navigation package (described below), the Beats audio package (ditto), power adjustable pedals, heated and ventilated front seats, power tilt-and-telescope steering column, blind spot monitoring, and 245/45R20 all-season performance tires on 20-inch chrome wheels.
Charger R/T Road & Track ($33,995) begins with R/T Plus trim and adds a high speed engine controller, high-speed (3.06:1) rear axle, black leather seats with suede centers, heated and ventilated front seats, power adjustable pedals, paddle shifters, power tilt-and-telescope steering column, rain-sensing wipers, rear deck spoiler, a unique honeycomb grille, and 245/45R20 all-season performance tires on 20-inch chrome wheels. It's available only with rear-wheel drive, and paint and interior color choices are limited. The Super Track Pak ($400) adds Goodyear Eagle 1 Super Car three-season tires, high-performance brake shoes, and unique suspension and steering.
Charger SRT8 ($46,250) boasts a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 470 horsepower, plus a special SRT heated steering wheel with paddle shifters for manual shifting, a new three-mode adaptive damping suspension, an now-standard electronic launch control. Standard equipment hovers somewhere between Charger R/T Plus and R/T Max. A 19-speaker Harman Kardon 900-watt audio system ($1995) is an exclusive option.
Charger SRT8 Super Bee ($43,250) which, much like the various Dodge Super Bee models of 1969-71, deletes some high-end equipment in favor of a more accessible price, while establishing its own in-your-face attitude. The 2013 Super Bee includes paddle shifters, heated steering wheel, power steering column, automatic climate control, auto-dimming outside mirror, heated cup holders, HomeLink, SiriusXM radio, and power adjustable pedals that get axed to sharpen the Super Bee's focus. Additionally, two 12-way heated and ventilated power seats are exchanged for a six-way on the driver's side only; upholstery is black cloth with a unique off-set silver stripe. Paint choices are limited to white, black, or Plum Crazy. Options are more limited as well.
Optional all-wheel drive ($2,500) for SXT, SXT Plus, and most versions of the R/T includes upgraded brakes, unique suspension tuning and 19-inch rims wrapped with 235/55R19 all-season tires.
The Rallye Appearance Group ($1895), available only on rear-wheel-drive SXT and SXT Plus, upgrades the V6 to 300 horsepower and dials the suspension and brakes up to the R/T level. Paddle shifters, sport seats, a deck lid spoiler and 12-channel Beats by Dr. Dre audio are also included; and it all rolls on 245/45R20 tires on 20-inch aluminum wheels painted to match the body. The Blacktop Package ($1995) adds the same upgrades and equipment to the same models, but with blacked-out wheels and grille.
From there the possibilities expand dizzyingly, with pages of options and packages. Most are available only on certain models. Among them: Driver Convenience Group adds heated and ventilated front seats with driver memory, power-adjustable heated mirrors with memory, power-adjustable pedals with memory, power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory. Driver Confidence Group includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path detection, ParkView rear backup camera, high-intensity headlamps, exterior mirrors with courtesy lamps, rain-sensing wipers and SmartBeam headlamps; Adaptive Cruise Control Group adds forward collision warning with adaptive cruise control and heated steering wheel. Navigation Group includes Uconnect 8.4N voice command with Garmin navi, SiriusXM Traffic, SiriusXM Travel Link, and ParkView rearview camera.
Safety features on all Dodge Chargers includes electronic traction control (TCS), electronic stability control (ESC), anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), brake assist, rain brake support, hill-start assist, automatic headlamps, active front head restraints, all federally mandated airbags (seven), front seatbelt pretensioners, lower anchors and tethers for children (LATCH), occupant restraint controller. Optional all-wheel drive can improve handling stability in adverse conditions, and the optional rearview camera can help the driver spot a child behind the car when backing up.
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