2019 Charger New Car Test Drive
Recalling ancestors from the muscle-car era, as far back as 1966, the 2019 Charger continues to entice enthusiasts and is unmistakably American. Aging gracefully, the Charger can be a V6 family sedan or, packing V8 power, a genuine muscle car. The basic platform hasn't changed since the modern-day Charger debuted for 2005.
Dodge has reworked its model lineup for 2019, adding an all-wheel-drive SXT. The GT becomes a V6 model with performance looks.
New red, blue, and silver dual-center stripes decorate the SRT Hellcat. Dual carbon stripes are available on R/T and R/T Scat Pack. Performance upgrades for the Hellcat and Scat Pack include Launch Assist and Line Lock, plus a “performance” grille with dual air intakes. A Launch Control switch goes on the R/T Scat Pack, while the Hellcat adds Torque Reserve and an After-Run Chiller.
The Charger lineup now consists of SXT, SXT AWD, GT, R/T, R/T Scat Pack, and SRT Hellcat.
Base engine for SXT trim is a 3.6-liter V6 that delivers 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In the SXT AWD and GT, the V6 is rated at 300 horsepower and 264 pound-feet.
In the Charger R/T, a 5.7-liter V8 makes 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, for 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 6.0 seconds. The R/T Scat Pack boasts a 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8 that slashes 0-60 mph time to about 4.5 seconds.
Topping off the lineup, the aptly-named SRT Hellcat unleashes a 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8, capable of hitting 60 mph in a blistering 3.7 seconds.
Charger offers a decent selection of safety features, but inconsistent test scores. In crash-testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Dodge's Charger rated five stars overall and for side-impact, as well as rollover prevention (a calculated figure); but only four-star for the frontal-impact crash.
Crash-testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earned mostly 'Good'? scores, but only a 'Marginal'? rating in the stringent frontal small-overlap test for the driver's side. Headlights were judged 'Poor.
A rearview camera and rear parking sensors are standard. Available safety features include adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, blind-spot monitoring, forward-collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.
A high beltline restricts outward vision a bit more than other large sedans..
Prices do not include $1,495 destination charge.
SXT ($29,220 with rear-drive, $33,320 with all-wheel drive) includes the 292-hp V6, cloth upholstery, keyless start, power driver's seat, tilt/telescopic steering wheel, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, dual exhaust, and 17-inch alloy wheels (19-inch with AWD). The 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
GT ($31,495) has rear-wheel drive and a 300-horsepower V6. An aluminum hood with functional scoop, performance suspension and steering with paddle shifters, and 20-inch wheels are standard.
R/T ($35,995) gets the 370-horsepower, 5.7-liter V8 with rear-drive, electronically-controlled active exhaust, 8.4-inch touchscreen, and “performance” components similar to GT.
R/T Scat Pack ($39,995) moves up to the 485-horsepower V8 with dual air intakes, adding a high-performance suspension with Bilstein dampers, Brembo four-piston brakes, Launch Control, matte black spoiler, 20-inch Black Noise wheels, heated cloth bucket seats, and SRT Performance Pages digital readouts.
SRT Hellcat ($67,245) packs the 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 with rear-drive. Standard features include six-piston front brake calipers, adaptive dampers, flat-bottom steering wheel, and a drive-mode system that alters the character of the transmission, throttle, steering weight, and dampers.
An optional Dynamics Package adds six-piston Brembo brakes. Blacktop and Daytona option packages are available..