Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dodge Charger is formidable, even with four doors

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo reviews of the latest motor vehicle models also can be seen on The Sacramento Bee’s website at

This review originally appeared in the May 2015 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California – I wanted seat time in the 2015 Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger because, well … who wouldn’t want time in these classic American muscle nameplates, both having undergone serious changes for the current model year?

We’re talking about the Charger this month, so let me address your first complaint right away:  IT HAS FOUR DOORS!  HOW CAN IT BE A MUSCLE CAR?

Here’s how: The tested R/T model had a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 with 370 horsepower, 395 foot-pounds of torque and a start-up rumble that all but screamed a warning to get the kids off the streets, because the big dog is rolling.

I don’t take an engine’s rumble lightly.  It’s a big deal to me.  If the car’s first noise appears to signal the end of time as we know it, so much the better.  After all, again, this is American muscle.  Yes, Toyota is selling more cars in the United States than your grandfather ever dreamed of, but there is a source of muscular pride to be had in a Dodge Charger.

And sure enough, mine showed up with four doors.  Imagine that.  The fact is that old-school muscle enthusiasts have families and occasionally enjoy a good rip down an arrow-straight country road in a Charger.  It happens.

Gas mileage?  You had to ask.  It’s a pretty awful 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.  But you get what you pay for when you lust for the big Hemi.

In the case of my 2015 Dodge Charger R/T rear-driver, the starting price was $32,995.  My ride was incredibly dressed up – including a nearly $1,800 technology package with a blind spot/cross path-detection system and 10 Beats speakers – to bring this “Super” Charger to $43,460 on the sticker’s bottom line.

This is NOT a lightweight car, but the zero-to-60 mph time is a mere 5.1 seconds, and the beast at full song is a surprisingly agile freeway performer.  In fact, I felt the steering was a bit mushy at low revs.  Simply put, this car was built to get out and go, and endorse that goal.

The sparsely-appointed Chargers of days gone by have been replaced by a downright luxurious interior cabin.  Comfort and convenience abound in the contemporary Charger.

Happily, the exterior changes for 2015 did not take away from the Charger’s aggressive stance.  The front grille looks ready to swallow up pokes and delivers a “get outta my way, here I come” message with its appearance.

I fully realize that a nearly $43,500 ride is not within range of many household budgets.  But the good news is that you can get a sporty-looking Dodge Charger for less than my dressed-up car.  And in an age that touts the six-figure exotic sports car, this Charger provides a comparatively affordable rush.

Kudos to Dodge for making smart changes and keeping the soul of this Charger intact.

Next month, buckle up for a look at the 2015 Dodge Challenger, with two doors by the way.

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