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.