3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Dodge Charger

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Expert's Rating

3.8Good

MPG 16 City / 26 Highway
Pros
  • Attractive styling
  • Spacious cabin
  • Good handling for large car
  • Smooth-shifting transmission
Cons
  • Dated interior
  • Large blind spot
If you are looking for a big, powerful sedan with heaps of cabin and trunk space, look no further.

Introduction

A lot of people who enjoyed the big engines of the 1960s and 1970s have a family now, which is why the four-door 2012 Dodge Charger may be a great fit. While both are sports cars that fit four adults, they obviously serve different markets. The Dodge Charger is available with a V6 with good fuel economy though slightly slow pedal response, or a V8 that can rip up asphalt. Either way, the packaging brings one back to the 1960s.

That makes it unlike any other sedan on the market, although the menacing lines can make the rear seats a bit of a tight fit. That extends to the trunk, too, which offers 15.4 cubic feet to pack up. The trim lines available manage to offer comfort with power, power without a ton of amenities, and both to accommodate the majority of the public. All models get a six-speaker stereo system with iPod/USB connectivity, as well as a lauded 8.4-inch infotainment screen.

Handling is crisp, even for how large it is. That is partly due to the strong brakes, and partly due to the available all-wheel drive. Keep in mind, of course, that rear-wheel drive can have the wheels stepping out in turns, especially in wet weather. In spite of those options and the gigantic engines, it’s one of the more affordable cars in its class.

Expect most models to offer a comfortable interior that gives as much peace of mind as the five-star government crash test rating, and the best possible rating from the Insurance Institute for highway safety. The Nissan Maxima has similar power numbers, but fuel economy is worse, and it can cost several thousand more dollars. The Mazda6 has modern styling and is much less expensive, but has less power and will never induce nostalgia. The Charger isn't a luxury car like the Cadillac CTS, but is thousands of dollars cheaper. Japanese sedans generally don't offer much sport, and the Hyundai Genesis Coupe and Nissan 370Z can suffer from tight cabins. With the looks, and the power, and the four doors, there's a lot to like about the Dodge Charger. There are five trim lines to choose from, enough for each buyer to find something they like.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Dodge Charger
Starting price
$15,980

2013 Dodge Charger R/T

Recommended for: Upscale interior, with horsepower to match

A Dodge Charger R/T is like an SXT with a V8. To be fair, 370 horsepower is nothing to sneeze at by most buyers. It still gets to 60 MPH in less than six seconds, with 19 MPG on the highway, and the brakes are still above average. The suspension is stiffer, and racing bucket seats are available in the front only. If there are kids in back, the driver will have to adjust their habits accordingly. Available packages include adjustable pedals and steering, as well as a track pack for better suspension and and handling going through corners as well as the drag strip.

2013 Dodge Charger
Starting price
$15,980

2013 Dodge Charger SE

Recommended for: Medium power with a side of many amenities

Buyers who look at the Charger SE can expect a fair amount of standard features, including alloy wheels and automatic headlights on the outside. Inside, drivers will appreciate the dual-zone climate control and infotainment system with a portable music player interface. In terms of safety, the steering wheel controls will help. So, too does the stability and traction control, as well as front and front side airbags, as well as side curtain airbags. To take advantage of the trunk, a 60/40 split rear seat is standard. The Dodge Charger SE has a 3.6-liter V6 that powers the rear wheels. In spite of producing 292 HP, the SE gets an 18/27 mpg city/highway split with its five-speed transmission.

2013 Dodge Charger
Starting price
$15,980

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8

Recommended for: No coddled molly, power and finesse bristle throughout

470 horsepower and lb.-ft. of torque. If the driver has the skill to keep it in a straight line, 0-60 times around 4.5 seconds are possible. Fuel economy isn’t the best, with 23 miles per gallon on the highway, but that’s to be expected with stratospheric horsepower numbers which approach Porsche and Ferrari-like levels. Thankfully, adjustable stability control enables drivers to have more control while meaty brakes issue a much-needed dollop of confidence to lead-footed drivers. Inside the SRT8 is adorned with quality stitching and materials and also features heated and cooled cupholders. Even passengers can stay toasty and enjoy the music pumped out by 19-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. That may be too much for some who want the power without the flash, though. Which is why Dodge also offers the Superbee SRT8 (below).

2013 Dodge Charger
Starting price
$15,980

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Superbee

Recommended for: All of the thrills, none of the frills

While above it says that the touchscreen is available in all trims, that’s not quite accurate. The Superbee SRT8 is a throwback to when manufacturers would cut everything but the engine, pedals and a seat. Of course, people who are interested in it are in for the V8 and brakes/suspension you can find on the SRT8. Just expect no navigation, remote start or power-adjust driving controls. Heated things like chairs and mirrors aren’t an option, and the stereo goes down a touch in quality. On the other hand, you’re deducting the price of all those options, as well as manufacturer markup.

2013 Dodge Charger
Starting price
$15,980

2013 Dodge Charger SXT

Recommended for: Upscale interior for a muscle car that sips gas

The Dodge Charger SXT keeps all the bits from the SE, but the biggest factor from many drivers will be the 8-speed automatic transmission. Not only does it keep the engine in the power band for quicker acceleration, it also bumps MPG to 31 on the highway from 27. You can also start it remotely, and both driver and passenger get more adjustable, heated seats. Of course, the stereo and the navigation units are improved. Of note is that the SXT model is available with all-wheel drive. Although the Charger is heavier than most sedans, the power of the V8 can make oversteer spins a possibility without the all-wheel drive.

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