In a market that seems to want less to do with traditional sedans each year, the 2019 Dodge Charger not only survives but prospers thanks to its charisma, style, and, of course, gobs of V8 power. The breadth of the Charger range also helps keep it relevant – after all, there's not too many other cars that can be a police cruiser, family four-door, or the world's most powerful sedan. The Charger is as about as versatile as it is fast, and brings affordable performance to the masses in a way few other sedans do.
What's New for 2019
The base SXT trim, which was previously rear-wheel drive only, can now be equipped with all-wheel drive; conversely, the previously AWD-only GT trim is exclusively RWD. SRT Hellcats get two new performance features: Torque Reserve, which generates a reserve of torque from the supercharger to be released at launch, and an after-run chiller that cools down the supercharger even after the car is turned off. Line Lock and launch control now come with Scat Pack models as well as Hellcats. GT and R/T models receive subtle updated styling cues such as a new hood design and updated fascias, and chassis upgrades promise improved handling.
Choosing Your Dodge Charger
Buying a Charger will throw you back to the heyday of American motoring. When was the last time a four-door sedan was offered with three V8s and just one V6? With the seemingly universal application of turbo-fours these days, the Charger's insistence on old-school V8 motivation is a patriotic middle-finger salute to the practical and pragmatic. Have no doubt about it – the glory of American excess is alive and well in the Charger.
Because the path to sales volume isn't lined with eight cylinders, FCA's Pentastar V6 is used for the most affordable SXT and GT models. Displacing 3.6 liters, the six makes 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque in the SXT and 300 horses and 264 lb-ft in the GT. It's a thrifty enough engine to let RWD models achieve an EPA-estimated 19 miles per gallon city, 30 mpg highway, and 23 combined; AWD brings fuel economy down to 18/27/21 mpg (city/highway/combined).
The 5.7-liter V8 that comes in R/T models is the tamest of the available V8s. It pumps out 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. Like all the Charger's available engines, the power is channeled to the driven wheels by an eight-speed automatic transmission. Gas mileage is 16/25/19 mpg.
The fun really starts with the 6.4-liter V8 found in the Scat Pack and Daytona 392. With the added displacement comes a heaping of extra power, bringing total output to a stout 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. Compared with the lighter-duty 5.7-liter, the 6.4 uses stronger valves, a higher compression ratio, and a performance exhaust. Fuel economy drops to 15/24/18 mpg.
Atop the food chain is the omnivorous SRT Hellcat. This supercharged 6.2-liter engine was already loco in the Challenger; it's utter insanity when hidden within the Charger's four-door silhouette. Horsepower is an outrageous 707 and there's 650 lb-ft of torque. It's enough power to let the Hellcat Charger reach 204 mph – a top speed normally reserved for six-figure exotics.
There's a whole hodgepodge of packages, with many of them available across the entire range save the Hellcat. The $1,245 Driver Confidence Group includes blind-spot monitoring, power heated mirrors, HID headlights, and rear cross-traffic alert. A $845 Navigation and Travel Group includes the Uconnect 8.4-inch touchscreen system with navigation, SiriusXM, and Bluetooth. The $1,895 Technology Group comes with automatic high beams, automatic emergency braking, collision control, and other active-safety features.
The Plus Group is available across the range but included equipment differs slightly depending on model. However, all models get an alarm, floor mats, blind-spot monitoring, power heated mirrors, LED interior lighting, a soft-touch dashboard, HID headlights, and a power tilt/telescoping steering column. The popular Blacktop Package is available on all models but the Scat Pack and Hellcat. It makes things look a bit more sinister with black 20-inch wheels, badging, spoiler, and interior trim, and also includes the sport-tuned suspension.
There's also a painter's palette worth of color choices on the Charger, ranging from the traditional white and black to more flamboyant hues such as the F8 Green, Go Mango, Plum Crazy, and Destroyer Grey.
It's no contest, the Scat Pack is the best deal in the 2019 Dodge Charger lineup. With 485 horsepower at just a shade over $40 grand, the math works out to $85 a horsepower, which is a veritable performance bargain. For those looking to get a fast-moving sedan at a steal of a price, the Scat Pack can't be beat.