Last of a dying breed. Around the world, sedans are being phased out and retired from manufacturer lineups. Dodge’s venerable Charger has been with us in its current form since the late Noughties and is now in its final year of production. Fittingly for such an attention-seeking car, it’s not going quietly – several limited editions are planned for its last year on sale.

In the meantime, we get one more opportunity to study that Sixties-influenced side profile, listen to the snarls and growls of different V8 engines, and giggle at ridiculous model names like Hellcat Redeye and Scat Pack. The R/T is the sensible sibling in this riotous family, and it’s the only one you’d really want to commute in every morning. The others are a blast on a good day, but a pain on a bad one.

Power in abundance. The Charger range is all about power, and even the smallest engine is a 300-hp V6. This is the only powerplant that can be yoked to all four wheels as an option; RWD is standard across the rest of the range. The R/T is fitted with a 5.7-liter V8 while the unfortunately titled Scat Pack has a 6.4-liter unit generating 485 horsepower. That’s 230 horses less than SRT Hellcat models produce, though even they pale in comparison with the SRT Hellcat Redeye. Sending 797 hp through the rear wheels, the most powerful Charger hits 60 in less than three and a half seconds.

It would be unfair to describe the Charger as unsophisticated, but it’s not nimble, either. Its 200-inch length, 4,600 lb weight, and abundance (some might say excess) of rear-drive power can produce alarming results in wet or greasy conditions. At least the steering is communicative, while the ride remains firm without becoming uncomfortable. An eight-speed auto box is standard across the range, doing a good job of applying power to the pavement.

Mixed safety reports. If you’re the sort of person who wants to buy an 800-hp rear-drive car, you probably won’t be too concerned about the Charger’s mediocre safety record. Marginal and even poor results contribute to a mixed IIHS survey, though the NHTSA was more complimentary and gave it a five-star rating. You’ll have to raid the extras list to specify automatic emergency braking unless you buy a Charger SRT, where it’s not even an option. Adaptive cruise control is another optional extra that really should be standard nowadays.

2022 Dodge Charger Interior

More minivan than muscle sedan. The Charger’s age is betrayed by its cabin, in particular a dash that could have been lifted from an old minivan. The infotainment screen measures just seven inches in base SXT models, which also receive cloth seats and a lot of cheap-looking plastic, especially lower down the dash and doors. Despite the use of better materials higher up the range, cabin quality becomes proportionally more disappointing as the sticker price rises.

If you have $43,000 or more to spend on a V8, you get a larger 8.4-inch touchscreen, which is significantly nicer to operate. You also benefit from leather seating with power adjustment up front, though there’s a surprising lack of rear seat space considering the Charger’s size. Rear riders are sandwiched between generous and comfortable front seats and a 16.5 cu ft trunk, which is pretty good for this size of vehicle.

Final thoughts. The Charger is something of an anomaly these days – an all-American bruiser (admittedly built in Canada) that goes toe-to-toe with European heavyweights like BMW’s M5 and Volvo’s S60 Recharge. The latter both offer blistering performance but without the Charger’s theatrics or soundtrack. Choose a wide body version with a V8 engine, splash out on orange or green paint, and you’ll stand out a mile – even when you don’t want to.

Some people will delight in the Charger’s don’t-tread-on-me attitude, though it does involve many compromises. Foremost among these are questionable safety and dismal V8 fuel economy, with the car’s age also exposed by the absence of essential equipment and inefficient use of available space. The dash and seats are particularly disappointing on lower trims, though the better-equipped V8 models are the only ones that make any sense as a buying proposition. Unfortunately, they’re also the most tiring to live with on a daily basis.

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