Part rear-wheel drive muscle car. Part all-wheel drive family car. Not to mention a law enforcement staple. The versatile dodge charger sedan has pretty much lead a charmed life since it returned to the streets for 2006. Well, charger’s missions haven’t changed for ’15, but it’s looks and attitude certainly have!
While never a car to blend in, the 2015 Dodge Charger sees some significant updates both inside and out that should even further differentiate it from the rest of the mainstream larger 4-door sedan pack.
You’ll notice the newness right away, as there are no less than 4 different faces dependent upon trim level. Our R/T’s Dart-like front end still features the Dodge trademark cross hairs, but they’ve been squashed and modernized with a less Ram truck-like and more European look that didn’t suit all of our testers.
Though all agreed the LED DRL’s blend in nicely and add some aggressiveness back into the design. The rear takes on a smoother shape too, with a new course for the LED racetrack tail lamps and a new 3-piece spoiler.
There are 14-different wheel options to choose from, including these 20-inch, painted alloys. But applying those new bookends on what is essentially the same profile, doesn’t always make for a totally cohesive design.
This update is more than just about cosmetics however; as inside, things have also gotten a makeover. And there’s plenty to love about the big, roomy, and comfortable space; though the seats could use better padding, and some plastics need further improvement.
The freshened instrument panel look great as ever, and provide lots of information in a mostly clear function, which is all you can ask for really. Our only complaint is that so much high tech has taken a toll on gauge size as some readouts now seem too small.
Uconnect continues to impress as well, as you can operate just about every car function on the touch screen easily, though we still wouldn’t mind having traditional buttons for things like heated seats and steering wheel. We love that the screen brightness is linked with the IP dimmer, so all interior lights are adjusted together.
We’re also thankful for the traditional feel of the electronic shifter for the standard 8-speed automatic transmission. Paddle shifters are stock on the R/T. Rear seat space is bountiful, and access is as good as it gets for people of all sizes and ages; particularly for a rear wheel drive car.
HEMI power is also standard equipment in the R/T. This 5.7-liter V8, with its 370-horsepower and 395 lb-ft. of torque, is equal parts smooth and powerful, with plenty of grunt off the line.
It’s also more refined than the larger SRT offerings, which include a 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V8 in the SRT 392, and a 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the SRT Hellcat. Stay tuned, as we’ll have more on just how evil that Hellcat is in a few weeks.
Fuel saver, 4-cylinder mode helps keep the Charger R/T’s Government Fuel Economy Ratings reasonable, at 16-City, 25-Highway, and 19-Combined; and we averaged a fine 21.2 miles-per-gallon of Midgrade. So, the Energy Impact Score comes in slightly worse than average at 17.3-barrels of annual oil use with 7.7 tons of CO2 emitted.
And of course Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 is available should you wish to do better, and it can be ordered with all-wheel drive in SE and SXT trim.
Those that haven’t driven a Charger, might be under the impression that it’s a crude throwback, but it’s far from this. It has a very modern and composed ride, and holds the road nicely.
There are also plenty of safety features available, including Adaptive Cruise Control Plus with full automatic stop capabilities; which worked like a charm in our new low speed barrier test, stopping every time, just before hitting the barrier.
And of course it performed equally well in our normal track testing, with 0-60 sprints taking just 5.6-seconds. The HEMI likes to rev; and thankfully the automatic transmission allows it to get every bit of tach before triggering a quick and smooth shift. The quarter mile was completed in 14.0-seconds flat at 103 miles-per-hour. If you need more, those SRTs are ready and willing to deliver.
With multiple models available, pricing begins at $28,990 for a base SE. All-wheel-drive adds 3-grand more. Our R/T tester starts out at $33,990; and things escalate rapidly from there.
With all of the front-wheel drive cars we drive, it’s easy to forget just how great driving a big American rear- wheel drive sedan can be. The 2015 Dodge Charger does indeed wear many faces and runs the gamut from mild-mannered family mover, to brutish performance sedan. That flexibility, as well as its recent updates, are just what was needed for the Charger to keep charging ahead.
Engine: 5.7 liter V8
Torque: 395 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
1/4 mile: 14.0 seconds @ 103 mph
EPA: 16 mpg city/ 25 mpg highway
Energy Impact: 17.3 barrels of oil/yr
CO2 Emissions: 7.7 tons/yr