2017 Dodge Charger Review

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2017 Dodge Charger Overview

The Dodge Charger has gotten refreshes over its production run, but its fundamental design hasn’t changed much in quite some time. That said, Dodge has kept the model interesting with enticing options packages and features. The Charger’s combination of a big, powerful motor with rear-wheel drive (RWD) is a satisfyingly old-school American package in a world where things are getting smaller, turbocharged, electrified, and generally quieted down. Changes for the 2017 Dodge Charger include two new trims, an updated infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, an improved touchscreen interface, new wheel choices, new exterior colors, and available retro houndstooth upholstery.

The Charger lineup varies a lot, with prices ranging from about $28,000 to almost 70 grand. Some of this has to do with equipment and convenience features, but the deciding factor here is under the hood. From a more-than-adequate V6 engine to the absolutely insane 707-hp V8 Hellcat, there really is an engine for everyone.

The Charger SE and SXT get a 3.6-liter V6 engine with 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque, and an available dual exhaust from the Rallye Group package adds an extra 8 horsepower and 4 pound-feet. While the Charger weighs in at about 2 tons, even V6 versions have more than enough grunt to enjoy, although things are decidedly less tail-happy with the optional all-wheel drive (AWD). V6 models get fuel-economy ratings of 19 mpg city, 30 highway, and 23 combined with RWD and 18, 27, and 21 with AWD.

Chargers with a V8 engine are available only with RWD, starting with the R/T and the new Daytona that come equipped with a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 making 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. The R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, and SRT 392 trims, meanwhile, get a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine with an output of 485 hp and a 0-to-60 time in the mid-4-second range. The R/T and Daytona trims feature cylinder deactivation but still achieve fuel-economy numbers of only 16, 25, and 19. Chargers with the 6.4-liter engine, meanwhile, have fuel ratings of 15, 25, and 18.

While the Charger’s 3.6- and 5.7-liter engines work just fine and the 6.4-liter engine will outperform almost any other car on the road, what will really set you apart is the Charger Hellcat. Its 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8, the same unit as in the Challenger Hellcat, makes 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The bulkier Charger platform makes arguably better use of the incredible power of the Hellcat motor than the Challenger, and the 4-door Charger will actually reach 60 mph in about 3.4 seconds, while the 2-door Challenger takes closer to 4. That much power in a car that starts at around $68,000 seems ludicrous, and it is, but Dodge will still happily sell you one. Fuel economy is probably the last thing on a Hellcat shopper’s list, but while the 707-hp version of the Charger is definitely thirsty, it isn’t as terrible as one might think, with fuel economy numbers of 13, 22, and 16.

The Charger is at its best in a straight line, but performance models get brake and suspension tweaks to cope with the extra power. SRT trims get a 3-mode active suspension system, bigger Brembo brakes, and stickier tires. The SRT Hellcat, meanwhile, has Eco, Default, Sport, and Track driving modes that alter the transmission, traction control, and suspension settings. It can also limit the engine to “just” 500 horsepower.

The biggest change for the 2017 Charger interior is newly available houndstooth cloth upholstery and an upgraded infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Overall, the interior of the base Charger isn’t particularly fancy, but stepping up the options ladder can get you heated and ventilated power seats, Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel, and even an old-school T-handle shifter. Since it’s such a large car, it has a correspondingly roomy interior and trunk.

The Charger has gotten 5 stars overall in crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Good scores in every Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) test except for the small-front overlap. Available safety features like rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, a blind-spot monitor, forward-collision warning, and adaptive cruise control are welcome additions in such a potent, performance-focused car.

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Andrew Newton first got into cars through vintage racing a 1969 Lynx Formula Vee. After receiving two degrees in history, he followed his passion for cars and became a contributor for sites like Sports Car Digest, BoldRide.com and JamesEdition.com in addition to serving as Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA. Andrew currently covers the collector car market full time as Auction Editor for Hagerty Classic Car Insurance.

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