Overview

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Overview (Final Score: C)

We like to think that we buy a vehicle with our head, but it's the opposite. For many, a car purchase is an emotional decision where we consider what kind of image we're putting out to the world. For example, take the Dodge Charger. It may be old and trail competitors in key areas such as safety and interior appointments. But the aggressive looks and performance on offer make it a prime target for those who want to stand out.

What We Love About the 2017 Dodge Charger:


  • Blacktop appearance package gives the standard model some attitude

  • Updated UConnect system

  • Surprisingly comfortable and sporty


 

What We Don't Love About the 2017 Dodge Charger:


  • Dark materials make the interior feel quite small

  • Reliability isn't a strong suit

  • Fuel economy for the V6 could be better


 

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Exterior View (8/10)

The Dodge Charger has always stood out from other full-size sedans because of its aggressive look. A couple of years ago, Dodge treated the Charger to a facelift with updated front and rear ends. We're not fans of the new front with its flat nose and wider crosshair grille, as it looks a bit out of place. This can be remedied if you opt for an SRT or Scat Pack model that come with a different front-end treatment.

The side profile makes a callback to the late-60s Charger with trapezoidal sculpting on the doors. Our test vehicle was fitted with the Blacktop package which ratchets up the aggressiveness with blacked-out treatment for the grille and wheels, large rear spoiler and various badges with a black finish. It makes the Charger that much more sinister.

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Interior Comfort, Quality and Ease of Use (7/10)

The blackout theme continues inside where almost all of interior is finished in black. While it may look cool at first glance, it does make the interior feel somewhat dreary to sit in. Material quality is below average, with many materials being hard plastics. The soft-touch materials used feel very rubbery.

Considering how a number of competitors have really stepped up in material quality, the Charger is a bit of a disappointment. At least build quality on our test vehicle was very good with no apparent gaps or rattles. Ease of use is toward the top, with controls in easy reach for driver and passenger.

Space is a bit of a mixed bag. Those sitting up front will find plenty of room to get yourself comfortable. Passengers sitting in the back will find headroom at a premium due to the sloping roofline. Legroom is somewhat tight due to the massive transmission tunnel. Trunk space measures out to 16.5 cubic feet, which is about average for the class.

Technology (9/10)

We're big fans of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' UConnect system which is one of the easiest infotainment systems to wrap your head around, thanks to a simple interface and large 8.4-inch touchscreen. But the system was beginning to look a bit dated when pitted against the competition because it didn't offer such features as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It was also not as fast as competitors when it came to switching between various tasks.

Dodge addressed this with the 2017 Charger by installing the newest version of UConnect. The updated system brings a number of changes such as improved interface, better performance, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It is a huge leap above the old UConnect system, as performance is noticeably improved when switching between various tasks. The revised interface looks much more modern and easier to read at a quick glance. We found the Apple CarPlay integration to be one of the best. UConnect quickly found our iPhone and brought up the CarPlay screen quickly.

Fuel Economy (7/10)

Our test Charger SXT came equipped with a 3.6L V6, 8-speed automatic and all-wheel drive. This gives us EPA fuel economy figures of 18 City/27 Highway/21 Combined. Our average for the week landed around 20.7 mpg in mostly city driving. If you skip AWD, fuel economy figures improve slightly to 19/30/23. These numbers put the Charger in the midpack of the full-size sedan class.

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Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (6/10)

The Dodge Charger is a mixed bag when it comes to reliability. Consumer Reports rates the Charger below average, while J.D. Power puts it at average. In terms of initial quality, the Charger is rated by J.D. Power at below average.

Safety (8/10)

All Dodge Chargers come with a full set of airbags, stability control, traction control and anti-lock brakes. A backup camera and parking sensors come standard on certain Charger trims and optional on other ones. Optional safety equipment includes blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic braking.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded the Charger a five-star overall rating. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rated the Charger "Good" in most of their tests. In their new small overlap test, the Charger earned the second-lowest rating of "Marginal."

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Performance (8/10)

Dodge offers one of the widest selections of powertrains for the Charger. The base engine is a 3.6L V6, producing 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. A slightly more powerful V6 with 300 horsepower and 264 pound-feet is available when you order the Rallye package. Next is a 5.7L HEMI V8 offering 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet that comes standard on the R/T and Daytona. A more potent 6.4L HEMI V8 with 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque is standard for the R/T Scat Pack, Charger SRT 392 and Daytona 392. Topping the powertrain lineup is a supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 with 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque for the SRT Hellcat. All engines come paired with an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive. V6 models can be equipped with all-wheel drive.

Our test vehicle came with the V6 and AWD, and it offers sufficient power for most folks. Zero to 60 is said to take just a hair over 6 seconds, which puts it right in the middle of the full-size sedan pack. Power comes on at a steady rate, but we found the engine to struggle to get up to speed in certain situations such as making a pass. A lot of this can be attributed to our AWD tester's curb weight of 4,233 pounds. This can be easily remedied by skipping the AWD option. The 8-speed automatic delivers lightning fast and smooth shifts.

Chargers equipped with the V6 feature a slightly softer suspension tune than their V8 counterparts. This means the Charger SXT smoothes over bumps and other road imperfections. Wind and road noise are kept to very acceptable levels. In the corners, the SXT has a little bit more body roll, which puts you off the idea of driving enthusiastically. A sports-tuned suspension is available when you order the Rallye package and it makes for a fun driver. At least the steering provides the right amount of weight and feel.

Pricing and Value (8/10)

The 2017 Charger lineup begins at $27,995 for the base SE and climbs to $67,645 for the SRT Hellcat. Our SXT AWD begins at $31,995 and comes to an as-tested price of $36,000 with the Blackout package, navigation, Driver Confidence and a few other options. For most, we would say the Charger R/T is the pick of the bunch because it offers the right balance of performance and comfort.

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Total Score and Competitive Comparison (61/80, 76.2%)

The 2017 Dodge Charger is a vehicle that you buy with your heart, not your mind. It has a number of issues in terms of materials, space and reliability. But some people are willing to overlook them, as the 2017 Charger offers mean looks, a range of V8 engines and an improved infotainment system. The Charger isn't for everyone and that's OK. If you want something sensible, there are other vehicles in the class.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Sedan - AWD
SE SE AWD V6 AWD 30245
SXT SXT AWD V6 AWD 31995
Sedan - RWD
SE SE RWD V6 RWD 27995
SXT SXT RWD V6 RWD 29995
R/T R/T RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 34895
Daytona 340 Daytona 340 RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 34895
R/T Scat Pack R/T Scat Pack RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 39995
Daytona 392 Daytona 392 RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 39995
SRT 392 SRT 392 RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 51145
SRT Hellcat SRT Hellcat RWD 8 Cylinder RWD 65945

Comparison of 2017 Dodge Charger with Similar Cars

2017 Dodge Charger MSRP Invoice
2017 Dodge Charger $27,995 $27,621
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2017 Chevrolet Impala $27,500 $26,400 2017 Dodge Charger VS 2017 Chevrolet Impala
2017 Chrysler 300 $32,340 $31,734 2017 Dodge Charger VS 2017 Chrysler 300
2017 Ford Taurus $27,345 $25,840 2017 Dodge Charger VS 2017 Ford Taurus
2017 Buick Lacrosse $32,065 $31,905 2017 Dodge Charger VS 2017 Buick Lacrosse
2017 Acura TLX $32,000 $30,396 2017 Dodge Charger VS 2017 Acura TLX

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2017 Dodge Charger ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2017 Dodge Charger rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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