San Francisco: The
Dodge Magnum combines a muscular shape with up to 425 horsepower to
create one of the wildest grocery-getters on the road. Other than an
SUV-like ride height, the Magnum's interior laid out like an ordinary
sedan. It's practical, comfortable and easy to step in and out of.
It's becoming harder
and harder for a reasonably image-conscious person to buy a new car. Too
many choices out there leave you open for criticism. Want to buy an SUV?
You can't do that unless you want the environmentalists accusing you of
killing the rainforests, depleting the ozone layer and wasting the
world's oil supplies.
Want an ordinary family
car? That's a no-go unless you want your friends thinking you've
completely sacrificed your unique sense of style to buy a boring sedan.
How about a fancy sports car? Well, everybody on the road will think
you're either going through a mid-life crisis or you're an obnoxious
The list gets narrowed
down pretty quickly if you keep following the same line of thought, so
it's tough to find a car that meets your needs for basic transportation
and satisfies your lust for something exciting and different at the same
time. It would be nice to find a practical car that didn't come with the
baggage that practical cars usually do. Enter the Dodge Magnum.
It's first and foremost
a practical car with the same layout as a station wagon or small SUV,
offering a huge cargo area and roomy, comfortable transportation for
five people. It's laid out very much like reasonable, everyday, ordinary
transportation. Still, it's anything but ordinary.
For starters, it's
nearly impossible to ignore the wagon's sleek, futuristic lines and
truck-like nose - an obvious Dodge Ram rip-off. It has a squatty,
muscular, athletic look that seems to be influenced by American street
rods, giving it the self confidence and spunky personality that so many
of today's cars lack, along with the tough, rugged attitude of an SUV.
It's also available in
four delicious flavors that range from a good-looking grocery getter to
a wild, tire-spinning muscle wagon that would make hot-rod lovers drool.
The base model, called
the SE ($22,420), comes with a 2.7-liter V6 engine that makes 190
horsepower. It comes standard with a four-speed automatic transmission,
air conditioning, power windows and locks, cruise control, remote entry
and some other goodies.
Step up to the SXT
($26,470) and you'll get a bigger, 3.5-liter V6 and a five-speed
automatic. It also comes with antilock brakes, traction control and an
eight-way power driver's seat along with a few other extras.
Still another step
higher is the R/T ($30,245), which comes with Dodge's famous 5.7-liter
Hemi V8 that makes a tire-smoking 340 horsepower and even more goodies
to improve the style and comfort.
At the top of the range
is the ultra-high-performance SRT-8 ($37,320), which comes with a
6.1-liter V8 Hemi that makes 425 horsepower - enough to take it from
zero to 60 miles per hour in about five seconds.
The Hemi is one of the
best engines on the market today, and not only for its way-cool,
muscle-car name. It's powerful enough to feel like a Boeing jet taking
off every time the light turns green, but it's also relatively smooth
and quiet - certainly more refined than other V8s offered in Dodge
trucks of recent vintage.
Better yet, the engine
can deactivate four cylinders when it doesn't need the power from all
eight. It results in about 20 percent fuel savings, Dodge claims, even
though you can't feel when the engine changes from four-cylinder to
eight-cylinder mode. It's a seamless transition.
Although the base
Magnum is rear-wheel drive in the grand muscle-car tradition, all-wheel
drive is available on the SXT and RT models to offer more balanced power
for cornering and more traction on snowy or wet roads. Coupled with
electronic traction and stability control, it's about as failsafe as
cars can get.
If you care more about
the functionality of your vehicle than the style or power, the Magnum
still delivers. The interior is spacious and nice looking, offering
ample room in both the front and back seats. When you need to haul
something from the home improvement store, you can fold down the back
seat to create a cavernous cargo area that rivals many SUVs.
My only gripe has to do
with the cruise control lever, which has got to be one of the most
idiotic control systems ever devised. It's a stick that moves in five
different directions to do five different functions. You move it one way
to engage cruise control, a second way to set your speed, a third way to
accelerate, a fourth way to decelerate, and a fifth way to cancel cruise
control. I doubt politicians could develop a more needlessly complex
control to do something so simple.
All in all, the Dodge
Magnum is stylish, practical car with very few drawbacks. If you want a
family car that doesn't behave like one, take it for a spin. You'll fall
Why buy it?
It's as practical and stylish as an SUV, environmentalists won't gripe
that you're trying to kill Mother Earth, and it's the coolest station
wagon on the road. By
Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San Francisco
Dodge Home Page
Byline: Syndicated content provided by Tony Leopardo ©
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2006 Dodge Magnum
The 2006 Dodge Magnum
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2006 Dodge Magnum