Review: Forget the 1950s. Decades from now, people will look back on
today as the golden age of American motoring. Think about it. We've just
lived through a years-long horsepower war that's put excitement into the
hands of more drivers than ever before. It's not uncommon to find cars
that make 300 horses right on the dealer lot, many of which, like the
Dodge Charger, are actually affordable.
We can buy a
super-Corvette that makes 620 horsepower, and is faster than some
Ferraris, luxury SUVís that feel like a mobile living room, or an
American family sedan that's just as reliable as a Japanese car. Heck,
even the legendary Camaro has come back from the dead.
And even more than the
1960s, today is the true muscle-car era, a time when cars have not only
raw power and style, but also have handling, steering and braking that
all combine to make some very thrilling driving machines.
A perfect example is
the Dodge Charger. This modern-day muscle car has a look and feel that's
authentically American, from its police-cruiser styling to its available
V8 power that can smoke the back tires at will. It's big, brutish and
exciting, but it's also practical for a family because of its roomy
cabin and four-door layout.
Unfortunately, if you
like this kind of muscle car, you'd better buy one quickly, as they
won't be around for much longer.
Thanks to new federal
fuel economy standards that will require cars to average 39 miles per
gallon in just a few years, cars like the Dodge Charger are going to
either disappear or become so expensive that very few people can afford
Even in its most
fuel-efficient version with the smallest V6 engine, the Charger gets
just 26 mpg on the highway. That's not bad considering what a big car it
is, but it's definitely not good enough to meet the upcoming standards.
More impressive is the
mileage the Charger gets from its biggest engine, a 5.7-liter Hemi V8
that makes an almost unbelievable 368 horsepower and still gets 24 mpg
on the highway. That's an engineering feat Dodge ought to be proud of,
because very few engines make so much power while burning so little
fuel. That counts as a fuel-efficient car in my book.
trait is how well it handles in corners. Unlike the American muscle cars
of old, which were said to only go fast in a straight line, the Charger
feels perfectly comfortable winding down narrow country roads or slicing
through corners. It's no sports sedan, but it's more nimble than you'd
expect from such a heavy car.
My favorite feature on
the Charger, one that's wonderfully easy to use, is called "uconnect
tunes." This $650 option includes a 30-gigabyte hard drive to store all
your favorite music, turning your car into a rolling MP3 player. I
plugged my USB drive into the dash, and within a few minutes it had
copied my entire music collection onto the hard drive, which is
controlled by an LCD touch screen.
Pricing starts at
$25,585 for the basic Charger SE, which comes with a 2.7-liter V6 engine
that makes 178 horsepower. For $27,200 you can get the Charger SXT with
a bigger 3.5-liter V6 that makes 250 horses. And if you want the
Hemi-powered Charger R/T, pricing starts at $32,910.
Let's enjoy this golden
age while it lasts. It won't be long before we're looking back on these
good old days because, ironically enough, Uncle Sam will have legislated
classic American Muscle Cars like this out of existence by the year
What was tested?
The 2009 Dodge Charger SXT with a base price of 28,855. Options on the
test car: Uconnect tunes at $650 and a power sunroof for $950. Total
MSRP price as tested including the $750 destination charge is $31,205.
Why avoid it? It
doesn't get great gas mileage, and the interior isn't as refined as
you'll find in some competitors.
Why buy it? It
has classic American styling and is available with lots of power,
including a surprisingly efficient Hemi V8 that makes 368 horsepower.
Bottom Line: The
Dodge Charger has classic American muscle-car styling, with an
aggressive front grille and squared-off fender flares. Itís spacious
inside, with wide bucket seats up front and plenty of leg room in the
back. Despite its muscular looks, it's actually a very practical car for
By Derek Price © AutoWire.Net - San
Review provided by Tony Leopardo © AutoWire.Net
Dodge Home Page
Column Name: Dodge
Charger is a classic American muscle car
Topic: The 2009 Dodge
Word Count: 805
Photo Caption: 2009
Photo Credits: Dodge
Charger Internet Media
Series #: 2009 - 44
the Microsoft Word version here: 2009
Download the Original Image File here:
2009 Dodge Charger