The Car Connection Dodge Magnum Overview
The Dodge Magnum was a mid-size wagon based on the Dodge Charger sedan. Sold from the 2005 through 2008 model years, the Magnum had an exciting, low-slung look, and over time it was adapted from rear-wheel drive to all-wheel drive, and into fast HEMI-powered SRT form. However, it was never a strong seller, and Chrysler dropped it as it entered bankruptcy.
The Magnum was introduced in the 2005 model year, with a choice of six- and eight-cylinder engines. Magnum had been a name applied to Chrysler engines in the Sixties and in more recent decades; as a new model, the wagon evoked some of the muscle-car stance that its name suggested. Though Dodge wanted us all to call it a "sports tourer," in truth it was a station wagon, just one with more emphasis on handling and performance, and less on cargo space--more like a Mercedes wagon than a Chrysler minivan.
The basics gave the Magnum an all-independent suspension; a choice in base models of either a 190-horsepower, 2.7-liter V-6 or a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6; and a HEMI-powered Magnum R/T that would morph into the 425-horsepower SRT8 Magnum for the 2006 model year. Automatic transmissions were standard on all versions, a four-speed on V-6s and a five-speed on V-8s. In general, the V-6s were underpowered for the competence their Mercedes-derived rear suspension delivered; only as an R/T or SRT8 did the Magnum feel alive, and feel as if it were pushing its own envelope.
Base prices began in the low $20,000 range, and the Magnum's plasticky interior reminded drivers of that cut-rate bargain constantly. Anti-lock brakes and stability control were eventually made standard. Cargo space, at about 27.8 cubic feet behind the rear seats, was far below some other wagons, but the fold-down rear seats helped the Magnum overcome its lesser functionality and lower roofline. With SRT8 versions, the performance (0-60 mph in the high-five range) was a good trade-off for its nearly $40,000 base price.
For the 2007 model year, the Magnum gained a Road/Track Performance Group that includes performance-tuned suspension, braking, and steering, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, and 245/45ZR20 all-season performance tires. The 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 was by then rated at 340 horsepower, and all-wheel drive had become an option in the first model year.
A slight facelift for the 2008 model year nearly coincided with the announcement of the end of the line for the Magnum. Its final model year came in 2008, as Chrysler headed toward federal bankruptcy court.