- Cleaner, more modern lines
- Upgrades keep interiors current
- Available V-8 thrills
- Eight-speed automatic for all models
- Rear-wheel drive handling
- Still heavy and thirsty
- Tight back-seat space (for the size)
- All-wheel drive only with V-6
The 2015 Dodge Charger looks strikingly different, ditching the retro for sleek modernity, but its V-6 and V-8 engines and rear-wheel-drive chassis make it a family sedan with a muscle-car heartbeat.
Dodge, until recently, had been steering the Charger in the same retro-muscle-car direction as its Challenger coupe. But starting with the 2015 Charger, this big, four-door sedan takes a different tack. Instead, it gets a more modern look on the outside—one that serves almost as a counterpoint to the Challenger's faithful retro-revival, all with preserving these models' uniquely American take on performance.
From 2015 Dodge Charger SE and SXT V-6 models, up to the outrageous, exotic-level Charger SRT Hellcat, this is a lineup that delivers as much performance as you expect—and in most cases, even more than you'd expect, given the level of comfort and day-to-day usability of these four-door sedans.
For 2015, all Chargers are now offered with the eight-speed automatic transmission formerly confined to the some of the less powerful V-6 models. The base engine for the SE model is a 292-horsepower Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 producing 260 lb-ft of torque (up to 300 hp and 264 hp with the Rallye Appearance Group in the SXT). Either V-6 model comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional. The V-8, of course, is what's implied when most people see a Charger. And for that, you have plenty of options and performance levels. The R/T comes with Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. Above that, the R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 models have a 485-horsepower, 6.4-liter V-8. It's what was formerly the top engine in the Charger lineup, and now with the Scat Pack it's available at an entry price of around $40,000.
The king of the lineup is the Charger SRT Hellcat. It has the same 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 as the Challenger SRT Hellcat, but it accelerates even quicker than the Challenger Hellcat (0 to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, officially). And its top speed is a holy-rolling 204 mph.
With the eight-speed automatic, we've found the V-6 models to be very responsive, and really all that you'd need for keeping ahead of traffic, provided you're not going to miss having a V-8 under the hood. Now that V-8 models also have the eight-speed automatic, there's plenty of opportunity for more relaxed mid-throttle passing without having the V-8 belt out its full song to law enforcement.
Across the lineup—all except for the Hellcat—the Charger dumps its electromechanical power steering system for 2015, in favor of an electric power steering system, but thankfully it's nothing to fear; the new system tracks with the same reassuring on-center feel that we've appreciated in the past, and it now feels better weighted off-center.
Ride quality is on the first side, but quite comfortable, even in V-8 models. Chrysler just made some major suspension upgrades to the Charger lineup a couple of years ago, with upgraded dampers, control arms, and bushings, and now it's made some further tuning changes for 2015. Big doors in front make getting in and out easy. And an elongated roofline makes getting into the back-seat positions easy—even for six-footers—with plenty of headroom all around. Front seats are wide and well bolstered, and wide doors make ingress and egress easy. The rear-seat legroom is a little tight for long-legged tall people. Overall, interior materials and trims are top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch materials up high and impressive switchgear.
Previous models of the Charger earned the highest five-star overall score in NHTSA safety testing, and it's been an IIHS Top Safety Pick in years past. A rearview camera system, active cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are available in addition to all the expected standard items.
Even the base Charger SE trim level includes power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; pushbutton start; a power driver's seat; and an AM/FM/CD audio system with touchscreen control. The SXT level adds a number of additional features, and for 2015, six new 20-inch alloy wheel designs are available, including a 20x9 inch forged aluminium wheel option. Dodge has also upgraded the paint colors, adding a set of 'heritage' color options, including B5 Blue and TorRed. The revised Charger also adds several new technical features, including the latest version of Uconnect services, which incorporate 9-1-1 and assist call, roadside assistance calling options, theft alert, voice texting and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
Throughout the lineup there are six new 20-inch alloy wheel designs, including a 20x9 inch forged aluminium wheel option. Dodge has also upgraded the paint colors, adding a set of 'heritage' color options, including B5 Blue and TorRed. The revised Charger also adds several new technical features, including the latest version of Uconnect services, which incorporate 9-1-1 and assist call, roadside assistance calling options, theft alert, voice texting and a Wi-Fi hotspot.