2015 Dodge Charger Review

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Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
July 1, 2015

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.

Overall, the 2015 Dodge Charger retains its commanding shape, but in a smoother and more refined way. It looks like a car that will slip powerfully through the air rather than batter it aside through brute force. The retro detailing has given way to a more integrated appearance tying it to the rest of the modern Dodge family, making it less flamboyant--but still both practical and capable of muscle-car behavior. Add in an updated interior, revised powertrains, and new safety equipment, and the big rear-wheel-drive family sedan may find a whole new set of fans as it enters its second decade.

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.

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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.

8

2015 Dodge Charger

Styling

The 2015 Dodge Charger steers away from the muscle-car homage, with more of a modern performance-sedan look.

Up until now, the 2015 Dodge Charger has been mostly on pace with the Challenger coupe in offering retro-muscle-car cues with some nostalgia-based details inside, too; but that's different starting this year. At a time when, at least from the outside, the Challenger gets even more retro-infused than ever, the Charger now changes course, taking on a look and details that's more closely aligned with the modern look of other Dodge performance models, including the sportiest versions of the Dart, as well as the Durango R/T.

This year's exterior redesign touches every body panel except the roof and the rear doors. The design team "took a chainsaw to all four corners of the car" to reduce the visual bulk of its square-cut front and rear; and while the result is the same length as before, it looks 8 to 10 inches more compact—more like a mid-size car with significant presence than the full-size sedan it actually is.

As part of the refresh, the front is lower, with an almost BMW-like bevel at the front edge of the redesigned hood, and the slimmer blacked-out Dodge crosshair grille is bracketed by projector headlights outlined with distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights. Separate LED light units are built into a revised front bumper, and the center of the bumper bar is blacked out on R/T models, just as it is on higher-performance models of the smaller Dodge Dart.

The side profile—if you ignore the dramatically more blunt front and rear ends—is much the same, including a Coke-bottle rear fender swell, a high beltline, and hard-edged roof pillars. Yet the rear flanks are a little smoother and less angular, with more wraparound to the rear lights.

The "LED racetrack" rear lights are retained, but Dodge has cut the number of LEDs by more than half using light pipes to give a continuous red outline to the tail panel; the rear-end look is now better integrated with the rest of the car, as we see it, with a rear bumper design that's smoother, and exhaust inlets are now integrated into the lower panel. On the trunk lid, the raised spoiler has been replaced by a smaller lip spoiler that provides the same downforce in a cleaner, more integrated look.

Inside, as ever, you pay for this model's rather high beltline with outward visibility that's more limited than in most other sedans. The upright packaging brings plenty of headroom all around, and wide, strongly bolstered front seats offer a look and feel that's definitely performance-inspired. Otherwise the design is harmonious with the rest of the models in the Dodge and Jeep lineups, with subtle sufacing, contrasting matte metallic framing accents, and plenty of soft-touch materials. There's a 7-inch thin-film TFT screen to the center of the instrument cluster, while the center stack includes a touchscreen up to 8.4-inches across, used for  3-D navigation and downloadable apps.

8

2015 Dodge Charger

Performance

You can't beat the character and impressive firepower of the V-8 Charger models; but performance is quite satisfying even with the V-6.

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, and it's the fuel economy champ. The more powerful SXT model with the Rallye Appearance Group (made up of a cold-air intake, some engine-control software tweaks, and a new exhaust system) boosts those numbers to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft. Either V-6 model comes standard with rear-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is optional.

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.

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.

To start, in the R/T there's the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, rated at 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, only offered in rear-wheel drive form. The R/T has what big American V-8s are known for: lots and lots of low-rpm torque. The eight-speed automatic transmission performs flawlessly with this engine, and while you sure don’t need eight ratios for an engine with this kind of torque plateau, it does mean that the R/T is always on top of its game, giving plenty of intermediate ratios to choose from when you want to ease into a pass without going full-throttle (and turning the heads of law enforcement, because it's still a very vocal engine).

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.

Top models upgrade to huge Brembo brakes—six-piston in front—while both SRT 392 and Hellcat models get a multi-mode adaptive damping system that allows you to have more control at the track without the ride becoming too punishing on the street. Through most of the V-8 models there's also a Drive Mode system, and all Charger models with electric power steering, except for the base SE, now have multiple settings for that. 

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.

All-wheel drive remains optional only on the V-6 models, and it includes an active transfer case with front axle disconnect—a feature that should help improve fuel economy during most types of driving. In the past we've noted that the steering doesn't wind and unwind with the same neatness as in rear-wheel-drive models, giving the car a bulkier feel; but we'll update this as soon as we can get into a revised AWD version.

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. Chrysler has noted that the suspension recalibration makes it a little firmer, and while we notice the additional body control, the ride is no more harsh—perhaps even a bit less.

All of these models handle surprisingly well for a big, heavy sedan—with much more of a nimble nature than a Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Impala. There's not a lot of lean or body roll in any of the models, but it's even better with the SRT 392 and Hellcat and their selectable suspension.

8

2015 Dodge Charger

Comfort & Quality

Function follows form remarkably well inside the 2015 Dodge Charger—although the muscle-car stance and rear-wheel drive do rob some interior space.

The 2015 Dodge Charger carries through with the same interior packaging that it's had for years—and, as always, if you opt for this bold American sedan, your top priorities are likely not interior space or a plush ride. 

That said, the Charger can offer surprisingly good comfort—provided you choose wisely from the lineup. In past years, through plenty of experiences with the full range of Charger models, we've found a wide variance in ride quality between trims, with R/T and SRT models a little jittery at times and V-6 Charger models noticeably more sophisticated and quiet.

On the other hand, in a drive of the 2015 Charger R/T, we found this V-8 version to ride with more composure than we'd seen before—even with the test car's low-profile tires and 20-inch wheels. Dodge claims to have given the Charger suspension a retune for 2015, making it a bit more firm, yet somehow we'd venture to say the ride is more agreeable. 

In general, the cabin of the Charger is sophisticated and quiet, and during a wet week we noted that there's very little road noise entering the cabin; what you do hear in the V-8 versions (and less in V-6 versions) is a constant thrum (more of a throaty rumble, actually) of the engine. We have a feeling most Charger buyers will find that charming, however.

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, but complainers can be silenced by reminding them that it meets police-car standards.

Overall, interior materials and trims are top-notch, with plenty of soft-touch materials up high and impressive switchgear. And we like how you can get cloth heated seats (the R/T comes with that), although we noted that the upholstery itself attracts lint and hair.

8

2015 Dodge Charger

Safety

The 2015 Charger has safety features and an occupant-safety reputation that are right in line with its confident, secure feel.

The 2015 Dodge Charger is looking like a relatively safe pick for family use—provided you drive with moderation and care and don't get too exuberant with all that power on tap.

Structurally, the Charger hasn't changed going into 2015; but with some new sheetmetal and a new aluminum hood, don't be surprised if the ratings change slightly. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has given the Charger top 'good' ratings for frontal, side, and rear (seat/restraint) categories, as well as in roof strength. It's also earned the 'Basic' nod for front crash prevention, if optioned with Forward Collision Warning, which is packaged with Adaptive Cruise Control. But in the 2015 model there's a new Forward Collision Warning Plus system and the adaptive cruise gets Full Auto Stop.

The 2015 Charger hasn't yet been crash-tested by the federal government either, but it does earn a five-star rollover score, and in recent model years has earned five stars overall and in side impact protection (with a four-star score in the frontal category). 

A rearview camera system, active cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are available in addition to all the expected standard items. Front-seat active head restraints were added to the Dodge Charger's list of safety features two years ago. And electronic stability control, full-length side-curtain airbags, and a driver's side knee bag remain included in all Chargers.

8

2015 Dodge Charger

Features

There are loads of option and accessory possibilities for the 2015 Charger; but at the core, its connectivity and entertainment features are refreshingly easy to use.

While the biggest pieces of news for the 2015 Dodge Charger lineup involve this model's new exterior styling, its bolstered performance, with the arrival of the Hellcat and improved SRT 392 and R/T Scat Pack models, the Charger does become even more appealing at the base level while offering improved infotainment systems. In other words, there's something for everyone.

Even the base Charger SE trim level now includes an eight-speed automatic transmission (it used to cheap out with a five-speed, even after other V-6 models got it); and it gets 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.

At the SXT level the Charger adds a number of additional features, like heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, Alpine premium audio, a power driver's seat, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

R/T models step up to the Hemi V-8, as well as die-cast zinc paddle-shifters and a sport suspension, while the R/T Road & Track includes heated-and-ventilated sport seats, power adjustable pedals and steering column, a performance powertrain controller, a rear differential with 3.06 axle, and 20-inch chrome-clad wheels with performance tires.

The SRT 392 and R/T Scat Pack models come with a 6.4-liter V-8, making 485 hp, while the top-of-the-line Charger is the Charger Hellcat, packing a 707-hp supercharged 6.2-liter V-8 and capable of reaching 204 mph. Both of these models come with an active exhaust system, a Performance Pages system with Active Launch Control and various performance timers and meters (including g-force readouts). The Scat Pack is the 'heritage model' of the lineup and has performance pedals, a high-performance suspension, and black-and-satin wheels, as well as upgraded Brembo four-piston brakes and upgraded Bilstein dampers, while the SRT 392 gets a power passenger seat and heated rear seats, plus a Brembo six-piston ultra-high performance brake package
with four-piston fixed Brembo calipers and red calipers.

The Charger Hellcat, in addition to its very significant engine upgrade, gets a Drive Modes feature, allowing Sport, Track, Default, and Eco settings that together affect transmission shift points, paddle-shifter behavior, traction controls, and suspension. They can also limit power; the Charger Hellcat includes a red and a black keyfob—with the black one offering reduced engine output. There's also a Valet Mode.

A 900-watt, 18-speaker Harmon Kardon premium audio system is included on the Charger Hellcat (optional on the SRT 392), as well as the 8.4-inch Uconnect touch-screen media center, a flat-bottom heated steering wheel, heated-and-cooled front seats, and heated rear seats. Seats are also upgraded, with more cushioning and bolstering, and this model gets a special T-handle shifter.

Exclusive to the SRT 392 and top Hellcat model is a three-mode adaptive damping system with Auto, Sport, and Track modes. Both the SRT 392 and the Hellcat ride on Z-rated Pirelli P Zero performance tires.

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.

Infotainment systems on the Charger are just as good as what you'll find in many luxury models. The Uconnect 8.4-inch system, with a touchscreen display and SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth, and Uconnect Access, is included on all but the base SE model, and you can upgrade it with navigation later if you so decide. SiriusXM Travel Link services, including traffic and weather, are offered as part of the upgraded navigation version.  

The Charger also opens up USB ports for plug-in dongles that turn 3G into in-car WiFi, and offers a media hub, in all models, that includes multiple USB ports, an aux-in port, and an SD card slot.

You can easily add many thousands of dollars to the bottom-line price of a Charger if you get carried away with options—and many of them are placed together in large packages. For instance, Plus and Premium Group packages can add Nappa leather sport seats and things like a heated steering wheel to the SXT or R/T models, while in order to get many of the advanced safety features you'll need to spring for the Technology Group, which then includes Includes Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, Full-speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control-Plus with Full Stop, rain-sensitive windshield wipers, HID headlamps, power-adjustable pedals, and more.

6

2015 Dodge Charger

Fuel Economy

Even with cylinder-deactivation, V-8 models are very thirsty; on the other hand, V-6 models are responsible consumers.

The 2015 Dodge Charger spans a wide range, in terms of performance. And there's no free lunch here; for every step up in performance, you lose some miles per gallon. And the step up in thirst from V-6 to V-8 models is particularly large.

V-6 models earn up to 31 mpg on the highway, and as we've found in a real-world drive, you can expect close to that if you set the cruise control.

Go with any of the V-8 models and you'd better be prepared to dig deeper into your wallet. Hemi V-8-powered R/T models include Fuel Saver Technology (cylinder deactivation), but they return 16/25 mpg, with AWD models down to 15/23. We averaged 16 mpg in a recent drive of an R/T.

SRT models figure in at 15/25 mpg with the new eight-speed automatic—that's 2 mpg better on the highway than last year, thanks to the wider span of gear ratios and deeper overdrive. And at the top of the lineup, the 707-hp SRT Hellcat is no miser, but at 13 mpg city, 22 highway it might not be as bad as you'd expect.


 

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January 17, 2017
2015 Dodge Charger 4-Door Sedan SXT RWD

Good mileage 20 in town 30 Hwy.

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The 120 in wheel base gives a smooth ride on long trips. Adding 30+ mileage makes it an outstanding road car.
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September 16, 2016
2015 Dodge Charger 4-Door Sedan Road/Track RWD

Most bang for the buck...and we saved at least 30k for a comprable foreign make...absolutly no problems for 1.5 years

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We looked at Acura's, Mercedes, Infinity, Caddy V, Mustang, etc. at a trade show...this car blows all of them away...more bells and whistles than a lot of them + a Hemi ....great reliability..no probs. in 1.5... + More »
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July 11, 2016
2015 Dodge Charger 4-Door Sedan SXT RWD

Great car and ride

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Fun car to own and drive. Great on gas. Comes in at a good price
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