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The 2015 Dodge Charger retains its name and basic body shape, but you might never know it from the striking redesign that makes up the bulk of the second updating of a car first launched for 2005. The new Charger has a completely revised front end that changes its looks to make it look lower, sleeker, and far more modern than the bluff-fronted muscle sedan it's been to date. 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.
The exterior redesign touched every body panel except the roof and the rear doors. Basically, the stylists and body engineers "took a chainsaw to all four corners of the car" to reduce the visual bulk of its square-cut front and rear, according to Dodge's design team. The result is a 2015 Charger that's the same length as before, but looks 8 to 10 inches more compact--more like a mid-size car with significant presence than the full-size sedan it actually is.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, including a Coke-bottle rear fender swell, a high beltline, and hard-edged roof pillars, has remained the same, but now the rear is smoother and less angular, with more wraparound to the rear lights. The "LED racetrack" outlining the rear lights is 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 bumper is 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 On the trunk lid, the raised spoiler has been replaced by a smaller lip spoiler that provides the same downforce in a cleaner, more integrated look.
Overall, the 2015 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.
Inside, you pay for pay for that high beltline with outward visibility that's more limited than in other sedans. Still, the upright styling is unchanged--despite the sleeker front and rear ends--and it gives plenty of headroom all around. The wide front seats are well bolstered, and the big doors make getting in and out 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. Dodge has added 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.
For 2015, all Chargers are now offered with the eight-speed automatic transmission formerly confined to 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-tt of torque, and it's the fuel economy champ. EPA ratings won't come for several months, but Dodge promises 31 mpg on the highway test cycle. 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. Then 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. Details on the higher-performance 2015 Charger SRT with an even more powerful 6.4-liter Hemi V-8 will be released at a later date.
The Dodge Charger handles well for a big sedan, with little body roll in any of its versions. The 2015 version uses electric power steering fitted as standard with three different feedback modes: Normal, Comfort, and Speed. The suspension has been retuned, with cast aluminum axles lighter than the steel ones they replace, and a sport mode that makes throttle mapping more aggressive and speeds shifting, cutting gear change time from 400 milliseconds to just 250.
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.
Production of the 2015 Dodge Charger is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2014, with deliveries soon after.
- 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
- Ride quality suffers with V-8
- All-wheel drive only with V-6