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2011 Dodge Charger Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Performance
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$6,999 - $30,995
On Performance
The 2011 Dodge Charger isn't a stellar performer in most respects; but get it with one of the V-8s and it's a charmer.
8.0 out of 10
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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10

Expert Quotes:

Both engines are mated to a five-speed automatic transmission, and it’s undoubtedly the Charger’s weakest asset.
Automobile Magazine

the V-6 isn’t the rental-fleet special any more
Car and Driver

feels a little soft through the tight turns on Highway 1, but there's a grace and fluidity to it that the previous Charger never had
Edmunds' Inside Line

The weak link in the powertrain, both on the road and on the track, is the slow-acting five-speed automatic transmission.
Winding Road

basic chassis composure is remarkable and steering feel is greatly improved
Motor Trend

While the V-8 engines in the R/T and SRT8 remain the most desired models, much of the 2011 Dodge Charger model line is V-6-powered. This year, the Charger gets an all-new Pentastar 3.6-liter with 292 horsepower that replaces both the old 2.7-liter and 3.5-liter V-6, outpacing them both in output by either 63 or 16 percent, respectively.

Those V-6 models are respectable performers, but the V-8s are the stars of the lineup. Not many sensory perceptions can equal the throb of a massive V-8 in full mating call, and the HEMI V-8 is the equal of Ford's Mustang V-8 for its lascivious racket. Play around the 2000-rpm to 3000-rpm range and the HEMI connects with your inner lothario. The 5.7-liter belts out 370 horsepower with the thrilling force of great gospel music—and you won't be shocked if the 0-60 mph numbers flying around put this R/T in the 5.5-second range.

The transmission's a letdown on paper, still a five-speed automatic with a manual-shift mode, but it pairs well with the hugely torquey HEMI. Chrysler's working on integrating eight-speed automatics into all its larger vehicles; we hope they slap a set of paddles for shifting on the steering wheel, too, because the lever-controlled manual mode encourages one-hand driving.

The Charger's big-car feel isn't ponderous until you opt for Dodge's all-wheel drive system, which makes the steering more reluctant to unwind and gives the car a bulkier (in a bad way) driving feel.

With updated steering—it's now a hydraulic pump spun by electric motors—the Charger's ride and handling stays true to character with a slightly beefy touch to the controls. Upgraded shocks, control arms and bushings don't seem to release any road feel while touching up the Charger's ride quality lightly. This is a big sedan, mind you, and while you can't overcome the laws of physics, the Charger R/T can fudge around those laws with a nudge on the gas, and a little heart-healthy rear steer.

The R/T, by the way, rolls on 18-inch tires unless you pick up the optional 20-inchers, available on "Enforcer" or "Rallye" or "Rallye Plus" packages as well. A "Road and Track" package re-tweaks everything with bigger roll bars, Goodyear sport tires, stiffer monotube shocks and tougher brake linings, as well as an "off" mode for stability control.

Conclusion

The 2011 Dodge Charger isn't a stellar performer in most respects; but get it with one of the V-8s and it's a charmer.

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