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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
V6 feels tepid and requires lots of passing room
A throttle-junkie's dream
Kelley Blue Book
Most reviews examined by TheCarConnection.com appreciate the 2008 Dodge Magnum’s power and poise—at least in HEMI-powered R/T and SRT8 versions.
ConsumerGuide reports that the 2008 Dodge Magnum SE "with the 2.7-liter V6 feels tepid and requires lots of passing room; Dodge says 11.3 seconds 0-60 mph. The 3.5 V6 is okay in town and has good passing punch." Edmunds says "the Magnum 2008's base V6 engine provides adequate power and a pleasant enough driving experience, but acceleration can be a bit sluggish off the line or under load." In the standard rear-drive setup, the V-6 is perfectly adequate. The all-wheel-drive system adds weight, and in the opinion of testers from TheCarConnection.com, the V-6 isn't quite powerful enough to keep the Magnum hustling with that option. Edmunds suggests "if you can't live with that...upgrade to either the more powerful V6 in the SXT or the V8 in the R/T."
The R/T models are powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 that offers 340 horsepower and comes with a five-speed automatic and cylinder deactivation technology to improve fuel efficiency. All-wheel drive is available with the V-8 and also gets you 19-inch wheels standard, and with the HEMI, the extra weight of the all-wheel drive is inconsequential.
The 2008 Dodge Magnum R/T, which Kelley Blue Book describes as "a throttle junkie's dream," has as much power as you'd expect, but better handling than anticipated. "The R/T's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 delivered commanding power, though you wouldn't think it while tooling around town...the accelerator takes its time to move things forward," writes Cars.com.
If you're lusting after a serious Boss Wagon that will trounce all manner of performance cars, Dodge offers an SRT8 version of the Magnum. It sports a 6.1-liter HEMI V-8 and 425 horsepower.
Edmunds reports that the base Dodge Magnum 2008 "puts its power through an old-school four-speed automatic transmission, but all others are equipped with a modern five-speed automatic." Cars.com notes that the Dodge Magnum 2008 five-speed automatic "has AutoStick for manually selected gear changes [and] is standard on the all-wheel-drive SXT and both versions of the R/T."
ForbesAutos mentions that "the Magnum R/T engine includes the company's Multi-Displacement System, which deactivates half the cylinders under low to moderate throttle to save fuel." Cars.com reports the following fuel consumption figures from the EPA: 2.7-liter V-6, 21/28 mpg; 3.5-liter V-6, 19/27 mpg; 5.7-liter V-8, 17/25 mpg; and 6.1-liter V-8, 14/20 mpg.
ConsumerGuide observes 2008 Dodge Magnum’s "ride is generally smooth and composed, but rippled pavement triggers annoying jiggling, especially in V8 models with their firmer suspensions." Edmunds asserts that "handling is surprisingly composed on higher trim levels, and the hot-rod SRT8 is a downright blast to drive, with tons of torque, a sport-tuned suspension and bigger brakes that allow you to maneuver quickly through tight corners." Kelley Blue Book notes "all-wheel drive models have a higher ride height that doesn't appear to affect handling but creates a noticeable gap between the tires and the tops of the wheel arches." Cars.com reports that the Dodge Magnum 2008 brake pedal "felt a bit mushy, but it produced adequate stopping power," adding that "the suspension and braking improvements are worth the upgrade."
The 2008 Dodge Magnum performs the act of transportation in six-cylinder versions; the HEMI-powered models smoke (tires) and drink (fuel)--and are far more fun.