If you're looking for a true "Dukes of Hazzard" driving experience, you'll need the R/T or SRT8 version of the 2008 Dodge Charger. Otherwise, it's a pretty sedate family sedan in a muscular-looking package.
The base model of the 2008 Dodge Charger comes with a 2.7-liter V-6 and four-speed automatic transmission--enough for everyday driving, and mileage that isn't too bad at about 28 mpg on the open highway. That's about it, however. Moving up to the next most powerful engine, a 3.5-liter V-6, Kelley Blue Book reports that it "delivers enough power to have a little fun."
If you long for power but want to spend less time and money at the pump, you might consider the 2008 Dodge Charger R/T with a 5.7-liter V-8, which puts out a respectable 350 horses. Road & Track says it uses 20 percent less fuel due to its "Multi Displacement System" that shuts down half of the pistons at cruising speed, allowing it to run as a four-cylinder and increasing average mileage to the 20-mpg range. Again, however, it comes at a cost, which is about $7,500 above that of the base model.
If you have any hope of having a real "muscle car" experience, however, you'll have to go with the SRT8 Charger; Dodge equips it with a top-of-the-line 6.1-liter HEMI V-8, which Automotive says provides "thrilling passing punch and throttle response." It will shoot to 60 mph in about five seconds and has a top speed of about 150 mph. However, that extra power comes at a heavy fuel cost; the SRT8 gulps down an average of one gallon of fuel every 14 miles in the city (20 mpg on the highway) and is "saddled with a $2100 Gas Guzzler Tax."
In terms of handling, Cars.com reports that the 2008 Dodge Charger is “not really in the same league as smaller sport sedans, but the Charger is a cut above traditional family sedans in terms of performance capabilities.” Base versions are looser--ForbesAutos says, “Carrying less weight at the front end also makes the base and SXT V6-powered versions a bit more nimble around the curves than the weightier V8 models”-- but HEMI-equipped Chargers have “precise handling,” Edmunds says. They also note, “the 3.5-liter V6 remains a fine choice and delivers entirely satisfying power and handling dynamics.”
ForbesAutos recommends that “if you live in cold climates, consider buying an all-wheel-drive” Charger. Dodge’s stopping power, according to Car and Driver and Automotive, is nothing short of superb.