Safety » 7
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SAFETY | 7 out of 10
Good," frontal offset impact; "poor," side impact
Five stars, front impact; four stars, side driver impact; five stars, side rear passenger impact
The Charger SRT8 has standard antilock brakes and an electronic stability system (they're a $1,025 option for the base Charger)
The 2009 Dodge Charger offers unimpressive crash-test results overall, with decent ratings from the federal government and less impressive scores from the insurance industry. The fact that some of the more usual safety features aren't standard is a bit disappointing as well.
The 2009 Dodge Charger excels in NHTSA crash tests, according to TheCarConnection.com's research. In federal government tests, the 2009 Dodge Charger earns perfect five-star ratings in both of the front impact tests, as well as five stars for side rear passenger impacts. The only blemish on its NHTSA scorecard comes in the side driver impact category, where the 2009 Dodge Charger earns four out of five stars. The IIHS tests reveal a different side of the Charger. In insurance industry tests, the 2009 Dodge Charger earns the highest possible rating, "good," for frontal offset impacts, but also a worst-possible rating of "poor" in side impact tests. That’s without the optional side airbags; with them the rating improves to "marginal."
Speaking of safety equipment, the Dodge Charger offers some noteworthy features as standard on the high-performance models. Cars.com observes that the "Charger SRT8 has standard antilock brakes and an electronic stability system (they're a $1,025 option for the base Charger). Side-impact airbags for the front seats and side curtain airbags are grouped together as an option, too." Reviewers are generally impressed with the stability system, as Autoblog says it "actually lets the rear end slide out just a bit around corners before gently nudging it back without ever jerking the chassis around," allowing for a little winter-time fun. Car and Driver reviewers note that "dual front airbags and tire-pressure monitors are standard on all models," but "disappointingly, curtain airbags and front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags aren't standard; they're options on all trim levels except the SE, on which they're not available at all. Anti-lock brakes, traction control, and electronic stability control are optional on the SE but standard throughout the rest of the lineup."
Another item hampering the Dodge Charger in the safety category is driver visibility; several reviews read by TheCarConnection.com point out various problem spots from the driver's seat. Cars.com says that "the position of the rearview mirror and the car's upright A-pillars impede visibility when you're driving on curvy roads." Autoblog also notes that "the relatively upright windshield means the leading edge of the roof extends forward quite a bit. If you are at an intersection where the stoplights hang over the center, you may need to lean forward to see them," while ConsumerGuide points out that the "thick front roof pillars obscure [the] view to front corners."
The 2009 Dodge Charger is one of the few remaining big sedans without standard side airbags, and its crash-test safety doesn’t match its strong, assertive stance.