2013 Dodge Charger Review

Consumer Reviews
1 Review
2018
The Car Connection
2018
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Bengt Halvorson Bengt Halvorson Deputy Editor
June 13, 2013

The 2013 Dodge Charger hits all the right blue-collar chords, yet its interior may impress the upper crust.

The Dodge Charger looks like family car, but it's actually a riot in disguise. It's a classic piece of Detroit style, a musclecar bristling with bravado, and a reasonable means of transportation with just the right amount of sophistication and refinement. In essence, it's the kind of car that restores your faith in the notion of a premium American-made car.

For the 2013 model year, the Charger hasn't changed much, but there are more features and a little more flair in some special editions, to go with the major gains in gas mileage and refinement posted for the prior model years.

The Charger has helped move the Dodge brand to a higher plane, and has brought a new kind of buyer into the fold, with its split personality. You can essentially go two ways with the Charger. Keep the bottom-line price down and get a V-6 model—it's economical, refined, and no slouch—or go with one of the V-8 models, which give its performance to rival some machines that wear M or AMG badging. The Charger SRT is a serious threat, at a much lower price.

Review continues below

The Charger's style hasn't changed all that significantly on the outside since it was introduced for 2005, but it still stands out as one of a kind. With a Coke-bottle look alongside, a high beltline, and the Dodge crosshair grille, along with its unmistakeable tail and bar of LED lamps, this sedan has a commanding shape, careful retro-modern detailing, and an aura of masculinity all around. Forget the Dukes of Hazzard and any NASCAR associations for the moment; this sedan looks curvy and exotic from some angles, blunt and punishing from others. A couple of years ago the dash was smoothed over, with a design that's less flamboyant but a lot more pleasant and practical—and driver-oriented.

The only Charger we might avoid from a performance perspective is the base SE, but only because it comes with a five-speed automatic while the eight-speed automatic that's included in SXT models is so much better. Otherwise, it's now simply a matter of whether you're okay with the V-8's extra price and thirst (and, perhaps, its less responsible image). Chrysler's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, making 292 horsepower, is what powers base Charger models, and it's made better through a very smooth and responsive eight-speed ZF automatic. Paddle-shifters are included, and the combination gets up to 31 mpg highway. Go with the R/T and its 370-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 (and five-speed automatic) if you want more engagement, a lot more torque, and a classic burble, while for the most engaging, tire-scorching performance you should head straight for the SRT8; with its 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, with 475 horsepower and a five-speed automatic, it's good for 0-60 mph times of under five seconds and tuned, in some ways, we think, to sound like a classic big-block engine.

The SRT8 handles surprisingly well for a big, heavy sedan—with much more of a nimble nature than a Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Impala. There's not a lot of lean or body roll in any of the models, but the SRT8 and its new adaptive suspension has the best combination of ride and control (it's selectable, from comfort-tuned to aggressively firm).

The flamboyant muscle-car look doesn't impact interior space or usability all that much, although you do pay for that high beltline with outward visibility that's a little more limited than in other sedans. But thanks to the rather blunt, upright styling, there's plenty of headroom all around. Front seats are wide and well bolstered, and wide doors make ingress and egress easy. Legroom especially is a little tight in back, but if they complain too much you can remind them that it does meet police-car standards.

There's no reason to hesitate about safety either; the Charger has earned a five-star overall score in federal testing, and it's been an IIHS Top Safety Pick. A rearview camera system, active cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are available in addition to all the expected standard items.

The 2013 Charger is well equipped, especially from the SXT level and above. Even base SE Chargers include air conditioning; cruise control; power windows, locks and mirrors; a power driver seat; pushbutton start; and an AM/FM/CD player with a 4.3-inch touchscreen control. Other good tech options include navigation with real-time traffic and voice control (with improved graphics for 2013), as well as the option to plug a cell-network data dongle in and create a local wireless network.

You can add additional muscle-car color with a number of appearance packages, while this year a new Rallye Appearance Group and Blacktop Package ups power of V-6 models to 300 hp thanks to cold-air induction and a sport-tuned exhaust.

8

2013 Dodge Charger

Styling

On the outside, the 2013 Dodge Charger is assertive and commanding, while inside form follows function.

The Charger's style hasn't changed all that significantly on the outside since it was introduced for 2005, but it still stands out as one of a kind.

With a Coke-bottle look alongside, a high beltline, and the Dodge crosshair grille, along with its unmistakeable tail and bar of LED lamps, this sedan has a commanding shape, careful retro-modern detailing, and an aura of masculinity all around. Forget the Dukes of Hazzard and any NASCAR associations for the moment; this sedan looks curvy and exotic from some angles, blunt and punishing from others.

From the side and at the rear the Charger looks at its most muscle-tastic, particularly in dark metallic orange or with any of the packages that add lower bodywork. In back, 164 LED taillamps comprise a racetrack of rear lights that spans across, and the squarish tail is topped off with a spoiler on some trims.

A couple of years ago the dash was smoothed over, with a design that's less flamboyant but a lot more pleasant and practical—and driver-oriented. The materials are better-coordinated than before—almost up to the level of a luxury car—with metallic-printed plastic with some wide but nicely contoured stretches.

Review continues below
8

2013 Dodge Charger

Performance

V-6 models of the 2013 Charger are impressive performers, but they're overshadowed by the seductive Hemi models.

The only Charger we might avoid from a performance perspective is the base SE, but only because it comes with a five-speed automatic while the eight-speed automatic that's included in SXT models is so much better. Otherwise, it's now simply a matter of whether you're okay with the V-8's extra price and thirst (and, perhaps, its less responsible image).

Chrysler's new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, making 292 horsepower, is what powers base Charger models, and it's made better through a very smooth and responsive eight-speed ZF automatic that provides a wide span of ratios. Paddle-shifters are included, and the combination gets up to 31 mpg highway.

Even though the V-6 is much more enjoyable this year, the V-8s remain 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. The 5.7-liter belts out 370 horsepower to an appropriately bellowy tune, and it can get to 60 mph in the 5.5-second range. The huge HEMI is a very forgiving engine, and it actually pairs well with the five-speed automatic, which includes a manual-shift mode.

If you want more engagement, a lot more torque, and a classic burble, while for the most engaging, tire-scorching performance you should head straight for the SRT8; with its 6.4-liter HEMI V-8, with 475 horsepower and a five-speed automatic, it's good for 0-60 mph times of under five seconds and tuned, in some ways, we think, to sound like a classic big-block engine.

The SRT8 handles surprisingly well for a big, heavy sedan—with much more of a nimble nature than a Ford Taurus or Chevrolet Impala. There's not a lot of lean or body roll in any of the models, but the SRT8 and its new adaptive suspension has the best combination of ride and control (it's selectable, from comfort-tuned to aggressively firm).

With hydraulic power steering--run by a electric-operated pump--the Charger has a confident, nicely weighted tiller, with a feel that just about matches the somewhat beefy feel of all the controls. The suspension improvements introduced last year, with upgraded shocks, control arms and bushings, do improve body control and responsiveness, though they don't bring any more road feel to the steering wheel.

In general, the Charger drives like a somewhat smaller car--although if you opt for the available all-wheel drive system, the steering doesn't wind and unwind with the same neatness, and that alone can give the car a bulkier feel.

A number of packages not only bring the Charger a sharper look but add to its performance. A "Road and Track" package adds bigger roll bars, Goodyear sport tires, stiffer monotube shocks and tougher brake linings, and an "off" mode for stability control.

The Blacktop Package that was introduced last year has been made even better. As before, it brings 20-inch performance tires on Pitch Black five-spoke alloys; a performance suspension; sport seats; and a Pitch Black grille theme. This year with this package and the Rallye Appearance Group there's a cold-air intake and sport exhaust that bumps V-6 output up to 300 hp. An R/T Road & Track Package also includes a rear differential with 3.06 axle ratio, performance powertrain calibrations, a high-speed engine controller, 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, and special badging.

Review continues below
8

2013 Dodge Charger

Comfort & Quality

Considering the Charger's muscle-car stance and rear-wheel-drive layout, it's quite roomy inside.

The flamboyant muscle-car look of the 2013 Dodge Charger doesn't impact interior space or usability all that much, although you do pay for that high beltline with outward visibility that's a little more limited than in other sedans.

Thanks to the rather blunt, upright styling, there's plenty of headroom all around. Front seats are wide and well bolstered, and wide doors make ingress and egress easy. Legroom especially is a little tight in back, but if they complain too much you can remind them that it does meet police-car standards.

If you do value ride comfort more than muscle-car impressions, you should keep in mind that ride quality in V-8 models, and those with larger wheel upgrades, is noticeably harsher than in V-6 models. R/T or SRT8 models can be a little jittery at times, while V-6 Chargers are more sophisticated and quiet.

HEMI cars also have a bit more engine noise entering the cabin--if you call the HEMI's throaty rumble noise, that is. Road and wind noise are well damped no matter what, and interior materials and trims are top-notch. 

Review continues below
8

2013 Dodge Charger

Safety

While driving some versions of the Dodge Charger might require some restraint, this sedan's protection shouldn't give you any cause for hesitation.

There's no reason to hesitate about the safety that looks so bold and brash; the Charger has earned a five-star overall score in federal testing, and it's been an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Top Safety Pick. And if you're willing to pay a little extra you can get some impressive active-safety items.

The Charger has earned top 'good' ratings in all categories of IIHS testing. And in the more stringent federal NCAP tests introduced last year, the Charger has achieved five stars overall (out of five), with a top score in side-impact protection and four stars for frontal impact.

A rearview camera system, active cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are available in addition to all the expected standard items. Front-seat active head restraints were added to the Dodge Charger's list of safety features last year. And electronic stability control, full-length side-curtain airbags, and a driver's side knee bag remain included in all Chargers.

Review continues below
8

2013 Dodge Charger

Features

The 2013 Dodge Charger offers all the connectivity and entertainment, but with a simpler interface.

What's under the hood probably matters most to those looking at the 2013 Charger. Yet there are several trim levels, along with important feature differences between them.

Charger SE, SXT, R/T, and SRT8 are the core models in the lineup. Charger SE and SXT models include the Pentastar V-6, while the R/T gets the 370-horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V-8. SRT8 models jump up to the 6.4-liter HEMI's 470 hp and 470 lb-ft of torque.

Base SE models are reasonably well equipped, with push-button start, keyless entry, a power driver's seat, a 4.3-inch touch screen, the LED taillamps, and 17-inch alloys. Moving up to the SXT is all it takes to get the beautiful new Uconnect Touch (or Uconnect 8.4) system (plus voice commands and integrated Bluetooth); SXT models also get dual-zone climate control, Alpine premium audio, power heated front seats, and power heated mirrors.

New for 2013, the Charger gets the Beats by Dr. Dre audio treatment--with a powerful 12-channel amp and proprietary equalization--on R/T Max, with several of the major options packages, and in all AWD models. Also, Rallye Appearance and Blacktop Package V-6 models now get a boost to 300 hp with a cold-air intake and performance exhaust.

The R/T Road & Track includes die-cast paddle-shifters, heated-and-ventilated sport seats, power adjustable pedals and steering column, a performance powertrain controller, a rear differential with 3.06 axle, and 20-inch chrome-clad wheels with performance tires. And the R/T Max packs on the tech, including adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross path, ParkSense, ParkView (camera), Alpine surround, SmartBeam headlamps, a heated steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, and more.

On both the SXT and the R/T, a Plus package adds 18-inch chrome-clad wheels, premium leather, heated/cooled cupholders, LED overhead lighting, and LED-illuminated footwells.

Review continues below
The Charger also opens up USB ports for plug-in dongles that turn 3G into in-car WiFi, and offers a Garmin navigation system, which we have mixed feelings about, but in any case has a nice streamlined interface.
6

2013 Dodge Charger

Fuel Economy

The 2013 Dodge Charger has mileage ratings that are just as good as staid mid-size sedans at the V-6 level, but R/T or SRT8 models could blast through your fuel budget.

Thanks to the introduction of a new eight-speed automatic transmission in some of the Dodge Charger V-6 models, this large sedan became considerably more fuel efficient--with an EPA highway rating of up to 31 mpg highway.

Rear-wheel-drive V-6 models slot in at 19 mpg city, 31 highway--very respectable for a large, performance-oriented sedan. While with all-wheel drive, the V-6 lands at 18/27.

Go with any of the V-8 models and you'd better be prepared to dig deeper into your wallet. Even though HEMI V-8-powered R/T models include Fuel Saver Technology (cylinder deactivation), they return 16/25 mpg, with AWD models down to 15/23. SRT8 models figure in at 14/23 mpg--which really isn't bad considering their And if you're getting an SRT8, gas mileage can't possibly be a priority; that model gets 14/23.

Review continues below
Continue Reading

The Car Connection Consumer Review

1 Review
5 star
100%
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
March 2, 2016
2013 Dodge Charger 4-Door Sedan RT Max RWD

Splendid automobile.

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
Absolutely no complaints. Beautiful styling, great power, clean lines. I traded a 2006 Charger RT with 150,000 miles. Expect to continue with the Charger line in the future.
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
USED PRICE RANGE
$8,995 - $32,991
Browse Used Listings
in your area
8.0
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 8
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 8
Features 8
Fuel Economy 6
Compare the 2013 Dodge Charger against the competition
Compare All Cars
Looking for a different year of the Dodge Charger?
Read reviews & get prices
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used