2015 Dodge Charger
Dodge observes its centennial this year, and its bread-and-butter full-size rear-drive sedan is one of the prime players in the celebration. Making its debut at the New York show, the Charger still exudes power and a vague sense of menace—maintaining its four-door muscle-car persona—while reshaping nearly all of its sheetmetal. The roof and rear doors are the only exterior panels that carry over unchanged.
Paying homage to its late-1960s muscle cars, Dodge cites the 1969 Charger as the inspiration for the 2015 redesign. The design goal of the snug-fitting new skin, according to Dodge, was to make the Charger appear a bit smaller and lighter than the current sedan without diminishing its muscular persona. Whether the 2015 model achieves the smaller/lighter illusion is up to the beholder, but the exterior dimensions are essentially unchanged, as are the underpinnings, save for new cast-aluminum axles and axle housings.
That muscular persona is certainly undiminished, and it’s backed by Chrysler’s 5.7-liter Hemi V-8—370 horsepower, 395 lb-ft of torque—in R/T and R/T Road & Track models. The base engine continues to be the 3.6-liter V-6 (292 horses, 260 lb-ft. Both the Hemi and the V-6 are paired with Chrysler’s eight-speed automatic, the only transmission offered.
With the V-6, the Charger is EPA-rated for 31 mpg on the highway, which Dodge says is best in class. All-wheel drive continues to be available, and features an active transfer case that automatically disconnects the front axle when it’s not needed, which Dodge claims can improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent.
Inside, the redesign includes new seats, extensive soft-touch materials on the dash, center console, and door panels, and eight different trim packages, including cloth and leather upholstery choices. The sporty three-spoke steering wheel is new, backed by optional paddle shifters. A new electronic shift feature delivers brisk shift times—400 milliseconds, according to Dodge, diminishing to 250 milliseconds in sport mode, which also holds the selected gear to redline.
Inevitably, new telematics abound. A standard seven-inch TFT screen nestles between the speedo and tach, with programmable info including Dodge Performance Pages. The new center stack embraces a standard 5.0-inch touch screen or the available and monstrous 8.4-inch version. As predictable as such gadgetry is in thus fill-size segment is the abundance of nanny aids: lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise with emergency braking, and forward-collision warning all are available.
When the 2015 Charger lands on showroom floors near the end of the year, it’ll represent just how far the automotive industry has come since Dodge’s beginnings 100 years ago.