$11,665 - $23,775

2013 Dodge Charger Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2013 Dodge Charger was new.


Performance: 8.2

With three powerful engine choices and optional all-wheel drive, the 2013 Dodge Charger offers more performance options than most affordable large cars. Reviewers say that the Charger’s composed handling is impressive for such a large car, and that its V6 and eight-speed automatic offer a winning combination of power and fuel economy.

  • "The standard V6 engine and smooth 8-speed automatic transmission are a fine team that we think will satisfy the majority of buyers both in terms of acceleration and, surprisingly, fuel economy." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "While you might think a 3.6-liter V6 engine wouldn't produce much adrenaline, a few minutes behind the wheel of the 2013 Dodge Charger will prove you wrong, far wrong. When coupled to the new 8-speed automatic transmission, not only is the Charger fast, it is also extremely fuel-efficient." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Chrysler's new 3.6-liter V6 puts down strong power and returns good fuel economy. The addition of the eight-speed automatic improves efficiency even more." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Whatever the key zero-to-60 time, the Charger V-6 still felt satisfying from the driver's seat and was a generally quiet partner on interstate trips." -- MarketWatch (2012)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 Dodge Charger SE is powered by a 292-horsepower, 3.6-liter V6 engine, which is paired with a five-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. SXT and SXT Plus models use the same engine, but gain an eight-speed automatic transmission and optional all-wheel drive. Charger R/T models are also available with all-wheel drive, but come with a 370-horsepower, 5.7-liter Hemi V8 and a five-speed automatic. The EPA reports that the 2013 Charger gets 19/31 mpg city/highway with the V6 and eight-speed automatic, which is typical  for the class. 

The high-performance Charger SRT8 is powered by a 6.4-liter V8 engine that produces 470 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 470 pound-feet of torque at 4,300 rpm. A five-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are the only drivetrain configuration. Dodge says that the Charger SRT8 can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than five seconds with a top speed of 175 mph.

Reviewers have always liked the V8-equipped Charger, but they agree that the V6 and eight-speed automatic is the right choice for most shoppers. They note that the V6 is refined and powerful, and that the eight-speed automatic operates smoothly. This combination also delivers the best fuel economy in the lineup.

  • "While the V8s are plenty impressive in their own rights, the star of the Charger line is actually the V6/8-speed combination. It has more than enough gumption to move the car. The transmission is amazingly slick and a great match for the engine." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "The Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 is one of the best V6 engines ever built by Dodge, and its smooth operation and slight growl when pushed hard make it the perfect fit to the Charger's muscle-car image." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Getting a V8-powered Charger is no longer a must, though; the 3.6-liter V6 offers plenty of power and good fuel economy, especially with the new eight-speed automatic." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "The V-6, because of that eight-speed transmission, now is very much the package of choice. Lighter and thus, nimbler, than the Hemi V-8 (because the V-6 weighs less) and, ta-dah, available now with all-wheel drive formerly reserved for the V-8." -- USA Today (2012) 

Handling and Braking

While test drivers write that the 2013 Charger is too large to offer sport-sedan handling, most still say that it’s fairly athletic for an affordable large car. The Charger’s accurate steering and confidence-inspiring brakes complement its handling, though one reviewer says that the ride is a bit on the firm side. If you want a large car with a comfort-tuned ride, consider the Hyundai Azera or Toyota Avalon.

  • "Charger is too large and heavy to be truly nimble, but it's still plenty stable. All have great stopping control and fine brake-pedal feel." -- Consumer Guide 
  • "Though it qualifies as a full-size sedan, the 2013 Dodge Charger's suspension does an admirable job of handling aggressive driving, with excellent steering response and a decent but somewhat firm ride." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The car's sheer girth makes it tough to hustle along a tight road, but precise steering and a composed suspension make it a more involving drive than most other full-size sedans." -- Edmunds (2012)
  • "Surprising is how solid the Charger feels on a canyon road. You would think it would drive like a boat and inhibit any carving of asphalt. But pushing the Dodge into a series of esses, the independent front and 5-link rear suspension work well together." -- Road and Track (2011) 

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