$20,695 - $50,939

2018 Dodge Charger Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Dodge Charger was new.


Performance: 8.5

The 2018 Dodge Charger offers V6 and V8 powertrains that deliver plenty of power and acceleration. The high-performance Hellcat delivers a driving experience that no other car in this class can match. The Charger provides composed handling on winding roads and rides smoothly even over rough pavement.

  • "The 3.6-liter, 292-horsepower … offers plenty of punch with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The standard 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth and doesn't annoyingly hunt for gears. It's a compelling package, but Chargers get better when you add horsepower, and the 370-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 in the R/T and Daytona is a nice wake-up call." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "But even more impressive than the Charger SRT Hellcat's confident and nimble performance at Summit Point Raceway … was its supple, refined performance on the public roads leading to and from the track. Remember, it's a four-door sedan with room for five, and even if you never sampled all of its 707 horsepower you'd still enjoy driving it." -- Forbes (2015)
  • "The Charger may have aggressive styling but it rides as smoothly as some luxury sedans. The 2015 model's suspension has been further fettled from an already fine starting point, gliding rather than merely 'riding' on its absorbent independent front and rear suspension." -- Edmunds (2015)

Acceleration and Power

The Charger SXT trims come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 292 horsepower, while GT trims have a 300-horsepower version of the same engine. Both have ample power for most driving situations, but they don’t compare to the three available V8s.

The R/T and Daytona trims feature a 370-horsepower 5.7-liter V8. The R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, and SRT 392 trims have a 6.4-liter V8 (equivalent to a 392-cubic-inch engine, hence the trim name) that puts out 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. The high-performance SRT Hellcat comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. It can hit zero to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, covers a quarter-mile in 11 seconds, and has a top speed of 204 mph, according to Dodge.

All the V8s move this Dodge with alacrity, but the Hellcat is unlike anything rival sedans offer. It has breathtaking power and acceleration that even outpaces many sports cars. All engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s smooth and responsive.

The V6 may not be the most energetic engine, but it is the most efficient. According to EPA estimates, it earns 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Those ratings are similar to those of other V6-powered large cars. The V8s’ ratings range from 16/25 mpg city/highway for the 5.7-liter to 13/22 mpg city/highway for the Hellcat’s supercharged V8.

  • "The automaker's notorious 8-speed ... automatic seems to work well here, delivering smooth gear changes without the annoying gear hunting we've experienced in other vehicles. Good as they are, the V6 cars are far less appealing than the Hemi-powered models. … For our money, the R/T Scat Pack is the best combination of power, price and drivability. Of course, if you can lay hands on one, the 707-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat is the one to buy, drive sparingly and then put into storage for the next 40 years. In general, the entire Charger line is smooth and responsive." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "With the familiar base-level 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 under the hood, the SXT is no rocket ship, but it is adequately quick for non-enthusiast buyers, especially paired to the eight-speed auto." -- Motor Trend (2015)
  • "Acceleration is breathtaking, vertigo-inducing and doesn't really slow for shifts. By the time you blink, you're into the next gear and getting ready to grab the right paddle again. We tried manual mode a few times, but trying to learn the track and the car, and shift, all above 120 mph, was a little too much to take. Thankfully its performance-shifting algorithm nails the changes almost every time." -- Autoweek (SRT Hellcat - 2015)

Handling and Braking

The Charger comes standard with rear-wheel drive. The GT trims feature all-wheel drive. Large cars are generally judged on their ride quality, and the Charger passes this test. It’s smooth even over uneven pavement. It also handles well for its size. The Charger feels planted around turns and doesn’t lean too much. Available features – including multiple sport suspensions and Brembo brakes – improve performance.

  • "The steering feels sporty and precise, and while the ride quality is supple and forgiving on bad surfaces, this big car offers impressive control and balance when you hustle it around tight turns. That's especially true if you specify some of the Charger's myriad performance upgrades, including multiple sport suspension offerings and an available three-mode stability control system that provides extra leeway in spirited motoring. Happily, the Charger is downright sedate in normal driving, with much lower ambient noise levels than its brash styling and performance would suggest." -- Edmunds (2016)
  • "Combined with the stout and firmly damped chassis, the steering points the car just where you ordered, until you ask too much and the front tires begin to howl in a duet of understeer." -- Car and Driver (2015)
  • "We didn't perceive much body roll and the car seems to drive a little smaller than its dimensions would suggest. In fact, thanks to its improved visibility and sloping nose, the Charger is actually easier to drive than its shorter Challenger platform mate." -- Left Lane News (2015)

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