2019 Dodge Charger

Performance


#8 out of 9 in Large Cars

$29,220 MSRP
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2019 Dodge Charger Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 8.5

The 2019 Dodge Charger feels responsive and powerful whether you stick with the base V6 engine or opt for any of the V8s. The performance-oriented SRT Hellcat delivers sports-car-worthy performance and is unlike anything else in the class. Beyond its straight-line speed, the Charger handles reasonably well and rides smoothly in most situations.

  • "For its intended purpose, the Charger is excellent. It launches like a Saturn V rocket, makes glorious noises along the way, and has respectable handling prowess. Its steering and low-speed throttle response are disappointing. But as a performance package, the Charger is hard to beat." -- Edmunds
  • "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 … is a nice wake-up call." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "But even more impressive than the Charger SRT Hellcat's confident and nimble performance … was its supple, refined performance on the public roads. … 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)

Acceleration and Power

The Charger SXT trims come with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that puts out 292 horsepower, while the SXT AWD and GT trims have a 300-horsepower version of the same engine. These engines move the car with ease and never feel short of power, but the available V8s put them to shame.

The R/T trim features a 370-horsepower 5.7-liter V8, while the R/T Scat Pack comes with a 6.4-liter V8 that puts out 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque. These V8s deliver outstanding acceleration, and no cars will pass you unless you let them.

The high-performance SRT Hellcat comes with a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that produces 707 horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque. This engine blasts the Charger forward with a pace few sports cars can muster, as the Hellcat's speedometer can go up to 200 mph.

All models feature an eight-speed automatic transmission. With its base engine, the Charger gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. Some classmates get better fuel economy ratings, but the Charger isn’t far behind. With the V8 engines, its fuel economy is worse. The smallest V8 is rated at 16/25 mpg city/highway, the 6.4-liter at 15/24 mpg city/highway, and you're better off not thinking about the Hellcat's 13/22 mpg city/highway rating.

  • "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 (2018)
  • "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 handles well for a large sedan, with minimal body roll when taking turns at speed. Hitting bumps around these turns can make the car feel less stable, but the Charger generally has a smooth ride. Available features – including multiple sport suspensions and Brembo brakes – improve performance. All trims come with rear-wheel drive except the all-wheel-drive SXT AWD.

  • "Through high-speed corners, the Charger stays surprisingly flat. Unfortunately, it's not a very engaging experience since you don't feel connected to the car. Notably, midcorner bumps can degrade stability and cause a lot of movement at the rear of the car." -- Edmunds
  • "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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