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2006-2008 Dodge Charger R/T and Dodge Charger Daytona test drives / reviews

Charger R/T nameplate

dodge charger car reviews

The long-awaited Dodge Charger has arrived amid heated debate on whether the car “is a real Charger.” With four doors rather than two, and not much styling continuity from the most memorable Chargers (1968-71), the current version - essentially a retuned, restyled 300C/Magnum - is different at first glance. But, like the original, while based on existing vehicles, it is noticeably different; and like the original, it combines rear wheel drive with both mild and wild powerplants. The current Hemi isn’t a modified-for-the-street racing engine, but its 345 horsepower drive the Charger from zero to sixty in a bare six seconds, and the cornering is excellent.

The Charger Daytona package, which costs $2,500 on top of the price of a standard Charger Hemi, also caused some consternation among the faithful, still smarting after the four-cylinder Dodge Challengers, Daimler takeover, end of Plymouth, and hundreds of other insults; rather than being a 200 mph supercar, as the original was (plain stock versions were capable of more like 180 mph), the Daytona is clearly a stripe-and-small-spoiler package in appearance. However, additional engine and suspension tuning make the Charger Daytona a true improvement over the standard Charger, and one of the most fun, exciting mass-produced cars on the market today. Indeed, if you need four seats, the Charger Daytona is very hard to beat indeed - and Dodge's SRT-4 comes closest to the fun-for-the-buck prize.

Getting from the 300C to the Charger required some work, as the Charger is less expensive yet has better performance. Most of the cost-cutting appears to have gone into the interior; the Charger essentially uses the Spartan-looking interior of the Magnum, and looks plain inside. The instrument panel is functional and attractive, with even, greenish-white backlighting (of the Indiglo style, but set up to be much less green) that is highly visible during the day and even more so at dusk and at night. The pointers are a deeper red than in the past, and thinner, for a cleaner look. In our Charger Daytona test car, the interior was remarkably improved due to the simple addition of a body-colored center stack and gearshift bezel (they are silver-metallic in the standard Chargers); since the test car was Top Banana yellow, (a bright and cheerful yellow which would probably be called Sunshine Yellow at a house paint store), those simple changes brightened the inside and provided a good contrast to the same-old-same-old mix of black and gray plastics. A small sticker on the right side of the dashboard informed us that this was Top Banana Daytona #8 of 4,000.

The Charger's exterior is a clear departure from the Magnum and 300C, though it is made on the same platform and has the same underpinnings. An effort was made to differentiate it further, and it has more rounded styling, with a unique but clearly-Dodge grille - incorporating dark-looking headlight covers a la Impala - and a Charger-like rise near the back. The windows look larger, the back and side curvier.

charger-daytona cars

The Daytona package again greatly improves the look of the Charger; the tail blackout and side stripes strongly accentuate the body contours, making the Daytona look much more like the classic Chargers most of us hold in our memories (ignoring the very early Charger and the later "formal style" models that could be mistaken for Cordobas).  This package is not for the shy, especially with the huge HEMI labels on the hood. The effects seem to be accomplished with a glued-on thick black vinyl.

charger car reviews

The Charger really is not a replacement for the Dodge Intrepid, a swoopy sedan that combined sporty looks and a nimble ride with fast-for-the-day powerplants and exceptional interior space. The Intrepid had a rich interior and was far larger inside; trunk space was quite large as well, and all passengers, front and back, were equally comfortable. Though the Hemi Charger’s power is considerably higher (the 3.5 V6 stays at the same power level but has more weight to push around), and sound insulation, cornering, and ride are better, rear passengers have a somewhat rougher time. In the back, the normally confident feel of the Charger R/T becomes edgy, as though the driver isn't in control; and the base R/T stereo becomes more of a mono, with all the sound seeming to come from the speaker just behind the passenger's head (no speakers are in the rear doors). The Charger is lots of fun for the driver, but may be less so for the rear passengers, even if they do get plenty of head, leg, and shoulder room (and a better view than they would in a 300C).

side

Acceleration is, as one would expect, extremely good. What one would not really expect is that it would be faster than the essentially identical 300C and Magnum; but we suspect part of that was computer and transmission tuning, since shifts felt considerably firmer, and sometimes downright hard, in the Charger. In fact, expect a lot of bump-and-grind from the automatic, which seems to have to noticeably kick in on any moderate acceleration. This effect, by the way, was absent in our Charger Daytona, and may have disappeared with normal production changes from the normal Chargers as well. What did remain was a tendency to downshift slowly, so that after a burst of acceleration the car stays in low gear for a moment, shifts up, waits moment, and shifts again - presumably part of an anti-hunting routine but something to get used to. It does help if you need to accelerate, level off for a second, and immediately accelerate again.

dodge charger daytona car reviews

The Charger Daytona starts with the R/T and moves up from there; the cornering and acceleration have both been refined, and as with the move from Crossfire to Crossfire SRT-6 (see our SRT-6 car reviews), the change makes even normal driving much more pleasant and fun by giving the car a more confident feel. Acceleration is instant and frankly we rarely had the opportunity to put the pedal to the metal, as even minor presses to the gas pedal shot the car forward quickly. Both engine and transmission are responsive, with no delay between action and reaction, accompanied by the thrilling burble (or scream) of the exhaust, tuned to perfection, with the sound of a hot-rodded muscle car. Yet, the Charger Daytona is quite capable of being driven gently without roughness, and the engine noise does not get annoying over time on highway trips. Neither do the open-mouthed stares and points of pedestrians and other drivers.

Hemi engine from Charger R/T

The infamous Hemi engine makes good power in low rpms, but really comes into its own at 3,000 rpm or so. The five-speed automatic transmission has been retuned by Chrysler, and shifts firmly, usually without hesitation, to move the Hemi into its power band. While the transmission feels less smooth and silky than the Chrysler four-speeds, it makes better use of the engine power and contributes to the Charger R/T's surprisingly good gas mileage. So does the multiple displacement system, shutting off four of the cylinders on a regular basis, in a manner so subtle few, if any, people can tell when it's operating.

charger daytona car reviews

The Hemi engine may be strong, but it's also quiet, with a near-silent idle and an almost perfect sound under full power. It doesn't emit a constant bass burble or drone, but it's there when you need it, and it sounds and feels terrific. The Charger R/T always seems ready to leap forward at a moment's notice without any effort, even though often it takes a moment for the transmission to get into the spirit of things (with a bump) - this was absent from the instant-on Charger Daytona, whose only hesitation came in its first move from startup in the morning.  Indeed, acceleration with the Daytona is so effortless, the roads suddenly seem much more filled with slow vehicles. It is nothing at all to get to 40, barely an effort to get to 65. By the time the engine gets tucked in, you're going faster than the speed limit.

carsThe Charger has the nice ride and good dry-road handling of its LX siblings. The tires tended to chirp or squeal for a second on acceleration and quick turns, but consistently grabbed the road, and between the fat, wide, sticky tires and the active suspension with traction control, we never sustained a squeal or broke the tires loose, despite the considerable power up front. On the highway, the Charger feels completely stable and in control. Around town, it can be driven as gently as you like, but a ferocious leap forward is just a push of the pedal away. The Charger gets more pleasant to drive the more you drive it.

The ease of pushing the Charger R/T, big as it is, through tight or fast turns is welcome giving the relatively well-cushioned suspension. The design seems to have been refined beyond the Magnum, with an overall more comfortable ride and quieter interior. On the whole, the ride is surprisingly good, with no major shocks coming through - even as subsonic noise. For those who want more, the Charger Daytona has a more tightly sprung suspension that increases cornering ability without any noticeable loss of ride quality. Our only real gripe regarding noise and cornering was the R/T tires’ tendency to have a loud deep-bass throbbing noise on some types of pavement (usually for a few seconds or less) in both city and highway driving. This did not appear in the Daytona.

The standard electronic stability program operated subtly with handling on wet roads, but helped the Charger to keep its footing even when we tried to knock it off kilter. The standard all-speed traction control was no doubt part of that. The slight oversteer that sometimes came into play around powered turns is easier to deal with than the serious understeer that highly powered front-drive vehicles tend to get. What's more, the Charger Daytona seemed supremely confident on wet roads, frankly ignoring the rain and giving us no more slippage than ordinary cars would give on dry roads. The incredible abilities of the Charger Daytona on wet, slick roads are so amazing we hope owners won't get overconfident and forget that they need brakes, too. (That said, the Charger - any of them - has excellent brakes as well.)

AutoStick shifter, dodge charger carsThe AutoStack transmission provides a temporary override rather than making you choose the gear the entire time it's in manumatic mode. Say you want to start in third for better snow traction, or downshift for a long hill, or a potential passing situation: you can do that easily, and after a while, the system reverts to Drive (or you can bump it up past fourth gear, which has the same effect). You're always in the system: when in Drive, bump to the left to go down a gear, and to the right to go up. You can do what most people will do and ignore it, and you will get by just fine. We did have a problem at lower speeds with getting the system to shut off; it would not do it when we tried the up-past-fourth method, and we ended up quickly going back into Neutral and returning to Drive; they have probably fixed this problem by now. The automatic behaves well enough to make the AutoStick unnecessary most of the time.

Visibility is good in all directions except for a massive rear quarter blind spot similar to that of the Intrepid. We appreciated the ease of using the sun visors - some cars make them hard to get out of their default positions - and we especially appreciated the sliding system which gives the sun visors "virtual length." Headlights are more powerful than the Intrepid's were and are quite satisfactory.

Inside, the Charger is smaller than the Dodge Intrepid it is nominally replacing. However, there is plenty of room for four, with good headroom in all seats; rear seat legroom is the main casualty, and it's still generous. Access to the rear seats is easy. The trunk is huge, as one would expect from a full-sized car; a week's groceries can all fit in the narrow space protected by the net, leaving enough free trunk space for four or five suitcases. We found the R/T seats to be excessively firm and not particularly supportive, especially in comparison with the 300M, but seats are always a matter of personal preference, and chiropractors are common. The Daytona's leather-and-suede seats gripped and breathed better and were more comfortable.

Dodge Charger Daytona R/T cars - consoleThe instrument panel is not unattractive, but it is interesting in that the pods are deep and straight, not oriented towards the driver, so that parts of the outlying gauges are cut off from sight, especially if your head is anywhere near the roof. The black on white gauges remain that way at night, when a perfectly even white backlight comes into play; they are highly visible day or night. The gauge numbers are sensibly large. The 160 mph speedometer means that the range most often used (0-80) occupies about 1/3 of the dial, but keeping to any given speed was still easy.

Inside the gauges, taking up the bottom third of the circle, are black areas which hide the various warning lights and the PRND (transmission gear indicator) and odometer. Press the odometer button once and you get a trip odometer; press twice, and the outside temperature appears. There's an optional trip computer that occupies the same space, which lets you more easily set the car's options and also provides a compass; it wasn't on either of our test cars, though.

The locks automatically activated when we reached a pre-set speed. A quick look at the owner's manual showed that we could shut that feature off, but instead we opted to turn on the automatic unlock - it opens all the doors when the driver's door is unlocked after the car stops. A number of similar features can be turned on or off by following fairly simple instructions (we also shut off the horn-honk-on-lock).

Speaking of options, our test car included (standard) a tilt wheel that also telescopes forward and backward for the ultimate in adjustability. The R/T also comes with leather trim and a power driver's seat, though for the power passenger seat we had to wait for the Daytona.

dashboard

The dash-mounted headlights made it through from the LH series, and we liked the dash-mounted ignition, which is easy to find and use. The cruise control is mounted above the turn signals, and on roughly the same axis, leading to easy confusion; it also has an illogical collection of five different movements, with mostly small labels (push in to activate, pull to set speed, raise to accelerate, lower to decelerate, push to cancel). On the lighter side, after weeks of driving various LX and Crossfire models, we can say that it is possible to get used to it. We did appreciate that when we first activated the system, it informed us of that fact both via stalk LED and dash display; and it told us again, on the dash, when the cruise was set (though that appeared once and then was replaced by the odometer/thermometer.)

gauges

Storage spaces abound, with map pockets on the front and rear doors, a tray under the climate control, a slot next to the gearshift, usable, a large glove compartment and unusually large center console, and an overhead sunglass holder. The center console includes Chrysler's clever coin holder, though it requires a little work for the driver to actually use it (move elbow, raise lid, put elbow back); and now there's actually a slot for pennies as well as quarters, nickels, and dimes. Two pen holders and a mini-tissue holder are incorporated in the lid, with a removable tray at the bottom, and a power outlet in the side of the console. Overall, it's a more effective design than most. The cupholders are simple and hidden by a slider; rear passengers get cupholders too, in the fold-down armrest.

inside the dodge charger daytonaMinor conveniences include the folding outside mirrors, touch-on dome lights, dead-pedal, and foot-operated emergency brake (which allows for more power to be applied) with easy-release hand pull (again, carried forward from the LH).

The base stereo in our first test car had strong but not muddy bass which could be effectively lowered for talk radio, good stereo imaging, and easy to use controls, but, again, rear passengers had a dull, monaural sound. Our test Magnum and the Charger Daytona had an optional dual driver/passenger heat zone climate control, using Chrysler's infra-red sensor for accuracy. The controls were largely self-explanatory, though the a/c light only goes on when the vent control is in manual mode; in auto mode, it presumably decides for itself when to turn the a/c on. The fan has two auto settings, low and high, for those who prefer lower noise to faster action. Most normal fan ranges are quiet, though. The air conditioning itself is good and powerful - gratifyingly powerful - but the V8 hardly seems to notice when it's running. Our Charger R/T had the base single-zone climate control, and it was simple and easy to operate.

The Charger comes in a number of trim levels, but the V8 is only available with the R/T and higher levels, so if you want Hemi power, you have to get leather, an eight-way power driver's seat, air, tilt/telescoping steering wheel, keyless entry, Sentry Key, power windows, 18" aluminum wheels, power heated mirrors, four-wheel antilock disc brakes, the stability program with traction control, emergency brake assist (where the computer decides if you're panic-stopping and helps hit the brakes harder), rear defroster, fog lights, tire pressure monitor, and of course the eight-speaker Boston Acoustics speaker system that sounds great up front and poor in back. If you have an iPod, there's no built in navigation-integration, but there is an auxiliary access jack, so you can still play it through the speakers. All of this, including the Hemi, come for just under $30,000, including destination - about the same as the Dodge Magnum wagon, so if you can lose a little of the suspension refinement, you can gain a lot of cargo space. For those who just want a nice big sedan with superior ride and cornering, the 3.5 liter V6 provides that, with decent enough (between 8 and 9 seconds 0-60) acceleration and slightly better mileage. (Thanks to an efficient design and cylinder deactivation, the 345 horsepower V8 gets about the same mileage as some 250 horsepower V6 engines.)

Now, as for whether this is a real Charger... the big question is, does it matter? You can decide for yourself; a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.

Blog entry: the Charger Daytona roars into life

hemi poweredIt's always hard to believe that the same car, with minor tweaks, can change its character so completely. The Matrix is a harsh-riding, noisy vehicle compared to the similar Corolla; but that's also a different form factor. The Crossfire SRT-8 has a surprisingly different feel from the standard Crossfire, and in my opinion is far more pleasant even when not taking it anywhere near its limits - in standard day to day traffic-congested driving. But the Charger Daytona is really the prime example of this; it starts where the Charger R/T leaves off, and almost feels like a completely different car. The interior has but a single major difference, the body-colored panel between the seats and anchoring the center stack, but it feels brighter, more open, and more upscale than the plain-jane Charger, with its unrelieved gray and black plastic. The passenger also has a bright, cheery label (not quite as upscale as the old Shelby plaques) telling you which production number it is - our test car was #8 of 4,000.

On the outside the Charger Daytona, particularly in yellow, really accentuates the Charger's curves. Had we seen that one first, with its black-matte stripes, rear blackout, and hood treatment, I think that the outcry over how the Charger is an outrage would have been far more muted. With a few simple touches, the Charger suddenly becomes, well, a Charger, replete with curves and looking as though it's ready to tear up the track.

The suspension tells the story for the driver; again, minor changes (available also as a performance package on the R/T) to spring rates and such make a huge difference in feel. The Charger Daytona always feels ready to leap at a moment's notice; the stability control provides a dangerous sense of competence on wet, slick roads, allowing full-throttle acceleration with nary an indication of the impending doom should the driver do something, well, even more foolish than hitting the gas hard on a wet road. (Remember, we test these things in great big pavement areas, and took 300Cs and Magnums around snow-covered test tracks at Chrysler's invitation). On dry roads, the Charger is simply superlative, with a tremendously confident feel and a seeming inability to lose traction. It feels more like a Z06 than any four-passenger sedan has a right to.

So, despite the ricer spoiler, lack of aerodynamics, and two extra doors...perhaps this really is a Charger Daytona after all. We didn't try to get it to 180 mph... so that score remains to be settled. But it is a truly impressive vehicle, nearly as far above the Charger as the Charger is above the Avalon to the performance-minded. And while it may not have the mind-blowing raw power of the 426 Hemi or 440 Six-Pack, it does have pretty darned good power, thank you - more than we could use, a frustratingly large amount of instant-on power that meant that we couldn't hear the engine roar for more than a few short seconds before having to lay off the throttle. The Daytona sounds like a 1970 NASCAR car - but at idle, the roar is muted enough to not be annoying over time. It's quite a vehicle.

The best part is - the Daytona package is just $2,500. Sure, that sounds like a lot, but it comes with a lot. (A cheaper version is the R/T with performance handling package.)

We’re still ambivalent about putting the Daytona name onto this Charger, especially so prominently, when it has neither the styling, the aerodynamics, nor the “best Chrysler builds” engines which are reserved now for the SRT. But at least we can say with confidence that the Charger Daytona deserves to be called a Dodge Charger.

Our rental car (from Enterprise) is a 2006 Charger. Having lived with it for a week and 800 miles now (it had 900 miles on it
when I got it), I must report that I don't like it. Editor’s note: this review refers to a rental car, which is built with different specifications than standard Chargers — mainly, it uses the 2.7 liter engine rather than the 3.5. It might also have different tires and suspension settings.

Too many controls aren't well thought out. The cruise control is on a stalk, which is a giant step backward. Chrysler was among the first to put the controls on the steering wheel when they went to the Accustar column in 1990. That was an enormous improvement over the previous stalk location. Now they've removed them from the wheel and put them back on a
stalk. On their own stalk, which occupies the space normally reserved for the turn signal stalk, displacing the latter downward at a bizarre angle and into a bizarre position so you have to grope for it. The cruise stalk itself works as a control device, but it should've been put on the right, somewhere in that vast plain left empty by the ignition switch's dashboard location.

The turn signal stalk, meanwhile, controls the signals, headlight beam selection and the windshield wipers, but not the parking and headlamps, which are on their own rotary switch on the dashboard. Nothing too grossly objectionable here, I guess, but it's a nonstandard grouping. The beam selection is achieved by pushing the lever forward for high beam,
pulling rearward for low beam, or pulling extra rearward for high beam flash. That's how Japanese cars do it, so it must be better, right? Wrong! Way too easy to bump the lever to the high beam position by mistake when operating the turn signals or wipers, thus becoming one of those annoying gits who drives around in traffic with high beams blazing.

The car comes equipped with about seventy percent of the average Buick's nanny devices; five minutes' effort with the glovebox manual and the ignition key shuts off some of them (auto lock, auto unlock) but not others. It's still too much. This car has hyperactive IP warning lamps and chimes. Start the engine before fastening your seatbelt, and the seatbelt
light blinks and the chime sounds for the Federally-mandated 7 seconds...and for five seconds every fifteen seconds thereafter. Go ahead and buckle in, and *Chime!*. Congratulations, you fastened your safety belt all by yourself.

Start the engine with belt fastened but take the car out of Park before releasing the parking brake, the brake warning lamp flashes urgently and the chime sounds. Release the brake, and *ChimeChime!* Congratulations, you released the brake all by yourself.

The parking brake itself is a pedal type unit, with a hand release. The pedal itself feels as if it's connected to nothing at all. Put your foot on it, and it flies to the floor. It holds the car OK, not as well as others I've used. At least it's not one of those obnoxious kick-to-apply, kick-to-release types or the import-copycat spacewasting hand lever.

Sometimes you get a *Chime!* or *ChimeChime!* for no apparent reason. ("Congratulations, you're super!")

The accelerator is a spring-loaded dimmer switch mechanically connected to nothing at all. Feedback, there is none. Also, when using the cruise control, the pedal stays at the idle position. Want to speed up just a little to pass another vehicle? Sure, but you'll have to grope around through the accelerator's travel to find the point past which additional acceleration happens. It would've been a simple matter of programming to move that point to the top of the accelerator's travel when the cruise is engaged, but they didn't. Instead, they spent their time carefully programming the drive-by-wire so that a very small pressure on the pedal causes the car to lurch. Vroom vroom! Powerful acceleration feeling, vroom vroom! I'm sure it makes for impressive test drives, but it makes parking garage maneuvering spastic and difficult to control. The cruise control continues this theme; the "resume" function causes the car to lurch (charge?) ahead with needless alacrity and a jarring and noisy downshift. A more gradual return to the previously-set speed would be more appropriate.

The horn is all the way in the middle of the steering wheel, coincident with the airbag cover. Not a good place -- not a safe place. The wheel itself is well shaped, so I guess that's something. Someone somewhere in the chain of command specified nominally-intuitive rear-hinged window switches (push down to lower the window, pull up to raise). Fine idea, poorly implemented. There's nothing intuitive about the feel of the switches, and they are all crammed together. You have to look down at them to get the correct switch and operate it properly, and even then, if it's the driver window you want lowered, there's almost no detent at all between "down" and "auto down", so frequently the window drops out of sight when all that was desired was a 2" air gap.

The manual door lock knobs in the rear doors are at the rear, not the front, of each door. They cannot be reached from the front. Sure, yeah, they're power, so what? Sometimes it's necessary or desireable to unlock one rear door without futzing with the power buttons. Or, for that matter, to look through the nearest window to check if the doors are locked or unlocked. You cannot see the rear lock buttons from outside.

The gauges are the trendy electroluminescent (or faux-electroluminescent) black-on-white variety, and they're plenty legible, though automatic cars still don't need tachometers. There is no way to turn off the IP illumination, only to make it more bright or less bright. Um...yeah, thanks, I guess you're right, I didn't really want to turn 'em off; if I had really wanted to, you would've let me.

The ignition key, as previously mentioned, is in the dash, almost where it belongs. You have to insert it at a weird a 10:30/4:30 angle; the "run" position has the key vertical. This isn't a major irritant, just a minor one. What's a major irritant is the huge delay between turning the key to "start" and having the starter engage. I'm not talking microseconds here; if you insert-and-twist-to-start, there is time for the hyperactive chime to go *ChimeChimeChime!* (or for you to sit through a long second and a half's silence, depending on the chime's mood) before the starter engages. I do not know or care why this is done, but I do know it doesn't have to be that way, and that it shouldn't.

The fast windshield rake angle seriously restricts the view outward and causes the rearview mirror to obstruct far too much of the important part of the forward-rightward view when I adjust my seating position for proper vision to the sides and rear. Lower the seat so the rearview mirror no longer is such an obstacle, and sideward/rearward visibility is proportionally hampered. I take especial care to adjust all the adjustables to fit me when I get in a car not my own, and even so, a two hour highway drive left me cramped in the leg, ankle, left shoulder and neck. And I'm right smack in the middle of average height! Body fixtures and interior materials are marginally better than they were in the Chrysler products of the early 1990s, but only just. Legroom is acceptable for a 6'5" passenger.

Noise and vibration is at about the same level as it was in my 1992 4-cylinder LeBaron sedan, which is unacceptable given the interceding 17 model years' supposed advances since my 1992 was designed, and the fact that my '92 had almost 150k miles on it when I bought it, while this car had 953 miles when I picked it up. The power steering pump or something else under the hood puts out a constant buzzing, grinding whine that changes pitch with engine speed and is audible inside the car with all the windows up. Hmmm...the P/S pump and other engine-driven accessories on my '65 Valiant were silent. Ditto my '91, and my '92, and my other '91, and my other '92, and my '62, and my '89, for that matter. What happened? I've heard this noise on too many other new and recent Mopars to dismiss it as a one-off.

The sill is rather too high for one's arm to rest comfortably on the sill for any length of time -- if you adjust the driver's seat high enough that this becomes (marginally) possible, your forward visibility is chopped off by the windshield's header panel and your forward-rightward view of street signs, businesses you might be looking for and pedestrians about to behave stupidly is blocked by the rearview mirror. The usual rearward-visibility problem exists due to the trendy wedge shape with the deck lid plane way up in the air. Those oddly-shaped rear door windows don't hinder outward vision nearly as much as they look like they would. And on this nearly-new, still-got-its-paper-temporary-licence-plate example, there's a front suspension rattle that reminds me of when the sway bar bushings would go away on my '92. I'm sure, though, that it's only the finest precision German DaimlerChrysler rattle.

The V6 engine has adequate acceleration, with a Taurus-like warbling V6 engine note that I find very offputting. Unfortunately, I find the rest of the car so infuriatingly unpleasant, so poorly designed and built, that the substitution of a V8 engine wouldn't even begin to make me like it. It is not fun, relaxing, comfortable rewarding or easy to drive.

I could grouse a fair bit about the car's poor exterior lighting system, but I'm on vacation and deliberately not thinking about car lights.

The poor design decisions, lousy ergonomics, ill-conceived controls and poor outward visibility make the car repellant. It handles OK for a car of its size, neither abjectly poorly nor outstandingly...so what? Being rid of it is the only part of the end of this vacation I'm looking forward to! All in all, I give the car a grade of about C.

Specifications with comparison to Dodge Intrepid

Item 2005 Charger 2005 Magnum 2004 Intrepid 1968 Charger
Wheelbase 120" 120" 113" 117"
Length 200" 198" 209" 208"
Width 74" 74" 74.5" 77"
Height 58.2" 58.4" 56" 53"
Track 63" 63" 62" 59”
Weight 3,800 - 4,031 lb 3,855 - 4,336 lb 3,446-3,556 lb 3,500 - 3,650 lb
EPA gas mileage 17/27 (3.5)
17/25 (Hemi)
19/27 (3.5)
17/25 (5.7)
18/26 (3.5) Not Given
Weight distribution 53/47 (V6)
54/46 (V8)
51/49 (V6) 64/36
Interior volume 104 cubic feet (120.2 EPA) 105.9 cubic feet (133.1 EPA) 107.6 cubic feet
(126.3 EPA)
Cargo volume 16.2 cubic feet (460 L) 27.2 cubic feet (770 L)
71.6 with rear seats folded
18.7 cubic feet (530L)
Built in... Brampton, Ontario
Front head room 38.7 (983) 38.7 (983) 38.3 (974), 37.1 w/moonroof
Front leg room 41.8 (1061) 41.8 (1061) 42.1 (1070)
Front shoulder room 59.3 58.7 59.1 (1500)
Front hip room 56.2 56.2 56.4 (1431)
Seat travel 10.6 driver, 8.7 passenger 10.6 driver, 8.7 passenger 8.7 (220)
Rear head room 36.2 38.1 (968) 37.2 (945)
Rear leg room 40.2 40.2 (1020) 41.6 (1056)
Rear knee clearance 4.5 4.8 (122) 5.9 (151)
Rear shoulder room 57.6 57.6 (1464) 58.3 (1482)
Rear hip room 55.5 55.5 (1409) 56.8 (1442)
Engines 3.5, 5.7 2.7, 3.5, 5.7 2.7, 3.3, 3.5 3.7, 5.2, 7.0, 7.2

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