New Car Review

2015 Dodge Charger: New Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Autotrader January 2015

It's been 10 years since the Dodge Charger initially made its debut, and for its 10th birthday, Chrysler has given the full-size sedan some dramatic updates. While changes stop short of a complete redesign, the 2015 Dodge Charger is now better than ever, thanks to an impressive list of revisions, including a new transmission and new features as well as updated styling inside and out.

On the outside, changes to the Charger include a totally new front and rear end, which easily distinguish the latest model from its predecessor. Inside, the Charger offers higher-quality materials, including nicer gauges and an improved shift lever, along with a larger standard touchscreen and a more fluid dashboard design.

Upgrades to the Charger aren't merely cosmetic. Our favorite revision to the sedan is a new 8-speed automatic transmission for V8 models, which replaces last year's mediocre 5-speed. The new transmission helps fuel economy, acceleration and smoothness. Other additions include available adaptive cruise control, rear cross-traffic alert and more.

How does it all come together? Check out our full review below to find out whether the 2015 Charger improves on its already excellent predecessor.

What's New for 2015

The 2015 Dodge Charger is heavily updated for 2015 with new styling touches, improved interior materials and new features. There's also a newly standard 8-speed automatic transmission for V8-powered models, which addresses our primary complaint with last year's Charger. We can't forget the impressive Hellcat model, which brings a 707-horsepower V8 to the mix.

What We Like

New 8-speed automatic for V8 models; amazingly powerful Hellcat model; huge back seat; large standard and optional touchscreens; nice interior

What We Don't

V8 models no longer offer all-wheel drive; base models still feel cheap inside

How Much?

$29,000-$64,000

Fuel Economy

The 2015 Dodge Charger is offered with three engines: a 3.6-liter V6, a 5.7-liter V8 and the high-performance Hellcat model's 707-hp 6.2-liter supercharged HEMI V8.

The V6 model, which boasts 300 hp and now comes standard with an 8-speed automatic, returns up to 19 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. Charger models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8, which produces a muscular 370 hp, return 16 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. Finally, the 707-hp Charger Hellcat returns predictably poor fuel economy; thanks to its enormous 6.2-liter supercharged V8, it gets just 13 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

Standard Features and Options

For 2015, the Charger is offered in five basic trim levels. V6-powered models are badged SE or SXT, while the Charger models equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 are dubbed R/T or R/T Road and Track. Topping the range is the Charger Hellcat, which is a limited-production, ultra-high-performance version of the sedan.

The base-level Charger SE ($29,000) comes standard with the 3.6-liter engine, along with keyless access and push-button starting, dual-zone climate control, automatic headlights, Chrysler's Uconnect infotainment system with a 5-inch touchscreen, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth, voice control, a power driver's seat, 17-in alloy wheels, a USB port for music and power accessories.

Step up to the midlevel SXT ($31,000), and you'll retain the V6. You'll also get an 8.4-in touchscreen, heated front seats, SiriusXM satellite radio, automatic climate control and 18-in alloy wheels.

Next up is the V8-powered R/T model ($34,000), which adds a leather-wrapped shift knob, a remote starter, steering-wheel paddle shifters, a sport model for the transmission, leather and Alcantara upholstery, 20-in alloy wheels and several exterior upgrades to help distinguish it from V6-powered models.

Topping the standard Charger range is the R/T Road and Track ($37,000), which adds a power-adjustable steering wheel, Dodge's Performance Pages feature in the car's Uconnect infotainment system, power-adjustable pedals with memory, a performance exhaust and park assist. Road and Track models also offer special engine and transmission tuning for improved acceleration.

For drivers who want the last word in sedan performance, there's the Charger Hellcat ($64,000). Standard equipment levels are similar to the R/T Road and Track model, though the Hellcat also boasts a 707-hp supercharged V8 and a series of upgrades, including brakes, suspension and driver-selectable vehicle settings, to help manage all the power.

The Charger also offers a wide range of options and upgrades. Safety upgrades include a backup camera, parking sensors, a blind spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert. Other options include a navigation system, adaptive cruise control, xenon headlights, heated rear seats, and a heated steering wheel.

Safety

The 2015 Charger comes standard with all the safety features you'd expect, including side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes and traction control with stability control. Options range from a backup camera to rear cross-traffic alert, parking sensors, a blind spot monitor and even adaptive cruise control.

Although the 2015 Charger has not yet been crash-tested by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we expect it to perform similarly to last year's model, which received a perfect 5-star overall score.

Behind the Wheel

Although heavily updated in many ways compared to the outgoing model, the 2015 Charger drives a lot like its predecessor. Expect a smooth, comfortable ride in V6 models, with rear passengers enjoying a palatial backseat for spreading out. Also expect surprisingly strong acceleration with the V6, enough to steer most drivers away from the thirsty V8.

If you do choose the V8-powered Charger, however, we suspect you won't be disappointed with the performance. Thanks to an additional 70 hp and a new 8-speed automatic, Charger R/T models boast impressive acceleration and one of the most eager engines in the full-size sedan segment. Handling is also surprisingly crisp, both in V6 or V8 guise, which is a big departure from the vague rental-carlike steering of older Charger models.

As for the Hellcat, we haven't yet climbed behind the wheel. We can only imagine the performance offered by a 707-hp super sedan that can reach 204 miles per hour. If you're interested, there's nothing else like it, except, of course, for the Hellcat version of Dodge's 2-door Challenger coupe.

Other Cars to Consider

Chrysler 300 -- The mechanically identical Chrysler 300 is the Charger's uptown sibling. You'll pay more, but you'll arguably get more; the 300 is more of a true luxury car than the Charger is.

Ford Taurus -- If you like the Charger's size but not its styling or high-performance attitude, consider the front-wheel-drive Ford Taurus. It offers better gas mileage and more traditional styling for drivers who don't need the Charger's bold looks.

Hyundai Genesis sedan -- The rear-wheel-drive Hyundai Genesis has crept up in price, power and luxury over the years. To us, most Genesis models present a more elegant alternative to upper-end Chargers.

Used Infiniti M -- Like the Charger, the Infiniti M offers bold styling, rear- or all-wheel drive and V6 or muscular V8 power. Unlike the Charger, however, the M carries with it a more desirable premium brand name. Prices for a new M (now called the Q70) are steep, though, so you may want to consider a used model.

AutoTrader's Advice

Unless you're a die-hard muscle car fan, we recommend the V6-powered Charger SXT. It may lack the V8's punch, but it compensates with impressive refinement, strong fuel economy and a lower price. Of course, we'd also love to get our hands on a Hellcat, but considering its cost and gas mileage numbers, it's certainly not for everyone.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2015 Dodge Charger: New Car Review - Autotrader