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2011 Dodge Charger Reviews


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SEE ALSO: Dodge Buyers Guide

2011 DODGE CHARGER REVIEW
BY BRUCE HUBBARD
AUTO ADVISOR GROUP


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At a press event in San Francisco I was able to drive the 2011 Dodge Chargers on the highway and even at the California Infineon racetrack. The quality built into the Dodge 2011 Charger was evident at first look. With direct design influence from the 1968 to 1970 Dodge Charger coupes, the aluminum hood features dual “scallops” that bring a sculptured, performance look to the front end of an updated Charger. The Dukes of Hazard TV program use the Charger’s until they stop filming in 1985. The Dodge Charger is known for performance and handling and my journey in the Charger proved the Chrysler Group did great job in bringing the latest version to market.


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The flared body sides of the Dodge four-door fastback coupe are dramatically pronounced, providing 6 inches of offset between the roof rails and shoulder lines, and giving the all-new Dodge Charger its “planted” performance stance, reminiscent of the second-generation coupes. With its performance-sculpted surfaces surrounding the wheels, Dodge Charger’s tire-to-body fitment has been tightened by a full 8 mm versus the previous model to deliver a stronger, more athletic appearance and improve aerodynamics. A deck-lid spoiler improves aerodynamics and Dodge attitude. It is available on the Charger SE and standard on Charger R/T. The chromed exhaust tips and rear decks 164 LED’s Ralph Giles and his team were excited about. The designers and engineers made the 2011 Charger sportier with a raked windshield and an extended fastback roofline. The Coke bottle fenders.


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The 2011 Charger’s passengers are surrounded with comfort, craftsmanship and style, thanks to premium soft-touch materials and four available distinct interior color combinations. The dash like that in the new Chrysler 200 is a one-piece design making the quality stand out. Fit with a one-piece dash is superior to the previous design. No cheap plastic inside the new 2011 Charger. Aluminum and soft touch materials make it an exceptional interior. The gauges look great and the feel of leather is exceptional. The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger’s state-of-the-art Uconnect® Touch integrates world-class infotainment and convenience technologies to keep passengers connected, comfortable and secure.


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From its Garmin navigation, to dual-zone climate controls and the ability to check fuel prices with the integration of available SIRIUS Travel Link, Uconnect Touch is a plus for the Charger.

The wheelbase for the 2010 and 2011 models is the same at 120 inches. For the suspension in 2011 again a fully independent architecture and fully independent suspension with a high mounted upper A-arm with coil-over-shock and dual pivot arrangement in front and a multilink rear suspension. All-new premium hydrobushings combined with new monotube shock absorbers, spring rates and redesigned front and rear multi-link suspension geometries provide the 2011 Dodge Charger with exceptional performance handling dynamics, smooth braking characteristics and a comfortable, smooth ride. I understand that the system may have come from previous supplier of the Mercedes-Benz E Class.


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Three different suspension programs are available on the 2011 model — Touring (standard on V6 models), Performance (standard on the rear-drive R/T) and Super Track Pak (optional on the rear-drive R/T).

Keyless access, a USB jack, a driver knee airbag and laminated windshield and side-window glass are standard on all 2011 Chargers. Dodge is making a point of offering all the upscale extras with either engine. So even if you choose the base V6, you can still option your Charger up with adaptive cruise control (bundled with a collision warning system) and the Driver Confidence package, which includes blind spot monitoring, a back-up camera and rear cross-traffic detection.

The Chrysler Group wanted to bring value to customers in the 2011 model. With more standard equipment than its direct standard full-size segment competitors, the 2011 Dodge Charger SE model is well-equipped for the individual who is looking for standout styling, efficient performance, precision handling, comfort and refinement at an extraordinary value.


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The performance in the 2011 R/T Charger comes from the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine that delivers 370 horsepower and an amazing 395 foot pounds of torque. The Hemi also has the fuel saving four-cylinder saving technology. When on the highway the engine drops from 8-cylinders to four delivering improved fuel efficiency. The 2011 Charger has the performance-tuned suspension with larger performance-disc brakes. Neither the standard Charger with the V-6 Pentastar engine of the Charger R/T with the HEMI V-8 have a six or eight speed automatic like is offered from ZF. The HEMI and the Pentastar Chargers I expect will soon get the eight-speed transmission. I drove one 2011 Charger R/T MAX with AWD, Sunroof, and rear spoiler and it had a MSRP of $40,300.00. The R/T AWD starts at $37,000.00 and add extras like sunroof, UConnect, back up Camera and the pricing moves up.

The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger R/T is designed for the customer who demands V-8 power, rail-like handling and state-of-the-art technology. And for maximum all-season traction with world-class ride and technology, the all-new 2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD as the Chrysler Group states is a true year-round performance car.

Another plus to the Dodge Charger brand was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February of 2011. This was the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 that is powered by the HEMI 6.4 Liter V-8. The Street and Racing Technology (SRT) team bring to the enthusiast 465 horses with 465 foot-pounds of torque. Finally Chrysler has for the first time added paddle shifters for spirited driving on the track or on the highway. The paddle-shift technology joins the standard AutoStick on the floor shifter. Both are mated to the proven W5A580 five-speed automatic transmission. I was surprised they did not choose the eight speed ZF transmission for the most powerful Charger built by Chrysler.

A new active valve system makes the 6.4 Liter V8 more fuel-efficient. The exhaust system improves fuel economy in the SRT8. An active intake manifold and high-lift camshaft with cam phasing provides maximum low-end torque for impressive standing starts while optimizing high-end power. The Dodge Charger SRT8 features an adaptive damping suspension that uses a wide range of on-road and driver inputs, such as vehicle speed, steering angle, steering speed, brake torque, throttle position and lateral acceleration, to automatically tune the suspension for specific conditions. Drivers also can manually choose between “Auto” and “Sport” settings that quickly change the shock damping and harshness characteristics from the ease of everyday commuting to harsher, more challenging driving situations. The performance SRT-tuned, fully hydraulic steering system also is improved with a new, heavy-duty pump and revised gearing to give drivers more direct feel and on-center response.

To stop this 2012 SRT8 Charger Chrysler added superior brakes. World-class stopping power for the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 comes through four-piston Brembo calipers and vented/slotted rotors measuring 14.2 inches up front and 13.8 inches in the rear. The Charger SRT8’s Ready Alert Braking system anticipates situations when the driver may initiate an emergency brake stop and engages the electronic stability control pump to set brake pads against rotors in order to decrease the time required for full brake application.

“We’re continuing the fast-paced rebuilding of Dodge as our performance brand, and the expansion of our SRT product lineup in 2012 is an important part of our rejuvenation,” said Ralph Gilles, President and CEO, Dodge Brand — Chrysler Group LLCs. “The new 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 builds on the iconic four-door fastback coupe design of the all-new Charger and adds a much larger power band across the rpm range, along with intelligent performance attributes and safety and creature comforts for customers who are passionate about performance driving.”


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Ralph Gilles, President of Dodge Brands said that if you must have the SRT8 Charger you will have to wait until it is introduced in six months or more. The fall of 2011 Chrysler states some may hit show rooms at their US dealers.

For those that want more for the base model or the SRT Charger Dodge offers distinct lifestyle packages (Rallye, Rallye Plus, R/T Plus, R/T Road & Track and R/T Max) designed to give Charger customers high-value content for their specific needs. The base prices of the Chargers look good but add many options and the prices go up quite a bit. A sunroof is $950; back up camera Uconnect $450; spoiler $250.; and other options can bring the base price up.

The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD model features a unique active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system to improve fuel economy by up to 5 percent. Chrysler states that no other major automotive manufacturer offers the combination of these two independent technologies. Dodge Charger’s innovative AWD system seamlessly transitions between rear-wheel drive and AWD with no driver intervention. When all-wheel drive is not required, the system automatically disconnects the front axle to maximize fuel economy while still providing the outstanding fun-to-drive performance and handling inherent in rear-wheel-drive vehicles.

No matter what the road conditions, the all-new 2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD looks even newer with a 0.5-inch (13 mm) tighter tire-to-fender fitment, a 0.15-inch (4 mm) lowered overall ride height and larger 19-inch wheels with P235/55R19 all-season performance tires. Beyond its lower center of gravity, the Dodge Charger R/T AWD features improved handling with new upper- and lower-control arms and shock-absorber bushings. In addition new half shafts feature high-precision bearing units that are sealed for added quality and durability.

An all-new electro-hydraulic power steering (EHPS) system that features 25 percent quicker steering for the 2011 model. Steering feel is minimal. But, the new system has an improved on-center tracking while reducing steering noise and fuel consumption. Chrysler states with the electric steering fuel savings are a bonus.

The Dodge Charger for 2011 is another success from the Chrysler Group on the streets and in the movies. Chase scenes as seen years ago on the Dukes of Hazard are hitting the big screen in 2011 thanks to an agreement with Universal and Chrysler. Dodge supplied multiple 2010 and 2011 Dodge Charger vehicles that were used throughout the "Fast Five" movie.