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2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Review By John Heilig


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MORE SMARTS: Totally Dodge!

THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2016 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack

ENGINE:6.4-liter HEMI V8

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic with paddle shifters

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 485 hp @ 6,000 rpm/475 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm

WHEELBASE: 120.2 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 198.4 x 75.0 x 58.3 in.

TIRES: P245/45ZR20

CARGO: 16.5 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 15 mpg city/25 mpg highway/15.1 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 16.5 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,395 lbs.

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Chevrolet Impala, Ford Taurus, Lexus LS

STICKER: $42,860 (includes $995 delivery, $1,690 options ($995 Beats audio, $695 Uconnect

BOTTOM LINE: Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan with the performance of a two-seater, four doors with the soul of two. It’s impossible to sneak by with the garish Plum Perfect purple paint job and the loud exhaust note. It’s a fun car to drive.

Push the start/stop button on the Dodge Charger and the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 roars (literally) to life. It scares the neighborhood dogs. Punch the accelerator pedal and the Charger leaps to life. Any gravel on the road is sure to thrown behind you on take off. 

There’s no secret to the Charger’s credentials as a performance car. Not only has Dodge been faithful to the design of the 1960s Charger in a more modernized version, it has also been faithful to its spirit. The only obvious changes are the addition of LED daytime running lights and brake lights and projector beam headlamps. 

Handling is superb. While the suspension is firm, it isn’t harsh. Cornering is very flat for what is a large car. You can use the paddle shifters for even more performance on winding roads or hillclimbs. A Brembo high performance brake package insures that the Charger will stop as quickly as it goes. And these are good stopping brakes, not tacky.

But the Charger can also be docile. You can drive it down Main Street and the only thing that pedestrians will see is the Plum Crazy (purple) paint. That does attract attention, assuring that even in docile mode the authorities will notice you.

Front seats are very comfortable with good side support. Just as a reminder, there is “Scat Pack” stitching on the backs of the seats. There is good rear seat legroom with a tall center hump. The sloping roof restricts rear seat visibility to a degree, but it isn’t bad. The rear seat backs fold to increase the already substantial cargo space.

While the Charger qualifies as a large car, there is a lot of coupe in its DNA. For example, the front doors are what I would call “coupe large,” meaning that when they are fully opened, you have to stretch to reach them to shut them. 

At startup, a “6.4 L” with a bee shows up quickly on the instrument panel. In general, the instrument panel is clear. The information panel between the large tachometer and speedometer is easily configurable with buttons on the wheel. I used the digital speedometer, but you can also have, among others, messages, audio settings, trip information, fuel economy, performance (including top speed), and vehicle information. Permanent are fuel and water gauges, mileage range and outside temperature.

One “performance” feature is the relatively low front splitter, or air dam. It scraped the ground often during our ride, most frequently entering or exiting my driveway.

A “large car” feature we did enjoy were the extensions to the sun visors. While they were most useful when the visors were turned to use on side windows, the extensions offer more protection from the sun. I think my wife will be commenting on the Plum Perfect paint job on the Dodge Charger for weeks to come.

For me, the most memorable feature of the Charger was its performance when we wanted it and its docility when we wanted it. It seems that the teenagers who drive by my house in their little buzz bombs want noisy exhausts, but at my more mature age, that noise is fine for a short while, but a calmer, more peaceful ride experience is preferable.

The Charger delivered!

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