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2017 Car Review: 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona Review By John Heilig

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By John Heilig
Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Dodge Charger Daytona

ENGINE: 5.7-liter HEMI V8

TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 370 hp @ 5,200 rpm/395 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm

WHEELBASE: 120.2 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 200.8 x 75.0 x 58.3 in.

TIRES: P245/45ZR20

CARGO CAPACITY: 16.5 cu. ft.

ECONOMY: 16 mpg city/25 mpg highway/17.6 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 18.5 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,270 lbs.  #/HP: 11.54

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended

COMPETITIVE CLASS: Ford Taurus, BMW 7, Chevrolet Impala

STICKER: $45,120 (includes $1,095 destination, $9,235 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The Daytona variation of the Dodge Charger is a lot of fun and practical in several ways. It is a large sedan, but if you want performance too, it’s there.

If you’re interested, you can get anything you want at the Dodge Charger store. For conservative folk, there’s the SE and SXT with a 3.6-liter V6 engine. Those opting for more performance can go for the R/T or Daytona with 370 hp. If you really have a need for speed, there is the SRT 392 with 485 ponies under the hood, and the ultimate SRT Hellcat has an enormous 707 horsepower from its V8 engine. 

Then there’s the Pursuit, which my local law enforcement officers used as they drove by my house every day and drooled at the Daytona in my driveway. 

The Daytona isn’t subtle. First, there’s the orange (“Go Mango” in Dodge-speak) paint. If that isn’t enough, there is a huge “HEMI” logo on the scooped hood, black “Daytona” decals on the side and a rear spoiler that looks as if it could work. The large hood scoop and unique grille help set the Daytona apart. No wonder the police kept their eyes on me.

Needless to say, I drove the Daytona fairly conservatively. Of course, I had to check the acceleration once or twice. But generally, driving conservatively didn’t wake up the twin loud exhausts. However, the car did attract attention of a different kind. We went to a local town to take a ride on their train. As we pulled into the parking lot, I discovered I had no change for the parking meter. So, I went to a bank and five minutes later I was back with a handful of quarters. I also had a ticket on my windshield for an expired meter. C’mon. That wasn’t fair, but there was no way I could complain. As I said, touring noise is somewhat muted, compared to foot-on-the-floor driving. Surprisingly, handling is very good. Cornering is flat, but not at the expense of comfort with a harsh ride. 

Front seats offer good side support. The center console/arm rest and door arm rests are well located, again for comfort. Front passenger legroom is compromised to a degree by a “bump” extending out from the transmission. Surprisingly, rear seat kneeroom is tight. There’s good rear headroom, but the large rear window extends over the rear passengers’ heads making it warm. There’s also a tall rear center hump that would make sitting in the middle uncomfortable.

The Daytona is a large car, and as such it carries a large footprint that can be an issue when parking. I also discovered I had a tendency to take corners too tight and clip curbs.  The driver grasps a large, fat steering wheel with multi functions. Safety features include adaptive cruise control and a blind spot warning that consisted of a large triangle on the outside rear view mirror. The Daytona is also equipped with forward collision warning that I felt went on too quickly. However, that’s better than the alternative. 

The infotainment screen for the Beats audio system is white and red on black, just like the instruments. At the base of the center stack is a small cubby with a 12-volt outlet. In the center console are two USB and one AUX outlets. There are an additional two USB outlets at the rear of the center console for rear passengers’ use. 

In the rear is a very good trunk of 16.5 cubic feet. In addition, the rear seats fold to more than double cargo capacity. 

Overall, the Dodge Charger Daytona is a nice car with a myriad of uses. It can be driven like a hot rod with great acceleration accompanied by a lot of noise. Or, it can be driven almost sedately with less noise. In both scenarios, the driver and passengers are in comfort all the time.