The Dodge Charger has always sat firmly in the “muscle car” category and there’s been one in the Dodge lineup since 1966, thrilling drivers for whom power is the number one priority. The model has had something of a public persona too, being featured in various movie roles almost since the first one rolled off the assembly line. Perhaps the most famous film use of a Charger was in the cult movie Bullitt, where it was used (unsuccessfully) by the bad guys to try and evade Steve McQueen in his Mustang.
The Charger name has been used for various models and there have been many versions, but the dominant cars have always been four-door sedans with lots of power.
The current Charger is the sixth generation car, making it one of the longest running models in the auto industry. There was always a big V-8 among the engine choices, but now, V-6 powerplants rule and the only way you can get a V-8 on anything but a Hellcat, R/T or Scat Pack is to join one of the police forces. For 2019, Dodge is doing a major revamp of the Charger with many upgrades, both technical and cosmetic.
To help deal with the formidable power of some versions; Dodge is introducing a new SXT model with all-wheel drive. For muscle car traditionalists who prefer RWD, there’s a GT variant and both these models use a 3.6-litre Pentastar V-6 delivering 300-horsepower. GT and R/T models get race-bred chassis upgrades and performance features like a hood with air induction. Also on the menu is a newly styled fascia, sculpted side sills a decklid spoiler and new seats.
At the top of the performance range, the SRT Hellcat and Scat Pack 392 have launch assist, a new grille with dual air inlets, Torque Reserve and other goodies. In all, there are six distinct Charger models in the lineup, so there should be something there for every buyer. The SRT Hellcat is claimed the fastest and most powerful sedan in the world and uses a 6.2-litre Hemi V-8 delivering a whopping 717-horsepower and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. There’s a Redeye version of that model with no less than 797-horsepower that will take you to 100 km/h in 3.4-seconds. The standard transmission is an 8-speed automatic and it pops up throughout the range.
There’s a wide range of interior upgrades, all carefully matched to suit the various models. The interior of a Charger is very roomy and instrumentation is well thought out right across the lineup. FCA’s navigation system is available and it’d one of the very best in the industry for intuitive operation. It’s a rare case of being able to program a nav system without even a glance at the owner’s manual, although all owners should spend time with this when they get their car as there are all kinds of useful hints in there and many of the car’s functions are programmable.
The Charger certainly has a place in automotive history and it’s good to see FCA, of which Dodge is a part, not only keeping the iconic car in the range, but bringing us regular upgrades and improvements. The 2019 Charger should arrive at the dealerships during this fall and it’ll be well worth waiting for.
SPECS AT A GLANCE…
BODY STYLE: Four-door sedan
ENGINE: V-6 and V-8 options
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed automatic
PERFORMANCE: Zero to 100 km/h in approx. 3.4-seconds with a Hellcat Redeye
FUEL ECONOMY: 7.8-litres on the highway with the V-6 Pentastar
PRICE: Charger prices start at around $37,000 MSRP