2018 Dodge Charger
Considering the enduring popularity evidenced by demand on the 2018 Dodge Charger, it’s almost hard to believe that we’ve passed the half-century mark since the first two-door fastback Charger was introduced back in 1966. Whether you opted for the standard 318ci V8 (wrestling 230 hp) or the legendary Hemi (rated for 425 hp) the Charger emerged as an instant billboard for the appeal of the ‘Detroit Steel’ mentality that would define American cars of the era. The Charger spoke to the people and, in turn, the people were heard. With four-generations explored over the Charger’s first twelve years, it would enjoy an almost continual evolution across three platforms, each proving enduring in its own popularity.
But legends never die; and after two decades without any new Chargers, the 2006 model year reintroduced the legendary Charger to the marketplace as a four-door sedan (albeit one with hardcore attitude).
By the time of release, the refreshed Charger had already invaded the imagination of enthusiasts for the better part of a decade, having existed as a well-publicized concept vehicle. While some of the bold features of the concept version wouldn’t make its way to the street-ready ’06 Charger, there was no lack of call-backs to its legendary ancestor. The aggressive contouring of the stamped hood and side panels felt like a direct evolution of the original design, and even the front and rear fascia (including light design) summoned the spirit of the third-generation Chargers falling between ’71-’74.
As appealing to the ‘Fast and Furious’ generation as it was to baby boomer classicists, the new Charger carved an immediate foothold in the mindset of today’s drivers. With four doors and spacious sedan styling, it provided the perfect fusion of performance and practicality; as comfortable on the racetrack as it is transporting family or business associates. This adaptability was complimented by the range of powertrain options, including (but not limited to) a 3.5-liter V6 or a 6.1-liter Hemi. And its overwhelming success would provide Dodge with the traction needed to reintroduce other classic stablemates such as the beloved Challenger and the legendary Demon.
With all that in mind, how does the 2018 Dodge Charger measure up after inheriting the expectations of the generations that came before it?
30 MPG Highway
Considering the evolving demands of today’s drivers, no automaker earns a ‘get out jail free’ card, when it comes to expectations of luxury and technology. The Charger is no exception.
With a spacious well-designed cabin, the Charger has no issues serving as a passenger vehicle. Stock seating is well-bolstered allowing for a comfortable driving (and riding) position that compliments the Charger’s overall vibe. And some of the optional sport packages allow for further refinements that play to its racing credibility.
At a base level, the Bluetooth-enabled Charger includes Dodge’s (highly-applauded) UConnect Infotainment System, built around a 7-inch touchscreen and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio option. With dual USB ports, the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Jumping trim levels, further upgrades include built-in navigation, an 8.4-inch touchscreen, and a top-tier 19-speaker Harman Hardon sound system. All well-worth exploring.
While the Charger’s aesthetics have evolved since its reintroduction, there is a clear sense of continuity within its’ evolution. Dodge’s decision to use classic iconography as a touchstone in designing the ’06 Charger endures in the ’18 Charger.
In terms of notable changes, the decision to black-out the grill reaffirms the Charger’s aggressive pedigree. This is reinforced further through the modified fascia (and color schemes) made unique to the R/T trim and above. And from the Daytona on, the inclusion of a hood scoop and rear deckled spoiler only serve to enhance its’ performance-driven styling.
Maintaining its iconic low and wide stance, there is no mistaking the fact that the Charger means business.
Considering the number of variants made available in the ’18 Charger, discussion of powertrain and performance ratings is no small task.
Like the 2017 SE, the 2018 SXE is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Rated for 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the base Charger throws up some strong numbers for anyone who’s looking for the ‘best of the both worlds’. Earning 30 mpg (highway, 19 city) the Charger delivers strong performance numbers and credible fuel economy.
Jumping up to the R/T, the inclusion of a 5.7-liter HEMI V8 pumps the Charger’s power rating up significantly. At 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque, there is no shortage of ‘GO’ and it’s all complemented by a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes.
Powered by a 6.4-liter HEMI V8, the R/T Scat Pack fuels the Challenger’s aggressive tendencies with 485 horses and 475 lb-ft of torque. And while we could fill twenty other pieces (and probably will) raving endlessly about the SRT Hellcat, consider the 707 hp and 650 lb-ft rating on its supercharged V8. The latter, of course, is perfect for anyone who needs to get somewhere fast, rating a 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph.