KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors
Dodge created the Charger for consumers who need the convenience of four doors but loathe the idea of driving a generic family sedan. Even in base and mid-level forms the Charger's edgy lines and sporty wheels make a bold statement and, for those who can afford the HEMI V8 engine, the vehicle has bold moves to match. Sharing its engine and chassis with the Chrysler 300C, the 2009 Dodge Charger merges American styling and muscle with suspension and transmission technology borrowed during the short-lived merger between Daimler and Chrysler. The result yields a car that can outrun just about everything in its price class and several others costing tens of thousands more.
You'll Like This Car If...
Whether you're looking for a sedan with a louder bark, a bigger bite or both, the 2009 Dodge Charger might quicken your pulse before you ever turn the key. The fact that underneath the Charger is a practical family sedan shouldn't spoil your fun.
You May Not Like This Car If...
If you've grown accustomed to the high-end fit and finish inside the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, the Charger's somewhat lack luster interior may leave you wanting. The lack of a hybrid model doesn't' keep pace with arch-rival Chevrolet and its revamped Malibu Sedan.
What's New for 2009
All-wheel drive models receive Active Transfer Case and Front Axle Disconnect, which effectively disconnect the front axles and transfer case when not in use helping to conserve fuel. Other changes include a more powerful 5.7-liter HEMI V8, standard LED backlit cup holders and a new tail lamp design.
Not surprisingly, Dodge's 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is just as smooth and powerful under the Charger's hood as it is in all the other vehicles it graces. But even the 3.5-liter V6 delivers enough power to have a little fun. The Charger also delivers ride and handling equal to that of the surprisingly eager and composed Chrysler 300. However, given the promise of its Charger badge and aggressive styling, some might hope for a more aggressive setup. As it stands, the Charger is sportier than the Chrysler 300 in image only, which will be enough for most.
Comprehensive DVD Entertainment System
The optional uconnect studio rear-seat DVD system features auxiliary inputs, wireless headphones, CD/MP3 compatibility and a seven-inch LCD screen that hides neatly in the front-seat armrest when not in use.
Road/Track Performance Group
Highlights include big-bolstered sport seats, performance suspension and a 20-inch chrome wheels.
The inside of the 2009 Dodge Charger is marked by attractive, minimalist styling that, by offering nothing terribly interesting to look at, helps reinforce the notion that this car should be driven with a focus on the road ahead. When the road finally does get twisty, however, you might wish for more lateral support from the front seats. Otherwise, front and rear passengers are treated to a roomy cabin with adequately comfortable seating. Likewise, there's plenty of room for cargo in a spacious trunk that offers enhanced flexibility with an optional 60/40-split folding rear seat.
Unlike so many of today's derivative designs, the 2009 Dodge Charger shows almost no resemblance to any other car on the road. Up front, a gaping crosshair grill flanked by scowling headlamps decisively distances the Charger from the more staid large-sedan entries from Toyota, Ford and Hyundai. From the side, a sloping roof line helps evoke the Charger's coupe heritage, while pronounced rear fenders help to further define the car's performance persona. New rear tail lamps feature deep circular cut outs, a tribute to the Chargers of the late 60s.
Notable Standard Equipment
A base 2009 Dodge Charger SE includes a 2.7-liter V6 engine, four-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 sound system with auxiliary input jack, tilt and telescopic steering column, driver and passenger adjustable lumber support, power windows/locks/mirrors, outside temperature display, cruise control and 17-inch aluminum wheels. Standard safety features include front airbags, stability and traction control systems, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and brake assist.
Notable Optional Equipment
Some of the more significant options include a 3.5-liter V6 engine, the 5.7-liter HEMI V8, all-wheel drive, leather seats, seven-inch rear-seat DVD entertainment system, SIRIUS Backseat TV, HID headlamps, DVD navigation system, uconnect tunes audio system with 30-gigabyte hard drive, Boston Acoustics eight-speaker 368-watt 5.1 Matrix surround sound system, power sunroof, heated and power-adjustable front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable pedals, seat-mounted side-impact airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags. Also on the list is an Enhanced Road/Track Performance Group, which includes 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, rear deck-lid spoiler, heated suede performance seats and a performance suspension.
Under the Hood
Either of the two 2009 Dodge Charger's V6 engines might surprise you with how well they move the nearly two-ton sedan, but once you get a taste of life with the 5.7-liter HEMI under your right foot you'll have a tough time settling for anything less. And while we think a proper five-speed manual would be a natural for this car, the only way to move through the gears on your own is via the available five-speed automatic with AutoStick shifting.
178 horsepower @ 5500 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/26
250 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (RWD), 17/23 (AWD)
368 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
395 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4150 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (RWD), 16/23 (AWD)
The base 2009 Dodge Charger has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting around $25,000, while the SXT with two-wheel drive is a little over $26,500 and the addition of all-wheel drive bumps it closer to $30,000. If you want the HEMI, you're looking at an R/T model with a base sticker price over $32,500, which can climb to the $40,000 range when equipped with all available options. As always, be sure to shop and compare using Fair Purchase Prices, which reflect current real-world selling prices. In terms of resale value, we expect the Dodge Charger to hold an average resale value on par with its domestic rivals, with the R/T trim holding a slightly better value over time.