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2011 Dodge Charger

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2011 Dodge Charger Review

KBB Editors' Overview

By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 3/22/2011


Combining muscle car performance with family sedan functionality, the 2011 Dodge Charger is the perfect choice for the driving enthusiast who also requires four doors. Offering such performance attributes as rear-wheel or all-wheel drive, and an available Hemi V8 engine, the 2011 Dodge Charger is no run-of-the-mill family sedan. With the exception of the all-wheel-drive Ford Taurus SHO, it's hard to find a domestic or foreign competitor capable of offering the kind of power, handling and aggressive good looks offered by the 2011 Dodge Charger. With pricing starting at about $26,000, even the most basic 2011 Dodge Charger promises a potent driving experience for very little money.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you need room for family members or business clients, but can't stand the thought of driving a generic four-door sedan, the 2011 Dodge Charger may be your savior. With a 292-horsepower V6 and an available 370-horsepower Hemi V8, the Charger can easily satisfy your need for speed as well as provide a comfortable perch for four adults.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're looking for a sophisticated sedan that expresses equal measures of prestige and performance, the 2011 Dodge Charger's boy-racer exterior styling and somewhat firm ride probably won't cut it. You may be better off looking at the Charger's sister car, the Chrysler 300.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2011 Dodge Charger receives a new interior and exterior, a new, vastly more powerful 3.6-liter V6 engine and a number of improvements to its suspension and chassis. The 2011 Dodge Charger is offered in three trims: SE, R/T and R/T all-wheel-drive. New available features include a heated rear seat, heated and cooled front seats, hill start assist and a Garmin-supplied navigation system.

Driving It Driving Impressions

While the 370-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V8 offers heart-pounding performance, the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 will both amaze and delight those budget-conscious consumers who opt for the SE model. With 292 horses on tap, it's 42 horsepower stronger than last year's V6 and offers acceleration once found only in exotic sports cars. The engine is silky smooth at idle and purrs seductively at full throttle. Gear selection is handled by a five-speed Auto Stick transmission, which does a good job of finding and holding the right gears when climbing hills or navigating stop-and-go traffic. We were not impressed by the Auto Stick's manual mode, however, finding gear selection to be somewhat sluggish. The Charger's steering response has always been among the best in its class, and improvements to the suspension and steering gear only serve to make a good system better. Still, the Charger is a big, heavy car and you'll feel it dip and sway when pushed hard into tight turns. We also felt the suspension might be a bit too firm for some.

Favorite Features

Garmin Navigation
The UConnect 8.4N radio features an enormous eight-inch touch screen with navigation supplied by Garmin. A simple and intuitive interface plus voice-activated controls for the phone, radio and Sirius Travel Link make this one of the best factory navigation systems we've tested.

Super Track Pac
This optional R/T package turns the Charger into a track-ready player, adding P245/45R20 Goodyear Eagle F1 summer tires, 20-inch wheels, high-performance monotube shock absorbers, larger front and rear stabilizer bars, performance brake linings, performance steering and three-mode electronic stability control (ESC).

Vehicle Details Interior

Where shades of gray and dull plastic finishes once defined the Charger, the 2011 model is all about color, quality and comfort. Soft touch panels can be found throughout the car and the front seats include noticeably larger side bolsters The new three-spoke steering wheel features a nice, thick rim and houses controls for the audio, cruise control, Bluetooth and the driver information center. The Charger's new instrument panel is wide and flat, paying homage to the '68 Charger, and is covered in an attractive one-piece aluminum bezel. The centerpiece of the dash is an available 8.4-inch touch screen that incorporates navigation by Garmin as well as controls for the UConnect infotainment system. The 2011 Dodge Charger's spacious back seat can comfortably fit two adults, although the sloping rear roofline somewhat limits headroom for taller passengers.

Exterior   photo

The 2011 Dodge Charger mimics much of the dramatic exterior styling that first appeared on the original 1999 Charger concept car. Deep scallops grace the Charger's sides and hood, while a "Coke bottle" beltline runs the full length of the car. Around back, a single-piece tail lamp reminiscent of the classic 1968 Charger runs the width of the car and uses 164 illuminated LED lights to form a racetrack graphic. The SE V6 rides on 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, while the R/T trim has 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and the all-wheel-drive R/T comes with 19-inch wheels. Fitting with the car's performance nature, Dodge has lowered the Charger's ride height and lessened the once-obvious wheel arch gap on the all-wheel-drive models.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base model 2011 Dodge Charger SE features a 292-horsepower V6 engine, five-speed Auto Stick transmission, cruise control, vehicle information center, keyless Enter-N-Go, remote start, six-speaker audio with 4.3-inch touch screen, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, USB with iPod control and auxiliary audio input jacks, six-way power driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, and 17-inch wheels. R/T trims add 18- or 19-inch wheels, a 370-horsepower Hemi V8, 12-way power front seats, dual-zone automatic temperature control, Alpine audio with 8.4-inch touch screen, Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and fog lamps.

Notable Optional Equipment

There are a number of option packages for the base SE, including the Enforcer Package. This features black 20-inch painted wheels, blackout grille, a performance tuned suspension and a nine-speaker, 506-watt Alpine audio system. The Rallye Package adds UConnect audio with 8.4-inch touch screen, dual-zone automatic climate control, six-speaker Alpine audio, 12-way power front seats, heated front seats, heated side mirrors and 18-inch wheels. The R/T can be equipped with a number of upgrades including the Road and Track package that adds performance-oriented 3.06 axle ratio, supportive front seats with suede inserts and blackout honeycomb grille. Other popular options include a power sunroof, Adaptive cruise control, Garmin navigation, leather seating, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and all-wheel drive.

Under the Hood

The 2011 Dodge Charger is powered by a choice of two engines. The entry-level SE features the new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6. Arguably the best V6 engine ever produced by Chrysler, this engine produces an amazing 292 horsepower and 260 pounds-feet of torque, yet still delivers 27 miles per gallon in the government's highway driving cycle. The Charger's 5.7-liter Hemi V8, has been tweaked this year to produce 370 horsepower and 395 pounds-feet of torque, more than enough to propel this big muscle car from zero to 60 miles per hour in less than six seconds. The HEMI engine also features a fuel saving mechanism that deactivates four of the eight cylinders when cruising under a light load. Both engines are coupled to a five-speed Auto Stick automatic transmission with manual shift mode.

3.6-liter V6
292 horsepower @ 6350 rpm
260 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (gasoline), 13/19 (E85)

5.7-liter Hemi V8
370 horsepower @ 5250 rpm
395 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (FWD), 15/23 (AWD)

Pricing Notes

The 2011 Dodge Charger SE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just over $26,000, while the Rallye Package begins around $28,500. The R/T starts closer to $31,000. A fully loaded R/T can easily approach the $40,000 mark. This compares favorably with the Ford Taurus and Taurus SHO, which start around $26,000 and $38,500 respectively. A nicely loaded Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T, however, starts under $25,000 and offers more standard equipment than the Charger SE. To get the best deal, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what consumers in your area are currently paying for the 2011 Dodge Charger. Also, be sure to click on the Incentives tab to see what deals the manufacturer is offering. As for resale, we expect the 2011 Dodge Charger to do slightly better than the previous generation car, but still fall short of the values currently held by the Honda Accord, Hyundai Sonata and Toyota Camry.

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