By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan is the perfect car for the individual who loves performance driving, but must now cater to a family or business clientele. With its 4 doors, the Charger is technically classified as a sedan, but it doesn't look like any sedan we've seen recently. With dramatic styling, a single-bar taillight and aggressive alloy wheels wrapped in performance rubber, the 2012 Dodge Charger sedan is one sweet ride. And, unlike many of its competitors, the 2012 Dodge Charger can be configured in a number of ways, including with a potent HEMI V8 engine and available all-wheel drive (AWD). Of course, the Ford Taurus SHO is available with AWD, but it lacks the low-end grunt of a V8 engine. The Nissan Maxima and Volkswagen CC offer the same kind of stylish exterior, but again lack a V8 or AWD option, and neither can match the 2012 Dodge Charger for interior space or trunk room. If you're really into performance, 2012 marks the reintroduction of the high-performance Dodge Charger SRT8.
If you really had your heart set on a Dodge Challenger, but your daily chores include shuttling more than two people to and fro, the 2012 Dodge Charger makes for a great alternative. Its 292-horsepower V6 is more powerful than some V8s, and its available 370-horsepower HEMI V8 leaves everything else in the segment eating the Charger's dust.
The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan's aggressive looks and attitude might be a bit too macho muscle car for some. There are less potent performance sedans with more upscale exteriors, such as the Nissan Maxima or VW CC, or you could get the same muscle in a more luxurious package by opting for the Chrysler 300.
The 2012 Dodge Charger sport sedan gains a new 8-speed automatic transmission as well as new trim designations. New available features for 2012 include sport seats, paddle shifters, hands-free texting and a color Vehicle Information Display screen.
Driving Impressions While you might think the 2012 Dodge Charger's V6 engine wouldn't produce much adrenaline, a few minutes behind the wheel will not only prove you wrong, it will have your...heart pounding. When coupled to the new 8-speed automatic transmission, not only is the 2012 Dodge Charger fast, it is also extremely fuel-efficient. The Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 is one of the best V6 engines ever built by Dodge, and its smooth operation and slight growl when pushed hard make it the perfect fit to the Charger's muscle-car image. On SE trims, gear selection is handled by a 5-speed AutoStick transmission, which does a good job of finding and holding the right gears when climbing hills or navigating stop-and-go traffic. Both the 8-speed and 5-speed transmissions feature an auto shift mode. We were not impressed by the 5-speed AutoStick's manual mode, however, finding gear selection to be somewhat sluggish. The 2012 Dodge Charger is a big sedan, yet its suspension does an admirable job of handling aggressive driving, with excellent steering response and a decent but somewhat firm ride.
The UConnect 8.4N radio features an enormous 8.4-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 3-mode electronic stability control (ESC).
If you've ridden in a Dodge car sometime over the last five years, you probably have a pretty low opinion of Dodge's interior esthetic. But, Dodge jettisoned that image last year by revising all of its interiors to be more elegant and inviting. The 2012 Dodge Charger has one of the nicest interiors Dodge builds, with quality soft-touch materials, vivid colors and cool instrument-panel backlighting. The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan's front seats are equipped with noticeably large side bolsters and its thick-grip 3-spoke steering wheel houses controls for the audio, Bluetooth, cruise control and the driver-information center. The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan's spacious back seat can comfortably fit two adults, although the slanted rear roofline somewhat limits headroom for taller passengers. A wide, flat instrument panel places everything needing to be seen near eye level and is covered in a single-piece aluminum trim plate. A worthwhile option is the 8.4-inch touch-screen navigation radio that includes GPS maps by Garmin and controls for the UConnect infotainment system.
The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan attempts to imitate the classic lines that comprised the original 1968 Charger coupe, as well as those found on the 1999 Charger concept. It's a successful blending of old and new, with the front doors and hood sharing deep scallop styling and a "Coke-bottle" beltline (so named because it mirrors the shape of a Coke bottle laid on its side) running the car's length. In another nod to the Charger's past, a single-unit taillight fills the entire rear fascia and is fitted with 164 illuminated LED lights that form a racetrack motif. V6 models come with standard 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, while the R/T trim has 18-inch chrome-clad wheels and the all-wheel-drive R/T boasts 19-inchers.
The 2012 Dodge Charger SE features a 292-horsepower V6 engine, 5-speed AutoStick transmission, cruise control, vehicle-information center, keyless Enter-N-Go, remote start, 6-speaker audio with 4.3-inch touch screen, AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, USB with iPod control and auxiliary audio input jacks, 6-way power driver's seat, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, tilt-and-telescopic steering wheel, and 17-inch wheels The SXT adds an 8-speed automatic transmission, foglights, 8.4-inch UConnect touch screen with a 276-watt Alpine audio system, automatic temperature control, steering-wheel-mounted buttons for cruise and audio, and 12-way power front seats with power lumbar support. The R/T trims add 18- or 19-inch wheels, a 370-horsepower HEMI V8, a 5-speed automatic transmission, HID headlights and a performance transmission. The R/T Plus adds 12-way power front seats, heated and cooling cup holders and premium leather seating.
The 2012 Dodge Charger SE offers a new Blacktop package that adds blacked-out trim, a performance suspension and Pitch-Black 20-inch wheels. Also included in the Blacktop package are UConnect audio with 8.4-inch touch screen with 9-speaker Alpine audio system pumping out 506 watts. Hard-core enthusiasts will want to opt for the R/T's Road and Track package that adds a 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 AWD.
The 2012 Dodge Charger sedan is powered by a choice of three engines. The entry-level SE and SXT feature the new Pentastar 3.6-liter V6. Arguably the best V6 engine ever produced by Dodge, this engine produces an amazing 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, yet still delivers 31 mpg in the government's highway driving cycle. The Charger's 5.7-liter HEMI V8 has been tweaked to produce 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to propel this big muscle car from zero to 60 mph 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. The SRT8 features a 6.1-liter HEMI good for 470 horsepower. All three engines are coupled to a 5-speed AutoStick automatic transmission with manual shift mode, with a new ZF 8-speed automatic available on the V6 SXT trims. The ZF transmission features a Sport mode for more aggressive shift points, as well as paddle shifters for manual shifting.
292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 (gasoline), 19/31(8-speed), 14/20 (E85), 14/23 (E85, 8-speed), 18/27 (AWD), 14/20 (AWD, E85)
5.7-liter HEMI V8
370 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
395 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 (FWD), 15/23 (AWD)
6.1-liter HEMI V8
470 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
470 lb-ft of torque @ 4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 14/23
By UH60L on Monday, March 03, 2014
I don't own this caroverall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "It's a car...."
Cons: "It's not, and never will be, a "dodge charger"."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
""But this modern Charger has features and capabilities that would leave owners of those earlier versions open-mouthed with envy, with V6 engines that far outperform those ancestral V8s" It's obvious the person writing that has never driven a real charger with a 440 in it. I have, and own a '69 right now. The car in and of itself is not too bad, but they chose the wrong name to slap on it. Coronet would have fit this car perfectly. If you want convenience, you don't buy a muscle car. If you want a muscle car, you don't buy a family sedan. If the family sedan happens to be fast, yay... great for you! That doesn't make it a charger. If the muscle car happens to have great back seat leg room, yay... great for you! That does not make it a family sedan."
By bear on Thursday, February 27, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned this car for 8 months. It is fun to drine, reliable and the all wheel drive works flawlessly."
By K.R.V. on Saturday, February 22, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "With incentives paid under 31K!"
Cons: "Too bad Hemi does not have the 8spd yet!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have owned my Charger for a couple weeks now, and love it! I can not get out of it. Then being all black with the AWD Appearance Package it looks like I am driving an under-cover cops car, or chief of police unit, and have not been cut off yet, and on the hyw traffic in front of be just part the way to let me by! and I am sure I will not be on the bad end of a road rage incident. Plus since we get our share of snow here, this year more than ever! the car is great with the AWD!"
By LuLu on Friday, February 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,600overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great looks & style, comfortable"
Cons: "Excessive front end vibration ruins the fun"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Great looking car, with nice options. Very comfortable and stylish, but I've found that almost all of the 2013/2014 Chargers I have test drove have some form of vibration that comes through the steering wheel & gas pedal. Mine is so severe that I dislike driving the car, which is a huge issue! So now I am stuck with a nice looking, $30k car that I don't enjoy driving at all. Looks great sitting in the driveway, no fun to drive."
By Mark on Saturday, February 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great looks, fun to drive, SAFE TO DRIVE!"
Cons: "I think the digital guage needs redesigned"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I leased a 2008 Charger SE and loved it! At 260 HP I thought it was under powered, so when I bought my 2012 Charger SE and nearly 300 HP (PITCH BLACK WITH BLACK INTERIOR, 8 SPEED TRANS AND WING AND WHEEL OPTION) I had the best car I'd ever owned ( I'm 60). Best mpg I ever got was 34! My only complaint is that the base seat was too soft for longer trips. In Jan of 2014 a driver ran a stop sign on a rural road and I T-boned him. Both air bags deployed and most important to me, the air bag that came out the lower dash at my knees saved my knees and likely broken bones. I had lots of bruises and a broken rib - but no cuts. My car was totaled. Thank God I was in big, well made car! I plan to buy an AWD Charger soon - either SXT or RT! Love the Dodge Charger!"
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Hemicuda Rick on Monday, February 03, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,600overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "lots of room, looks, rides & handles great"
Cons: "needs more low end torque"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love this car almost as much as my 70 Cuda'. V6 292 HP with 8 speed auto and paddle shifters. Fun to drive, handles well, looks great. 55600+ miles and not one problem. Original tires & breaks with many miles left on each. Lots of room and I am 6'3" and 220 lbs. When I have it paid off, I will trade it in for another. I hope by then Dodge offers the Hemi with the 8 speed to get those few extra MPG."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful