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
The 2012 Dodge Charger SE has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $26,500, while the SXT Plus starts closer to $31,000. The R/T starts closer to $33,000, while a fully loaded R/T can easily approach the $40,000 mark. AWD adds about $2,200 to the bottom line, while opting for the SRT8 trim pushes the price close to $48,000. This compares favorably with the Ford Taurus, which starts around $27,000 and can push into the $40,000 range in SHO form. A nicely loaded Hyundai Sonata SE 2.0T, however, starts under $26,000 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 2012 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 2012 Dodge Charger sedan 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.
By J.H.Chrysler (CA) on Tuesday, December 03, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Bought this car two years ago, and man I was impressed by the smooth ride, the quite cabin, the big uconnect screen, and even heated cloth seats! and then it began In the last two years: -The headlight wiring melted (yes MELTED) and shorted out on one side -The door handle sensors for they keyless entry broke (fixed in a recall) -the airbag warning light was triggered due to faulty wiring (fixed in a recall) -The trunk release button the decklid broke and had to be replaced -The alternator went out -A recall on the wiring for the ABS system -Rack and pinion had to be replaced -The "soft touch" interior is not holding up well and the car has turned into a big maraca on rough roads This car has been garaged and treated with kid gloves, and has still landed me back at the dealer more times than I care to count."
By DevilishKatlyn (AZ) on Tuesday, November 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Awesome gadgets, great ride, & POWER POWER POWER!"
Cons: "Doors open too wide and mpg isn't great."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car for over 2 years now. Bought it brand new with a whole 25 miles on it. I love it just as much now as the day I bought it. It drives like a dream. Its more quiet than a lot of cars with big engines, which I actually like. I really don't want to have that rumble every single mile. However, when I put the hammer down, it goes like a jet. I do wish the mileage was a tad bit better, but for the power, I'll manage. The comfort is great. Easy to take care of inside and unrivaled seat comfort. I love the heated seats in both the front and rear. My main gripe with the design is that the doors open so wide that you literally have to put one foot outside the car to reach out to close it. Otherwise, the leg room is great, the head room is great, and I totally love all the gadgets. Best car I've ever had!"
By Scott (DE) on Sunday, November 10, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great ride, lots of power, confortable, stylish"
Cons: "cruise power button."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was happily surprised at the comfort and spaciousness of the Charge. It offers lot of features that other cars in the price range don't. it has been problem fee. I have nothing praise for my charger. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for comfort, style, and roominess!"
By Love 2 Sell (NJ) on Thursday, October 24, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Good looking, comfortable, powerful, my is loaded,"
Cons: "Sloppy in the corners...should be a little tighter"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"More power and smoother than my 70 396 Chevelle, my 72 GS Buick 350/4/ 73 Vette 454 275 horse...I could go on and on. The only thing that irked me was all the recalls...a real joy killer. Hemi RT AWD with K&N and Flowmaster Delta 50's for a little rumble. Almost 400 hp and 26/27 on highway and 22 around town...can't beat that!"
By JRIZZO (AZ) on Wednesday, October 16, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "performance, handling, and comfort"
Cons: "Adult getting in and out of the back seat"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car handles well and is very comfortable for a bigger person. I am 275 lbs and still have plenty of room. The 292HP V6 fits this car very well. Yes the V8 has more HP, but it weighs more and the handle is not as good. I will admit the back seat due to the shape of the window is a bit harder to get into then a normal car. I am ok with that because, the baby rides in a car seat so it is not a issue. The trunk is decent sized and it's nice with the push button on the truck for easy access. Now to the interior features. I know most of the older dodge interiors looked a bit cheap, but dodge has stepped up their game in the past few years. I really like the touch screen, steering wheel controls, exra plugs in the center console, and the standard driver power seat. The design is very modern and cool looking. This is the most comfortable car I have ever owned."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By acraig (AZ) on Friday, September 06, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Value, RWD, Blacktop...fun to drive"
Cons: "No RV Camera, Sunroof Screen, Slapstick Shifting."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"When the 2011 Charger hit the showrooms with its restyled read and front facias, I knew this car would be a hit with the retro crowd. I learned how to drive on a 1972 Cadillac Coup De Ville so I know and love behemoth RWD cars especially with unique styling, since most modern cars appear so similar and utilitarian. When they added the 8 speed transmission to the V6 and rated the highway milage at 30, I knew the time was right to trade in my Lexus IS250 which was getting about 23 MPG (looped). I wanted a full size car with RWD and the Chargers unique styling put it right at the forefront of my choices. I made my deal (with some hiccups at the dealership), and took delivery. They sold me a SXT with the Blacktop package, and was one of the few cars on the lot with a sunroof. The Blacktop Package turns the base model into a beast with the available sport mode shifting (holds gears longer). The higher profile tires and beefed up suspension give the car a sporty and responsive feel, and really ups the ante over the base model. The interior should have come with the 8.4 radio but the factory had run out of stock so, they placed the 4.3 radio in the car. I wasn't looking for Navigation (that's what my Android phone is for). Bluetooth paired well with both my HTC and my current Samsung Galaxay S4. Pairing will also allow you to stream audio from your phone to the car. You can also have USB access to your device. If you drop a USB flash drive into the slot you will have full access to your music, but the menu options are spotty, and cannot access them while you are driving. The seating is comfortable and I had the car reupholstered with leather seating surfaces (on their dime as that is how the car was advertised, but not delivered). Rear seat and trunk are cavernous and allows me to carry all my musical gear to and fro. The rear seat folds down for expanded cargo room. Downsides No rear camera When the sunroof is open there is a mesh screen instead of a solid lip. The screen catches bugs while you are driving, so it is recommended that you inspect it and blow it clean as needed. Slapstick shifter must be watched as you shift, make sure nothing is blocking the way of the stick (i.e., cables and such) to ensure that the shifter will shift to your desired position."
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful