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2012 Dodge Charger

Overview
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2012 Dodge Charger Review

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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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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.

What's New for 2012

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 the Charger

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.

Garmin Navigation
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).

2012 Dodge Charger Details
Interior

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.

Exterior

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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

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.

Optional Equipment

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.

Under the Hood

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.

3.6-liter V6
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

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2012 Dodge Charger Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 94 Ratings for the 2011 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.2/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    9.1/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.3/10

This is my Quickest car yet. SRT8

By on Sunday, July 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Every time I drive it, I'm hitting the gas hard."

Cons: "My only gripe is the exhaust sound, way too soft."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Just bought it from a dealer a month ago used with only 5500 miles and it is fast..470 Horsepower is awesome. 25 MPG on highway/12 in city, I floor it a lot. Wherever I park it people will come to check it out. Especially being red with a blacked out grille. Has every available option. The ventilated seats are cool."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Rental car impression

By on Friday, July 04, 2014

I don't own this car

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
10/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Cool-looking and high-quality interior"

Cons: "Heavy and not fuel-efficient"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"We rented a 2014 Charger R/T for 3 days and overall had a good experience with the car. The exterior styling looks bold but chunky and outdated. I liked the headlights and LED taillights, which came on when you unlocked the car. The smartkey system was a plus for me. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of the interior, lots of soft-touch materials on the dash and compartments were lined with soft fabric. The dash and ambient lighting in the cupholders and door sills looked cool. However, the dashboard feels very cavernous, flat, and doesn't wrap around you like some other cars. The gauge cluster looked nice but was flat and one-dimensional. However, I especially liked that the headliner was black, as opposed to the usual tan. It gave the car a retro and sporty look. Overall, the interior was nice and roomy but the dash and center console were completely flat and one-dimensional and that turned me off. The big touchscreen in the middle of the dash was pretty cool but difficult to use at first. The graphics were nice to look at and looked modern. The speed-adjusted sound was an interesting touch. Our rental also came with Satellite radio, which is the norm nowadays in new cars. While it was too hot to use the heated seats, there were controls for them right on the touchscreen. However, the steering wheel was poorly-designed, causing you to accidentally change the radio station while steering. I liked the sound the turn signal made, it reminded me of old cars, probably part of their "retro" styling. The Charger was powerful on the highways but a pain to drive in city traffic. It felt heavy and was not good for making fast maneuvers at a slow speed. The gas mileage was also pretty bad for a sedan."

I bought the right car.

By on Wednesday, July 02, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "AWD, good price, fun on the twists"

Cons: "People think I'm the police and slow down"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought a 2013 charger sxt awd with sport appearance package. I needed a car to safely take me to work from northern Colorado to Wyoming on a daily basis. After a year of ownership I have to say that I grown to love my charger. It's comfortable, powerful enough, sounds great (Beats) and has been reliable. During the September floods I was able to make it back home on a back road when the highways were guarded by the national guard and the police (the back road closed 30 minutes after I passed). The awd system just powered on in about four inches of rain and amazingly enough I led a car behind me to safety with the bright backlights. I would highly recommend this car."

Love my car!

By on Friday, June 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, comfortable, very sharp"

Cons: "No place for my purse!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best car I have owned! It's classy and sporty and has plenty of get up and go. I love the looks I receive from onlookers admiring my car."

Feels like a tank! (good thing)

By on Thursday, June 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "AWD, technology, power, handling, etc etc etc"

Cons: "text to speech through bluetooth is limited"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I wanted to wait until I had this vehicle for awhile before I wrote a review. I bought this vehicle back in January of 2014, and have been driving it for approximately 6 months now. I previously had a 2010 Chevy Camaro and due to the increasingly harsh winters in Canada I wanted something that I could drive all winter long without worry or nerves about what the weather man threatens me with. I was in the market for an AWD vehicle, wanted a car, but still wanted something that looked nice. This basically left me with a Cadillac CTS (too expensive), the Subaru lineup... which to be honest is great if you just want a basic car. If you want any type of technology in your vehicle you need to get the top model which is more than i wanted to spend. The Dodge Charger or the Chrysler 300. Once I test drove the 2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD I fell for it, easy decision... and here is why. 1. The car is a full sized sedan, make no mistake it is a large vehicle... but it does not drive like one. It is nimble around corners, great visibility, and the 300 horses under the hood for a V6 is more than enough for easy highway merging and passing. 2. Technology. This car is full of it, and they all look and tie nicely together. 8.4 inch touch screen is easy to navigate, bluetooth is easy to set up, backup camera has a wide view. etc. 3. the AWD. I cannot say enough about this. The car has adaptive AWD which automatically determines if you need RWD for better feul economy (in the summer for example) or AWD for better traction (during heavy rain or winter). The transition is seamless. I purposely went out in the middle of a snow storm in February when there was 6 inches of snow on the roads. Came to a complete stop and stepped on the gas... the car took off like the snow wasnt even there... i was absolutely blown away. If you want a stylish, feul efficient, AWD vehicle that is full of technology.... this car is for you! you will not regret it."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Middle of the road Muscle Car

By on Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Quick start"

Cons: "No top end"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Needs work on improving brake system, electronics, radio, cruise control, antenna, exterior, plastic body parts."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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