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2012 Dodge Charger

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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
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 144 Ratings for the 2011 - 2016 models.

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

Amazing Daily Driver - Sun/Rain/Snow

By on Tuesday, February 02, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I absolutely love this vehicle. It has it's warts but, well worth the money. The 2014 AWD R/T Max comes fully loaded. Saving up to mod this thing out... Good: 1) Fast for such a big vehicle. It will throw you back in your seat. 2) Beats is pretty nice for a stock system. Great clear sound in the front seats. 3) Handles amazing in snow. You can control slide it if you hit the gas. I can't wait to get some snow tires and see what it'll really do! 4) Heated/vented seats are nice, and the seats are big enough to be comfy. Bad: 1) Throttle response was somewhat lacking until I bought a CAI. That really woke up the car. 2) I wish there was a control for the sub-woofer. You can't have much bass without cranking the sound. Also, the back set passengers don't hear the radio very well. 3) Some minor electronic issues that the dealership cannot figure out. Everything is so interconnected wireless...I think some advancements need to be done with the technology. Nothing deal-breaking, but annoying."

Fine design, fine car, but not perfect.

By on Saturday, January 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,350

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Excellent value. Best car on the market."

Cons: "Warranty is worthless if the Mfr won't honor it."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"3rd Charger. Second with a Hemi. I love the car in every way, except the most important one: I purchased it new, and a few weeks after purchase, the Hemi motor started making ominous sounds. After many trips to the dealership without repair (they all do that and it's just a charcteristic), I got fed up. Long story short, the Mfr is refusing to stand behind their product, and they'll pay for it. Do not take no for an answer from the dealership or the Mfr. Follow the maintenance recommendations to a tee, do not modify anything, and make them repair it."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Overall an amazing vehicle

By on Saturday, December 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Size, space, fuel economy, looks"

Cons: "8 speed shifter can be a pain."

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

"Fuel efficiency and power are in perfect balance. Car floats when you want it to down the highway. But when taking corner it feels tight. Size is perfect, so much room and a very large trunk."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Highway Star

By on Friday, December 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Ride, Handling, Powertrain, Lights, Interior"

Cons: "Brakes could use more initial bite"

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

"I have a 2015 Charger Rallye AWD. It's a fun, practical and very comfortable car. It is remarkably quiet on the highway and it can cover a lot of ground with quick effortless grace. The excellent and refined chassis and suspension give you a firm supple ride and the car feels incredibly well planted to the pavement. The slick AWD system engages at any speed if you lose traction, if the temperature gets below 40 deg. or if you turn the wipers on. The Rallye also has a Sport Mode that engages the AWD, changes the shift points and firms up the steering. Unlike a lot of cars, Sport Mode actually changes the character of the car. The Rallye model also has a slightly modified intake and "real" dual exhaust with twin cats and mufflers. This bumps the HP to 300. I'm averaging 27 mpg and I consider that pretty good for a big heavy car with good performance. Some of this performance has to do with the overall excellent 8 speed transmission that makes the most of the V6 power curve and pretty much disappears when you drive normally. The Charger offers what I want from a car. It can comfortably carry my family and my stuff. It effortlessly goes where I point it regardless of the weather. It handles well, rides nice and get's with the program when I step on the gas. The fact that it turns heads is secondary but nice."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

One of the sweetest rides available!

By on Saturday, December 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,500

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: "Tons of useful technology"

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

"The car is packed with safety features that are automatically protecting you at all times. Doing this while providing you almost 300hp, and in combination with the 8 speed automatic, it gives you great gas mileage to boot. All in a sweetest looking package you can imagine. I just couldn’t be any happier than I am with my 2015 Dodge Charger SXT+"

3 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great car with high options at a great price

By on Sunday, November 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,000

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value, no problems, great cruiser - quiet"

Cons: "None that I can find"

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

"SXT with v6 - 32 MPG running down I95 an I85 at 75 to 80 MPH. Car is loaded with al the safety and convenience options available including NAV, Sirius radio, blue tooth, auto headlights with auto high-beam/dim, auto windshield wipers that sense rain fall and adjust speed, rear camera, cross path detection,blind spot monitor, adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning, power adjustable pedals, steering wheel, 6 way driver and passenger seats, 4-way power lumbar support, heated and cooled seats, and voice control of justa about everything. All for under $35,000."

10 people out of 18 found this review helpful

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