By KBB.com Editors
Although you'll find a number of moderately-priced crossover SUVs on the market, the realm of the sport wagon has been the domain of the pricey European brands, such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. Has been, that is, until the entrance of the Dodge Magnum, a not-so-humble wagon with its roots firmly planted in the muscle-car era. With its five-passenger seating, large cargo hold and optional all-wheel drive, the Magnum can do just about anything a similarly-size SUV can do, plus deliver the acceleration and handling of a pure-bred sport sedan. The Magnum comes in a number of flavors ranging from affordable and fun to fast and furious.You'll Like This Car If...
If you're looking for retro styling along with plentiful cargo room, you need (or want) big horsepower and torque, you like easy entry and exit from a vehicle, you require space for four passengers and you enjoy receiving an overabundance of attention from passers-by, you'll love the Magnum.You May Not Like This Car If...
If significant ground clearance is a part of your all-wheel-drive demands, the Magnum is no match for a true SUV. Narrow windows and a big rear blind spot are also bothersome characteristics.What's Significant About This Car?
The entire 2008 Dodge Magnum line receives a freshened front end, revised interior and more standard equipment. The cruise control stalk has been moved away from the turn signal stalk and repositioned near the steering wheel's lower right side.Driving It Driving Impressions
Other than the black hole-like blind spot which engulfs most of the driver's rear and peripheral vision, the Magnum is exactly what one might expecta throttle junkie's dream. The Multiple-Displacement System (MDS), which turns off fuel to four of the eight cylinders when full power is not needed, is hardly noticeable. On the popular R/T, sinking one's foot down on the skinny pedal on the right wakes the HEMI engine, which is sure to paste a smile on any driver's face. Both the base SXT and R/T trim offer outstanding road holding, firm steering and excellent traction. The all-wheel drive models have a higher ride height that doesn't appear to affect handling but creates a noticeable gap between the tires and the tops of the wheel arches.Favorite Features
18-inch Aluminum Wheels
The 18-inch polished aluminum wheels not only show off the huge disc brakes, but also give the Magnum an aggressive and striking stance.
The 5.7L V8 HEMI with 340 horsepower and 390 pounds-feet of torque rockets the driver down the road but, with the Multiple-Displacement System, everyday driving doesn't have to empty the fuel tank.
Narrow bolsters on the leather-lined seats are comfortable and make entry and exit a breeze. Easy-to-read controls and silver-accented gauges give the interior a nice combination of sporty style and functionality. Lining the sides and under the main floor in the rear of the Magnum you'll find plenty of extra storageperfect for keeping those small valuables hidden. Overall the Magnum has ample room for four passengers and their luggage, although the narrow windows tend to make the interior feel somewhat claustrophobic.Exterior
The 2008 Dodge Magnum is a station wagon on steroids with an edgy retro style. From the chopped-top design and ebony window tinting to the 18-inch wheels, this wagon has an attitude all its own. The grille is balanced by a large set of jeweled headlights, and the overall fit and finish around the vehicle is excellent. The unusual rear hatch hinge includes a big chunk of the roof's panel, thus creating an opening large enough to insert a 27-inch television.Notable Standard Equipment
Standard features on the base 2008 Dodge Magnum SE include 17-inch wheels, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary audio input and four speakers, driver and passenger adjustable lumbar support, rear privacy glass, outside temperature display, four-wheel disc brakes, rear 60/40-split seat, remote keyless/illuminated entry, speed control and tilt and telescoping steering column. The SXT adds a 250-horsepower V6, five-speed Auto Stick transmission, traction control, heated mirrors, anti-lock brakes (ABS), power driver's seat, 17-inch aluminum wheels and power-adjustable pedals. The R/T adds 18-inch wheels, a 340-horsepower HEMI V8 engine, Boston Acoustics speakers, leather-trimmed heated front seats, power passenger's seat, dual-zone automatic temperature control, automatic headlamps and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.Notable Optional Equipment
Options include front side-impact and front and rear head-curtain air bags, rear-seat entertainment system, all-wheel drive, navigation, steering-wheel audio controls, six-disc CD/MP3 player, trailer towing package, remote engine start, automatic level control and SIRIUS Satellite Radio. The Road/Track Performance Package (R/T only) adds 20-inch chrome wheels, performance suspension and steering components and a performance exhaust good for an additional 10 horsepower.Under the Hood
The base 2008 Dodge Magnum SE's price may look attractive, but the 2.7-liter V6 is noisy and lacks the power to live up to the Magnum's good looks. The larger 3.5-liter V6 is a much better choice, but will add considerably to the price. True performance fans will settle for nothing less than the rush that comes from the big HEMI V8.
190 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
190 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27
250 horsepower @ 6400 rpm
250 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/27 (RWD), 17/24 (AWD)
5.7-liter HEMI V8
340 horsepower @ 5000 rpm
350 horsepower @ 5000 rpm (Road/Track Performance Package)
390 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/25 (RWD), 17/24 (AWD)
The 2008 Dodge Magnum's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) ranges from around $24,000 for the SE to more than $40,000 for a loaded all-wheel drive R/T. A look at the Fair Purchase Price shows the typical transaction price being paid for the Magnum in your area, so be sure to check the latest pricing before you begin negotiations. The Magnum wagon competes well when compared to the Subaru Legacy, Mazda Mazda6 and even the Volvo V70 and Volkswagen Passat, none of which offer the option of a V8 engine. The Magnum is projected to retain a better-than-average residual value, on par with the Mazda6, V70, Legacy and Passat 4MOTION V6.