By Scott Oldham -- Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 7.5
Family-friendly 4-door sedans don’t get more rambunctiously pulse-quickening and unapologetic than America’s full-size 2017 Dodge Charger. With over a half-dozen trim choices, and available all-wheel drive, the 2017 Charger offers a bold motoring statement in a wide variety of flavors, the latest in-cabin technology, road-warrior styling and a lengthy assortment of options. Four engines are available ranging from a 292-horsepower fuel-efficient V6 to the Charger Hellcat’s supercharged Hemi V8 that makes a mind-blowing 707 horsepower. It’s the most powerful American car ever. It’s not the only domestic sedan with performance and style but, with its arrogant attitude and generous bang-for-the-buck, the alternatives -- Chevrolet Impala, Buick LaCrosse, Ford Fusion -- just don’t have the in-your-face appeal and that kind of optional power.
If you want a full-size, family-friendly 4-door sedan with a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA, but refuse to do generic, you’ll like the 2017 Dodge Charger. The new Charger uniquely combines comfort, interior room and technology with aggressive styling, horsepower to spare and just enough attitude to keep the mice away.
If fuel economy is more important to you than tire-shredding horsepower, you should be shopping other sedans. Also, not everyone is comfortable with the Charger’s bodybuilder bod. If you’re concerned about standing out on the road or in the company parking lot, you might consider something less, well, noticeable.
KBB Expert Ratings
New for 2017 are the Charger Daytona and Daytona 392 models, which pack the look of the top-of-the-line Hellcat but with naturally aspirated Hemi power. Graphics, 20-inch wheels and more powerful brakes are standard. SXT and up models get an all-new Uconnect infotainment system with a larger 8.4-inch screen.
The 3.6-liter, 292-horsepower V6 in the 2017 Dodge Charger SE and SXT offers plenty of punch with either rear-wheel drive (RWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). The standard 8-speed automatic transmission...
... is smooth and doesn’t annoyingly hunt for gears. It’s a compelling package, but Chargers get better when you add horsepower, and the 370-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 in the R/T and Daytona is a nice wake-up call. The one to get, however, is the 485-horsepower 6.4-liter in the R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392 and SRT 392 trims. It’s the best combination of price (especially in the R/T Scat Pack), power and daily drivability. Don’t misunderstand, the 707-horsepower Hellcat Charger has to be experienced to be believed. It will go down in history. Become a legend. But it’s extreme and only makes sense for a few. Overall, the Chargers are smooth and responsive, with an appropriate blend of handling precision and comfortable ride.
The new fourth generation of Uconnect is one of the best automotive infotainment systems and one of the easiest to use. Maps are supplied by Garmin, and the Bluetooth connects your phone almost instantaneously. The new system’s larger 8.4-inch screen also allows for phone-style navigation gestures like pinch and swipe.
6.2-LITER HELLCAT SUPERCHARGED V8
There’s no other sedan engine, at any price, that comes close to competing with the 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter, supercharged Hemi in the Hellcat version of the 2017 Charger. It’s the most powerful American sedan of all time. Considering the price, it’s one of the go-fast deals of all time.
Inviting, comfortable and functional, the interior of the 2017 the Dodge Charger is a pleasant place to spend time. Cockpit-style, the instrument panel angles all the working stuff toward the driver, the gauge cluster is configurable for individual preferences, and there are numerous controls mounted on the steering wheel. In the center is an available 8.4-inch touch screen, and it and the Uconnect infotainment system are a couple of features we recommend. Front seats are comfortable for long trips, the rear bench will handle three adults and the entire well-designed presentation is also easy on the eyes.
This is no wallflower. No shrinking violet. No wolf in sheep’s clothing. No cliché. The 2017 Dodge Charger looks like what it is: a modern American sedan with plenty of horsepower. It looks tough. It looks mean. It looks you right in the eye. Despite a roofline and overall shape unmistakably linked to previous Chargers built from 1968-1970, this sedan successfully fights being old-fashioned and remains sleek and modern front to rear. Its smoothly rounded nose makes obvious aerodynamic contributions, and the attractive rear includes Dodge’s distinctive layout of the “racetrack” taillight arrangement, which certainly stands out in after-dark traffic.
LED daytime running lights, acoustic front glass and windshield, power windows with express front up/down, and a configurable, full-color, 7-inch driver-information display are all standard features on the base 2017 Dodge Charger SE. Also standard are chrome exhaust tips, auto headlights that turn themselves on and off, power mirrors, 17-inch wheels and tires, and an electronic reconfigurable gauge cluster. Standard powertrain is a very likable 3.6-liter V6 with a strong 292 horsepower backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive. With a wide range of trim levels, there is, obviously, an equally wide range of standard-equipment listings.
The trim levels are tied closely to the engine choices, with corresponding moves upward not only in performance but also in features and luxury. Depending on the trim level and options chosen you can have a 2017 Dodge Charger with a base price well under $30 grand or well over $60,000, and with horsepower just under 300 or more than twice that. Major options include a power sunroof, Beats by Dr. Dre and harman/kardon sound systems, and a variety of packages: Super Track Pak, Premium Group, Technology Group, Driver Confidence Group, Navigation/Rear Backup Camera Group, and others.
The 2017 Charger is available with four engine choices. Base, in SE and SXT models, is a very likable 3.6-liter V6 with 292 horsepower and plenty of performance for just about anybody. Next up is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 of 370 horsepower, in R/T and Daytona versions. It’s one more step to a 6.4-liter Hemi of 485 horsepower, in R/T Scat Pack and Daytona 392 and SRT 392 trims. And, if a 485-horsepower Hemi isn’t quite enough, there’s the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi in the SRT Hellcat, with 707 horsepower. In all cases, the transmission is an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive (RWD). All-wheel drive (AWD) is available on the V6 models. Truly, there is something here for just about anyone who likes to stand on the gas.
292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD)
370 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm
395 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg
485 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
475 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/25 mpg
6.2-liter supercharged V8
707 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
650 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg
Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2017 Dodge Charger SE with RWD is about $29,000, including destination of $995; AWD is about $2,000. The Charger SXT is about $31,000; the R/T, the lowest-priced Hemi V8 Charger, is around $35,500; the R/T Scat Pack, with the 485-horsepower Hemi, is $40,990; R/T Daytona 392 around $46,000 and SRT 392 is about $52,000. The 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat is right around $66,000, and has to be an all-time performance bargain. A “similarly equipped” competitor, such as a Chevrolet Impala, is around $28,000 but, when considering the performance levels of Hemi Chargers, “similarly equipped” competitors tend to be things like an $80,000 BMW M5. Although the 415-horsepower Chevy SS costs about $47,500. Historically, resale values on Dodges have been below average. Before making your purchase, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for a 2017 Charger.