While sports cars and SUVs that can actually be driven off road are my thing these days, I grew up in the days when land yachts roamed the land. My first months of driving came at the wheel of a simply massive 1978 Dodge Monaco station wagon, complete with rearward facing third row seating and a 400 CI V8. The first car I actually owned was another Mopar, this one a metallic green ’69 Fury II sedan. Certainly neither were sporty, nor off road worthy, but I had tons of fun in both of them and they left me with a bit of a soft spot for big Mopars, even if they were ungainly, poorly constructed piles of fecal matter as many of the cars of the era were.
In recent years however, thanks to the passion of product leaders like former Montrealer Ralph Gilles and his various teams, there are some seriously cool machines coming out of Chrysler, now known as FCA. The current generation of Dodge Charger is a primo example of what the Dodge Boys are building these days.
While most Charger buzz these days surrounds the mighty Hellcat variety, the reality is that most consumers need something a bit less potent, but that doesn’t have to mean boring. Our Charger SXT tester had basically the same mean street fighter looks, but without the over the top aero add ons. Clad in a classic deep blue paint (Very close to that on the family’s old Fifth Avenue), the Charger looks kind of like Mike Tyson in a tuxedo.
The interior has posed a problem for Traditional Domestics over the years, as the right combination of quality interior materials and budget balancing seems to have eluded all of the Detroit three when compared to competitors from Asia and Europe. With the Charger, Dodge seems to have found the right mix. From a style standpoint, one immediately feels as if one is in an American car rather than a cheap replica of a Euro sedan. The soft touch materials couple nicely with metallic trim and the two tone seats look fantastic. That said, white leather gets dirty very easily, so if you wear dark coloured denim or leather on a regular basis, you might want to consider an alternative colour choice.
Our tester came with the Rallye package and All Wheel Drive, which includes Beats speakers and a 552 watt amp, steering wheel shift controls and a list of trim bits to mimic the SRT models. Tech lovers will feel right at home with 8.4″ touch screen with UConnect along with a long list of modern goodies like adaptive cruise control, HID headlights, Forward collision warning, lane departure warning that will steer you straight when you lose focus and rear parking assist. The list of available aids seems to go on forever.
So all of that tech aside, what is the Charger like to live with? First off, the power adjustable front seats are comfy and would be perfect for a long drive. More than one rear seat passenger commented on the size of the rear seat, which is a definite nod to the Mopar sedans of yesteryear. On the highway, the cabin is totally devoid of any road or wind noise, meaning the tunes pumping from those Beats speakers are the only sound you’ll hear.
The 3.6L V6 generates 300 horsepower, which is more than enough oomph for all but the most ego driven motorists, even with the extra weight of an all wheel drive system in the big sedan. That power makes it out to the four corners through a silky smooth shifting 8 speed automatic transmission. Even when shod with sports oriented all season tires, the All Wheel Drive Charger was sure footed in the light snow we experienced during our time with the car. With a full set of proper Winter tires, this car would be an absolute snow beast.
FCA is at the front of the race to add more gears than anyone else in the name of smooth shifting and improved fuel economy. Dodge rates the V6 AWD version of the Charger at 12.8L/100 KM City and 8.6L/100 on the highway and yet we observed just 13.2L/100 during our week of combined driving. In fairness to Dodge, this particular car was still new and the ambient temperature was quite cold while we had the car, which both would contribute to the mileage we saw.
As the light truck market grows exponentially in Canada, many consumers point to the utility offered by a crossover as opposed to a sedan. Those people have never investigated the cargo capacity of a Charger. The cavernous trunk easily swallowed two modern hockey bags (the really huge ones) along with all of my trainer’s gear. Most people would never need more cargo capacity than the Charger offers.
Those in the market for a family hauler who prefer a bit of cool and don’t see the need for a wannabe SUV would do well to visit your local Dodge dealer and check out the Charger. Tick the All Wheel Drive box and you have the same all weather capability of a crossover, and almost as much cargo capacity without the hulking size.
2016 Dodge Charger SXT AWD
- Stormtrooper style good looks
- Ultra quiet cabin
- All Wheel Drive security for Canadian Winters
- Cavernous trunk
- Coolest tail lights on the market
- More thirsty than expected
- White leather seat inserts look great but get dirty easily
- With the popularity of crossovers on the rise, the sedan format may not appeal to all buyers