For about a year now I have owned my 2013 Dodge Charger R/T. In that year I’ve taken it on road trips from Florida to Wisconsin, driven back roads across the hills of Kentucky, conquered snow, and loved every minute of it. There is something about this car that is just special in my mind.
Now let's kick this off with some of the popular knocks against the Charger found on message boards and comment sections. First,
“oh that car is a pig, it can't handle”.
Yeah it's heavy, mine is just over 4200lbs, but it's about the same size as the S Class, A8, and 7 series. When it comes to handling sure it's no Miata, but when I take it for a sprint down a back road it never feels unsettled or unsure. Second,
“it's a Dodge”.
Sure Dodge has made some shit cars, but this isn't one of them. The 2011 and newer interiors have seen much improvement over the 05-10 models, and they look much more interesting. Fourth,
“Oh well it only has a five speed automatic”
. Yes it has a Mercedes derived five speed auto, but honestly, you don't notice all that much. Outside of cruising on the highway it doesn't make a big difference.
So on to what made me choose the car. I test drove and looked at everything in my range that had a hint of performance or sportiness. When I finally had the opportunity to drive the Charger I fell in love. After driving some of the 4cyl turbos in Focus STs, and the V6 in my previous car, the V8 of the Charger was just phenomenal. The smoothness of the power, and the ease that the car accelerated was wonderful. Then there is just the feeling you get driving the Charger. Driving such a large car with an imposing look gives you a feel of confidence and importance.
The way the Charger puts its power to the road is nice and smooth. The gearbox kicks down, the engine revs up, and you’re off. My Charger just eats up miles, whether it is on the highway cruising on a road trip or on the back roads enjoying twists and turns. While my car is no Miata, it doesn’t shy away from a curve. So far the handling has impressed me. I went with Continental Extremecontact DWS 06’s for year round work and have not been let down. The Charger really feels at home on the highway, or cruising down the boulevards though. The tough aggressive looks, the size, and the strong V8 under the hood make you feel like the king of the road. Sure there are faster cars, and better handling cars, but to me the Charger feels like one of the last true muscle cars.
Day to day the Charger is a wonderful car to drive. On the inside there is plenty of storage space between door pockets, cubbies, the center console, and glove box. The seats are supportive, and comfortable. My model has the heated cloth seats, which can be set to turn on automatically when it's below 40 degrees outside. This auto on feature is one of my favorites. The R/T comes standard with the 8.4” uConnect system, which in my opinion is one of the best stock infotainment systems available today. The screen is very responsive, the location of options and settings are intuitive, and most functions that are used regularly have a button or knob just below the screen on the center stack. I've got Bluetooth for phone calls and music, and my model came with the Beats Audio System. Their headphones aside, it's a pretty solid stock system.
I have made a small list of complaints with the car after almost a year of ownership. First is the engine. While the power is great, and the gas mileage isn't too bad (I averaged just over 27 mpg on a recent road trip), the fact that in 2013 it was still an iron block is disappointing. GM has had the aluminum block LS1 5.7 since the late 90s, why doesn’t Dodge? Secondly, I do wish that Dodge used a six speed transmission in the second generation. For most of my driving I don’t feel it would make a difference, but when I take a road trip I wish I had an extra gear. Right now it cruises at 70mph around 2000 rpm. On my latest road trip I managed about 26.5 mpg, but I feel with an extra taller overdrive gear I could manage closer to 30. Lastly, my major complaint is the stock exhaust, it’s too quiet. The new Camaro and the dual mode exhaust have set a new standard for me and what I want out of a stock system. I have considered a few different aftermarket systems, but I worry about drone with the cylinder shut off so I haven’t pulled the trigger on anything yet.
Overall I am very happy with my car, it’s a great smooth ride, wonderful on long road trips, a blast to drive, and with looks that command attention. Driving a large car is a lot of fun and you feel like you’re in charge of the road. I’ll be checking back in a few months with an update on my thoughts, if I’ve had any issues, or if I have done any mods to the Charger. If you have any questions leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to answer.