Best Muscle Cars

The Dodge Charger: A Car With a Personality

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By Dave Ashton

In our modern, homogenized world of sedans, it’s hard for a vehicle to stand out. We’ve never had a better time for in car features, performance and reliability, but car makers have to play it safer than ever with so much choice on the market. In the performance market, you have to go left field or buy into a supercar to get that stamp of real individuality. However, the Dodge Charger is ploughing its own path and in a world where the sedan may be on the endangered list, Dodge are bucking the trend with a vehicle that seems to tick all the boxes.

Why the Dodge Charger works..
Sales of the 2019 Dodge Charger were up in the first six months of the year and along with its stablemate, the Challenger, show no sign of slowing down. Why this is so comes from an insight with Dodge’s brand manager Kevin Hellman as discussed with Automotive News. ‘The Charger is unique. It’s a sedan, but it’s also a muscle car. It does so many things well. It can reach so many different people. And it has personality.’ ‘To your point, sedans are down, but I think those sedans don’t have the personality — they’re easily replaced. They’re easily switched out for a [utility vehicle]. There’s nothing else like the Charger. How many other purple sedans do you see out there that look really good? So it’s being different. People that want to stand out in the crowd, that want to wear their personally on their sleeve.’

I think this is echoed by the fact that the platform is now 10 years old and still popular. Platform changes are on the horizon in the next few years, which may bring a slight design shift, but the basic building blocks will still be in place. The latest Charger wide-body now fills out the design, to give a more muscular appearance and although it doesn’t have the strict two door, muscle car template, four doors for some is more practical.

On the subject of the charger wide-body, Hellman states, ‘With the Widebody, the biggest thing is getting more rubber to our customers because of the higher horsepower and more traction. That’s goal No. 1. We’re definitely thankful for that. There’s people that have been doing it in the aftermarket here and there, but I think directly from us is really what people have been waiting for. Other than the additional performance that we’ve added in terms of getting the grip to the ground, the car looks beautiful, too.’

And this may be one of the points to the Chargers continuing success. It’s a performance vehicle with everyday practicality. It may not be as nimble as a lightweight two seater, but the ethos is in straight-line speed and the ability to fit in four reasonably sized adults. That’s the standard muscle car ethos of taking a medium-size sedan and dropping in a hugely powered, performance engine. Something you can drag race at the weekend and still ride to work in on Monday. A car for all occasions. It’s also got to be relatively affordable.


Obviously, one of the calling cards of the Charger is that mighty Hellcat engine. Forget about the souped up 2L turbos, there’s no replacement for displacement with the Supercharged 6.2L HEMI SRT Hellcat V8 engine which produces 707 HP and 650 lb-ft of torque, through a top-flight automatic transmission. But, if you don’t need that much power you can start with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 or a Hemi-powered Charger R/T. There’s also an all wheel drive version for the bad weather and the option of a front axle disconnect. Depending on the model, there’s also the choice of different performance suspension setups, Brembo brake systems and although the interior may be simpler than some of the competitors, feature rich with plenty of modern tech. like Uconnect.

But, features and options alone don’t always cut it in the modern market. The driving experience needs to be individual, along with the latest goodies. Read any review of the Dodge Charger and even the hardest dissenters will agree that after driving the Charger, it’s a bundle of fun and you always leave with a smile. Why? because the Charger has stuck to its muscle car ethos and deep down, knows that we all want – raw power and that driving on the edge fun.

Who’s buying these things?
The biggest buyers of muscle cars are now in their 40s and 50s. Studies online say the average age of those buying into a new Challenger is 51 years old, with a Dodge Charger not far behind. This may be due to more financial stability, but also they can remember the classic days of muscle cars and may want to buy into a modern version, with the money at hand to buy into the bigger V8 options.

But that doesn’t exclude younger buyers. V6 automatics from all muscle car makers are the bestselling and the most affordable to the younger market. A 2019 Dodge Charger GT comes in all wheel drive at $31,980, the SXT $27,390. Add in some extras like the Dynamics package with wider wheels and tires and then it’s a tempting performance option.

But the biggest draw is the styling and handling, which is contrary to the prepackaged vehicles from other makers. Just something a bit different than the norm. Buy into a Dodge Charger and even to the uninitiated, it brings back the warm feeling of old TV shows,movies and all those crazy stunts.

Which brings us to our final point. To have personality the car needs to be individual, a certain way of thinking, which may go against the current tide, but this at the least commands respect. Because of this, the Dodge Charger isn’t going away any time soon and it’s more than likely that as we migrate to an electric vehicle world, the muscle car and the Dodge Charger will stand out, representing the more visceral way we should be driving our vehicles.

 

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