Used 2006 Dodge Charger SRT-8 Review
Popularized by NASCAR dominance and later a hokey TV show about fictional Hazzard County, the venerable Dodge Charger returns. But this time it's a sedan. It's not that we think the Charger can't be a coupe, it's just that we know a four-door sedan with Dodge Charger badging on the trunk is bound to cause controversy.
Frankly, we're thankful Dodge altered the Charger's course. Armchair automotive designers seem to forget that the last Charger was a four-cylinder, front-wheel-drive car based on the deplorable Dodge Omni. First introduced as a 1966 model, the Dodge Charger had a unique look with a sweeping fastback and concealed headlights. But it's the second generation of the Charger that was most popular. This was the one the Duke boys drove, the one that was turned into a race-wining Daytona and the one most enthusiasts associate with the name Charger. In 1999 Dodge started showing an all-new Charger concept that drew heavily on the 1968-'70 look. Although hopes were high for that great-looking show car, it simply wasn't meant to be.
A few years later Dodge introduced the new Charger as a 2006 model without the dramatic sheet metal. But the 2006 Charger is aggressive-looking in its own way. The angled headlights and large grille give the Dodge car a sneering look, while the distinctive character line that begins the rear flanks adds some styling flair. Unfortunately the rear of the car is plain. Some liken it to a wider Mitsubishi Galant. Based on the same Mercedes-derived platform that carries the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, the Dodge Charger offers a roomy interior and smooth ride. The interior of the Charger looks almost identical to that of the Magnum, and the engine choices are very similar.
While the Magnum and 300 are available with a 2.7-liter V6 making less than 200 hp, the Charger skips that anemic power plant and starts things off with a 3.5-liter V6. Of course a Hemi V8 is available as well. The Charger SXT and V8-powered Charger R/T have a lot going for them. The car is comfortable, offers more than adequate performance, looks different and is priced competitively when compared to smaller V6-powered import sedans. It may not be the two-door muscle car you remember from the '60s, but the new 2006 Dodge Charger takes that formula and adds things like a usable interior and lots of standard equipment. Think of it as a muscle car the whole family can enjoy.
performance & mpg
Engine choices are delineated by trim level. The SE comes with a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V6. For those who can never get enough power, the R/T has a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 stuffed under its hood. Output is rated at 340 horses and 390 lb-ft of torque. Chargers equipped with the optional Road/Track Performance Group or Daytona R/T Package provide 10 extra horsepower in addition to stiffer suspension and bigger brakes. A five-speed, shiftable automatic transmission comes standard on all models.
Four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and BrakeAssist, traction control and stability control are standard across the line. Options on all models include full-length side curtain airbags, self-sealing tires and adjustable pedals. In NHTSA crash testing, the Dodge Charger earned a perfect five stars for frontal-impact protection. In side-impact tests, it earned four stars for front-occupant safety and five stars for the rear. It was named a "Best Pick" in IIHS frontal-offset crash testing.
With generous amounts of torque flowing to its rear wheels and Mercedes-derived chassis components, the V8-powered Charger R/T provides serious fun for driving enthusiasts who need a roomy backseat. At the same time, it's plenty comfortable for the weekday grind. For sharper handling, a few extra ponies and head-turning color schemes, the Daytona is the clear choice. For those who aren't quite ready for the idea of a Hemi-fed sedan, the SE's 3.5-liter V6 offers adequate acceleration, smooth power delivery and an overall pleasant driving experience.
Inside, the Charger's long wheelbase opens up plenty of room for passengers, particularly in the backseat where the Dodge car leads its peers in legroom. Interior styling isn't revolutionary, but a two-tone color scheme, faux aluminum accents and white-faced gauges give the Dodge Charger a contemporary and sporty look. Chargers with the Daytona or Road/Track Performance package have bolstered sport seats that hold you snug in the turns.
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.