Read the introduction of this vehicle to our long-term fleet.
See all of the long-term updates on this vehicle.
What We Got
You might think you know the story of what we bought and why we bought it. But for transparency's sake (and to ward off any future WikiLeaks scandals of lost/stolen/released Edmunds emails), we're going to share with you the previously untold backstory of buying our used 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8. Any similarity to the beginning of The Blues Brothers movie is purely coincidental.
[Cue shot of editor Brent Romans walking out of the Edmunds.com offices. The office building is backlit by a setting sun. Parked in the foreground is a red 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8. Editor Ronald Montoya stands next to it. Both are wearing sunglasses, jeans, and Edmunds.com polo shirts and hats. They shake hands and get in. Ron drives.]
[In-car scene] Brent Romans: What's this?
Ron Montoya: What?
BR: This car ... this stupid car. Where's the Lexus? The Lexus, where's the Lexus ES 300?
RM: The what?
BR: The Lexus we used to have ... the Edmunds Debt-Free Car Project!
RM: I traded it.
BR: You traded the Lexus for this?
RM: No. For a Yugo.
BR: A Yugo? [Nods.] OK, I can see that. [Pauses.] What the hell is this?
RM: This was a bargain. I picked it up at in San Diego dealership last year. It's an old 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8! I want to see if it makes sense for a millennial-age buyer interested in a used car. [Pauses.] You don't like it?
BR: No, I don't like it.
[The Charger comes to a stop at a drawbridge that's raising for a cargo freighter. Rather than wait, Ron hits the gas, accelerates the Charger rapidly up the lifting side of the bridge and jumps across the gap. The car lands safely on the other side of the bridge.]
BR: This car's got a lot of pickup.
RM: It's got a SRT motor: 6.1 liters and 425 horsepower. SRT tires, SRT brakes, SRT shocks. It's got catalytic converters, and it passes smog. What do you say, is it the new Edmunds Mobile or what?
BR: Fix the exhaust.
"The Charger SRT8 is the perfect cruising sort of car. It's big and powerful. Its ride is firm enough, its handling composed enough and its steering well-weighted enough for a big and powerful, old-school sort of car. It's the sort of car I'd happily drive every day." James Riswick
"[After taking his daughter to a screening of Smokey and the Bandit] our Charger may not wear a Screaming Chicken across its scooped hood, but it's a true muscle car and it was the perfect ride with just the right amount of V8 soundtrack. As we rumbled through the deserted late-night streets of West Hollywood with the windows down, the rpm up, keeping an eye out for Sheriff Buford and, of course, spinning the tires from stop to stop, Jane and I shared an experience we'll never forget." Scott Oldham
"With about 70,000 miles on the clock, it isn't terribly surprising that its dampers could stand to be replaced. There's a general sense of looseness in how it traverses roads with bumps. It's not a floaty mess, but it's definitely lost some control. ... The dampers aren't totally shot, but if it were my car, I'd definitely look into swapping in some new factory Nivomats, rather than some standard aftermarket shock." Jason Kavanagh
"This won't likely be a surprising observation, but our Charger SRT8 is not at home on narrow, curvy roads. This is a big-boned sedan weighing more than two tons, and you notice all of it when you're seated behind the wheel. But to the SRT8's credit, it's happier on medium-speed turns where its liabilities for size and heft aren't nearly as noticeable. Thanks to the SRT8-specific suspension tune, the Charger is stable when it's going around turns. Its steady-state handling seems to be pretty balanced, too." Brent Romans
"The Charger had eight fill-ups in June. It calls for premium fuel and it sure was thirsty, but we knew that going in. I plugged the numbers into Fuelly.com — just like we did for the departedLexus ES 300 — and in the process, became the first, and only, person on Fuelly to track fuel costs on an SRT8. Our worst fill was 11.7 mpg, set by Mike 'Pedal Masher' Monticello. I'm not sure if I should high-five him for driving the car as Dodge intended or give him a disapproving glare for wasting fuel." Ronald Montoya
"Prius! Mirai! Model X! These are three of our long-term fleet's newest vehicles, and two of them don't even use gas! But rest assured, oil executives of the world, our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 is still around to help do its part in keeping your company's balance sheets firmly in the black." Brent Romans
"The front seats in the Charger SRT8 were great back when it was new, and they're still terrific now. They have held up quite well over the last eight years and nearly 70,000 miles of use. The huge bolsters still hold you tight through corners, but the seats themselves are still plenty comfortable without any noticeable foam sag. They're stout." Mike Monticello
"The exhaust system on our Charger sounds great. Most of the time. It gives a manly bark on startup, then adds the kind of low-rpm V8 rumble that the stock system doesn't deliver. But there's a strange tone or reverberation filling the cabin at certain revs. Most specifically when dipping slightly into the throttle from 2,000-2,500 rpm. Do it enough and it can tire the ears. Steady-throttle highway running is fine, but ask for just a bit more power in that rev range and the exhaust gets boomy." Mike Monticello
"Does driving a 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 keep you from helping out a friend with some painting? Not really. In fact, with its sizable trunk and fold-down rear seats, you can fit plenty of awkward cargo. In this case, I was able to slide in a 6-foot stepladder without much trouble, along with a Shop-Vac, a tool bucket, several gallons of paint and a few drop cloths. I could have fit more if I packed everything more tightly." Ed Hellwig
"I'm not sure what the original intention was for this slot on the center console of our Dodge Charger SRT8, but it works perfectly as a wallet holder: wide enough for everything this side of a George Costanza-esque overstuffed wallet, and deep enough so it won't fly out while negotiating a sharp curve. It's so perfect, in fact, I'm trying to figure out why more cars these days don't have a handy, away-from-the-door slot to stash your wallet. Now, I know not everyone carries a wallet (hello, ladies), but a good portion of the population does." Mike Monticello
"The 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8's cabin was junk when it was new and it's definitely still junk today. It is a remarkable celebration of hard, cheap plastic everywhere you look. There are actually a few squishy bits on the dash, but they too are glossy and look chintzy. Dodge supposedly 'improved' the cabin the year after our long-termer was produced, but that's an extremely relative term, as it still trailed just about everything remotely in its price range." James Riswick
"Our Charger SRT8's ample rear legroom is an advantage, providing a suitable amount of clearance for safety seats in a rear-facing position. The driver or front passenger shouldn't need to adjust their seat positions much, if at all, to accommodate their newest family addition in back. Can you have a car that will do wicked burnouts with your kids strapped in back? Yes, you can, Millennial Parents." Brent Romans
Audio and Technology
"The stereo interface in our long-term Charger is seriously out of date. Sure, it's got navigation and satellite radio, but the graphics are pretty bad and the tipping point for me is that there's no way to hook up my iPhone. It's easy enough to charge devices using an adapter for the cigarette lighter, but there's no USB, Bluetooth or auxiliary connection for the stereo. For now, I'll have to bust out the trusty old CD case if I want to have dominion over my tunes, but sooner rather than later this old setup needs to go." Travis Langness
"We wanted the latest in smartphone technology, but in keeping with the spirit of the Millennial Used Car Project, we also felt that it was important to keep the costs reasonable. Our theoretical tech budget was about $1,000, all in. I say theoretical, since Pioneer was gracious enough to provide us the head unit for review purposes. Pioneer also covered the installation fees. We settled on the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX. It is a double-DIN unit with a 7-inch touchscreen that earns solid reviews on Amazon and Best Buy." Ron Montoya
"The new Pioneer head unit lands like an alien monolith into the interior of our Charger. What was once a tired-looking relic of last decade's tech is now a beacon of modernity amidst the wasteland that is this late 2000s Dodge interior. Seriously, before this stereo, the interior would've looked at home in a Dodge Caravan. The large, comparatively high-res Pioneer unit comes with a host of features, but crucially it supports both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay." Carlos Lago
"The drone can last no longer. It's so bad in our Charger SRT8 that you can't have a conversation. It can be hard to think. We wanted a permanent solution. So we ordered a Trunk Kit from Amazon.com for $89.89, which includes 20 square feet of material. ... The results? I drove for a little bit first and thought the car seemed a little quieter overall. Then the decibel meter came out. It disagreed. From idle to street driving to freeway speeds, the Charger was no quieter than before. The drone remained." Carlos Lago
"I got into our long-term Charger SRT8 today, started it up and it would not shift out of park. A quick search online reassured me that I wasn't the only one with this problem. But fortunately for me, the combination of having Internet access on my phone and some screwdrivers I keep in my computer bag bailed me out. YouTube videographers walked me through the emergency fix, which was really easy." Mike Schmidt
"I wheeled the Charger down the driveway and parked it behind the house where it needed to be for the next morning's front brake job. How long did this take? About 90 minutes, not including the time it took to rush over to the hardware store for the bolts. Call it an hour if I back out the time I spent taking pictures. It could easily be less the next time. This is a pretty straightforward brake job." Dan Edmunds
"Forget those sniveling, oversharing, irony-as-lifestyle millennials for whom we've devised this project car — I'm demographically certified Gen X, friend. My generation built this great country! And we did it without Facebook or Instagram, but with mixtapes, Xeroxed fliers and a shared CompuServe account. Our hope, optimism and shared love of The Scorpions toppled the Berlin Wall. We made Tom Cruise! Therefore, I want the Charger SRT8 for myself and my generation." Dan Frio
"I was expecting our Dodge Charger SRT8 to be in pretty rough shape. At the very least, I figured it would creak and rattle over bumps like, well, an 8-year-old Dodge.
Man, was I wrong. The only sound produced by broken pavement is the clompety-clomp of the massive low-profile tires. Everything seems to have been screwed together fastidiously at the factory." Josh Sadlier
"Driving our 'new' 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 over the weekend, I got four how you doin' nods from strange men at stoplights. For me, this is a new record. Audis, Acuras, Benzes and Bimmers, I've driven nearly every car ever produced for the past two decades. Yet, I haven't seen this kind of action since I rolled down a Midwestern Main Street in a 1997 Plymouth Prowler. Guess my advanced age, coupled with the affordable 425-horsepower Charger SRT8, just makes us more approachable." Kelly Hellwig
Maintenance & Repairs
Pleasingly, our Charger SRT8 didn't have any major issues that put it out of commission. But it did need a fair amount of general maintenance. We changed our Charger's oil three times during its time with us. On one of those occasions, we also had the broken parking brake fixed. Other highlights: We also installed a new set of tires, replaced the trunk struts, replaced the front brakes, installed a new car battery, got a new key fob battery and fixed the broken gear shifter.
Our Charger SRT8 was part of the Takata airbag recall. We had it fixed at no cost within a couple weeks of ownership.
Fuel Economy and Resale Value
Observed Fuel Economy:
The EPA estimates a 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 will get 15 mpg in combined driving (13 mpg city/18 mpg highway). Our Charger matched this estimate, earning 15.3 mpg overall. We also had a best fill-up of 25.9 mpg, comparatively going way beyond EPA, and a worst mpg fill-up of 11.6 mpg — we never dropped into single digits! You could say our Charger was an overachiever, albeit one with mpg standards of a semi truck.
Resale and Depreciation:
We purchased our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8 at a dealership in San Diego for $22,950. It had 66,350 miles. About a year later and 80,325 miles on the odometer, we sold the Charger to CarMax for $11,000. Obviously, this is a massive hit of depreciation. Originally, we had hoped to sell to a private party. At the time of sale, private-party pricing for a car similar to ours ranged from $15,000 to $20,000. Edmunds True Market Value was $16,187. But time constraints forced us to go with the quick and easy sale route, which was CarMax.
Authentic V8 muscle-car performance that gives the car plenty of personality; everyday utility helped out by roomy backseat and big trunk; reasonably affordable considering the car's performance; very supportive front seats; surprising lack of squeaks and rattles.
Guzzles gasoline with exceptional proficiency; interior design rivals Soviet-era block housing for aesthetic appeal and refinement; boomy aftermarket exhaust noise at highway speeds got on our nerves (but we should have bought a different exhaust); feels big and bulky around tight turns.
If you're a millennial (or really, anybody) and looking for a reasonably affordable performance sedan, a used first-generation Dodge Charger SRT8 is a solid choice. Our experience showed it's a fun-to-drive car with loads of personality. A regular Charger R/T would be cheaper but not nearly as special.
|Total Body Repair Costs:||$0|
|Total Routine Maintenance Costs:||$598.75 (over 12 months)|
|Additional Maintenance Costs:||$2,283.91|
|Warranty Repairs:||Takata airbag recall|
|Non-Warranty Repairs:||see Maintenance & Repairs for detailed list|
|Scheduled Dealer Visits:||3|
|Unscheduled Dealer Visits:||0|
|Days Out of Service:||0|
|Breakdowns Stranding Driver:||1|
|Best Fuel Economy:||25.9 mpg|
|Worst Fuel Economy:||11.6 mpg|
|Average Fuel Economy:||15.3 mpg|
|True Market Value at service end:||$16,187 (private party sale)|
|What it Sold for:||$11,000|
|Depreciation:||$11,950 (or 52% of paid price or original MSRP)|
|Final Odometer Reading:||80,325 miles|
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.