2016 Dodge Charger Review
Pros & Cons
- Burly V8 engines deliver big-time power and authentic muscle car attitude
- controlled and secure handling when going around turns
- many available options provide plenty of opportunity for personalization
- available all-wheel-drive traction for wet weather
- touchscreen tech interfaces are easy to use.
- Lower fuel efficiency of V8-heavy lineup
- hard to see out the back because of the small rear window and thick roof pillars
- rear seat has less room for adults than other large sedan competitors.
Edmunds' Expert Review
The 2016 Dodge Charger is bold, muscular and loaded with heritage. If you're shopping for family sedan transportation that's also plenty of fun, the Charger may be just the right car for you. Check out our review to find out why.
If you're looking for a large sedan with equal parts performance, luxury and attitude, the 2016 Dodge Charger is uniquely well qualified among today's entrants. Most rival sedans employ front-wheel drive, for one thing, whereas the Charger is unapologetically rear-wheel drive, with AWD available on V6 models only. The big Dodge is also one of the only sedans in its price range to offer V8 power, ranging from the bargain-priced R/T model to the notorious 707-horsepower Hellcat. Throw in brash styling and plenty of fun options packages, and you've got a special sedan that continues to deliver strong value in its segment.
The 2016 Dodge Charger offers a fantastic combination of performance, space, features and model lineup diversity.
Although the loud, high-performance Charger models get all the press, this bruiser can also play nice with the best of them. Stick with the V6-powered SE or SXT and you'll enjoy traditional American sedan qualities like an absorbent ride, a quiet cabin and many amenities for the money. That's not to say the Charger is old-school, however; on the contrary, its touchscreen infotainment systems are first-rate, and its eight-speed automatic transmission has a couple more cogs than some competitors. Dodge has also left plenty of room for personalization, so whether you want a comfort-oriented Charger or a track-ready performance version, chances are you'll be able to build it your way.
The Charger is a hot prospect among affordable large sedans, but it's not the only one. For a more restrained take on the same formula, try the Charger's corporate sibling, the Chrysler 300. Among the numerous front-wheel-drive stalwarts in this segment, we recommend the roomy Chevrolet Impala, the well-equipped Kia Cadenza and the tried-and-true Toyota Avalon, which is even offered as a hybrid in case the Charger's unimpressive fuel economy is bumming you out. Overall, the 2016 Dodge Charger may not be for everyone, but if you like the idea of full-size family transportation that's also plenty of fun, it's going to be hard to resist.
2016 Dodge Charger models
The 2016 Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan offered in SE, SXT, R/T, R/T Road & Track, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat trims. All models are rear-wheel drive, but the SE and SXT offer optional all-wheel drive.
The 2016 Charger SE standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone manual air-conditioning, a six-way power driver seat, 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a six-speaker audio system with a 5-inch touchscreen interface, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and USB and auxiliary audio inputs as well as dual charge-only USB ports. Choose all-wheel drive for the Charger SE and you'll also get 19-inch alloy wheels and larger brakes.
Move to the Charger SXT and the standard equipment list grows, with 18-inch wheels (19s with AWD), LED foglights, heated mirrors, remote ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar adjustment), an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface (with Uconnect Access smartphone-app integration and voice commands), satellite radio and an upgraded audio system.
Choosing the SXT trim also brings access to many of the 2016 Charger's major option packages. The Plus package adds xenon headlights, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a power front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated rear seats and LED interior lighting. The Premium Group adds 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension (rear-wheel-drive models only), automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning and mitigation system, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a navigation system, satellite and HD radio and an upgraded 10-speaker Beats audio system.
If you don't want all of these items, Dodge has also grouped many of them into smaller packages with their own themes. The Rallye Group, for example, adds a slight power upgrade for the V6 (taking it to 300 hp), 20-inch black alloy wheels, a sport-tuned suspension (RWD only), sporty styling flourishes (including a rear deck lid spoiler) and paddle shifters along with the Beats audio system. The SXT's Super Track Pak, meanwhile, adds a lowered ride height (by half an inch), upgraded brakes and a sport-tuned suspension with Bilstein dampers, along with shorter gearing for more responsive acceleration and Dodge's Performance Pages software (providing real-time performance information).
Moving to the Charger R/T trim gets the SXT's standard equipment and adds a 5.7-liter V8, 20-inch wheels, a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes. In addition to that list, the R/T Road & Track model comes with xenon headlights, launch control, upgraded brakes, a more aggressive Super Track Pak suspension tune, three-mode stability control, rear parking sensors, driver memory functions, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, leather and synthetic-suede upholstery, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and Performance Pages.
Offered for both the SXT and R/T is a Blacktop Appearance package that adds 20-inch gloss-black wheels, various black trim elements, a sport steering wheel and (on SXT) a sport-tuned suspension.
The 2016 Charger's performance is upgraded even more with the R/T Scat Pack trim, which brings a 485-hp 6.4-liter V8, a limited-slip rear differential, sport bodywork, upgraded Brembo brakes, a rearview camera, a sportier suspension calibration, selectable three-mode power steering, aluminum-trimmed pedals and cloth sport seats. Note that the Scat Pack model lacks a number of the Road & Track's interior amenities, some of which can be added via the Scat Pack's handful of packages and options.
From the entry-level SE to the outrageous Hellcat, there is a Dodge Charger for just about any large sedan shopper.
Next up is the Charger SRT 392. It's fitted with the same 6.4-liter V8 as the Scat Pack, but it adds upgraded Brembo brakes, an active exhaust system, an upgraded suspension with three-mode adaptive shock absorbers, xenon headlights, all the interior amenities from the Road & Track model (plus upgraded leather upholstery), a flat-bottom steering wheel, HD radio, a navigation system and SRT Performance Pages, which builds upon the Dodge Performance Pages feature with even more elaborate performance-related measurements.
At the top of the 2016 Dodge Charger food chain and eating everything in sight is the SRT Hellcat. In addition to most of the other models' performance-related upgrades, the Hellcat adds a more powerful supercharged 6.2-liter V8, a hood with heat extraction vents, aluminum interior trim, a special power-limiting keyless remote in addition to a full-power key fob, and blind-spot monitoring. Choose the Hellcat and you also are entitled to the SRT one-day driving school.
Performance & mpg
An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all 2016 Dodge Charger models, as is rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional only on the SE and SXT, which feature a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 292 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. The optional Rallye Group boosts output to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy for the SE and SXT is 23 mpg combined (19 city/31 highway). Fitted with the optional all-wheel-drive system, fuel economy is 21 mpg combined (18/27).
The Charger R/T and R/T Road & Track step up to a 5.7-liter V8 rated at 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg combined (16/25).
The Charger R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 trims boast a 6.4-liter V8 that cranks out 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg combined (15/25), but that may be conservative, as we achieved a remarkable 25.6 mpg on the diverse 120-mile Edmunds evaluation route.
In Edmunds track testing, an R/T Scat Pack went from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds.
Finally, the 2016 Charger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that pumps out an astounding 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The EPA estimates fuel economy for the SRT Hellcat at 16 mpg combined (13/22).
At our test track, the SRT Hellcat sprinted to 60 mph in a blistering 4.1 seconds.
Standard safety features for the Charger include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side-impact airbags, a driver knee airbag, side curtain airbags and active front head restraints.
Standard on some Charger models and optional for others are rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Optional advanced safety features include a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system that's bundled with adaptive cruise control. The frontal collision mitigation system can initiate automatic braking at all speeds if the driver does not respond in a potential collision situation. Dodge Chargers with Uconnect Access offer remote vehicle access (via a smartphone app), emergency assistance and text notifications if the alarm goes off.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Charger R/T Scat Pack came to a stop from 60 mph in 111 feet, which is typical for a performance car with summer tires, but a bit more impressive in this case due to the Charger's formidable curb weight. The SRT Hellcat stopped from 60 in a remarkable 103 feet.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Charger its highest rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Charger's seat/head restraint design was also rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts. However, the Charger received a rating of "Marginal" (second-worst of four) in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test.
The 2016 Dodge Charger proves that driving a large sedan doesn't have to be boring. The steering feels sporty and precise, and while the ride quality is supple and forgiving on bad surfaces, this big car offers impressive control and balance when you hustle it around tight turns. That's especially true if you specify some of the Charger's myriad performance upgrades, including multiple sport suspension offerings and an available three-mode stability control system that provides extra leeway in spirited motoring. Happily, the Charger is downright sedate in normal driving, with much lower ambient noise levels than its brash styling and performance would suggest.
Barn find! The 2016 Dodge Charger's performance should help make it a future muscle car classic.
For power, the 3.6-liter V6 (Charger SE or SXT) is adequate, but it can feel outmatched at times by the sedan's weight. We've also noticed that this engine sounds a bit coarse when you're accelerating hard at higher rpm. Stepping up to the 2016 Charger's 5.7-liter V8 solves both problems. This is classic American muscle car power at its best, and the engine works brilliantly with the eight-speed automatic transmission to provide effortless performance at any speed.
Moving up to the R/T Scat Pack or SRT 392 not only brings a larger V8, but an added degree of handling capability. This extra speed and athleticism comes at the expense of a firmer ride, but after putting the 6.4-liter V8 through its paces, you may not care. This is a glorious American V8, serving up downright beastly acceleration with a soundtrack to match. Of course, the SRT Hellcat is even beastlier, though its heavier engine adds weight in the nose, blunting the car's sporting edge to an extent. Given the Hellcat's sobering price premium, too, the 6.4-liter Charger models may be the sweet spot for driving enthusiasts.
Although the 2016 Dodge Charger is oriented toward performance, its cabin has a much broader appeal thanks to a sleek dashboard design and quality materials. The lower trim levels have some rather large expanses of plastic that may be off-putting, but overall, this is one of the nicer interiors you'll find for the money. The aesthetics are further enhanced by some retro-inspired touches here and there, including the T-handle shifter for the automatic transmission. We're also fans of the 8.4-inch touchscreen interface, as it has large "virtual" buttons, an intuitive layout and fairly quick responses. Even the smaller 5-inch screen in the base SE model looks good and works well.
The all-black interior can look a bit dour, but overall the 2016 Charger impresses with plenty of room and a great touchscreen interface.
There's a vast amount of shoulder room in the 2016 Charger, and the front seats are as roomy as you'd expect in a full-size sedan, to the point that those of small stature may feel as if they're being swallowed up by the gargantuan chairs. The mix of leather and suede upholstery in certain models is appealing and improves support during spirited driving. Those in the rear also enjoy a wealth of hip- and shoulder room, though the massive tunnel for the driveshaft to the rear wheels compromises rear footwell space, and headroom can be tight for taller occupants.
The Charger's 16.5-cubic-foot trunk capacity is respectable for this class. All models feature folding rear seatbacks, so it's possible to carry bulkier items if you don't need the rear seats for passengers.