2017 Dodge Charger Review
When it comes to the 2017 Dodge Charger, let's just go ahead and throw our "sensible car-selection advice" guidebook into the trash can. If you're looking for a spacious, refined, comfortable, state-of-the-art and efficient large sedan, turn your attention to a Toyota Avalon or Buick LaCrosse. By virtually every sensible measure, they are better cars.
However, the Charger is best suited for drivers who really aren't that sensible. It's a car for folks who want a car that looks cool, that makes cool noises and that even comes in cool colors such as Green Go, Yellow Jacket and Contusion Blue. You want power? The Charger can be fitted with a V8, an even bigger V8 or a V8 with so much power that it could probably qualify for NASCAR duty. And even if you just want a car that looks as if it has one of those monster engines, there's a perfectly agreeable (and more affordable) V6 available.
Of course, it's still wise to keep in mind those sensibility issues we alluded to earlier: The Charger isn't as refined or comfortable as more recently redesigned large sedans such as the Avalon, LaCrosse and Kia Cadenza. Checking out the sharp-handling Chevrolet SS is also a good idea — it's the only rear-wheel-drive muscle sedan that really measures up to the admittedly more flamboyant Charger. Ultimately, though, the Charger is unabashedly a different sort of car for a different sort of people. You don't need a "sensible car-selection advice" guidebook to understand that.
Standard safety features for the Charger include stability and traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side-impact airbags, a driver knee airbag and side curtain airbags. 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 monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert, a lane departure warning and intervention system, and a forward collision warning and mitigation system with automatic braking that's bundled with adaptive cruise control. 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 nevertheless impressive given the Charger's formidable curb weight. The SRT Hellcat stopped from 60 mph in a remarkable 103 feet.
The government gave the Charger its best possible five-star overall crash test rating, which included four stars for front-impact safety and five stars for side-impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Charger its highest rating of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact and roof strength crash tests. However, it received a rating of Marginal (second worst of four) in the small-overlap front-impact crash test. Its forward collision warning and automatic braking system was awarded a Superior rating.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Dodge Charger is a full-size sedan offered in these trim levels: SE, SXT, R/T, Daytona, R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat. All are rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is optional on the SE and SXT.
Standard equipment on the SE is a V6 engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone manual climate control, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40-split folding backseat, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 5-inch Uconnect touchscreen, Bluetooth connectivity, front and rear USB ports, and a six-speaker sound system with an auxiliary audio jack and a media player interface. The Popular Equipment Group adds remote ignition, rear parking sensors and a satellite radio. The Power Sunroof Group adds a sunroof and a rear spoiler.
The SXT adds 18-inch wheels, LED foglamps, heated mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming mirror, an eight-way power-adjustable driver seat (plus four-way lumbar adjustment), upgraded cloth upholstery, an upgraded six-speaker sound system, an additional USB port up front, and the upgraded 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone app integration.
The optional Rallye Group package adds more power, special styling, 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, and a 10-speaker BeatsAudio sound system. You can also get the Super Track Pak package for the SXT that adds many of the handling-enhancing features available on the V8-powered upper trim levels.
The R/T is equipped similarly to the SXT but has a V8 engine, upgraded brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, 20-inch wheels and transmission paddle shifters.
The SXT and R/T can be equipped with the Plus Group, which includes xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, heated and ventilated eight-way power front seats (with four-way lumbar adjustment), driver-seat memory functions, leather upholstery, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel. The optional Premium Group also includes those items plus automatic wipers, a power-adjustable steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert, navigation software added to the Uconnect system, and a 10-speaker BeatsAudio sound system. The navigation system and rearview camera are available together in a separate package as well.
Going with the Charger Daytona gets you the R/T's special exterior styling elements and interior trim, a further upgraded performance suspension, forged alloy wheels, leather and simulated-suede upholstery, and the Premium Group content with the exception of navigation and BeatsAudio, which are available separately.
The R/T Scat Pack adds to the R/T a bigger V8 engine, upgraded performance brakes, a further upgraded "high-performance" suspension, the rear parking sensors, rearview camera and eight-way power front seats. Leather and simulated-suede upholstery is optional, and with it you get the heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats.
The Daytona 392 essentially combines the Daytona and R/T Scat Pack features, along with further upgraded brakes.
Available on all but the SE is the Driver Confidence Group, which adds an auto-dimming driver-side mirror, rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Available on the Daytonas, R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 is the Technology Group, which adds those Driver Confidence items plus automatic wipers, a lane departure warning and intervention system, automatic high beams, a forward collision warning and automatic braking system, and the power-adjustable steering wheel.
The SRT 392 adds to the R/T Scat Pack an adaptive suspension, forged alloy wheels, the Daytona 392's upgraded brakes, xenon headlamps, the blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, all-leather upholstery, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and the Uconnect navigation system. The Technology Group is optional.
The SRT Hellcat adds to the SRT 392 content a more powerful supercharged V8, upgraded steering and suspension tuning, and all of the above options. It reverts to the manual-adjustable steering wheel and eliminates the four-way power lumbar seating, but you can get the latter as well as the power-adjustable wheel as part of the Power Convenience Group.
A 19-speaker Harman Kardon sound system is optional on the SRT 392 and the Hellcat.
An eight-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard on every Dodge Charger. All-wheel drive is optional only on the SE and SXT.
The SE and SXT are powered by a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 292 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. The optional Rallye Group bumps output to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 23 mpg combined (19 city/30 highway) with rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive lowers it to 21 mpg (18 city/27 highway).
The R/T and Daytona have a 5.7-liter V8 good for 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 19 mpg (16 city/25 highway).
The R/T Scat Pack and both 392 trim levels have a 6.4-liter V8 good for 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque. This engine brought the Charger from zero to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds in Edmunds testing. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 18 mpg (15 city/25 highway), but that may be conservative, as we achieved a remarkable 25.6 mpg on the diverse 120-mile Edmunds evaluation route.
And then there's the Hellcat, which packs a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that boasts an otherworldly 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. In Edmunds testing, it went from zero to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, which doesn't really speak to how much more powerful and fast it feels compared to the other models. There's only so much a pair of rear tires can do to put all that power to the ground. Fuel economy, should you possibly care, is 16 mpg (13 city/22 highway).
With all the various 2017 Charger models, engines, suspensions and even steering tuning available, it's probably no surprise that driving impressions can vary widely. Inevitably, though, the 2017 Dodge Charger proves that driving a large sedan doesn't have to be boring. The base V6-powered cars are softly tuned and aren't much fun to drive enthusiastically around turns, but the performance-oriented models demonstrate precise steering and very good body control, which helps driver confidence. The latter improves incrementally with each higher level of the available sport-tuned suspensions, although the ride also becomes firmer with each as well.
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 2017 Charger R/T'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 the 392 trim brings a larger, gloriously American 6.4-liter V8 that serves up downright beastly acceleration with a soundtrack to match. And then there's the SRT Hellcat, one of the most absurdly powerful cars on the planet. Is 707 hp really needed, especially in light of the 392 engine? Of course not, but there's no other four-door car in this price range that accelerates with that kind of ferocity.
Although the 2017 Dodge Charger is oriented toward performance, its cabin has a much broader appeal thanks to a sleek dashboard design. There are some rather large expanses of plastic and black rubbery trim that may be off-putting, but given the Charger's asking price, interior quality is appropriate. 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 even quicker responses for 2017. Even the smaller 5-inch screen in the base SE model works well.
The Charger has a vast amount of shoulder room, and the front seats are as roomy as you'd expect in a large sedan. In fact those of small stature may actually feel as if they're being swallowed up by the gargantuan chairs. The mix of leather and simulated-suede upholstery in certain Chargers is appealing and improves support during spirited driving.
The backseat provides plenty of room, but rival front-wheel-drive sedans generally offer more headroom, and their legroom isn't compromised by a massive driveshaft tunnel. Compared to other performance-oriented cars, however, the Charger offers a sensational amount of space. The same could be said about the trunk, although at 16.5 cubic feet, it too is unremarkable for a large sedan.
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.