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The Dodge Magnum welcomed us to the American station wagon, Version 2.0. Most of us are familiar with the first version, the one that populated American roadways in the 1950s, '60s and '70s before being displaced by minivans and SUVs. Station wagon 2.0 was supposed to be a rebirth of sorts. The Dodge Magnum was intended to prove that the wagon could be cool again.
In terms of style, power and utility, there was nothing else quite like the Magnum. It attracted plenty of well-deserved attention because of its styling. Its long, low stance and flat tail end called to mind those wagons of decades past, but a rising beltline, tapering roof line, short overhangs, trucklike grille and prominent wheels gave it a contemporary and sporty appearance.
Sadly, Wagon Version 2.0 lived a short life. Apparently Dodge couldn't shake the Country Squire memories of Version 1.0, because it pulled the plug on the Magnum following 2008 due to slow sales. The Magnum still makes for an intriguing used car, though, particularly in V8-powered guise.
Most Recent Dodge Magnum
The Dodge Magnum was sold from 2005-'08. When last sighted at Dodge dealerships, the Magnum was available in four trim levels -- SE, SXT, R/T and SRT8 -- which provided increasing levels of standard equipment and performance features. For power, the Magnum SE was equipped with a 200-horsepower V6. It provided adequate acceleration at best. Most will prefer either the 250-hp V6 in the SXT or the R/T's 340-hp V8. The SRT8 had an even larger V8 good for 425 hp. An automatic transmission was standard with all four engines.
Most Magnums were rear-wheel drive, but Dodge offered all-wheel-drive (AWD) versions of the SXT and RT. Because of their added traction capabilities, these AWD wagons could serve well as an SUV alternative for consumers living in poor-weather climates. No Magnum was really meant for towing, however.
In reviews of the Dodge Magnum, our editors praised the vehicle's roomy and comfortable interior, useful cargo area and inspiring performance. Though their fuel economy is naturally on the low side, the V8-equipped models are well suited for both long-distance cruising and stoplight encounters. The Magnum SRT8, for instance, can clear the quarter-mile mark in fewer than 14 seconds. Handling capabilities are also surprisingly composed on the higher level trims.
When the Magnum debuted for the 2005 model year, the RWD SXT model had a four-speed automatic transmission, but it was upgraded to a five-speed unit later in 2006 (AWD SXTs always had a five-speed). The optional R/T Performance Group model that arrived for 2007 added 10 horses, and an inside-out update for 2008 included higher-quality cabin materials and a more upscale appearance.