Dodge markets the Hemi and SRT Chargers so effectively that you might forget that it’s a still full-size family sedan. Equipped with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive (AWD), the Charger SXT AWD is the antithesis to the SRT Hellcat.
|Engine: 3.6 L V6, 300 HP, 264 lb-ft. (With Rallye Group)
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 18 MPG City, 27 MPG Highway
Price: Pricing for the 2015 Dodge Charger begins at $28,990 after destination charges while the SXT AWD starts at $33,990.
With the death of the Ford Crown Victoria, the Charger is the last true mainstream American rear-wheel drive full-size sedan. The 2015 Charger receives its second significant update since arriving in 2006.
More 1969, More Family Resemblance
Most of its body panel are new for 2015, but it’s the front end where the Charger changes most. Pulling historic styling elements from the legendary 1969 Charger, Dodge also wanted to give the new car a bit more family resemblance to better align it with the Dart and the Durango.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat Review
SXT trimmed models get new LED fog lamps along with half crescent LED daytime running lights. The washer nozzles sit behind the hood now to clean up the appearance from out of the windshield. Dodged wanted to keep the current look of the Charger’s rear end on the new model, saying customers like the wraparound LED taillight design.
Six Cylinders, Eight Speeds, Two Drive Modes
Under the aluminum hood is Chrysler’s ubiquitous 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that normally makes 292 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. My SXT test car came with a slightly more grunt thanks to the addition of the “Rallye Group” that adds a unique cold air intake, sport-tuned exhaust and revised engine calibration that increases output to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque.
In all forms the 2015 Charger comes with a TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission. It’s coupled to the optional AWD system that features a decoupling front transaxle during normal driving conditions to reduce fuel consumption. This leads to impressive fuel ratings for a 4,188-lb AWD car, with official figures pegged at 18 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway. Expect those numbers to lower slightly in slippery conditions as the AWD system will automatically reengage if the temperature is low enough, if rear-wheel slip is detected, or if the windshield wipers are in constant use during messy weather.
Drives Like a Charger, Only Better
The new Charger still drives much like the current models do. There’s still a certain solid feel to Charger that other full-size sedans lack. There is no detectable chassis flex and rebound is kept in check. Rough pavement is still noticeable from the cabin, but overall the ride is reasonably smooth. The suspension leaves the car feeling floaty over big bumps and hills, but the Dodge has the comfort level for the full-size family sedan market nailed.
In SXT AWD trim, the Charger isn’t a sporty car, but it can handle corners well enough for its girth. With the ESP left on, the traction control and the AWD system ensure the rear tires never slip or slide, even on wet roads. Very little noise, vibration or harshness makes its way into the cabin, but the engine can be loud under harder acceleration.
SEE ALSO: Charger Gets a Bumper to Bumper Overhaul
As is the case with most 2015 Chargers, the SXT AWD comes with available programmable electric power steering that can be cycled through three modes: normal, comfort and sport. Despite there being 14 different wheel choices on the 2015 Charger, AWD models are the only cars to come equipped with 19-inch wheels, limiting the choice to just one design wrapped in P235/55R19 tires.
Sort of Revised Inside
The interior is heavily revised for 2015, but the differences might be hard to pick out. unless a lot of time was spent in the old model, the differences may not be immediately apparent. There is a new steering wheel that includes paddle shifters as low in the model line as the SXT AWD model. There are 19 different interior color and material combinations, but many are limited to specific models or trims.
Between the two main gauges is a seven-inch customizable information screen while a five- or 8.4-inch touchscreen dominates the center stack. All Chargers now come standard with keyless enter ‘n go that features push-button ignition. Also available on Chargers is optional WiFi that turns the big sedan into a mobile hotspot.
As I’ve found in every Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 I’ve driven, the upper portion of the front seat is uncomfortable and feels like a plywood board across my upper back. When opting for the sunroof, headroom shrinks by nearly two inches to 36.9 inches, which isn’t much for a big car like this. At just over six feet tall, my head was brushing the roof liner while my 6’6” co-driver had no room at all. Rear seat space is ample for adult passengers with 40.1 inches of legroom. Being a full-size car, the trunk is massive with the ability to swallow 16.5 cubic feet of cargo.
Pricing for the 2015 Dodge Charger begins at $28,990 after destination charges while the SXT AWD starts at $33,990. Of course, plenty of options are available and the SXT AWD can easily approach $40,000 if you’re aggressive in ticking boxes on the options sheet.
In a shrinking segment, the Charger offers traditional large-sedan characteristics alongside modern technology. Unlike a lot of its full-size competitors, the Charger isn’t just available as a family hauler, but in a number of higher performance configurations as well. This gives the car a little more clout and appeal in a well-executed package. The SXT is the perfect big car for anyone who needs practicality and economy, but want the image of performance.