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    Review: 2014 Dodge Charger SXT


    • Looking At Dodge's Contender In The Full-Size Class


    Back in November, I drove a 2013 Chrysler 300S for a review. After spending a week in it, I came away mightily impressed. So a few weeks after, I spent some quality time with the sister car, the 2014 Dodge Charger. Would I feel the same way as I did in the 300S or I would come away with a different opinion on it?

    Like the Chrysler 300, designers at Dodge decided to keep the basic shape of the Charger and make small improvements here and there. The front end features a crosshair grille and scalloping along the hood to give the Charger a bit of meanness to it. The front doors have a large groove that begins where door meets the fender. This is a definite callback to the 1968 Charger with its grooves on the doors. The back end features the biggest change to the Charger and that is a new trunk lid with large taillight. This taillight has 164 individual LED lights running the whole length of the light. Aside from the Challenger, this was the first Dodge product to get this and has since expanded to other models in the lineup.

    2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus 2

    Walking around the Charger when it first arrived, I got the feeling that I had detective's or undercover cop's car for a week. This is due to grey paint color and the set of eighteen-inch chrome-clad wheels standard on the SXT.

    Moving to the inside, Dodge has improved the Charger greatly. A new dashboard design continues the connection to the old Chargers with a unique graphics on the gauge cluster and a nameplate on the passenger side. There are also improved materials and build quality, something the last-generation model couldn't claim.

    As for space, the 2014 Charger has it in abundance for the front and back seat passengers. The only downside is that you feel somewhat cramped due to a high beltline and a small greenhouse. Comfort is high with very supportive seats in the front and back.

    My test Charger was equipped with the optional 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment system. This system is possibly the easiest and most lag-free I have used in a vehicle yet. The only downside is the navigation system from Garmin that looks like something you get in a Fisher Price toy. However, I don't mind it since it's easy to use and accurate.

    2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus 11

    For Powertrain and Ride Impressions, See Page 2


    The Charger is available with either the 3.6L Pentastar V6 or 5.7L HEMI V8. This model was equipped with the former which packs 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired with a eight-speed automatic from ZF. Much like the Chrysler 300S I drove earlier in the year, the Charger when equipped with the V6 is sublime. The engine always seems to have more than enough power on tap whenever needed. The 3.6L also is one of the smoothest and quietest V6s I have driven. A lot that credit has to go to the eight-speed automatic transmission which provides quick and smooth downshifts to keep the engine right in the sweet spot. I wish the same could be same for the upshifts. Also, I wished Dodge had used something other than the weird gear lever since it's hard to get it into gear you want the first time around. I'm hoping Dodge goes to a rotary knob or a regular lever for the gear selector in the near future.

    2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus 9

    As for fuel economy, the EPA rates the Charger SXT at 19 City/31 Highway/23 Combined. During the week, I saw an average of 23.2 MPG.

    On the ride and handling front, the Charger is a refined big sedan. Road imperfections are non-existent thanks to a nicely tuned suspension and long-wheelbase. Wind and noise are kept down. Show it some corners and the Charger is more than capable of tackling them. Compared to the 300S, the Charger SXT has a little bit more body roll since it uses the standard suspension and not the touring suspension on the S. For most buyers, this isn't such a big deal. Steering is excellent with nice weight and very good road feel.

    When my week concluded with the Charger, I felt the same as the I did with the 300S. Dodge took the Charger and worked on the key areas that needed to be addressed. With those changes, the Charger has become a bonafide competitor in the full-size sedan class and one that deserves a look if you're considering something in the class.

    gallery_10485_777_1375693.jpg

    Disclaimer: Dodge Provided the Charger SXT, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

    Year: 2014

    Make: Dodge

    Model: Charger

    Trim: SXT Plus

    Engine: 3.6L DOHC 24-Valve V6

    Driveline: Rear-Wheel Drive, Eight-Speed Automatic

    Horsepower @ RPM: 292 @ 6,350

    Torque @ RPM: 260 @ 4,800

    Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 19/31/23

    Curb Weight: 3,996 lbs

    Location of Manufacture: Brampton, Ontario

    Base Price: $29.295.00

    As Tested Price: $35,375.00 (Includes $995 Destination Charge)

    Options:

    Customer Preferred Package 28J - $2,000.00

    Driver Confidence Group - $1,495.00

    Navigation/Rear Backup Camera Group - $995.00

    Driver Convenience Group - $595.00

    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.comor you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

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    Great cars but I agree about the gear shifter and also think the interiors could use some spiffing up and more color availability.

    Consider it comes in black, black/tan and black/red I think that's a pretty decent selection. Most cars give you gray or black, and black/tan.

    Dodge-Charger-2013-interior.jpg

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    Nice write up. Good info for a person considering buying it. Loved to see that they dumped their nav for a quality system that Garmin makes. While I would love a dark brown two tone interior, I have to agree that what they offer is more than most out there. In regards to the shifter, this throw back to a automatic shifter that is supposed to pretend to be a Hurst Manual shifter is just dead already.

    Let the electronics do their job and enjoy the 8 speed auto. Go to the rotary knob and free up the center space for other uses. I am so tired of the center shifters that are just in the way. Go to a knob, put it back on the tree with the steering wheel. Automatics will never be equal to the manual. Plus with paddles, use the electronics to give a F1 driving experience and dump the old manual thinking in an Automatic box.

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    a twist action is harder for most folks to accommodate then a simple grab and pull. Door knobs were banished because of the difficulty of grasp and twist.

    It may seem cool because its new in budget cars but its not real ergonomic. I'd even argue its not near as safe to operate as a typical pull lever.

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    a twist action is harder for most folks to accommodate then a simple grab and pull. Door knobs were banished because of the difficulty of grasp and twist.

    It may seem cool because its new in budget cars but its not real ergonomic. I'd even argue its not near as safe to operate as a typical pull lever.

    Interesting, never seen door knobs on cars, only the traditional pull lever.

    In regards to the transmission knob, you can make them easy for everyone in size and feel that is plenty safe. I have seen many people hit their stick on your steering column so anything can be dangerous. I do believe that we are in an age of change and for some it will be hard, but for others it will be easy to move with technology and drive new electronic enhanced auto's.

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    a twist action is harder for most folks to accommodate then a simple grab and pull. Door knobs were banished because of the difficulty of grasp and twist.

    It may seem cool because its new in budget cars but its not real ergonomic. I'd even argue its not near as safe to operate as a typical pull lever.

    If you've ever turned a dial you can operate a rotary gear selector. It's not rocket science, or even 3rd grade level intelligence.

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    a twist action is harder for most folks to accommodate then a simple grab and pull. Door knobs were banished because of the difficulty of grasp and twist.

    It may seem cool because its new in budget cars but its not real ergonomic. I'd even argue its not near as safe to operate as a typical pull lever.

    the shifter in the 8-speed automatic Charger is not the typical pull lever.... in fact, that is exactly the problem. It is rather confounding to use.

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    A rotary knob sounds very strange for a shifter..I'd rather have a column shifter or a normal console shifter.

    Don't knock it till you try it. It took me about 3 seconds to get used to it and I like it.

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    A rotary knob sounds very strange for a shifter..I'd rather have a column shifter or a normal console shifter.

    Don't knock it till you try it. It took me about 3 seconds to get used to it and I like it.

    Does it still have the usual auto trans behaviors--- you still do the normal press the brake to go to reverse? Have to be in park to start?

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    A rotary knob sounds very strange for a shifter..I'd rather have a column shifter or a normal console shifter.

    I test drove a 14 Malibu last wkd and I really like that shifter. One of the nicest shapes and locations I've come across.

    Edited by regfootball
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    Great cars but I agree about the gear shifter and also think the interiors could use some spiffing up and more color availability.

    Consider it comes in black, black/tan and black/red I think that's a pretty decent selection. Most cars give you gray or black, and black/tan.

    Dodge-Charger-2013-interior.jpg

    99% of them are all black interiors. The only one I have ever seen with the red interior was a fully loaded Hemi model with leather. As I said there needs to be more and better interior color combinations and colors on all trim levels. Way too much black.

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    That's the dealer's fault for not ordering more of a selection. Remember, dealers will order stock cars with what they feel will sell. If they got stuck with a leftover car with a vibrant interior color, they will likely not reorder that again.

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    The shifter in question only comes with the 8 speed transmission so the Hemi equipped cars like my MY12 R/T still have the old shift lever.

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      Make: Honda
      Model: Ridgeline
      Trim: RTL-E
      Engine: 3.5L SOHC 24-valve i-VTEC V6
      Driveline: Six-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 280 @ 6,000
      Torque @ RPM: 262 @ 4700
      Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 18/25/21
      Curb Weight: 4,515 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Lincoln, Alabama
      Base Price: $41,370
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      Ram Truck brand sales up 4 percent compared with same month a year ago Three Jeep® brand vehicles record sales increases in February; Jeep Grand Cherokee sales up 11 percent Three Dodge brand vehicles post sales increases in February; Dodge Journey sales up 55 percent  February 1, 2017 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - FCA US LLC today reported U.S. sales of 168,326 units, a 10 percent decrease compared with sales in February 2016 (187,318 units).
       
      In February, fleet sales of 44,898 units were down 26 percent year over year as FCA US continues its strategy of reducing its sales to the daily rental segment. Fleet sales represented 27 percent of total FCA US sales in February. FCA US retail sales of 123,428 units were down 3 percent for the month, and represented 73 percent of total February sales.
       
      Ram Truck brand sales were up 4 percent in February, compared with the same month a year ago. Three Jeep® brand vehicles topped February sales from a year ago, including the Jeep Renegade with an 11 percent increase. Sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the brand’s volume leader in February, were up 11 percent as well. Three Dodge brand vehicles recorded year-over-year sales increases in February led by the Dodge Journey’s 55 percent sales gain. Sales of the Fiat 500 and the all-new Chrysler Pacifica minivan were up year over year as well.
       
      Ram Truck Brand
      Ram Truck brand sales were up 4 percent in February, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the Ram pickup truck increased 5 percent year over year in the month. The brand introduced new special-edition Night packages for Ram 2500 and 3500 HD pickup trucks at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show in February. The new Night editions further expand the Ram factory-custom truck family from the half-ton Ram 1500 announced in September 2016 to the brand’s three-quarter and one-ton models. Production of the 2017 Ram HD Night models began in early February.
       
      Dodge Brand
      The Dodge Challenger, Dodge Journey, and Dodge Viper each posted sales gains in February, led by the Journey’s 55 percent year-over-year increase. The Challenger turned in a 19 percent increase, while Viper sales were up 23 percent in the month. The Dodge brand unveiled the new 2018 Dodge Durango SRT – America’s fastest, most powerful and most capable three-row SUV – at last month’s 2017 Chicago Auto Show. In addition, Kelley Blue Book’s KBB.com announced at the show that the Grand Caravan earned its 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the minivan category for the third time in four years. The awards honor the vehicles and brands (luxury and non-luxury) with the lowest projected ownership costs, based on Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own data for new cars for the initial five-year ownership period.
       
      Jeep Brand
      Three Jeep brand models recorded sales increases in February. Both the Jeep Grand Cherokee – the brand’s volume leader for the month – and the Jeep Renegade posted 11 percent year-over-year sales increases. In addition, the Jeep Wrangler logged a 2 percent increase in February. Jeep brand retail sales were up year over year in February. The latest Wrangler – the new 2017Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Recon – debuted at the Chicago Auto Show last month, featuring improved off-road prowess with a stronger front axle, enhanced rock rails and heavy-duty cast differential covers. Also last month, KBB.com announced at the Chicago Auto Show that the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited earned its 5-Year Cost to Own Award in the Mid-size SUV/Crossover category for a third-consecutive year.
       
      FIAT Brand
      Sales of the Fiat 500 were up 1 percent in February, compared with the same month a year ago. Sales of the new Fiat 124 Spider were up 26 percent compared with the previous month of January. The 124 Spider was named in February as one of the Best Cars for the Money in the Sports Car category by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth, according to the valuation experts at Hagerty, is one of 10 vehicles this year that stand out as the likeliest to grow in value and appeal to classic car enthusiasts. That puts the 124 Spider Abarth on the “Hagerty Hot List” for 2017. 
       
      Chrysler Brand
      Sales of the all-new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica – the most awarded minivan of 2016 and 2017 – were up in its second month of year-over-year comparisons, and increased 36 percent compared with sales in the previous month of January. The Pacifica continues to earn a plethora of awards and accolades in 2017. In February, the Pacifica was named Best Minivan for the Money by U.S. News & World Report, 2017 Family Vehicle of the Year by the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), and MotorWeek’s 2017 Drivers’ Choice Award for Best Minivan. The Chrysler 300 full-size sedan turned in a 2 percent year-over-year increase in February.
        
      Alfa Romeo Brand
      Alfa Romeo brand sales of 443 units were up 843 percent compared with the same month in 2016.
       
      Maserati Brand
      Maserati brand sales of 1,087 units were up 49 percent compared with the same month a year ago.
       
      U.S. Sales Summary February 2017
                Month Sales
      Vol %
      CYTD Sales
      Vol %
      Model
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Curr Yr
      Pr Yr
      Change
      Compass
      2,737
      8,893
      -69%
      5,901
      15,164
      -61%
      Patriot
      5,512
      11,363
      -51%
      10,212
      19,947
      -49%
      Wrangler
      13,641
      13,349
      2%
      24,975
      24,336
      3%
      Cherokee
      13,615
      15,353
      -11%
      26,166
      32,136
      -19%
      Grand Cherokee
      18,925
      16,990
      11%
      36,226
      30,965
      17%
      Renegade
      7,915
      7,115
      11%
      17,280
      13,282
      30%
      JEEP BRAND
      62,345
      73,063
      -15%
      120,760
      135,830
      -11%
      200
      2,194
      6,259
      -65%
      4,055
      10,944
      -63%
      300
      5,386
      5,304
      2%
      10,094
      10,969
      -8%
      Town & Country
      108
      11,645
      -99%
      246
      23,028
      -99%
      Pacifica
      9,042
      71
      New
      15,712
      110
      New
      CHRYSLER BRAND
      16,730
      23,279
      -28%
      30,107
      45,051
      -33%
      Dart
      1,683
      5,824
      -71%
      3,080
      11,104
      -72%
      Avenger
      0
      6
      -100%
      0
      15
      -100%
      Charger
      6,930
      8,765
      -21%
      14,083
      17,547
      -20%
      Challenger
      6,107
      5,142
      19%
      9,500
      10,803
      -12%
      Viper
      54
      44
      23%
      107
      72
      49%
      Journey
      9,906
      6,375
      55%
      22,542
      17,961
      26%
      Caravan
      13,682
      13,978
      -2%
      24,452
      24,933
      -2%
      Durango
      5,516
      6,851
      -19%
      10,223
      12,852
      -20%
      DODGE  BRAND
      43,878
      46,985
      -7%
      83,987
      95,287
      -12%
      Ram P/U
      39,046
      37,087
      5%
      72,815
      69,651
      5%
      Cargo Van
      0
      0
      0%
      0
      2
      -100%
      ProMaster Van
      2,648
      2,697
      -2%
      5,999
      5,039
      19%
      ProMaster City
      1,091
      1,509
      -28%
      2,016
      2,665
      -24%
      RAM BRAND
      42,785
      41,293
      4%
      80,830
      77,357
      4%
      Giulia
      412
      0
      New
      482
      0
      New
      Alfa 4C 
      31
      47
      -34%
      69
      115
      -40%
      ALFA BRAND
      443
      47
      843%
      551
      115
      379%
      500
      1,131
      1,120
      1%
      2,349
      2,101
      12%
      500L
      72
      370
      -81%
      178
      727
      -76%
      500X
      640
      1,161
      -45%
      1,240
      2,202
      -44%
      Spider
      302
      0
      New
      542
      0
      New
      FIAT BRAND
      2,145
      2,651
      -19%
      4,309
      5,030
      -14%
      TOTAL FCA US LLC
      168,326
      187,318
      -10%
      320,544
      358,670
      -11%
          Total Car & MPV
      47,134
      58,575
      -20%
      84,949
      112,468
      -24%
          Total UV's
      78,407
      87,450
      -10%
      154,765
      168,845
      -8%
          Total Truck & LCV
      42,785
      41,293
      4%
      80,830
      77,357
      4%
                    MASERATI BRAND
      1,087
      728
      49%
      1,976
      1,253
      58%

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