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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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