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2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop First Test: A More Edgy, Family-Sedan Alternative?

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 6/8/2016 Megan Stewart, Robin Trajano

When you hear Dodge Charger, the thoughts that spring to mind are usually power, performance, and engine growl. Although these descriptors may be accurate for the V-8-powered models, they're not too close when describing the subdued 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop. This model is more family sedan than weekend warrior, but under the right circumstances, it can offer a glimpse of what the performance-oriented Charger models are capable of. That isn't to say that the SXT is a dud by any means, but rather it has a different consumer in mind than a Scat Pack or Hellcat customer.

The Charger Blacktop edition gets power from a 3.6-liter V-6 that pumps out 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque. Those may seem like impressive numbers, but a curb weight of nearly 4,100 pounds can hinder quick acceleration. Even though the Blacktop is rather heavy, it sprints to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds and completes the quarter mile in 14.8 seconds at 94.9 mph; the figure eight took 25.7 seconds. When out on the town, the lack of power wasn't as noticeable, but when trying to merge onto the freeway, it was a hindrance. Even with the gas pedal pressing into the floormat, it took a second for the Charger to get going.

The paddle shifters, which should have offered more of an engaging, performance-oriented drive, also felt lacking. It felt like we were still in Drive and not in the manual/Sport mode. The engine revs would continue to climb as the car crept along from a standstill, throwing off when we would normally upshift. However, at higher gears, it was easier to shift at proper intervals. We expected more of an engine growl when using the paddle shifters, but the engine was so subdued and quiet that we had to roll down the windows and turn off the radio just to hear it.

Despite the lack of solid power, the Charger SXT Blacktop shined in other areas. The brakes were strong and confident whether stopping abruptly or gradually. Handling was top-notch with excellent grip in sharp, quick corners and stiff steering. The ride itself was smooth, and road imperfections were barely felt. The Charger had no issues when making tight turns around town, and even though it's a rather large sedan, weaving through traffic was a breeze, making us think we were in a much smaller car.

2016 Dodge Charger SXT front three quarters© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Dodge Charger SXT front three quarters

Behind the wheel, we noticed the comfortable front seats with plenty of side bolstering that surprisingly didn't hinder us from moving the shift knob. The interior itself was quiet, even at high speeds, thanks in part to the quieter-than-expected engine. We weren't the biggest fans of the amount of not-so-soft-touch plastic in the cabin, and every surface on the dash and doors seemed to be outfitted with it. The center stack was simple and clean with an infotainment system that was easy to use. Although there were steering wheel-mounted controls for the infotainment system, we opted not to use them, as they were located on the reverse side of the steering wheel, just under the paddle shifters.

What separates the Charger SXT Blacktop from the standard SXT is an appearance package that features a striking B5 Blue Pearl exterior paint color, a solid black interior, 20-inch gloss black-painted aluminum wheels, a satin black performance spoiler, dark-brushed interior accents, a leather-wrapped performance steering wheel, and black-edged premium floormats. Nothing changes under the hood, but this model could definitely do with a slight power bump.

The 2016 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop is ideal for customers looking for a little more edge in their daily driver. This large sedan is a great alternative to traditional sedans, offering plenty of cargo room, passenger room, and technology. Although the performance may not be where we would like, it likely won't be a hindrance to those buying the SXT.

2016 Dodge Charger SXT (Blacktop)
BASE PRICE $31,985
PRICE AS TESTED $37,360
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, RWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan
ENGINE 3.6L/300-hp/264-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,081 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 120.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 198.4 x 75.0 x 58.2 in
0-60 MPH 6.4 sec
QUARTER MILE 14.8 sec @ 94.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 110 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.88 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 25.7 sec @ 0.72 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 19/31/23 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 177/109 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.84 lb/mile

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