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2017 Dodge Charger: What You Need to Know

US News & World Report - Cars logo US News & World Report - Cars 4/7/2017 U.S. News & World Report

© Dodge
The 2017 Dodge Charger delivers solid entertainment technology, roomy interior and cargo space, and decent V6 performance for a good price. Unfortunately, there are lots of cheap plastics in the base model, and it offers few safety features in any trim.

The 2017 Dodge Charger is ranked:

Is the Dodge Charger a Good Car?

The 2017 Dodge Charger has a reputation as a performance sedan thanks to its available lineup of powerful V8 engines – the top-line Hellcat’s eight-cylinder spits out 707 horsepower. However, the Charger’s base V6 engine with 292 horsepower is more than adequate for most consumers. Additionally, it returns 30 mpg on the highway. You can upgrade to the V8s for more power, but your fuel economy will drop. Plus, that extra oomph isn’t useful for most daily driving situations.

Uninspiring hard plastic materials dilute the Charger’s interior appeal, but that’s more than made up for by its good entertainment technology – so long as you’re buying above the base trim. Starting with the SXT trim, you get the newest Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch screen, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

When you test-drive the Charger make sure you're OK with its outward visibility. The Charger’s large pillars at the windshield and between the doors can make it difficult to see around the car. It’s also worth noting that the base Charger has only the most basic safety equipment.

Still, the 2017 Dodge Charger is a good sedan at a good price, with lots of infotainment options and a solid base engine. You can nicely upgrade the Charger too.

Should I Buy the Dodge Charger?

The 2017 Dodge Charger starts at $27,995, one of the lowest prices among large cars. You get a lot for your money – the standard potent V6 engine being the obvious perk. It also offers excellent legroom for rear-seat passengers. In addition, the Charger is just one of two cars in this class (along with the Chrysler 300) that provides standard rear-wheel drive, which tends to deliver better handling than front-wheel-drive vehicles. The Charger’s interior, however, leaves much to be desired, with lots of hard plastics and a rather utilitarian design. Depending upon your needs, there are better options.

If you can live with less horsepower, the Chevrolet Impala is worth a look. It’s about $700 cheaper and comes with a four-cylinder engine that makes about 100 less horsepower, though that’s plenty for most folks’ day-to-day driving. Need cargo space? The Impala has you covered there, too, offering about an ironing board’s worth of extra storage room compared to the Charger. The Nissan Maxima is another car to consider. It costs several thousand dollars more than the Charger but has a standard V6, as well as one of the better cabins in the class.

© Dodge

How Much Does the Dodge Charger Cost?

At $27,995, the 2017 Dodge Charger is among the lowest-priced V6 vehicles in the large car segment. For that good price you get three USB ports, an SD card reader, a six-speaker audio system, and the Uconnect infotainment system with Bluetooth and a 5-inch touch screen.

You’ll find a better value in the SXT trim ($29,995). It offers the new Uconnect infotainment system with an 8.4-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Other touches worth the additional investment include heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, among others.

Both the SE and SXT trims offer all-wheel drive as an option for $2,250 and $2,000, respectively. It’s not offered in any of the V8 trims, of which there are six.

The RT trim starts at $34,790 and comes with a 5.7-liter V8. The Daytona trim, new for 2017, features performance and styling upgrades for $39,890. The RT Scat Pack includes a 6.4-liter V8 and performance tweaks for $39,995. The Daytona 392 shares the same engine and adds performance tires, upgraded aluminum wheels, and Daytona logo leather seats for $44,495. The SRT 392 adds a three-mode adaptive suspension for $51,145.

The Charger tops out with the SRT Hellcat, which will set you back at least $67,645. You get a 707-horsepower V8: the most powerful four-door sedan sold in the United States. That high price, however, doesn’t mean the Hellcat comes packed with luxury items. Instead, to save weight for better performance, Dodge eliminates items such as floor mats, the power passenger seat, and power tilt/telescoping steering. You do get Uconnect with Navigation, which features touch and swipe features like you might find on a smartphone.

Dodge Charger Versus the Competition

© ChevroletWhich Is Better: Dodge Charger or Chevrolet Impala?

Even with a less-powerful base 197-horsepower four-cylinder engine, the Chevrolet Impala is a better choice than the Dodge Charger and its base 292-horsepower V6. The two large sedans’ cabins are about equal in size, but the Impala's offers 4 more inches of front-seat legroom. Also, the Impala has more trunk space: 18.8 cubic feet versus the Charger’s 16.5 cubic feet.

The Charger has its advantages. If you like power, you'll be pleased with its standard V6 engine. You’ll also get more technology in the Charger’s base trim. Standard features include three USB ports, a six-speaker audio system, and the Uconnect infotainment system with Bluetooth and a 5-inch touch screen. The Impala has a small 4.2-inch screen that lacks touch functionality, so you’ll have to use physical buttons to manipulate the menu items.

The Charger starts at $27,995, which is about $700 more than the Impala's base price. You can add an optional six-cylinder engine to the Impala, but you’ll pay around $400 more than you will for the base Charger.

Overall, the Impala is the better large car. It has a well-designed and roomy interior, with mostly high-quality materials. The back seat is spacious, even for a large sedan, and the four-cylinder engine is up to daily driving challenges.

© NissanWhich Is Better: Dodge Charger or Nissan Maxima?

The Nissan Maxima is a five-seat sedan that starts at $32,610. Its base model comes standard with excellent technology features – better than any other base model in the class. The Charger can match it, but only in upper trims.

The Dodge Charger in the SXT trim with the Uconnect Navigation package costs $31,185, which is still $1,425 below the base price of the Maxima. The Maxima offers Android Auto. The Charger comes with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The Charger also has more cargo room than the Maxima, with 16.5 cubic feet of space to the Maxima’s 14.3 cubic feet: the equivalent of two additional pieces of carry-on luggage. Both have folding rear seats for additional space.

The big difference comes in the passenger cabin. The Nissan Maxima’s exterior dimensions make it a large car, but the interior volume is comparable with cars in the midsize car class. The Maxima offers more front-legroom than the Charger (45 inches versus 41.8 inches), but rear-seat passengers get pinched with 34.2 inches in the Maxima compared with 40.1 in the Charger.

You’ll spend less on the Charger but get comparable technology, along with more passenger and cabin space. That makes the Charger the better choice.

© DodgeCharger Interior

How Many People Does the Charger Seat?

The 2017 Charger seats five and comes standard with cloth upholstery and a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat. Upfront the seats offer adequate support but not enough comfort for long drives. The rear seats are mostly roomy, but some taller passengers might want more rear headroom.

Charger and Car Seats

The Charger has three LATCH car-seat systems in each of its rear seats. The upper tether anchors are easy to find in all three seats. The lower anchors, however, are buried deep in the seat, and a lot of force is needed to attach a child seat. Additionally, it's challenging to maneuver around anchors in the middle seat.

Charger Interior Quality

The Dodge Charger's low $27,995 starting price is one of its better features. However, you sacrifice a bit of quality. Lower-level models have cheap cloth upholstery and some hard plastic trim pieces. Higher-grade models fix the issue with soft leather and upgraded trim, but the price shoots past $30,000.

Charger Cargo Space

At 16.5 cubic feet, trunk space in the Charger is average for the class. Split-folding rear seats open up more storage space. The Chevrolet Impala has much more space at 18.8 cubic feet. The Nissan Maxima lags behind both, with 14.3 cubic feet of trunk space.

Charger Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the 2017 Charger’s Uconnect infotainment system include three USB ports, Bluetooth, and a 5-inch touch screen. A new 8.4-inch touch screen Uconnect system comes standard in the SXT trim and above. It includes performance improvements and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An available 8.4-inch touch screen with navigation offers multitouch gestures with pinch, tap, and swipe capability.

Standard features in the 2017 Chevy Impala include a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, satellite radio, an infotainment system with a 4.2-inch display, Bluetooth phone connectivity, and OnStar with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. The Nissan Maxima comes standard with NissanConnect, which features HD Radio, satellite radio, navigation, Bluetooth, a pair of USB ports, and voice and gesture commands. For 2017, Apple CarPlay joins the standard list of infotainment features.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

© DodgeCharger Performance

The base SE trim and the SXT trim come with a 292-horsepower V6 engine, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is optional for V6 models only. You’ll pay either $2,000 or $2,250, depending on the trim. The R/T and Daytona trims have a 370-horsepower V8 engine. The R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, and SRT 392 have a 485-horsepower V8. Finally, the SRT Hellcat has a 707-horsepower supercharged V8.

A 2.75-inch electronically controlled active exhaust system is new for 2017 in all 5.7-liter Hemi V8 Charger models, including the Daytona. This system delivers a richer, satisfying muscle-car sound.

The Chevy Impala comes standard with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 197 horsepower. A 305-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 is optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard with either power plant. A 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine powers the front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima. A continuously variable automatic transmission with simulated gear changes is standard

The base Charger has slightly less horsepower than the Maxima, but the Charger’s base V6 is the better choice because it’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission that delivers better performance than the Nissan’s continuously variable transmission, which acts like an automatic but emphasizes fuel economy over performance.

Charger Gas Mileage: A Thirsty Hellcat

The base rear-wheel-drive Dodge Charger gets an EPA-estimated 19 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, which is competitive with other models featuring a V6. All-wheel-drive models drop to 27 mpg on the highway and 18 in the city. The 5.7-liter V8 gets 16 mpg in the city and 25 on the highway, while the 6.4-liter V8 returns 15/25 mpg city/highway. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 found in the Charger Hellcat gets 13/22 mpg city/highway. Average fuel costs range from $1,500 for the V6 to $2,650 for the Hellcat, which runs on premium fuel.

The front-wheel-drive Chevrolet Impala’s four-cylinder engine gets 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway, while the V6 gets 19 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. Annual fuel costs for the four-cylinder engine are $1,400, with the V6 estimated at $1,600. The front-wheel-drive Nissan Maxima V6 engine gets 21/30 mpg city/highway. Its annual fuel cost is higher, at $1,700, because it runs on premium fuel.

Charger Ride and Handling: Good for a Large Car

Rear-wheel drive is standard in the 2017 Charger and all-wheel drive is available in the SE and SXT trims for an additional $2,250 and $2,000 respectively. The Charger shows athletic handling and cornering ability, though it occasionally suffers from understeer, which is when the car doesn't turn as much as you intended.

The front-wheel-drive Chevy Impala provides a comfortable ride and can absorb bumps on the road. While it doesn’t boast sports-car-like handling, the Impala’s electric steering gives the driver confidence going through turns and twisting roads. Nissan markets the Maxima as a “four-door sports car.” While it may not live up to this name entirely, it delivers on handling. Body lean is minimal, and it hugs corners better than most cars in its class and even many midsize cars.

Rear-wheel-drive sedans provide better handling than front-wheel-drive vehicles because they distribute weight more evenly between front and back. Front-wheel-drive vehicles place all the weight in the front of the vehicle. That makes the Charger the better choice when it comes to handling.

Charger Reliability

Is the Dodge Charger Reliable?

The 2017 Dodge Charger scores three out of five in predicted reliability, according to J.D. Power and Associates. The score, considered average compared with other vehicles on the road, is below the Chevrolet Impala, rated four, and the Nissan Maxima, rated 3.5.

Dodge Charger Warranty

Dodge backs the 2017 Charger with a three-year/36,000-mile limited warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. The Maxima and the Impala have the same warranty. The Hyundai Azera and Kia Cadenza have the best coverage in the large cars segment with a five-year/60,000-mile warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Charger Safety

Charger Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awards the Charger, in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models, five out of five stars overall. It earns four stars, however, in NHTSA’s front-crash tests. It earns five stars in side impact and rollover tests. The Chevrolet Impala also earns five stars overall, but with five stars in the front and side impact tests, and four stars in the rollover tests. The Nissan Maxima has five stars overall, with five stars in all NHTSA crash tests.

Charger Safety Features

The Dodge Charger has limited standard safety features, though it does come with brake assist and hill-start assist. Available features include forward collision warning with active braking, lane departure warning with lane keep assist, rear park assist, a rearview camera, and blindspot monitoring with rear cross traffic detection.

The Nissan Maxima comes standard with a rearview camera. Other safety features are available: blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a driver alertness monitor, adaptive cruise control, and forward collision warning with automatic braking. To get any active safety features in the Chevrolet Impala, you’ll have to upgrade to a higher trim level and then purchase them as part of a package. A rearview camera will cost you about $3,300 over the base model, because you have to purchase multiple packages to get it.

© DodgeWhich Dodge Charger Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Dodge Charger is a four-door, large sedan that comes with a standard 292-horsepower 3.6-liter V6. Engine options range all the way up to a 707-horsepower, supercharged 6.2-liter V8 in the Charger Hellcat. The V6 delivers strong acceleration and 30 mpg on the highway, which is among the best in the large cars segment.

The Charger comes in eight trims: SE, SXT, R/T, Daytona, R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, SRT 392, and SRT Hellcat. All-wheel drive is optional in the SE trim for $30,245 and SXT trim for $31,995.

The best choice is the Charger SXT trim starting at $29,995. It includes the fuel-efficient but powerful V6 engine, the upgraded 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment screen, as well as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, heated front seats, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a four-way power-adjustable front passenger seat, among other features. The SXT trim has a strong combination of power, refined interior touches, and good fuel economy.

Dodge Charger SE

The base SE trim starts at $27,995 and comes with the base 3.6-liter V6 engine. Standard features include dual exhaust, power windows with driver and front-passenger one-touch auto up/down, dual-zone manual climate control, illuminated front cup holders, cloth seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with manual tilt/telescope, and remote keyless entry.

Dodge Charger SXT

The SXT trim has a base price of $29,995. This trim adds remote start, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, a power four-way driver’s lumbar adjuster, dual-zone automatic temperature control, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, CD/DVD/MP3 format capability, satellite radio, integrated voice command with Bluetooth, an 8.4-inch touch screen, and Bluetooth streaming audio.

Dodge Charger Daytona

The Daytona includes the 5.7-liter V8, four-mode electronic stability control; performance suspension; black with honeycomb grid pattern; projector LED fog lamps; manual folding, power-adjusting, heated, driver’s-side auto-dimming sideview mirrors; a matte black spoiler; driver and passenger lower ambient LED lamps; front overhead LED lighting; performance leather/suede seats with Daytona logo; heated and cooled front seats; heated rear seats; a power tilt/telescoping steering wheel with paddle shifters; and rear park assist.

Dodge Charger RT Scat Pack

The RT Scat Pack adds a 392-cubic-inch Hemi V8, high-performance suspension, performance cloth seats with Scat Pack logo, a 180-mph speedometer, and a rearview camera.

Dodge Charger Hellcat

The Hellcat adds a 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8, a performance-tuned steering wheel, competition suspension, performance Laguna leather with Hellcat logo, a 200-mph speedometer, and Uconnect 8.4 with Navigation.

The Final Call

The 2017 Dodge Charger in its base trim is a solid large car with a roomy interior and average cargo space. It also gets good performance from its V6 engine. However, its appeal wanes somewhat because of harsh plastic interior materials in the base trim and limited standard safety features. You also can’t see very well out the back.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

Read the full 2017 Dodge Charger reviewon U.S. News & World Report for more details, photos, specs and prices.


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