If you’re like me, you cringed when the new Dodge Charger reared its ugly face in 2006. It was a big, lumpy car with almost no styling or effort to make it look like the iconic 1960′s muscle car. It even had 4 doors for heaven’s sake! But the times, they did-a-change…
Win: Fast, loud, and practical
Loss: Feels as big as it looks
Score: Dodge continues in the right direction with the Charger
This is the all new 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 and it’s neither ugly nor lumpy. It is a 470 hp attack dog that looks as mean as it feels. The completely redesigned grille (in 2011) gives it an aggressive muscle car look and the completely redesigned tail (also in 2011) adopted the signature Dodge tack lights that stretch the full width of the trunk. It also has bigger wheels, more rigid door styling, and a soundtrack that will make any southern gospel singer go “mmmhmmmm!” It will turn heads one way because they hear it coming, and the other way because you want to see it from all angles.
But enough blatant praise, how does it feel to drive? When I got inside the car I was pleased with its relative simplicity. Although it is fully loaded with power everything, nothing felt overwhelming and everything on the dash was clearly labeled and easy to find. It had everything you would expect to find in, well, a normal car. So with my seat electronically moved to a comfortable position and my mirrors electronically moved so I could see behind me, I set off.
The first thing that I noticed was that the suspension didn’t feel like I was riding on a pogo-stick. It was firm, yet forgiving on all of the bumps and cracks in the road. The engine also didn’t feel overpowering and it was surprisingly quiet. And, for the huge size of the Charger, turning left and right took little to no effort and made me feel in control the entire drive.
While on the highway my Billion Automotive liaison, Eric Kittelson, pointed out some rather cool features that made this muscled-up track demon seem rather civilized. It has blind spot warnings on the mirrors in case someone is behind you that you can’t see, there are heated and cooled seats and cup holders, and four of the eight cylinders will turn off for highway driving to make your long trips more cost effective in this car.
But enough about that, I had to put my foot down… literally. When I opened up the throttle I could feel the massive 6.4 liter Hemi engine kick me into my seat. Even when doing a rolling start at 30 mph, the engine still made the massive rear tires squeal for a very admirable distance. And, on top of all of that, you could hear and feel the classic V8 rumble you would expect from a Dodge Hemi. It felt so seamless and smooth that when I looked at the speedometer I couldn’t believe that I was going… well I’ll leave that part out.
One of the things Eric told me was that you could take this car to the drag strip and then drive it cross-country with no hassle. That is absolutely true. The 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 is super smooth as a daily driver but still means business when you put the foot down. This is all of the family car that you’ll ever need and it will still maintain your cool level.
Feeling brave? Here’s a video on how to turn the traction control completely off.
What do you think?
What do you think?