The Dodge Charger SXT is an interesting vehicle. The Charger is typically considered a muscle car and conjures up images of smoky burnouts, the roar of a V8, and aggressive styling that distinguishes a muscle car from a traditional family car. The Charger SXT is the exception in that is better as a family car than a muscle car.
When it came back to the market, the LX-based Charger gained two doors and lost the muscle car design of past Chargers. It still had an aggressive design with broad, muscular shoulders and an imposing front end treatment, but it was not really the retro car that many had imagined it to be. Still, when powered by Hemi, the Charger was a force to be reckoned with.
On the exterior, the Charger has smoother styling than the pre-2015 cars. The headlights have been swept back and the grille has been flattened into the front fascia to decrease the appearance of the front overhang. Similarly, the rear end has been curved in and looks more “fitted” which decreases the visual length of the car and makes it look smaller than it really is. The side scallop design that has become a signature Charger styling element has been smoothed out on the front door. Compared to the pre-2015 cars, only the panels for the roof and rear doors are carryover.
My car is a white Dodge Charger SXT – a “base” V6 model. It is not optioned like a base car, though, and is equipped with the Premium Package which includes the advanced safety equipment like Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, and Forward Collision Warning, convenience and comfort features like heated and ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, rain sensing automatic wipers, HID headlights, and a Beats Audio sound system with a subwoofer. My car also has the optional black painted roof and pearl white interior. I have owned this car for what will be two years this fall.
The HID headlights are surrounded by a C-shaped LED daytime running light that dims but doesn’t fully go off when the turn signal is on. The fog lights have a jewel-like appearance, and several people have remarked that the fog lights have a blue-purple hue to them from a distance. The grille is painted gloss black and the once-distinct crosshairs are no longer contrasted with the grille: they are barely noticeable if you aren’t paying attention.
The interior was lightly freshened for 2015 and has remained largely the same since 2011. A new version of the Uconnect infotainment system, some new switchgear and buttons, and a new shifter are the major changes inside along with some new colors and trim. I have found the 2015 models to have a a few bugs on the Uconnect screen and occasionally the volume freezes up and takes a few seconds to change to my desired setting. Other than that, the Uconnect system is hands down my the best infotainment system in any vehicle I’ve driven.
Equipped with the 3.6L V6 and the 8-speed automatic transmission, my car has adequate acceleration and fuel efficiency. The 2015 was EPA rated at 31 MPG highway and 19 city; from my experience, that is fairly accurate. Power delivery is smooth but it’s not what I would consider fast The engine is quiet until you floor it, when it sounds fairly aggressive for a V6. Passing power is good. One passenger remarked that it sounded mean. My car is not equipped with the Rallye package, so it produces 292 horsepower. The power will be more than though for most people, but enthusiasts like myself will crave more. The transmission has quick, smooth shifts and is barely noticeable.Around the corners, you can feel the heft of this car but it still handles fairly well. I briefly owned a Charger Scat Pack, and that suspension setup better showcased the Charger’s handling capabilities, but I assume adding the Super Track Pack to the SXT would have helped. Still though, handling is acceptable on the base trim given the size of the car.
Ride quality is smooth, quiet, and comfortable. There is low road noise, but some is still noticeable partly due to the 20″ wheels. This is an excellent road trip car. The seats are supportive and there is a ton of legroom in the front driver seat. The passenger seat may be a bit tight for very tall people since it strangely can’t move back as far as the driver seat.
In the rear, taller passengers may be impacted by the Charger’s roofline, which can cause somewhat difficult entry and exit. Once inside, seat space is good. Thankfully, the front seats have soft “leather” backing instead of the plastic found on other FCA products, so if your knees do touch the seatbacks, it isn’t unbearable.
The safety gear has been a mixed bag for me. Lane Departure Warning is nice and I usually leave it on. However, it can get tiring when set to the most intrusive setting as it feels like the steering is constantly being corrected. Forward Collision Warning is best left in the least sensitive setting. I’ve found the when people are turning ahead of me and I don’t need to stop all the way, the car often stops anyway. Keep in mind, this is a very sudden and hard braking maneuver complete with alarm sounds. It’s very startling when you aren’t expecting it, but I still keep it Forward Collision Warning on for the peace of mind in knowing that the car can react faster than I can in an emergency.
Adaptive Cruise Control and Rear Cross Path Detection are by far my favorite safety features. I never turn my regular cruise control on – I just use ACC. There have been long periods of driving when I can just let the car adjust speed by itself and all I have to do is steer. It’s wonderful on long trips, but the downside is that you pay less attention to your speedometer which can surprise you when you look down and you’re going 20 MPH below the speed limit because you got behind a slow driver. Rear Cross Path Detection nearly eliminates the risk when backing out of a parking spot in a busy area by warning you when a car is coming.
All things considered, the Charger SXT is a great car. It is at its best when equipped with equipped with nearly every option, which can get pricey. In this configuration, it makes up for the lack of a powerful Hemi engine with comfort and convenience features that make it a great road trip vehicle while still having exterior styling that can appeal to people who want to stand out from the traditional family car lineup.
- Aggressive styling
- A ton of available features
- Smooth, quiet ride
- Good highway efficiency
- Not a Hemi
- High cost of entry when well-equipped