Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dodge Charger better inside, Vroom remains

This review originally appeared in the July 2012 edition of the Northern & Central California Cruisin’ News published out of Folsom, California – mg

Sacramento, California Vroom, vroom, VA-ROOM!!!

Yes, wake up the neighbors.  They need to get out here and take a look at this 2012 Dodge Charger R/T – an old-school rear-driver with a 5.7-liter Hemi V-8.  Here’s what 370 muscular American horses sound like … VA-VA-VROOM!

Yes, I know that’s a terribly rude thing to do to folks living on my street, but this Charger takes you back in time, and the trip feels great.  And don’t I owe it to my neighbors to share my joy?

Sexy lines back up the engine’s roar, and the back end lights up like the White House Christmas tree at night.  No shyness in this thing.  Nor should there be.

Passengers I took out for a blast were impressed with how quiet the car was on the roll.  A mash on the accelerator pressed people into their seats, but their ears were not assaulted.  Call it quiet authority.  This 2012 Charger has it.

Naturally, you can get even more horses if you have the money to spend, but this R/T RWD is a nice, reasonable compromise among the seven trim levels.  It starts five bucks short of $30,000.  Not too bad.

My tester was dressed up with an outrageous number of optional extras, ballooning the bottom line on the sticker to $37,935.  Wow, I didn’t know you could get this many perks with a Charger.  Power adjustable pedals with memory?  Automatically dimming driver’s side exterior mirror?  Heated/cooled front console cupholders?

Holy Lexus, what’s going on here?  I’ll take my horsepower with just a pinch of sugar, if you please.

In truth, it’s a positive development that Chrysler finally got around to modernizing the dash/center stack of controls in the Charger, which in previous years looked as barren as an Arizona desert taxi.  From the cockpit, today’s Charger gives you the feeling of having scores of commands at your fingertips.  And well, you really do have that now.

A five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty is also a plus.  Fuel mileage ratings of 16 miles per gallon in the city and 25 mpg on the highway are, uh, well, not so hot.  But high horsepower is a trade-off these days, right?

One thing I didn’t like was the tardy blind-side warning system on the tester.  It would send a jarring signal through the cockpit when I was well past a lagging motorist in another lane.  If you’re going to put a Hemi in this sedan, at least put a warning system that’s a little quicker on the draw.

Well, you can’t have everything.  But I did enjoy my time in this Charger R/T.  If you have good memories of American muscle, this will bring them back.  Many happy returns.

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