By Dave Van Sickle

Much to the dismay of traditionalists, the 2015 Dodge Charger is nothing like the two-door muscle car you remember from the '60s. It's a four-door sedan, but it does a good job as a modern interpretation. Unlike the first bare-bones version, the latest Charger has an upscale interior and plenty of standard equipment. You might even think of it as a whole family muscle car.

The 2015 Charger is a full-size sedan offered in SE, SXT, R/T, R/T Road & Track, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat trims. All models are rear-wheel drive, but the SE and SXT offer optional all-wheel drive. New front- and rear-end styling gives the Charger a sleeker appearance, while the overhauled interior features higher-quality materials and a larger selection of advanced electronics features.
The SE and SXT come standard with a 3.6-liter V6 engine that produces 292 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. The Rallye Group boosts output to 300 hp and 264 lb-ft of torque.

A 5.7-liter V8 engine and a heavier-duty eight-speed automatic are standard on the Charger R/T and R/T Road & Track. It generates 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. Estimated fuel economy with the 5.7-liter V8 is 19 mpg combined (16/25).

A larger 6.4-liter V8 is standard on the Charger R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 trims. It develops 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque, with an estimated fuel economy of 18 mpg combined (15/25) for the Charger using the 6.4-liter engine.

The top-performing Charger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 under its aluminum hood. This engine pumps out an unbelievable 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque and is paired with an even more robust version of the eight-speed automatic transmission capable of handling its enormous torque.

In addition to most of the other models' performance-related upgrades, the Hellcat adds a hood with heat-extraction vents, Hellcat-specific 20-inch forged-alloy wheels in a choice of finishes, Hellcat exterior badges, aluminum interior trim, a 200-mph speedometer, a special power-limiting keyless remote in addition to a full-power key fob, and blind-spot monitoring. Choose the Hellcat and you also are entitled to the SRT one-day driving school.

Standard on some Charger models and optional for others are rear parking sensors and a rearview camera. Optional advanced safety features include a blind-spot warning system with rear cross-traffic alerts, a lane-departure warning system with lane-keeping assist and a frontal collision warning and mitigation system that's bundled with adaptive cruise control. The frontal collision mitigation system can initiate automatic braking at all speeds if the driver does not respond in a potential collision situation. Dodge Chargers with Uconnect Access offer remote vehicle access (via a smartphone app), emergency assistance and text notifications if the alarm goes off.
Even though the Charger is oriented toward performance, its restyled cabin is generally appealing, but you will notice the generous use of plastic in less expensive models. Although this is a thoroughly modern interior, there are retro-inspired touches here and there, including the T-handle shifter for the automatic transmission. The 8.4-inch touchscreen interface has large "virtual" buttons, an intuitive layout and fairly quick responses. Even the smaller 5-inch screen in the base SE model looks good and works well.

There's as much shoulder room as you'd expect in a full-size sedan. The mix of leather and suede upholstery in the upper-trim models is appealing and improves support during spirited driving. Those in the rear have plenty of hip- and shoulder room, though the massive tunnel for the driveshaft to the rear wheels does interfere with legroom. Headroom can be tight for taller occupants as well. The Charger's 16.5-cubic-foot trunk capacity is a good size for this class, and all models feature folding rear seats.

The new Charger proves that driving a large sedan doesn't have to be boring. Its steering feels sporty and precise, ride quality is supple and forgiving on bad surfaces, while balance and control are impressive on twisty hilly roads.

You might find that the 3.6-liter V6 is quite willing and revs agreeably, though it can at times feel strained by the sedan's weight, particularly the heavier all-wheel-drive models. Moving up, Charger's 5.7-liter V8, will accommodate just about anyone's power needs, and this engine works beautifully with the eight-speed automatic transmission, providing effortless performance at any speed. The muscle of the V8 also keeps noise levels to a luxury car-like minimum.

Prices start at $27,995 and top out at $62,295. Sticker price on our SXT Premium AWD test car were $42,275.

Text Source: Examiner