New Dodge Charger

I was born in Michigan, so I get a little of the new car fever. Yesterday the new Dodge Charger was launched with deliveries expected in early summer. In fact, I loved the launch because they tied it to bringing out a new NASCAR stock car. I don't watch NASCAR, but I appreciate the idea of starting with a production model and making a racer out of it.

It's also a lot prettier than the updated Dodge Magnum and Durango. Even my wife thinks the new Durangos are hideous and wouldn't even test drive a Magnum. I did get her to go with me to test the 300C.

Dodge Charger Outside View

(Pictures from the Autoshow Photo Gallery at

I'm certainly interested because I also liked the new rendition of the Chrysler 300, especially the 300C which I priced out more than once (once when it launched, and again when they added AWD). Why don't I have one? Well, my Durango is going strong, despite its lousy gas mileage and, well, we're going on a cruise again this year.

Also, the 300C had a decent interior, but I hated the radio/navigation interface. I'm not alone in that. However, the Dodge's new spartan interior might appeal to me more:

Dodge Charger Inside View

If the Charger is a little less expensive than the 300C but still has all the features I want, it's going to be the next car for me. After all, it's got a HEMI.

There's several articles that were released with the launch of the Charger at the 2005 North American International Autoshow. I think their key message is harkening back to the muscle car eras of yore:

“The Chargers of the ’60s were distinctly styled, conveying fast, powerful and affordable performance,” said Creed. “That was a winning design formula then, and that’s our design formula for 2006.”


“The rear-wheel-drive 2006 Dodge Charger will provide muscle car enthusiasts an unequaled sense of exhilaration, power and control during every drive,” said Craig Love, Vice President—Rear-wheel-drive Product Team, Chrysler Group. “Our customers will appreciate the balance of characteristics drawn from the worlds of racing and street cruising.”
“Never has the time been so right to bring a bold and powerful passenger car to market,” said Love. “New technology advancements in fuel economy and safety have led to the development of the 2006 Dodge Charger as a muscle car for a new generation.”

Maybe we finally found a new cruiser Ann Althouse will like. (She thought the 300C was ugly!)

The bad news is that the initial Charger features the 5.7 Liter HEMI, but the SRT (Street and Racing Technology Group) announced a 6.1 Liter HEMI at the same Autoshow. It would have been more of a coup (no, not a coupe, that was the Charger in the 60's) to also announce a SRT8 Charger at the same show. Maybe they are saving that for later… but now I have to wait and see! They did launch a SRT8 Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, though.

At any rate, now I wait for the local dealer to get one in to try out. Hopefully there's not a huge premium on them like there was with the 300 in this town (a $7K markup). I could have taken delivery at my Dad's local dealer in Michigan and driven it cross-country without paying a premium. Is the Pacific Northwest a gouging zone?

As for looks, the Dodge Charger is stellar. Although the jade 300C is pretty nice looking, I really like the traditional Dodge red on this car… but does it need a red or a white racing stripe to really set it off? How about gills?

Josh Poulson

Posted Tuesday, Jan 11 2005 11:32 AM

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