2007 Dodge Charger Road Test Review
by Bob Plunkett
For the brave who crave cloth of a different cut than the status quo, it is possible to transcend the norm, to attain invincibility when behind the wheel of the stylish, mythic machine. Back in the ‘60s and ‘70s the
appealed to a certain segment of the population who craved the visceral feel of a two-door muscle car. Today, this heroic vehicle has been reinvented to charge past the competition from the Infiniti M35, Lexus GS300, Mustang GT, and the Chrysler 300 with three variations of engines. Although the 2007 Charger is a much different than the original Coke bottle design that was introduced in 1964, it still retains the spirit of the original. With broad shoulders in the front and rear quarter-panels cutting into the doors, the car looks like a linebacker in uniform. With a MSRP range between $22,570 – $35,320, and a fuel efficiency of 17 mpg city/25 mpg highway, you almost need to be an extrovert to drive this modern interpretation of fastback design.
The 2007 Charger has been fortified with technologies to provide efficiency and unparalleled control from a thoroughly reinvented rear-wheel-drive technology, and its completely re-engineered engines. Step inside the car and you’ll not be disappointed. First, you’ll notice the large 60s inspired steering-wheel, large (vintage) air vents, clean and classy black on white rpm/speed dials, and supportive seats. The model we tested also had a DVD navigation system, and BOSE sound system – which was an added plus. But with the engine turned on, the menacing howl will quickly make you forget all the refined creature comforts of the cabin.
Driver input is the name of the game for the 2007 Charger. Put the car in “gear,” lift your foot off the brake, and let the rapturous engine do the rest. The base Charger comes with a 3.5-liter SOHC, 24-valve V6, with 250 horsepower (250 pound-feet of torque driving through a five-speed automatic) that effectively feels like a V8. But if that isn’t enough, there is the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, which puts 340 horsepower (with 390 pound-feet of torque) on the tarmac. At the top of the line, is the 6.1-liter Hemi SRT8 with 425 horsepower at 460 pound-feet of torque. These are incredible numbers. Both Hemi engines feature de-activation cylinder technology increasing the V8’s fuel efficiency to 16 mpg city; 22 mpg highway. On our road test, we found the base V6 to have enough pep without compromising on fuel. Both the V8 Hemi’s seemed a bit too supercharged for today’s roads, and geo political situation. At times, driving the Charger SRT8 with 425 horsepower felt like you were trying to control an overpowered carriage rather than enjoying the sporty ride.
The overall ride of the Charger is quite good, as its chassis and transmission are the same as Mercedes Benz E-Class. However, there’s still a lot of body roll. The car is not as deft as it could be, this is partly due to its large size – the 2007 Charger is 17 feet long and over 4,400 lbs in curb weight, so you do feel it while taking corners. The independent multi-link suspension with stout structural members makes for a stiffer body, but the torque-rich engine and the overall larger size do take some getting used to.
Choices abound when it comes to finding the right Charger that suits your needs. The new Charger is available in five trims: the SE, SXT, R/T, Daytona R/T and the SRT8. The models vary in engine size, but share the highest, five-star government front crash test ratings due to well-engineered crush zones, advanced multi-stage air bags (though side air-curtains are optional), and self-sealing tires. The ABS brakes are standard as well, but are not too communicative in reducing speed when the Dodge is really “charging”. The heavier car accelerates well, but doesn’t decelerate with confidence. If going for the Hemi versions, it is recommended to opt for Viper calipers, given the Charger’s torque and horsepower.
In 1973, Richard Petty commandeered the Dodge Charger to its last win at the Daytona 500. Individuality, muscle, and a timeless sense of freedom have always been associated with the Charger’s heritage. The 2007 Dodge Charger succeeds in resurrecting a time when life was simple. Former owners of the Charger are now mature family folks who need the two extra doors. The 2007 Charger is a valiant attempt at bringing back the brave, the unbreakable, the insurmountable – the all-American muscle car.