First Drive Review 2016 Dodge Charger R/T: The one percenter

The 2016 Dodge Charger R/T  (FCA)

The 2016 Dodge Charger R/T (FCA)

When FCA delivers you a Dodge Charger for the week, you know that week is going to be a good one. I generally like the Dodge brand, especially the Challenger and the Charger, both of which I have driven before.  The 2015 Charger I had was the refreshed version of the model which was reintroduced during the mid 2000s as part of the revival of the muscle cars of old (somebody give me a Hallelujah).

Unlike the Challenger/Mustang/Camaro throwbacks, the Charger is a four-door sedan, but with just as much beast under the hood.  For my last week with the Charger, I had the R/T Scat Pack.  For my most recent week behind the wheel of the Dodge brothers offering, it was the 2016 R/T.  There is a bit of a difference in amenities (the Scat has more track oriented features and trim) and a slightly smaller engine (Scat: 6.4 liter V8, 485 horses, 475 ft-lbs torque. R/T without Scat 5.7 liter V8, 370 horses, 395 ft-lbs torque), but at the end of the day the 2016 Charger was just as pleasing as the 2015.

The 2016 Dodge Charger is available in SE, SXT, R/T, R/T Road & Track, R/T Scat Pack, SRT 392 and probably its most famous variant  the SRT Hellcat trim. The models are rear-wheel drive, although the SE and SXT have all-wheel drive available as an option. The SE and SXT get 6-cylinders under the hood, the rest 8.

The base 2016 Charger SE comes nicely equipped with keyless ignition and entry, automatic headlights, full power accessories, dual-zone manual air-conditioning, a six-way power driver’s seat, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a 5-inch touchscreen interface that controls a six-speaker audio system along with Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity.  There are a USB and aux audio input jacks and dual charge-only USB ports, all atop 17-inch wheels.

The SXT puts you on 18-inch wheels, and gives you LED foglights, remote ignition, duel-zone automatic climate control, an eight-way power driver’s seat with four-way power lumbar adjustment with both front seats heated. There’s also an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an 8.4-inch touchscreen interface with Uconnect Access smartphone-app integration and voice commands, satellite radio and an upgraded audio system.

Opt for all-wheel drive for the Charger SE or SXT and you’ll get 19-inch alloy wheels and larger brakes.

The SXT trim opens up the opportunity for one of the Chargers several option packages. There’s  the Premium Group with a sport-tuned suspension on rear-wheel-drive models, automatic high-beam control, automatic wipers, adaptive cruise control, a frontal collision warning and mitigation system, lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. It also adds blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power-adjustable pedals, a navigation system, satellite and HD radio and an upgraded 10-speaker Beats audio system atop 20-inch wheels.

2016 Dodge Charger R/T  (FCA)

2016 Dodge Charger R/T (FCA)

The Plus  Group adds a rearview camera, xenon headlights, rear parking sensors, leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, a power front passenger seat, heated steering wheel, driver memory functions, heated rear seats and LED interior lighting. There are also smaller groups that have some of the options found in the other packages.  The Rallye Group adds the sport tuned suspension on the rear wheel drive , a few more horses under the hood, paddle shifters, styling tweaks that include a rear deck spoiler,  and a Beats audio system. The SXT can now add the Super Track Pak with sport-tuned suspension, a half an inch lower ride height, Bilstein dampers, shorter shifting gearing, and Dodge’s Performance Pages software that gives real-time performance information.

The Charger R/T puts a 5.7-liter V8 under the hood in addition to all the SXT standard equipment.  There’s also a rear spoiler, sport-tuned suspension and upgraded brakes, and 20-inch wheels. The R/T Road and Track adds launch control, xenon headlights, and a more aggressively tuned suspension.  There’s also driver memory functions, a heated power-adjustable steering wheel, three-mode stability control, rear parking sensors, power-adjustable pedals, leather and synthetic-suede upholstery, a power passenger seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and the Performance Pages software.

On the SXT and R/T you can add the Blacktop Appearance package that adds 20-inch gloss-black wheels, various black trim elements, a sport steering wheel and (on SXT) a sport-tuned suspension.

When you get up to the R/T Scat Pack trim a 485-hp 6.4-liter V8 is under the hood, along with a limited-slip rear differential, upgraded Brembo brakes, sportier body trim, a rearview camera, a sport tuned suspension , along with selectable three-mode power steering, aluminum-trimmed pedals and cloth sport seats.

To get some of the Road and Track’s features that are lacking in the Scat Pack, you’ll need to option them.

The SRT 392 has the same 485-hp 6.4-liter V8 under the hood, but the Brembo brakes are upgraded; there’s xenon headlights, an upgraded suspension with three-mode adaptive shocks, an active exhaust system. Inside there is upgraded leather upholstery, a flat-bottom steering wheel, HD radio, a navigation system and SRT Performance Pages, which adds to the Dodge Performance Pages with even more elaborate performance-related measurements.

The Alpha-Male of the Charger pack is the SRT Hellcat. In addition to the performance features found in the SRT 392 there’s a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 under the vented hood, and aluminum interior trim. Both SRT models allow the owners a one-day course at an SRT Driving Experience school as well as an optional 19-speaker Harman Kardon GreenEdge audio system. A sunroof can be had on any of the models.

An eight-speed automatic transmission is standard on all 2016 Dodge Charger models, as is rear-wheel drive. The all-wheel drive is an option only on the SE and SXT. The 3.6-liter V6 on the SE and SXT produces 292 hp and 260 pound-feet of torque. The 5.7-liter V8 in the Charger R/T and R/T Road & Track is rated at 370 hp and 395 lb-ft of torque. The Charger R/T Scat Pack and SRT 392 trims have the 6.4-liter V8 that blasts out 485 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque.

The 2016 Charger SRT Hellcat has a supercharged 6.2-liter V8 that puts out an astonishing 707 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque.

There were just a few minor changes from 2015 to this year.  Mainly new paint options; but the eight-speed transmission is now standard across the line, and the Blacktop appearance group is now available on the SXT variant.  Also the Super Track Pak availability is new for the SXT for 2016.

My tester for the week was the R/T with the Plus and Blacktop appearance group.

I didn’t have the Blacktop appearance group last year, and with the white body the black trim with its gloss black fascia, side mirrors, painted roof, rear spoiler and wheels, is very eye catching.  Much more so then the 2015 model. The interior is just a roomy, well made and laid out as last year, and just as comfortable.

On the road, the familiar and pleasing engine sound from the 5.7-liter V8 was just as soothing as last year.  Despite fewer horses under the hood, the R/T was (again) a joy to drive.  The 370 horsepower V8 is more than enough power to make this Charger a great everyday family sedan.

In fact, the 2016 Charger R/T is one of the rare cars that in my world is a WMN: It’s a Want-Need-Must drive car that you won’t want to keep parked longer than absolutely necessary.  In a world of hybrid, “cutesy” shoebox, battery powered plug in, self-driving, vehicles that are little more than glorified golf carts with windows, those that take up 99 percent of the road today, it’s nice to have a small segment, one percent, that can still prowl the roads like the muscle cars of old. The kind that take up an entire lane,  rocket away from a stop light, and make old car guys like me remember what it was that made us fall in love cars to begin with.

Maybe my opinion is biased, but let’s hope that the one percent of cars like the Dodge Charger represents are here for a long, long, long time.  I also hope I don’t have to wait another year for FCA to deliver me one again.

The 2016 Dodge Charger R/T
MSRP: $33,895
MSRP (with options, and Blacktop appearance group): $41,070
Engine (as tested): 5.7 L V8. 370 hp @ 5250 rpm, 395 ft-lbs. @ 4200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 16 city, 25 highway, 19 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 22 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 4253 lbs.

Exterior Measurements
Ground Clearance: 0 Ft. 5.4 In. (5.4 In.)
Height: 4 Ft. 10.2 In. (58.2 In.)
Length: 16 Ft. 7.9 In. (199.9 In.)
Wheel Base: 10 Ft. 0.2 In. (120.2 In.)
Width: 6 Ft. 3 In. (75 In.)

Interior Measurements
Front Head Room: 38.6 In.
Front Hip Room: 56.2 In.
Front Leg Room: 41.8 In.
Front Shoulder Room: 59.5 In.
Rear Head Room: 36.6 In.
Rear Hip Room: 56.1 In.
Rear Leg Room: 40.1 In.
Rear Shoulder Room: 57.9 In
Epa Interior Volume: 120.8 cu.ft.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 16.5 cu.ft.

Specs for all models can be found here. (PDF)

Greg Engle