Review: 2006 Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger. What a great time for this car to be making a return to the marketplace, just weeks before the Dukes of Hazzard movie comes out and in the height of “Hemi” marketing. Yet, I wasn’t really excited to get behind the wheel as the marketing for this car really has taken my ability to like it down a notch. I don’t really see anything “unleashed” about it, but evidently, it’s there.

2006 Dodge ChargerThe first thing you really notice about this car is its size. This is not a small, sporty car. Four doors, wide stance, big curves; this car really is a throwback to the old muscle its heritage reminds us of. And when you turn the key, the pitch of the exhaust says again, “American Muscle. ”

The actual driving is fairly generic. A heavy throttle, stable steering, and stiff suspension really make this more of a car you point then steer. However, the mini-Charger-catalog that came with the car described its handling as “spirited,” I’d have to disagree. Now, maybe I don’t know what spirited is, but I think of small cheerleaders doing hand-springs, not heavy muscle cars grunting through the corners. However, your miles may vary.

During my review I threw three high-school boys in the back seats, and didn’t have to move the seat forward even with my 6’1″ legs. That was nice. I really hate having big cars neglect rear passenger room, and this car was a welcome break from that tradition. Five men fit very well in it, and climbing a steep hill with all five showed the Hemi truly was under the engine. While I didn’t try it, I was told by a fellow reviewer that it handles brake-torque just fine as well.

For the interior, I’ll give Dodge a lot of credit. I really don’t like most American interiors right now, but this wasn’t bad at all. The guages were sporty without being gaudy, and everything was right where I wanted it. All dials were clean and in good spots, and the seats were very comfortable. There was a bad problem with the rear doors locking as soon as the car exceeded 5 mph, and with the small lock pins behind the vision of the rear passenger, every person that rode in the back ended up getting locked in until I clicked the electric unlock button. That was just plain annoying.

At the end of the review, I walked away fairly satisfied with the car. At $35,000, this wasn’t a cheap car, and it wasn’t terrible to drive. I didn’t mind being seen in it, and I didn’t mind taking corners in it. However, for the money, I’m convinced there is a world of luxury and performance that this car didn’t even attempt to equal. I can’t say I’d buy it, but I would definitely drive it again.

3.5 Stars