- New Car Test Drive
We give the Charger top marks in the driving department, for the brilliant balance it strikes between performance and livability, even though the superb 8-speed automatic transmission is let down by a balky gear lever.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money for good speed, because the V6 is quick enough. The 3.6-liter in the SE and SXT brings 292 horsepower with 260 pound-feet of torque. The 6.4-liter V8 is much stronger than the 5.7, bringing zero-to-sixty time in about 4.5 seconds. As for the Hellcat, it’s the same engine in the Challenger Hellcat, but it’s even quicker, with zero to sixty in 3.7 seconds, all the way up to 204 mph.
Handling in the Charger is capable and composed, with remarkable control given the girth of 4000 pounds in the SE to 4500 pounds in the Hellcat. That’s thanks partly to accurate and nicely weighted steering. Suspension upgrades tighten things, although the Hellcat is already stiff.
The SRT models use huge Brembo brakes with six-piston calipers in front, and a multi-mode adaptive damping suspension that enables better control without that hurting the ride in town. All but the base R/T use modes enabling the driver to set the steering and throttle response.