2010 Dodge Charger SR8
Once upon a time, as readers of a certain age may recall, large rear-wheel drive family sedans ruled the road. That changed eventually, as sedans downsized and became front-drive; minivans, SUVs, and crossovers began to appear on the roads. Even large sedans started switching to front-wheel or all-wheel drive, and the few rear-drive large sedans left seemed to be aimed at the early dinner crowd.
Enter the 2010 Dodge Charger and its sibling, the Chrysler 300. Perhaps the last of a breed, these two sedans offer rear-drive, lots of space, and a mission that appeals to Mom and Dad, not their parents.
Both the Charger and 300 are available with high-performance SRT8 packages, and so it was that I recently found myself spending a few days behind the wheel of a Charger SRT8, which is billed as the"official passenger car of NASCAR." Given this car's size and shape, that seems appropriate.
The SRT8 based at $38,180, including such standard features as a 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 that makes 425 horsepower, a five-speed automatic transmission, a sport-tuned suspension, side-curtain airbags in the front and rear, keyless entry, ABS, traction control, an antiskid system, a remote start, air conditioning, heated front seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, and satellite radio.
Options included the "Deep Water Blue Pearl" paint ($295), the SRT Option Group II (uplevel audio, wireless cell phone link, iPod control, alarm, performance display screen, and auto-dimming rearview mirror, $1,890), SRT Option Group III (navigation system with real-time traffic information, $985), a power sunroof ($950), high-intensity discharge headlights ($695), 20-inch performance tires and wheels ($250), a rear-seat video system ($1,460), and a gas-guzzler tax ($1,700). With destination ($750), the total came to $47,155.
The Charger lends its platform to the two-door Challenger pony-car, and the similarities are apparent. Like the Challenger, the Charger rockets forth from a dead stop when the go pedal is pressed hard to the floor. It's not as fast as Challenger--this is a slightly heavier car--but it's still damn quick. Need to pass in a hurry? Do so and watch other driver's eyes widen in a hurry. No one expects a big car to be this fast.