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#8

in 2010 Affordable Large Cars

Avg. Price Paid: $13,177 - $19,664
Original MSRP: $24,590 - $33,470
MPG: 18 City / 26 Hwy
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2010 Dodge Charger Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

Though only the SRT8 qualifies as a true muscle car, auto writers find that each of the Charger's three other trims is fun to drive -- especially the R/T.

  • "The V8-powered 2010 Dodge Chargers are guaranteed to plaster grins on enthusiasts' faces, as they sound great and deliver massive forward thrust on command. However, most of that fun is had in a straight line, as even in R/T or SRT8 trim, the Charger's light and uncommunicative steering doesn't instill much confidence on winding roads." -- Edmunds
  • "Not surprisingly, Dodge's 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is just as smooth and powerful under the Charger's hood as it is in all the other vehicles it graces. But even the 3.5-liter V6 delivers enough power to have a little fun. The Charger also delivers ride and handling equal to that of the surprisingly eager and composed Chrysler 300. However, given the promise of its Charger badge and aggressive styling, some might hope for a more aggressive setup. As it stands, the Charger is sportier than the Chrysler 300 in image only, which will be enough for most." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Charger is fun to drive, with a rewarding exhaust note and cop-tempting acceleration. It will bring out the teenager in you, so be careful and remind your inner teenager who pays the tickets." -- About.com

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Charger offers drivers a choice of three engines: SE's 178-horsepower 2.7-liter V6; SXT's 250-horsepower 3.5-liter V6; and the R/T's 368-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 HEMI with a Multi-Displacement System (MDS). Within the class of muscle cars, the Charger R/T's horsepower is only beaten by the 372-horsepower Challenger R/T. The difference, however, is negligible. Not surprisingly, test drivers prefer the R/T's powerful V8 HEMI over the V6 choices.

An even more powerful SRT8 trim that's equipped with a 425-horsepower 6.1-liter V8 HEMI is also available, but covered in a separate review.

While the SE and SXT feature a standard four-speed automatic transmission, the R/T comes equipped with a five-speed AutoStick transmission, which reviewers find operates well. According to the EPA, the Charger's city/highway fuel economy ranges from 16/23 mpg to 18/26 mpg, depending on the trim and drivetrain.

  • "The 3.5 V6 is fine in town and has good passing punch. Dodge says it does 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds with rear-drive. R/T has ready power from any speed." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Not surprisingly, Daimler-Chrysler's 5.7-liter 340-horsepower Hemi V8 is just as smooth and powerful under the Charger's hood as it is in all the other vehicles it graces. ... The Charger's V6 might surprise you with how well it moves the nearly two-ton sedan, but once you get a taste of life with the 5.7-liter Hemi under your right foot, you'll have a tough time settling for anything less" -- Kelley Blue Book
  • The Charger R/T's "MDS seamlessly deactivates four cylinders in just 40 milliseconds when full V8 power is not needed, improving fuel economy by as much as 20 percent." -- MSN
  • "The AutoStick transmission works equally well in either Automatic or Manual mode. In Automatic mode, full throttle upshifts wait until redline and downshifts for passing are executed with minimal delay. In Manual mode, the transmission holds a gear to red line before shifting (unless you shift sooner, of course). Only by tromping the gas in manual mode can you force a downshift, and then only for as long as the pedal is held to the floor, ease up ever so slightly, and the higher gear takes back over, and somewhat abruptly." -- New Car Test Drive

Handling and Braking

Test drivers report that the Charger handles well for a sedan that weighs nearly two tons. Some, however, complain that its steering lacks feel. The 2010 Charger offers both rear-wheel and all-wheel drivetrains. 

  • "Generally smooth and composed, but rippled pavement can trigger annoying jiggling, especially in V8 models with their firmer suspensions. R/T versions display some float and wallow over uneven surfaces." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Steering feel is a bit vague, but the Charger handles twisty roads rather well for a two-ton car." -- MSN
  • "The R/T's standard 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS deliver plenty of stopping power, but like the steering, lack feel." -- Motor Week
  • "Stopping the Charger was impressive. The large disc brakes with standard ABS suffered no fade, and felt good even after repeated hard use." -- About.com

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