2012 Dodge Charger Review
With plenty of power and interior space, the 2012 Dodge Charger is an athletic alternative to rival affordable large cars.
Test drivers agree that if you’re looking for a large car that doesn’t skimp on performance, it’s tough to beat the 2012 Dodge Charger. Thanks to a new, optional eight-speed automatic transmission, reviewers agree that the V6-powered Charger is no longer for bargain-basement shoppers who can’t afford the V8 model. “The 2012 Dodge Charger fares well as a large sedan,” says Edmunds. “But when it comes to affordable performance, the Charger has no peer.”
While V8-powered Chargers have always gotten the nod for performance, reviewers complained that the 2011 model fell short with its outdated transmission. Now that there’s an eight-speed automatic on the options list, they say the V6 Charger is the model of choice. It’s lighter and nimbler than the V8, and when equipped with the eight-speed automatic, the Charger delivers some of the best fuel economy in the segment.
Now in its second year since the 2011 redesign, the Dodge Charger pays tribute to the Chargers of the late 60s with retro-inspired design cues, and test drivers note the use of higher quality materials inside the cabin. Still, the Charger isn’t without its faults. Some test drivers point out that the Charger’s back seat may leave tall passengers wanting more headroom. However, they also say that the interior is quite roomy, and the back seat is comfortable for adults under six feet tall.
In the end, the Charger offers a level of practicality that matches most competing affordable large cars, but it also trumps many class leaders with engaging driving dynamics and performance that cars like the Toyota Avalon just can’t match. If you want the best of both worlds, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a car that walks the line better than the Charger.
Other Cars to Consider
If you like the Charger’s standard tech features, but would prefer a slightly smaller car with better fuel economy and conservative styling, consider the Buick LaCrosse. The LaCrosse is slightly more expensive than the Charger, but it comes with your choice of a powerful V6 engine or a mild-hybrid drivetrain that delivers great fuel economy. However, many reviewers agree that the LaCrosse isn’t as fun to drive as the Charger.
If you’d like an affordable large car that matches the Charger’s space and comfort, consider the Ford Taurus. The Taurus isn’t rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is available, and the high-performance Taurus SHO will give V8-powered Chargers a run for their money. The Taurus also gets the nod for its interior tech, stylish design and balanced ride – just a few of the reasons why we named it the 2011 Best Family Sedan for the Money.
Dodge Charger: The Details
The 2012 Dodge Charger is available in three trims: SE (base), SXT and R/T. SE and SXT models both carry a V6 engine, but the Charger SXT gets an eight-speed automatic transmission, which is new for 2012. The Charger R/T has more power, thanks to its Hemi V8 engine. All-wheel drive is optional with either engine. For a full list of standard features, see the full 2012 Dodge Charger specs.
- "The 2012 Charger easily triumphs on its strong points: As much as 31 mpg on the highway, a smoothness that'll trump fancy German brands, a level of driving satisfaction that is almost unbelievable in a big Detroit sedan and, now, all-wheel drive with the V-6 for the folks whose weather often is uncooperative." -- USA Today
- "If you can live with the reduced power of the V-6, you end up with a nicely optioned, priced, head turning, and yes, surprising Detroit pony car." -- MarketWatch
- "If you're looking for a muscle car with room for a family, consider the 2012 Dodge Charger. This full-size sedan offers seating for five and three sets of lower Latch anchors. The Charger's optional V-8 engine will have parents volunteering to drive carpool." -- Mother Proof
- "The interior refinements and ride improvements allow the Charger to easily stand up to the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus." -- Automobile Magazine
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