I'm pretty stoked. First I take the course, then I get my license (taking the course saves me about $1000 over the course of the graduated licensing program), and then the bike shopping can begin.
2019 VW Alltrack w/Manual
Sony A7ii w/ Tamron 28-75 f/2.8, Tamron 70-180 f/2.8, and Tamron 17-28 f/2.8
@mazda616 Because being snarky on the internet gets you likes, which fuel people with low self esteem.
Please don't look at my comment history.
@awesomeaustinv The kind of thing someone would only buy for the VIN.
@chariotoflove So when are we going to need to telethon some money for the website again?
EDIT: eh, chipping in $10 USD a month to assist with keeping this thing afloat won't kill me. I am now an Oppositelock Black member and will request access to the hot tub now.
“Does the 4 mean it's a four-cylinder?” my dad asked, half-joking, half-serious. I shrugged, hoping it meant AWD and not fuel-economy. When booking a rental car for my latest trip home, Budget had a “Charger or similar” option, which I checked and got what was expected. Looking at this large four door sedan that has been around since 2006 (the 2011 refresh got a new generation code, but it was really an interior and exterior upgrade more than something all new), it wouldn't have surprised me if Dodge had put in a four-cylinder to meet emissions targets and keep the aging platform up to date.
The Charger is an exercise in branding and identity, with Hellcats and Hemis taking headlines and bringing the appeal to this family sedan. It leans heavily on its Detroit, muscle car roots, advertising its heritage in the centre console. Which is weird, since this Brampton-built car, with its V6 and AWD, feels like a decidedly Canadian choice. The question is, is this still worthy of the Charger name, and is it still any good in 2020?
The Helliphant in the room
Let's get the engine out of the way. The 3.6 litre Pentastar V6 makes 300-ish horsepower (or 292, depending on where you're looking, apparently the AWD makes more power?), a far cry from the Hellcat's 707 horsepower, but still nothing to sneeze at. And yes, I know it's not even a 5.7 litre V8, but it's a solid powerplant. After a few highway jaunts, on-ramp run ups, and at-speed acceleration to get around the more lethargic drivers on the 401, I can say that the V6 is pretty good, particularly due to the eight-speed automatic. The shifts are quick and I never found it hunting for gears. The paddle-shifters are quick and generally let you do your thing, which is pleasant.
Now, the engine note definitely won't make you feel like you can take on Frank Bullitt, especially with how quiet the interior is, but the 6.4 second 0-96 km/h time would at least embarrass a few of the older Mustangs. And yes, I know there was a V8 AWD Charger, prior to 2015, that was apparently rad as can be, but that's long dead and buried as Dodge seemingly hates Canadians. At least the V6 gives some decent fuel economy, with the Charger's highway mileage allegedly 7.6 l/100 km. Due to my lead foot and Toronto being a place that doesn't let you drive for more than three minutes without stopping, my average was around 14 l/100 km for around town, highway, and hooliganism driving. I wouldn't buy this car if you were overly concerned about your carbon footprint.
Handling-wise, the Charger is solid, and maybe a smidge on the firm side. I never really noticed the all-wheel drive system, which is rear-biased and allegedly decouples the front axle when it's not needed for improved mileage. The added heft from the AWD on top of the around two tonne weight means it's no Fiesta ST, but it can hustle and dance around with minimal fanfare. Which also means that, if I were to have attempted sideways shenanigans in a wet parking lot, the absurdly sized 235/55R19 snow tires wouldn't let me. Boo. At least the brakes work, which I tested more than enough times with some of the more brilliant choices of Toronto drivers.
Styling-wise, the Charger is a real looker, even in SXT trim. The large wheels and pronounced haunches make it look the part for a muscle car. I'm personally indifferent to the grille, as I feel the pre-2015 front end looks better, but it's a solid package. And that rear, with the distinctive taillights, looks positively badass.
The interior is also quite a pleasant place to be. The front seats are supportive and didn't cause any aches and pains, and are heated. The rear seats are also heated, which is a nice touch. The heated wheel feels good and quality, minus a few blank buttons. The infotainment system is a hi-res touch screen, which is quick and easy to use. I get why reviewers rave about it now. It's not as much as a pillbox as I thought it might be, with excellent visibility all around, and blind spots covered by sensors that were more than happy to let me know when a car was hiding beside me if I flicked on the turn signal.
The audio system, an optional Alpine system, was bangin' and allowed me to enjoy all the finest alt-rock that 102.1 could throw at me. It was also nice that it didn't have to compete with road noise, as the interior manages to keep most of that out. And I'm sure the dark leather and plastic interior would have been easily lit up if I had bothered to try out the sunroof, but I never cracked it open. Blame my paleness for that one. As dark as the interior is, at least the materials are pretty good and well put together. It almost had me questioning how true the rumours of build quality were. To be fair, I do drive a Volkswagen, which isn't the highest bar to clear.
My only complaint is that I could have used a few more physical controls for the things I actually used, as the heated steering wheel and seat options are in the infotainment, though they're not hidden in a sea of menus. They were at least nice enough to leave permanent icons for radio, navigation, phone, apps, climate controls, et cetera at the bottom of the screen. There's a few hard climate control buttons, some knobs for radio tuning and volume (which are complimented by some buttons on the back of the steering wheel), and dedicated buttons for sport mode and “Super Track Pak”, which brings you into all the settings for your steering feel, throttle response, manual shift modes, and launch control.
Yeah, this rental car had launch control. You can't say Dodge doesn't know what its customers want.
With all that said though, it's time to crunch some numbers. I went and played on the Dodge Canada build-and-price site, and built out this car. It came to around $44k CAD before taxes and after incentives. Which is a rather exorbitant amount of money, considering this is the base model SXT. Granted, if you want a rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive sedan that'll comfortably sit four adults with enough room in the trunk for all their luggage, your options are the 5-series, E-Class, the XF, the G80, the Legacy, and the Stinger. And I think the CT5? I don't know, Cadillac confuses me. Realistically though, when you look at the prices, the Charger is in a league of its own. Until you start getting into the higher powered V8s, but hopefully that's a review for another time.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Charger. As someone who doesn't drive a lot of cars, it doesn't feel old or outdated in any way, and was an absolute pleasure to drive around in for a few days. For someone who lives in a snowy climate, I'd say it's worth a look if you're in the market for a sedan.
Now, who wants to lend me a Challenger for a comparison comparison review?
CB is a Canadian man who needed an excuse to take car photos and used a rental car review as a platform. When not cleaning up after his husky, he's working on the world's worst novel and shouting obscenities into the open and empty fields of Saskatchewan.
@ttyymmnn Your son sure sounds like a teenager.
Probably going to do a drive for photos tomorrow once I escape this hell. Currently in my office which is ten degrees to keep an eye on the people fixing our broken boiler. I’m not doing paperwork as a) an act of protest and b) I’m lazy.
And they’re now making electric ATVs and UTVs? Are they any good? Unlikely as you can only reserve your spot for $1000 CAD. Link is here for people who want to get a hit of what will likely be vapourware.
EDIT: not electric, my bad. Which just makes them more lame.
@huzer Fully Completely is one of my favourite albums. Love the Hip.