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CHARGER R/T: THE ARTFUL DODGE

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Published on Fri, Oct 15, 2010

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

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The Dodge Charger R/T: A mean look to match the machine underneath

By John-Fredrik Wright The 2010 Dodge Charger, that mean-looking machine many of you probably have noticed in your rear-view mirror, is quite a handful. By that I mean it is solidly built, big, bulky—and mean. The engine gives a mean rumble when I start it using the remote start. I wouldn’t dare to be too close as the V8 pushes out enough air from the exhaust pipe to blow dust onto my newly polished shoes. I grasp the door handle. The weight of the door forces me to flex my manly muscles, and I over compensate. The door swings wildly open; then as I am getting into the car, it swings back giving me a helpful (not) shove into the driver’s seat. I’m in. Looking around, I notice that this is also a big car in the interior. The front seats are sporty, yet not too sporty; great for longer road trips. The sportiness does not carry on into the back seats, but the rear occupants will definitely also have a pleasant ride.

2010 Dodge Charger R/T

Cup holders are plentiful, up front and in the back. So even if the exterior looks mean, it does take good care of you, once you are inside. Cranking up the stereo, I notice that the 368-watt, 7-speaker Boston Acoustics system will be able to go a lot louder than my ears will tolerate. Mean. Getting on the freeway, the 5.7L HEMI lets me know who’s boss. The automatic gearbox downshifts quickly, the engine takes in a huge gulp of air, and I’m off! It doesn’t take long before I have to let off the gas pedal; I’m up to speed in no time. Even if the mean looking ‘face’ scares slow moving minivans out of my way, it will probably not be helpful if I get pulled over by a CHP-officer (who could very well be driving a Charger). Consequently, I keep it nice and steady, and this car is steady; the big bulky frame sits nicely, hugging the asphalt, always reminding me; “if you need an extra boost, just give me the sign”.

2009 Dodge Charger

I really enjoyed the fact that the automatic gearbox would grant me permission to shift-at-will using the “manual” option. This is getting more common, but not too long ago, the manual option on any street-car automatic simply meant that you could switch gears during normal day-to-day driving, and anytime you floored the accelerator, it would downshift, regardless of whether or not that was your intention. The fact that the Charger lets me be in charge when I want to is great! The 16 MPG (city) fuel economy highlights the Charger’s most glaring weak point, (although, the highway MPG is pretty good at 25+). The gas-cap is always easily opened, even if the car is locked, to let you pour more juice into its system. However, when you want to access your own stuff in the trunk you have to either push the button on the key or the button by the driver’s seat. Even if the car is unlocked, opening the trunk requires a push of a button. Mean. Once in the trunk, I expected my groceries to look half-digested after the ride they had endured. Fortunately, the grocery-bag-net has kept things in place. Phew!

2010 Dodge Charger

In summation, the mean-machine-look of the Charger is backed up by the hot HEMI V8, yet once you tame the horses, it will nicely transport you to your destination. The cruise control will help you stay out of trouble, keeping a steady pace even on steep inclines and declines. You will soon overlook the blind spots that come with the mean stance, and won’t notice that the tail-fin is actually obstructing your view through your rear-view mirror. You’ll get used to the mean look and the rumble from the HEMI, yet always be astonished at how much power you have under the hood. And when you come home at night, you will park your Charger and thank it for being kind today. I always did. SUMMARY JUDGMENT: Artfully mean. For more information about Dodge products, go to dodge.com

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SPECIFICATIONS: Name of vehicle: 2010 Dodge Charger R/T RWD Price: $32,345 (base) $40,315 (as tested, with Customer Preferred Package 29Y, Super Track Pak, Power Sunroof, and Media Center 730N CD/DVD/HDD/NAV Radio) EPA fuel economy rating: 16 MPG (city) 25 MPG (highway) Engine size and type: 5.7-Liter V8 HEMI MDS VVT Horsepower: 368 @ 5200 rpm: Torque 395 pound-feet @ 4350 rpm: Transmission type: 5-Speed Automatic Transmission with AutoStick semi-manual shifting Drive configuration: Rear-wheel drive Steering (type): Power-assisted rack and pinion Suspension Front suspension: Independent S/L arm with tuned dampers, unique coil spring rates and suspension bushings, anti-sway bar. Rear suspension: Independent five-link setup with tuned dampers, unique coil spring rates and suspension bushings, anti-sway bar Dimensions Length: 200.1 inches Width: 74.5 inches Height: 58.2 inches Curb weight: 4085 pounds

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