2015 Dodge Charger

Doubles down its masculine look

"Inviting design and better engine options"

"Dodge's full-size sedan is more violent" said Issam

Last month, the star 2015 Dodge Charger SRT infused Hellcat made it on ArabWheels' cover, and we received tons of compliments about it. Our first drive was held in West Virginia, USA, upon the Summit Point Race Track. Now we take it back to the Middle East, and more specifically, on Lebanese soil. Gargour Automotive, official distributor of Dodge in Beirut, gave us the opportunity to taste the entry model V6 SXT one weekend.

Most of the body panels are new for 2015, but it's the front end that the Charger is most changed. Dodge execs wanted to give the new car a bit more family similarity, to better align it with the Dart and the Durango, and this is seen particularly with the taillights.

Under the hood is Chrysler's universal 3.6 liter Pentastar V6 engine that generates 292 hp. Another version is offered with a marginal additional grumble due to the addition of the "Rallye Group" that adds a unique cold air intake, sport-tuned exhaust, paddle shifters and revised engine calibration that increases output to 300 hp. The 2015 Charger comes now with a TorqueFlite eight speed transmission.

The interior undertook electronic upgrades and new technologies with Chrysler's latest version of Uconnect with either a 5.0 or 8.4 inch touchscreen. That latter item holds a plethora of performance options and customizable settings such as steering. The familiarity continues inside the burly four door sedan. A new steering wheel is present, also shared by the Dodge Durango. The wheel's multifunction buttons control the center 7 inch TFT screen inside the gauge cluster, scrolling through numerous menus and customizable displays. Also new for 2015 is the T-handle gear selector.

It drives similarly to the previous model. There's still a definite solid sensation the Charger has that other full-size sedans lack. Bumpy pavement is still felt in the cabin, particularly on Beirut's roads. But generally, the ride is realistically smooth. The suspension leaves the car soaring over big bumps, and I admit that the Charger has the comfort level of a full-size family sedan with no doubt.

Our test car, which was the SXT trim, isn't a sporty car, but it can handle corners well enough for its size. With the ESP on, the traction control guarantees the rear tires never slip even on wet roads. Very little sound, trembling or ruggedness makes it into the interior, but the engine can be loud some times under stiffer acceleration.

Verdict
My verdict would simply be that the Charger offers a large-sedan appearance with latest technology. Unlike a lot of its full-size competitors, the Charger isn't just accessible as a family car, but in a number of higher performance configurations as well such as with the Hellcat. As for the SXT trim, I would rather describe it as the picture-perfect large car for a customer who needs practicality and economy, and wants the look of aggressive performance. In Lebanon, the entry 2015 Charger SXT with 292 hp is tagged at 53,000 $USD. The Rallye package with 300 hp is priced at 60,000 $USD.

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