2011 Dodge Charger R/T 5.7L V8 HEMI from North America
Fast and comfortable
When I got the car, the dealer I bought it from had replaced the thermostat, but did not fill the radiator fluid and it overheated on the way home. Had to add water to the radiator, and pay to get the car checked out, and ultimately pay to flush the radiator fluid once I was sure that was the problem. The dealer would not even take my phone calls; the second I said my name, they would hang up on me after I bought the car, so I was expecting a blown head gasket initially.
Also, I noticed the backup sensors did not work when I picked the car up. The dealer refused to fix it with the reasoning I could bring it to my local Dodge dealer and they would fix it no charge under warranty, even though there is a $100 deductible. Replacing both bad sensors cost something like $60 if I recall; not even enough to meet the deductible.
Cleaning snow off of it in the winter, I took the windshield washer fluid nozzle off. Completely my fault, but this piece was surprisingly expensive for what it is.
The cruise control works intermittently. There is a fault in the computer, bad sensor or a short in a wire, and I haven't got it checked out yet (error message when I try to turn it says FCW sensor, but the FCW sensor seems to be working).
Despite a few minor issues, I could not see myself driving anything else. I can count on one hand the number of cars I can fit in and are comfortable, and the Charger is one of them. My boys are much more comfortable in the Charger than they were in my prior vehicle, and it also offers adequate trunk space, another rare find in cars of today. The official stats say the trunk is 16.5 cubic feet, however that number may be rather conservative as I will say I can fit at least twice as many groceries in the trunk as I could from my prior vehicle, a 2010 Cadillac CTS that's listed as having over 13 cubic feet.
My favorite feature on the car is that it lets me plug in a SD card with music on it with a 16GB limit for the 2011 model year.
The 5.7 HEMI is a great compromise between mileage and power. It certainly has enough power to pass other cars on a two-lane highway, even if they decide they want to drag race you at the last second, and I still get a combined 20-22 MPG while passing 5-6 people daily on my way to work.
I also really like the ride on the car. Coming from a Cadillac CTS, which I found rides very modern, and was way too stiff for the rough Massachusetts roads where driving is like playing Frogger with potholes, the Charger glides over frost heaves and potholes that I failed to avoid in a much less jarring manner. It rides similar to my first car, a 1981 Buick Century, which I consider to be a good thing.
My particular model is all wheel drive. On clear roads, the vehicle operates as RWD 100% of the time. On snow or ice, the second it detects any wheel spin (which is long before I even notice it), it routes power to the front wheels. I live on a rather steep hill, and have had no issues with all the snow we had this past winter.
My complaints about the car (all minor):
The stock Alpine speakers should be better. From what I gather, the head unit is fine, but the speakers are junk -- replacing them should go a long way, which I'll get around to eventually.
The 5 speed transmission shifts like my early 80s Buicks -- fairly rough by today's standards. Also, the way the gearing works, it can pick up speed fairly quickly before certain upshifts. The newer 8 speed should be an improvement in both areas as well as in terms of gas mileage, although the 5 speed certainly isn't a deal breaker for me by any means.
It steers like my early 80s Buicks -- fairly loose. The steering is the only thing I really miss about the CTS, although the steering does seem appropriate for the suspension.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 16th July, 2015
2nd Aug 2015, 20:33
I was way too generous with the reliability. It should be 5/10. Right after this review, my dashboard yet again lit right up and several things stopped working, like cruise control and all wheel drive. Mostly electrical issues, but the AWD seems to be a possible bad transfer case -- when it is at least 70 degrees out and the car has been driven a while, the AWD system shuts itself down.
It's a really nice car, but it's also a money pit. If you are shopping Chargers, I would recommend getting a basic model that does not have adaptive cruise control (when that breaks, it also doesn't let you use regular cruise) and a backup camera and keep it basic. Then you can avoid a monthly electrical issue, or as it may be a 3-4 one month, none for the next 6 months and then 8 more the next.
The Dodge certified warranty is completely useless as well. They charge a $100 deductible, and can also charge you for diagnosis as well (just to pull your codes = 1 hour labor). And as many of these problems are intermittent, it may end up working by the time the dealer looks at it, and there's another hour of labor you have to pay for. What a nightmare! Dodge dealers seem to be unable to fix issues that don't throw codes as well. Since most of these issues and up are around $100 for the dealer to fix it when they are able to, I'm better off using one of my local indie shops who will charge me a small fraction the price and won't bother charging me a diagnosis fee.
The AWD issue I gather is not normal on these cars, the drivetrain normally is reliable from my research. But the electrical issues... Chrysler should be ashamed!