All photos here of the 2018 Charger R/T by Russell Purcell
Going strong since the 1960s, the burly Dodge Charger today proudly wears the badge as North America’s only 4-door muscle car. And as of 2015, add ‘world’s quickest, most powerful sedan’ to the mix with the Charger SRT Hellcat.
In the current state where CUVs and compact crossovers continue to overshadow the lowly sedan, it’s nice to see this segment still getting some love.
But for the majority of us who don’t need a 707-hp, race-bred, high-performance sedan for daily driving, the Charger for 2018 also offers efficient V6 power and all-wheel-drive capability for tasks like dropping Jimmy off at soccer or hitting the mountains during the snowy months.
If you’re thinking about going with a Challenger instead, there’s always the 840-hp, limited-edition Challenger SRT Demon for a reasonably affordable US$84,995. Or for growing families, a wicket fast 2018 SRT SUV putting down 475-hp for under US$70K.
Whatever your reasons for contemplating a Charger – daily driver to weekend track star – with 10 models in the stable (listed below), choosing the right one might be a bit daunting. Or maybe not if you know what you’re after. Either way, we’ve listed some product highlights to help you make the right choice before hitting the Dodge dealership.
Here are 13 key features and things to know before buying a 2018 Charger:
2018 Charger Model Lineup
- Charger SXT
- Charger GT (AWD)
- Charger SXT Plus
- Charger GT Plus (AWD)
- Charger R/T
- Charger Daytona
- Charger R/T Scat Pack
- Charger Daytona 392
- Charger SRT 392
- Charger SRT Hellcat
1. Planet Earth’s most powerful sedan
Propelling to a top speed of 204-mph, the Charger SRT Hellcat model with its supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI Hellcat engine under the hood makes an insane 707-hp and 650 lb.-ft. of torque. So yeah, this isn’t your typical 4-door suburban cruiser – it’s officially the quickest, fastest and most powerful sedan in the world.
2. The SRT 392’s naturally aspirated power
The second-highest trim sitting below the Hellcat, the Charger SRT 392’s 485-hp and 475 lb.-ft. of torque with SRT Performance Pages, six-piston Brembo brakes and standard 20 x 9.5-inch aluminum wheels, delivers best-in-class performance and naturally aspirated goodness.
3. Standard Active Exhaust in all HEMI V8 models
For those beautiful muscle car exhaust notes to wake up (piss off?) the neighbors you need Dodge’s Active Exhaust. And if you’re looking at any of the HEMI V8 Charger models, you’re in luck – this feature comes standard with the 2.75-inch electronically controlled active exhaust system in all the 5.7-liter HEMI V8 Charger models, including Daytona.
4. Upgraded footwork and braking assembly
Offering improved heat management, thermal capacity and longevity in the stopping department, the Charger SRT 392, SRT Hellcat and Daytona 392 models feature 390-mm (15.4-inch) Brembo two-piece rotors with six-piston calipers.
5. SRT Drive Modes ramp up driving and handling
Perhaps one of the most underrated – or very least, under-utilized – features in vehicles today are the Drive Modes. All automakers have their own setups with their own names. But essentially, they do the same thing whether you’re in a 2+2 coupe or a monster sedan: fine tune and tailor the driving experience to suit the pilot’s needs.
In the 2018 Charger, the SRT Drive Modes change the maps for horsepower, transmission shift speeds, steering, paddle shifters, traction and suspension; pre-configured for Sport, Track and Default settings, along with a Custom mode we feel is always overkill. But hey, when you’ve got 707-hp to deal with, exceptions can be made.
6. 3-Mode Suspension Setup
With Auto, Sport and Track modes, the Charger SRT features 3-mode Bilstein adaptive damping suspension to handle the road ahead, from bumpy everyday driving to tight turns and track hairpins.
7. Most horsepower under US$40,000
Equipped with a 392 HEMI V8 putting down 485-hp and 475 lb.-ft. of torque, the Charger R/T Scat Pack model priced at under $40K offers the most power at this price point – and it’s all naturally aspirated horses, paired to Dodge Performance Pages, Brembo brakes and 20 x 9-inch aluminum wheels.
8. Black is Back
Entry-level Dodge Chargers including the SXT, GT and R/T models get some love too. For a stealthy look, these models have the option of the popular Blacktop Appearance Group, lending a more demonic appearance to an already sinister production sedan.
9. Advanced AWD for the GT and GT Plus
Both the Charger GT and GT Plus AWD models find the segment’s most technologically advanced all-wheel-drive system with a segment-exclusive active transfer case and front-axle-disconnect system to improve real-world fuel economy, according to Dodge.
10. Efficient 8-speedTransmission and Decent Fuel Economy
All Chargers, from the entry-level SXT to the top-end SRT Hellcat, come standard with the TorqueFlite eight-speed transmission. And we’ll guess fuel economy isn’t on the ‘muscle car must have’ list, saving some cash at the pump never hurts. This tranny helps the 4-door achieve 30 mpg best-in-class V6 highway fuel economy, 27 mpg AWD V6 fuel economy and maximum performance with 160 millisecond shifts and rev-matching on Charger SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat.
11. Track-ready family hauler with upgraded chassis
Adding the Super Track Pak upgrade to the Charger transforms this power-hungry 4-door into a true race-bred track monster. This option includes Bilstein shock absorbers, 3.07 rear axle ratio (V-6), performance hood with air induction, performance front and rear fascias, sculpted side sills and Dodge Performance Pages, which provide visible performance information, such as programmable shift light indicator, reaction time, 0-60 mph times, G-force indicator and lap times.
12. 80 Safety and security features
Don’t let the 707-hp cloud your judgement. Safety first, dude. With features including Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist and Full-speed Forward Collision Warning, the 2018 Charger offers more than 80 available safety and security features to ensure the good times keep rolling.
Drown out that burly V8 with an available segment-exclusive BeatsAudio system. The audio setup includes a 552-watt amplifier and trunk-mounted subwoofer.
2018 Charger vs 2017 – What’s New?
Individual Charger trims get their own updates for 2018, but across the lineup each model now finds Parkview rear back-up camera and Parksense rear park assist as standard. And couple extra exterior colour schemes later in the year: the new F8 Green and IndiGO Blue.
The entry-level Charger SXT gets a nice bump now with a standard 7-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 4 system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; along with the Pentastar V6 as standard, including the SXT Plus, GT, and GT Plus models. The SXT Plus also gets a new available look with the Super Track Pak adding Nappa/Alcantara performance seats when packaged with leather seats.
…for the majority of us who don’t need a 707-hp, race-bred, high-performance sedan for daily driving, the Charger for 2018 also offers efficient V6 power and all-wheel-drive capability for tasks like dropping Jimmy off at soccer or hitting the mountains during the snowy months.
The GT AWD Charger is better equipped without forking out more money; it finds 300-hp as standard now, as well as the Dodge Performance Pages, Gloss Black fascia applique and larger 19-inch aluminum rims.
For an upgraded brake assembly, the Charger R/T Scat Pack and Daytona 392 now find optional red Brembo brake calipers.
Changes to 2018 SRT
But the most significant changes versus the outgoing Charger are to the top level SRT 392 and SRT Hellcat. These include:
New to SRT Hellcat
- new grille and fender and new red IP badge
- new Matte Vapor wheel finish option
- optional black, orange and gunmetal Brembo Brake calipers
- new Demonic Red Laguna Leather interior
- optional Dual Gunmetal Grey stripes
New to SRT 392
- now standard are weight saving (16 lbs. per vehicle, to be exact) Low Gloss Black “5Deep” lightweight aluminum wheels
- available Brass Monkey wheels
There you have it. 13 things to keep on your radar when building out and pricing a new Charger. Again, with 10 models and endless packages and options, there’s a lot to absorb. Hopefully this helped. For more on pricing and specs, check out this piece on the 2018 Charger at NY Daily News or Driving.ca for Canadian shoppers.