2013 Dodge Charger SXT Review

A true urban warrior

A true urban warrior

2013 Dodge Charger SXT AWD

  • Base Price: $35,395 
  • Price as tested: $42,040
  • Engine: 3.6L V6 VVT Engine
  • Horsepower: 292 HP and 260 lb-ft of torque
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Auto 8R45 Transmission
  • Fuel Efficiency Rating: 11.4L/100 KM City; 7.3L/100 KM HWY
  • Key Competitors: Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala

Although the industry as a whole is heading towards smaller vehicles there is still a significant market for large sedans however, the choice today for consumers is somewhat limited. We recently had the opportunity to test out one of these full-size contenders aiming to set itself apart from the rest of the large sedan crowd. Say hello to Chrysler’s 2013 Dodge Charger AWD SXT model.

A rear view

Spring afternoon in Toronto

Upon first glance, the aggressive stance and styling remind you of the infamous Dodge Charger muscle cars of the 60s and early 70s. The combination of its mean grill, chiseled hood and doors and unique LED tail light make the Charger stand out from the crowd. Selfishly, we were very excited about our tester’s “Redline red” paint colour which works well visually with our site.

What are you looking at?

What are you looking at?

Upon a close up, you can really see why North American police departments are clamouring for the new Chargers for their fleets since it just looks ready to throw down for law enforcement at a moment’s notice.

From behind

Even looks mean from behind

In spite of its large size the 2013 Dodge Charger is surprisingly easy to drive around town, thanks to a very efficient turning radius and solid overall visibility. The steering felt great at both slower city speeds and highway speeds, while the suspension easily soaked up Toronto’s abundant spring potholes. The Charger’s AWD drivetrain provides the added confidence for any type of weather, a truly nice feature to have in Ontario in early Spring.

Luxurious interior

Luxurious interior

Our 2013 Dodge Charger’s interior came dressed in a sporty red leather upholstery with slick, roomy front bucket seats. One very cool interior feature in the Charger you don’t see everyday is the cooling and/or heating of the centre console cup holders.  I mean seriously, how nice is it to keep your Timmy’s coffee warm on a long winter road trip.

The dashboard controls came in oversized, easy to adjust rubber-wrapped knobs situated well for both driver and passenger control. Our only criticism is the dashboard’s design and finish is not perfect, yet it does not look “rental” car either. Overall, Chrysler has done a tremendous job to reduce the number of interior assembly pieces, which results in a very quiet and luxurious interior.

As for technology, the heart of it all begins with Chrysler’s Uconnect Touch media centre which includes CD/DVD/MP3 capability and navigation. The Uconnect Touch system is well designed with its easy to use 8.4 inch touch screen display while the big icons and buttons make it a snap to use while driving. Compared to some of the other systems we have recently tested it is quite exceptional in both looks and functionality. In addition, our Charger SXT model included Bluetooth phone capability, SiriusXM satellite radio and a USB port.

The Charger includes all the latest safety features Chrysler offers and it’s a very safe car overall earning five stars in NHTSA crash tests and a Top Safety Pick from the IIHS. Our tester came with a rear back up camera, adaptive cruise control and a very slick blind spot detection system with alert lights inside the side mirrors. In downtown traffic this feature is a bit overwhelming but you get use to it quickly and we saw the real value when we did our highway tests.  Since having a second set of eyes is always a good thing when going to pass on the highway. 

Rear seats

Rear seats

The back seats are equally as plush and roomy as the front seats, however, the transmission hump does take some leg room away for the middle occupant.

Storage is key for a large sedan and the cavernous 467 liter trunk delivers superior cargo space and includes grocery bag hooks, a nice convenience feature. Along with the trunk the rear seats fold flat in a 60/40 style so there is more room than most will ever need for hauling stuff.

Cavernous trunk

Cavernous trunk

Overall, we had an absolute blast reviewing the Charger and were actually quite sad to return it to Chrysler headquarters. The 2013 Dodge Charger AWD SXT provides consumers with a sporty AWD sedan that rivals luxury sedans priced well beyond its asking ” sticker” price. As well, in 25 years classic car collectors will not be bidding on today’s Accords and Camry’s but will be interested in these Chargers. 

Of course, for those focused on performance and not on a budget, the top of the line 470-HP $48,845 SRT would be absolutely amazing to have parked in the driveway, however, for most situations the Charger SXT suits perfectly. The SXT’s V6 engine provides ample power and torque for everyday driving and is fun to drive for a family sedan. With a zero to 60 MPH time of approx 6.4 seconds range the SXT is one of the faster grocery getters available. Since it was not that long ago when a 290+ HP family sedan was unheard of in North America further reminding me of all the under powered sedans I grew up driving in the 1990s.

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