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2006 Dodge Charger

2006 Dodge Charger

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Summary

The Dodge Charger is dead; long live the Dodge Charger. At least, that's how the Dodge guys in Michigan believe fans of the Chrysler Group's performance brand will receive the new Dodge Charger. While its namesake was a two-door hardtop, and commonly, if not completely accurately, referred to as a coupe, the all-new Charger is a four-door sedan.

Full Review 2006 Dodge Charger

The new Charger illustrates just how multi-talented and accomplished today's high performance cars are compared to the uni-dimensional hot rods of yesteryear. The Charger has all the pavement-ripping, gut-thumping power of the old muscle cars, but is packaged with modern creature comforts and tempered by startling levels of handling competency.

Trims and Styling 2006 Dodge Charger

The 2006 Dodge Charger comes in one body style, a four-door, five-passenger sedan. Three engines are available, a 250-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6; a 340-hp, 5.7-liter V8; and a 350-hp, 5.7-liter V8. The entry-level Charger is the SE, fitted with the V6. Cloth upholstery is standard,  Included are air conditioning; cruise control; tilt-and-telescope steering wheel; soft-finish urethane-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; floor mats; power door locks, outside mirrors, windows and remote trunk release; two power points; driver and passenger lumbar adjustment; and AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack. 

The Charger SXT comes with the V6 and upgraded features: An eight-way power driver's seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 60/40 split folding rear seat with fold-down center armrest, Boston Acoustics stereo with six speakers and 276-watt amplifier, fog lamps, trunk cargo net and cast aluminum wheels. Options include leather-trimmed seats, a power sunroof, power adjustable pedals, six-disc CD changer and MP3 capability, satellite radio with one-year subscription, rear-seat entertainment system, Bluetooth capability. 

The Charger R/T is a V8-powered, high-performance model. A speedometer reading to 160 miles per hour replaces the 140-mph unit on the SXT and SE. Front brake rotors add an inch in diameter to the SXT's and SE's 12.6 inches and spin between twin-piston calipers, and rear discs are vented. The Electronics Convenience Group adds a security alarm, programmable universal garage door opener, trip computer, selectable vehicle information display, compass and a set of steering wheel-mounted, redundant audio controls. Behind the fun tab of the option book is the Road/Track Performance Group, what some who remember the ultimate stealth muscle car of the 1960s might call the Road Runner Edition, as in, more go, less show: unique aluminum wheels with black accents, sportier steering, self-leveling shocks, sport seats, performance suspension and, the kicker piece, a tweaked V8 making 350 horsepower.

Exterior Design Cues 2006 Dodge Charger

The same design team that parented the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum birthed this new Charger. The Charger is built on the same platform as those two, but is three inches longer overall. The Charger reportedly was planned all along to be a sedan version of the Magnum.

The trademark Dodge crosshairs, chromed on the SXT and R/T, body-color in the SE and SRT8 and flat black on the Daytona, dominate the front end. Fog lamps on the SXT and higher models fill small, sculpted insets at the lower corners. The rear perspective shows a tall, almost vertical backside, with large taillights draped over the upper corners. On the SE and SXT a single exhaust tip exits beneath the right-hand side, while the V8-powered models sport chrome-tipped, muscle car-idiom, dual exhausts.

The Charger's styling is loosely reflected on NASCAR's Nextel Cup cars, primarily seen in the crosshair grille and the painted-on taillights.

2006 Dodge Charger Interior Styling and Features

The steering wheel, too, comes directly from the Magnum. Air conditioning registers fill the top of the center stack, above the stereo/navigation display, with the climate control panel properly positioned beneath that, all intuitively arrayed and outfitted and within easy reach of the driver and front seat passenger. Ex-navigation display center stacks have a small, horizontal cubby below the air conditioning knobs and buttons. 

Headlight switch and dash light rheostat are located in the dash next to the driver's door, with the remote trunk release below. The standard, fabric-covered seats are comfortable, with adequate thigh support and side bolstering. Thanks to the sedan-spec wheelbase, there's plenty of rear seat room, too, even with front seats at their rearmost positions. No head restraint for the rear center seat is provided, however, making this car better for four adults than five.

Visibility from the driver's seat is good, but suffers a bit from safety measures and styling dictates. (The A-pillars are the posts between the windshield and front side windows: the C-pillars are the posts between the rear windscreen and rear side windows.)

The screen hides beneath a cover on the front center console when not in use, then pivots up between the front seats for viewing. The 2006 Dodge Charger is a fun drive, especially considering its size. 

First Drive '06 Dodge Charger

All three engines deliver power smoothly. The Charger is quiet at that speed, with very little wind or road noise. The Performance Group comes with fatter, stickier tires (P235/55R18 Michelin MXM4s) and suspension tweaks that combine to reduce body lean in corners and quicken turn-in response. The AutoStick transmission works equally well in either Automatic or Manual mode. The Charger's brake hardware is shared with Mercedes-Benz, but the software code for the stability program, brake assist and traction control systems is written by and for Dodge. Mercedes engineers could learn something from Dodge.

2006 Dodge Charger Conclusions

The 2006 Dodge Charger is the latest in a remarkably long line of certain hits from the Chrysler Group. For specs on the new Charger, photos, and news go to Dodge.com The new Charger has all the necessary ingredients, from an impressive line of engines to state-of-the-art electronic technology to the right mix of suspension and wheel-and-tire combinations.