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2017 Dodge Charger SXT Road Test and Review

Cherise Threewitt
by Cherise Threewitt
July 7, 2017
4 min. Reading Time
2017 Dodge Charger SXT ・  Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

2017 Dodge Charger SXT ・ Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

It’s been a while since I've driven a car from Dodge. Sure, I've seen some high-profile auto show reveals, and the thrill of being in the same room as the Demon during that wicked smoky unveiling ceremony, and numerous Dodge sightings during repeated enthusiastic viewings of the “Fast and the Furious” franchise. Dodge is sort of always in the back of my mind, but in an abstract sort of way.

But what of driving the brand’s actual cars — one that an actual person actually drive one every day? I tracked down a 2017 Charger SXT to find out. Aside from the fact that it arrived at my door in a retina-searing shade of orange, it wasn’t at all what I expected. Let’s take a look at the 2017 Dodge Charger SXT AWD.

Pricing Particulars

The Dodge Charger was the second-best-selling large sedan in the country last year, which means that its pricing resonates with a lot of buyers. While the base Charger carries an MSRP of $27,995, the SXT trim level that I drove starts at $29,995. All-wheel drive adds $2,000, and my test car included the Customer Preferred Package consisting mainly of styling accents ($495). The Navigation and Travel Group, featuring Uconnect infotainment system upgrades ($795), the AWD Plus Group, add a bunch of safety and comfort features ($2,495), and a power sunroof ($1,195). My test car came in at $38,070, according to the window sticker. Keep in mind that if you want all-wheel drive, that feature is not available on any of the V8 Chargers, which start at $34,790 and go beyond $67,645.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Performance, and Fuel Efficiency

The Charger’s 3.6-liter V6 provides one heck of a good time. Acceleration is strong, the car quickly hits the desired speed, and the exhaust note is great. An underlying rumble sounds without attracting the wrong kind of attention. It’s quick and easy to pass other traffic. This engine, which comes in the base Charger as well as the Charger SXT, makes 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque and comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission.

EPA ratings are 19 mpg city and 30 mpg highway in rear-wheel drive, 18 city and 27 highway in all-wheel drive. 

The Charger SXT feels light on its feet, considering its size and our test car’s optional all-wheel drive. It’s pleasantly and unexpectedly nimble, and takes corners well.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Exterior Design and Lighting

My test car was one of the better-looking versions I’ve seen. The Go Mango paint color paired nicely with the styling elements in the Customer Preferred Package. Dodge offers a badge delete as part of this package, which leaves the Charger emblem in the rear but removes mention of trim level. 

It also includes a satin black rear spoiler and gloss black front fascia and accents. A set of 19-inch “hyperblack” wheels (gunmetal gray, spiderweb-esque design) contrast well with the orange paint and black accents.

The Charger SXT’s AWD Plus package includes automatic HID projector headlights. We also liked the ambient lighting throughout, especially the ground illumination near the doors at night.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Interior Design and Capacities

This Charger has one of the most comfortable driver’s seats I’ve ever sat in, hands down. I was happier in that seat than I would have been on Vin Diesel’s lap. The height was perfect. The padding on the back was perfect. The lumbar support was easy to find and adjust. The side bolsters were like a warm embrace. 

Everything was perfectly functional, easy to reach and use intuitively.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Audio and Infotainment

The Charger SXT comes standard with an 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen infotainment system, new for this year, with Bluetooth, satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay. My test car included navigation ($795) and a package that included a rearview camera and rear park assist ($2,495). Most of the time it worked very well.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Available Equipment

In addition to the infotainment system, our Charger SXT packed tons of features. The list of standard equipment includes traction control, hill-start assist, proximity-key entry, remote start, heated front seats, two USB ports, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-volt power outlet, and a 7-inch digital instrument cluster with a customizable display.

The rearview camera and rear park assist were unquestionably helpful, considering the car’s size.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Safety Ratings and Technology

The Charger earns the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Overall rating. NHTSA’s individual crash test results came in with four stars for frontal crash, and five stars each for side crash and rollover. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded a score of Good for the moderate overlap, side impact, rear crash, and roof strength tests, and Marginal for the small overlap front test. No special rating was awarded from the IIHS.

Brake assist and hill-start assist come standard on every Charger. Optional features (which were included on our test car) include a rearview camera, rear park assist, forward collision warning with active braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic detection.

The Charger provides a full set of LATCH child seat hardware in each of the three rear seats. The IIHS gives the hardware a Marginal ease-of-use rating.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Other Cool Features

I was initially leery about the Charger SXT’s multifunction steering wheel.  I prefer plain (yet sporty) steering wheel designs. Still, the Charger’s steering wheel is packed full of buttons.  The cool thing about it is, it was perfectly fine — I was pleasantly surprised by how intuitive the whole setup turned out to be. My thumbs seem to always land on the accurate control.

Also, I love the Go Mango color. Orange cars are having a moment right now (this Charger loan landed in the middle of three consecutive orange test cars), and yet somehow an orange Dodge always seems like it makes its own moment. Go Mango is also available on the Dodge Challenger, but the Charger wears it like its own.

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Charger SXT is a good car. It's comfortable, stylish, powerful, and fun to drive. What I didn’t expect was my emotional response, which was significant. There was more to the car than the sum of its parts — a familiar warmth of sorts.

So what does that mean for someone shopping for a large sedan? That depends. Just remember, in this price range, there are other options that are less expensive or possibly more practical. But that's not why you buy a Charger. 

 Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt

Photo by Cherise LaPine Threewitt


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