2010 Dodge Charger Review and Prices
The 2010 Dodge Charger is the best car for you if you’re looking for a sporty domestic-brand sedan with the spirit of a 1970s muscle car.
The 2010 Dodge Charger is a sportier version of the stately Chrysler 300 sedan. Styling is different, but they share a rear-wheel-drive layout, 178- and 250-horsepower V-6 engines, and two versions of the Hemi V-8, a 368-horsepower edition in the R/T model, and a 425-horse powerhouse in the SRT8. As in the 300, the Charger offers all-wheel-drive (AWD) on all but base and SRT8 versions for added grip on wet roads. Updates for the 2010 Dodge Charger are minimal.
Should you buy a 2010 Dodge Charger or wait for the 2011 Dodge Charger? A redesigned 2011 Charger is slated to debut in autumn 2010. Details about the 2011 model are sketchy, but reports say its design will be more expressively retro than to the 2006-2010 model. Also expect major upgrades to cabin décor, an improved V-6 as the standard engine, and a more fuel-efficient turbocharged V-6 in place of the Hemi V-8 in the R/T model. A Hemi SRT8 will likely return for 2011, though it could be axed in a future model year to help boost the automaker’s corporate average fuel economy.
2010 Dodge Charger Test Drive back to top
Interior: The 2010 Dodge Charger’s interior treatment features tunneled white-faced electroluminescent gauges and silver accents across the instrument panel, but is otherwise uninspired. There’s a propensity of cheap-feeling plastics and parts-bin switchgear. Charger affords plenty of room for five adults to ride in comfort, though taller riders will find rear-seat headroom a bit pinched, given the tapered roofline. Trunk volume is a reasonably spacious 16.2 cubic feet.
The top-of-the-line SRT8 model has nicely bolstered sport seats, carbon-fiber-pattern leather trim on door handles and steering wheel, and LED lighting in the front cup holders and map pockets. An available reconfigurable display affords instant feedback on 0–60 mph acceleration, 60–0 mph braking, cornering g-forces, and quarter-mile times.
The 2010 Dodge Charger offers many of the latest features, including side-curtain airbags that cover both rows of seats. Available tech-based amenities include a hands-free Bluetooth cell-phone interface, an available navigation system with a 30-gigabyte hard-drive for digital media storage and a USB iPod interface. The optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system can accommodate the family-friendly Sirius Backseat TV service.
Exterior: Though the classic 1960s and ‘70s Chargers were two-door coupes, the modern version is a four-door sedan. Still, there are similarities between the 2010 Dodge Charger’s outward appearance and that of the original -- particularly in the “kink” leading upward toward the rear deck. Charger, however, isn’t nearly as retro-looking as the slightly smaller Dodge Challenger two-door coupe that also uses this basic platform.
The 2010 Dodge Charger SRT8 is visually distinguished from other models by 20-inch wheels and tires, 3.5-inch chromed exhaust tips, a unique front fascia with air dam and brake cooling ducts, a functional hood scoop and rear deck-lid spoiler.
Driving: The 2010 Dodge Charger SE base version is saddled with a lackluster 178-horsepower 2.7-liter V-6 and a dated four-speed automatic transmission, a powertrain best suited for rental fleets. Meanwhile, the 2010 Charger SXT uses a far-more pleasing 250-horsepower V-6 and a five-speed automatic with AutoStick manual gear selection. Still, it really needs a smoother, more efficient six-speed automatic. The 2010 Charger R/T comes with a 368-horsepower 5.7-liter Hemi V-8. This engine benefits from a variable displacement function that helps boost fuel economy by deactivating half the cylinders in low-demand situations. The 2010 Charger SRT8 packs a 425-horsepower 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 that delivers amazing thrust when required. It can do 0-60 mph in just over five seconds. Unlike the Dodge Challenger, no Charger is available with manual transmission.
Benefiting from a rear-wheel-drive platform designed while Chrysler was controlled by Mercedes-Benz, the 2010 Dodge Charger handles reasonably well for a car its size. Traction and antiskid systems are standard, and the SRT8 boasts assorted steering, suspension and braking system upgrades to help channel the added power to the pavement. On slippery surfaces, however, rear-wheel-drive is no substitute for the AWD available on Charger SXT and R/T models, and we strongly recommend it if you live where it snows.
An optional Super Track Pack for the 2010 Charger R/T includes 20-inch Goodyear Eagle F1 performance tires, front and rear Nivomat self-leveling shock-absorbers, a larger rear stabilizer bar, a 3.06:1 rear-axle ratio, performance brake linings, and an “Electronic Stability Control-off” mode that affords added rear-tire slip for enthusiastic driving.
2010 Dodge Charger Prices back to top
The 2010 Dodge Charger price range is $25,140-$38,930 (prices in this review include the manufacturer’s destination fee; Dodge’s fee for the 2010 Charger is $750).
The SE is the most affordable 2010 Charger and starts at $25,140.
The 2010 Dodge Charger SXT is priced from $26,900, the R/T starts at $32,120, and the SRT8 begins at $38,950.
2010 Dodge Charger Fuel Economy back to top
The 2010 Dodge Charger SE is rated at 18/26 mpg (city/highway), the SXT at 17/25, and the R/T at 16/25. Dodge recommends 89-octane gas for the R/T. The SRT8 requires premium fuel, is rated at 13/19 and is subject to a federal gas-guzzler tax.
2010 Dodge Charger Safety and Reliability back to top
In government crash testing, the 2010 Dodge Charger rates the maximum five stars for driver and passenger protection in both frontal and side impacts; it gets four out of five stars in rollover protection.
The 2010 Dodge Charger received an “about average” rating for both initial quality and expected reliability by J.D. Power and Associates, the leading automotive consumer survey firm.
2010 Dodge Charger Competition back to top
2010 Buick Lucerne: More sedate in appearance and character than the Dodge Charger, the Lucerne is a comfortable large domestic offering. It’s V-6 is a 3.9-liter with 219 horsepower (it generates 227 in its flex-fuel version that can run on regular gas or E85 ethanol). The Lucerne Super model comes with a stronger but hardly muscular 292-horsepower 4.6-liter V-8. Both are hooked to a four-speed automatic. Lucerne comes only with front-wheel drive, and its future beyond model-year 2011 is cloudy. Base price range for 2010 is roughly $30,000-$43,000.
2010 Ford Taurus: Vastly improved thanks to a model-year 2010 revamp that brings a more sophisticated look and feel overall. Interior room, however, isn’t as expansive as this car’s large exterior dimensions suggest. A 263-horsepower 3.5-liter V-6 engine and six-speed automatic transmission deliver good acceleration. Ride and handling are well balanced, though the steering is on the heavy side at low speeds. The top SHO version is a modern muscle car with its 365-horsepower twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6. Mainstream Taurus models offer front- or all-wheel drive; the SHO is AWD only. Myriad features are offered, including many typically found only on luxury cars, like massaging front seats. Base price range is roughly $26,000-$38,500.