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Quick Spin: 2017 Dodge Charger SXT AWD

Kamil Kaluski June 22, 2017 Dodge Reviews, Featured, Quick Spin 23 Comments

Please give all the credit and respect to Dodge, all of FCA actually, for creating some of the most interesting vehicles on the market today. And then for having the guts to splash them in some equally ridiculous colors. Take this Yellow Jacket Dodge Charger, for instance. What other brand would offer a relatively pedestrian sedan in this color? BMW’s Individual Program comes to mind, but even that’s all custom order.

But there’s a little bit of an issue here. When I drove this car around, everyone had an opinion of the color. Unfortunately, aside from children and a friend of mine who owns Jeeps in orange and yellow, no one really liked it. So I ask, what is the problem here – the color or the fact that most people over forty have become boring geezers?

Personally, I’m in the latter category. I appreciate the fact that Dodge offers this color on this car, but I hate it. Yellow looks best on smaller, cuter, vehicles. It also looks damn good on limited production or exotic sports cars – if you’re going to stand out, might as well go all out in your yellow Lambo, bro. I’d even go as far to say that Dodge’s own Challenger looks good in yellow but no one ever called that car cute.

But this car here, the Charger SXT with the Rallye package, is not a limited production vehicle. Nor is it an exotic, it’s hardly sporty, and it certainly isn’t cute. It’s not even V8 and it certainly is no Hellcat, which would have the bark and the bite and to back up its loud look.

No. The Charger SXT Rallye is a V6-powered, all wheel drive, full-size sedan. There is nothing special about it apart from the bright paint. All the other large yellow sedans I can think of race around the island of Manhattan with TAXI signs on their roofs.

Paint aside, the Charger is solid. Yes, it’s an aging model but Dodge keeps making subtle updates to it all the time. The 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 now pushes out an even 300 horsepower. Its eight-speed transmission smoothly makes the best use of them. For a base powertrain this isn’t bad at all and it’s more than most people actually need.

It’s spacious inside, too. The front seats are wide but low on side support. Taller people would appreciate a longer bottom cushion. Unlike most new cars, the headrest does not push on the back of your head, giving you a feeling of old school freedom. The rear bench is old-school wide and offers plenty of legroom. The front seats on this model are heated and ventilated, and the rear ones are heated. Rear passengers get their own USB charge ports.

The optional Uconnect system with an 8.4-inch touch-screen has been updated, too. It has just about all of the lasted technology including Apple CarPlay. It is connected via  SiriusXM Travel Link to tell the weather, sports, and other dynamic information. It still is one of the easiest to use system on the market. The BeatsAudio speakers sound good, too.

On the road, like its two-door sibling, the Charger is a smooth cruiser. It’s the kind of car you could spend a day driving and not feel tired. In more urban driving, the throttle response is quicker than in cars with smaller turbocharged engines. Shifts are very smooth, hardly noticeable unless you gun it at highway speeds. The Charger is no Miata, so those expecting the steering to be precise and offer great feedback will be disappointed – it’s vague and over-boosted, which exactly what one would expect from a car like this.

The 2017 Charger starts at $27,995. This all wheel drive SXT version starts at $31,995. The AWD Premium Package adds 552W BeatsAudio, adaptive cruise control, auto dimming mirrors, HID headlights, blind spot detection, and other stuff for $5995. The $595 Ralley Package adds SRT-like exterior treatment, black wheels, and bumps the power to 300hp. Black painted roof, which actually compliments the yellow paint nicely, is $1500. The total manufacturer suggested retail price, with shipping charges, for the pictures vehicle is $39,725. Truecar.com says that actual sale prices are much lower because the Charger isn’t a CUV. 

The Charger is in the autumn of its years now. Those expecting some kind of modern super sedan will be disappointed. But those who want an honest large sedan, one that’s rear wheel drive, with available V8 power, ton of space, and an affordable price, will be delighted. There really is no other vehicle like the Charger on the market anymore, and there may never be another.

[Disclaimer: FCA provided the yellow Charger SXT for the purpose of this review. I was hoping it would be a yellow Charger Hellcat. All images copyright Kamil Kaluski/Hooniverse 2017]

  • 0A5599

    $1500 for the black painted roof? Please tell me that includes something besides black paint applied to the roof.

  • Mister Sterling

    I do like the AWD Charger. I know the Subaru Legacy is the better sedan. But I don’t care. A family sedan is so much more fun if its a Plum Crazy or Solar Yellow Dodge Charger SXT AWD.

  • Harry Callahan

    I simply don’t trust FCA quality , reliability, or durability. The Highway Patrol mechanic at the station in my town claims CHP is having many more issues with these than they do with even the retirement-age Crown Vics. I would only consider one as a very discounted used car.

    • ptschett

      FWIW my dad’s ’09 Ram 1500 has been pretty good, and it’s close to 200,000 miles now; I didn’t have much go wrong with my ’05 Dakota in 130,000 miles. Ram just tied Ford for 4th on the JD Power initial quality survey with Kia (?!?), Genesis and Porsche on the podium.

      • outback_ute

        Neither of those have the current transverse gearboxes. A colleague has a Cherokee that had a replacement after much arguing and heartache.

    • LeaksOil

      I personally wonder about the transmissions longevity and how all the electronic gadgets and whatnot will age. Regardless of brand, for a lot of the newer tech that is out there.

    • Mom has a ’14 Wrangler. No issues so far.

      • Harry Callahan

        I enjoyed reading the review by the way. Thanks!

    • boxdin

      Had to sell my 2010 pt cruiser due to “excessive crankshaft end play” at 63k miles. It had a new trans at 30k. Not good. Bought a Hyundai and I love it. Best car I ever owned, drove 22k trouble free miles last yr as a lyft driver.

      • Harry Callahan

        I have had very good luck with Asian brands too.

  • Rover 1
  • Maymar

    I don’t think the yellow is the colour I’d pick, although I wouldn’t turn it down if there was one sitting on the lot. But we’ve got a SubLime Rallye sitting at work right now that’s rather fetching.

    That said, I find the packaging on the LXs a bit odd. They’re not small inside, but there’s a few touches that make it feel, well, odd. Short of springing for the SRT, the cloth seats seem better shaped than the leather ones (which are oddly flat), and the sunroof is excessively intrusive. I’d still like to spend some proper time with one while we can still get them in the company fleet though, because they are a bit of a charming throwback.

  • Troggy

    I’ve always had quite a thing for yellow cars, my first car was a yellow ’83 Toyota Corona station wagon, I had the windows tinted bronze instead of the usual black/smoke which really differentiated it.
    The only problem with yellow cars is that for some reason bugs love crapping and fornicating on them. And here in Queensland, we have a lot of bugs.

    • I had a yellow CR-X So and had the same problem.

      • boxdin

        I had a yellow van and the bees loved to fly into it.

  • ptschett

    If I were in the market for a 4-door sedan today I’d probably buy a Charger, but a blue one; I came close to doing that 2 years ago but decided that another Challenger would be fine.
    That is quite a yellow. Almost a lead chromate / cadmium sulfide kind of yellow.

    • It’s an interesting yellow… but it needs to be on something smaller, sportier.

  • bluehillsmike

    Went to lease a Challenger GT AWD with this powertrain but ended up with a 300S AWD. The Challenger’s stance is just too high and wrong with AWD, the 300 looks good with it. Went for conservative white. This is a daily driver and nice for that, just like the Charger in your review. $325/mo, nothing down, leasing co even paid for the plates. This is $48K on the list. Sergio is pushing the wave of cash as far as he can before the waves crash on the shore! Like the car, first Mopar since sold ’69 440 Runner in ’80 when gas prices doubled and you sadly couldn’t give it away. For fun a S197 Stang that I refer to in the new-vs-old Stang article. Kudos to Mopar-no parts have fallen off yet! I’m getting ribbed about that…

  • Michael Mainwald

    literally -the ugliest color/car combo you can buy today- sorry owners