2012 Dodge Charger R/T Max AWD – Review
When thinking of the Dodge Charger, most people conjure up an image of the original 1966 version, a mid-sized, two-door muscle car with a long nose, rearward cabin, and expansive grille. This was the Charger until it was discontinued in 1978. Chrysler reintroduced the nameplate on a subcompact in 1983 but that disappeared by 1987.
The modern-day Charger, first introduced in 2006, is a four-door sedan that comes in a mindboggling number of configurations. Indeed, there are nine of them, starting with the base Charger SE that has a MSRP of $25,595 and gets 31 mpg (7.6 l/100 km) on the highway, to the 470-horsepower Charger STR8, which can go from zero to 60 in the upper four second range (MSRP, $46,925).
The 2012 Charger features many of the design elements of the original Charger, calling back to its muscle car roots, and the golden age of American muscle cars. However, in terms of handling, performance, and comfort, it is nothing like the original. And, given the time that has passed, that’s probably a good thing.
When a Dodge Charger R/T Max showed up in Frequent Business Traveler’s garage, I was admittedly little taken aback. It was very big and very red – plus it had a spoiler on the back lid. Then I opened the door and got inside. The cabin was not at all what I expected – it wasn’t red, for starters, and the black-and-tan interior was downright elegant.
INSIDE THE DODGE CHARGER R/T MAX
Once seated, I found there was a lot to like. In fact, each time I drove the car, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before. What won’t go unnoticed, however, is the massive 8.4” display atop the center stack. That’s not the only information display, however. There’s a full-color display that manages everything from the parking assistant to the active cruise control.
Other things I really liked included the cup holders, which not only warm or cool but glow red or blue depending on the setting. Interior lighting was nicely done and gave the cabin a warm feeling. The build quality of everything was excellent and the materials Chrysler used had a positive feel to them.
The more I drove, the more I found out about the seats. All four seats are heated (as is the steering wheel) plus the front bucket seats have a cooling feature as well.
The base Charger R/T Max is very well equipped. Standard equipment includes keyless entry and ignition, all-wheel drive, an eight-way power driver’s seat, a universal garage door opener, and the Uconnect system.
A $6,000 option package transforms the car. This covers everything from the ventilated front seats to Sirius satellite radio to important safety features including blind spot detection, adaptive cruise control, collision warning, and a rear camera that, of course, uses the entire 8.4” display, allowing you to see almost everything in your path. It also includes rain-sensing wipers, heated rear seats, lumbar control for both front seats, a remote USB jack, an alarm, and ambient LED lighting up front.