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2006 Dodge Charger R/T

2006 Dodge Charger R/T
Oct 1, 2005
2006 Dodge Charger R/T
by John LeBlanc , Auto123.com
What were the editors of the buff magazines thinking? Pitting the 2006 Dodge Charger R/T against modern muscle cars like the
2006 Dodge Charger R/T (Photo: John LeBlanc, straight-six.com)
not-for-sale-in-Canada Pontiac GTO, or Ford's back-to-its-roots Mustang GT? C'mon, count the doors and do the math. It may move magazines off the racks, but just as McQueen's Mustang 390 in Bullitt outgunned the bad guys in their hub-cap-loosing Charger, it ain't a fair fight.

As Dodge's "family sedan", the rear-wheel drive Charger comes in five flavours to battle the competition in this broad portion of the market. To compete against the front-drive vee-six Honda Accords ($29,500) and Toyota Camrys ($27,375) out there, the lowliest Charger is the SE ($27,495) carrying the 250 horsepower, 3.5-litre vee-six, plus lots of standard goodies like a CD player, 17-inch tires, ABS, and traction plus stability control. If you want an upgraded sound system, leather on the steering wheel and shift knob, power driver's seat, and folding rear chairs, the next rung up the Charger ladder is the SXT ($31,395) with the same 3.5 mill. If you even have an ounce of gas pumping through your veins, the Charger to get would be my tester--the R/T. It adds performance brakes and suspension with two-piston calipers, 18-inch aluminum wheels and performance touring tires, dual-bright exhaust tips, power heated/folding mirrors, leather-faced seats with heated front seats, power adjustable pedals, satin silver interior accents and tire pressure monitor, and (ahem, drum roll, please) the multidisplacement 340 horsepower, 5.7 litre HEMI. For $37,550.

Let's put that last bit in its own paragraph for more emphasis: 340 horsepower at 5,000 rpm and 390 pound-feet of torque at 4,000 rpm; rear-wheel drive; and under $40k.

Niiiice...

(Now Chevy fans maybe jumping up and down right now screaming, "Hey, wadda 'bout the new five-grand-cheaper 2006 Impala SS with its
2006 Dodge Charger R/T (Photo: John LeBlanc, straight-six.com)
vee-eight?," to whom I say the power is going to the wrong set of wheels, and the car is 37 horses and one sophisticated Mercedes-Benz chassis short of being considered.

If your wallet is of a certain girth, you can spend more money on a Charger. To my R/T tester, you can add a worthwhile Road and Track Performance Group (just order the R/T with the R&T, got it?). It adds heat to the front seats, load levelling and height control, larger 235/55R18 rubber, a tighter suspension and steering, and excellent performance seats trimmed in grippy suede (the seats alone are worth the $950 cost of the package). Of course, if you want to announce to the authorities that you are driving a "fast car", the Charger Daytona R/T at $40,605, has all of the "R/T with R&T" equipment, and adds a 747-ish rear spoiler and movie-marquee-sized "HEMI" and "DAYTONA" decals splashed on the flanks of the car. Possibly the biggest bargain in the Charger line-up will be the priciest--the 425 horsepower SRT-8 version at $44,650 coming this fall.

Don't bother straining your eyes to see any styling DNA from the '60s Chargers. But the car's overall large proportions, aggressive face, raised rear fenders and Inferno Red exterior colour garnered plenty of attention when tooling around suburbia. The Charger's cabin is shared with the Dodge Magnum, so you still get four huge, tunnelled gauges with black numerals on white faces, and the Mercedes-sourced cruise control wand and turn-signal/wiper stalk that's just as awkward here as in a $84,600 Mercedes-Benz E 500. The interior materials are similar to what you'll find in domestic competitors; it ain't no Audi.

But then, your average $40,000 Audi doesn't got a HEMI innit, eh?
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