Dodge brought back a famous model name from its muscle-car past for the 2006 model year with the launch of the Charger. From 1966 to the early 1970s, Charger coupes were among the most potent and most recognized muscle machines on the market. The Charger competes with other revived muscle cars, including the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Grand Prix. For 2008, Dodge redesigned the instrument panel and added more standard features to the R/T and SXT models.
The 2008 Dodge Charger ranks 5 out of 10 Affordable Large Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of 61 published reviews and test drives of the Dodge Charger, and our analysis of reliability and safety data.
The 2008 Charger is a power performer, with commanding exterior styling and a roomy, comfortable interior. The use of some low-quality interior materials, limited visibility and a lackluster base engine keep it from the top of our rankings.
The 2008 Dodge Charger creates buzz with its retro-muscle-car styling and the powerful engines offered at the top of its lineup. It’s the most muscular looking thing in its class, and it backs up the look with engine options that top out with a 6.1-liter Hemi V8 putting out 425 horsepower. Automobile Magazine calls the sedan “bargain-priced power.” The Charger also earns points for offering a range of trims and options, allowing buyers to get the car that’s just right for them.
The 2008 Dodge Charger is sold in four trims: the base SE, the SXT, the performance-oriented R/T, and high-performance SRT8. For 2008, Dodge has redesigned the Charger’s interior, upgraded the wheels, and offered enhanced entertainment options. Dodge has introduced a limited lifetime powertrain warranty on all of its products for 2008. If you’re considering the Charger, you might also want to test drive the equally distinctive Chrysler 300.
Dodge portrays the 2008 Charger as a high-performance option among family sedans. But he Charger is offered in four trim levels with four different engines, ranging from 178 horsepower all the way to 425. While the high-end models keep the performance promise, many reviews say the lower-end engines don’t. The Orlando Sentinel says, “Certainly the 5.7-liter, 340-horsepower Hemi V-8 in the Charger R/T is entertaining, but the SRT8′s extra 85 horsepower is icing. Expensive icing.” Continue with our full Performance Review to compare the many performance options.
The 2008 Charger’s exterior is a throwback to the Chargers of the 1960′s, with an aggressive, wide stance. U.S. News’ Rick Newman calls the Charger “Hot. Bold and bossy. Dodge developed an original exterior that is fresh.” See it for yourself in our Dodge Charger Photo Gallery, or continue with our full Exterior Review to read about a look that generated a lot of buzz in the automotive press and inspired future Dodge designs.
Dodge has upgraded the Charger’s interior for 2008 to address reviewer complaints, and the new cabin is an improvement. Road and Track says “The Charger’s cabin is tastefully designed and looks clean without appearing austere.” Still, it doesn’t offer the luxury of some of its competition, hurting its position in our rankings. View the cabin in our Dodge Charger Photo Gallery, or continue with our full Interior Review to read about new options like heated front seats and cabin air filtration.
Some safety concerns place the 2008 Dodge Charger at the bottom of its class. It performs well in federal government crash tests, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gives the 2008 Dodge Charger a rating of “good” for frontal offset test results. However, its side impact scores are below the class average, especially without optional side airbags. Continue with our full Safety Review for a complete discussion of the Charger’s crash test results, and visibility problems that reviewers consistently cite. continue
Charger Reliability – NA
We are still compiling data on the 2008 Dodge Charger’s predicted reliability. Dodge covers the Charger with a three-year/36,000-mile basic limited warranty, and a new lifetime powertrain warranty. Continue with our full Reliability Review for more.