There are many who would argue for (and against) the newest generation Dodge Charger living up to its heritage. From General Lee and the iconic 440 in Bullitt, to the many souped-up street cars of The Fast and the Furious franchise, the Charger boasts a pedigree matched by only a select few. However, has the 2020 model done enough to earn its place in the rankings?
To help you decide whether the new Charger is worthy, read on. We’ve put together the numbers, facts, and figures crucial to passing judgment. We can’t recreate the test drive for you, though. But after reading this article, you should have a pretty good idea whether or not you want to get behind the wheel. We’re betting it’s a “yes.”
So toot off a few honks of that “Dixie” tune because the adventure starts now.
Truly a muscle car for horsepower’s sake, the 2020 Charger only comes with V6 or V8 powerplants. Both are paired with the same eight-speed automatic. Rear-wheel and all-wheel drive are available, depending on your desired trim level.
The Pentastar V6 comes with your basic 2020 Charger purchase. It boasts 292 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Stroked out, the upgraded V6 puts out 300 horsepower and 264 lb-ft of torque.
If that’s not enough to stoke your fire, choose from the three V8 engines available. The first, a 5.7-liter found in the R/T model, achieves 370 horsepower and 395 lb-ft of torque. A 6.4-liter V8, the largest of the trio, pushes those numbers to 485 and 475, respectively. However, it’s only in the 6.2-liter that you’ll find the coveted 707 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque. The Daytona 50th Anniversary editions are the select few to receive the 717 horsepower version of this engine.
Choose from the colors below to highlight the beast beneath the hood of your favorite 2020 Charger.
- Triple Nickel
- Go Mango
- Pitch Black
- Indigo Blue
- Octane Red
- White Knuckle
- F8 Green
- Sinamon Stick (no, that’s not a typo).
Trimlines and Pricing
The 2020 Dodge Charger starts at $29,995. However, after looking at what the various trim levels include, you will find that price tag increases dramatically. Take a look.
Beginning with 17-inch wheels, the SXT model also includes chrome exhaust tips, automatic headlights, a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen, LED daytime running lights, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment. Keyless entry, cloth seating, and Bluetooth come with the sticker price as well. The base engine, capable of almost 300 horsepower, sits beneath the hood. All-wheel drive is also optional on this base model. Not a bad start for thirty grand.
If you just have to have the V6 engine, this is your last chance to get it. The GT model also offers a bit of improvement over the base model. Bigger wheels give it the stance look it needs. Customers will enjoy the larger infotainment touchscreen, which grows to 8.4 inches. Other high-end goodies include dual climate control, paddle shifters, heated side mirrors, sport seats up front, and a performance suspension. If you’re holding out for a V8 engine, keep reading. If not, the GT starts at $32,000.
Like the base model, the R/T acts as the entry level V8 model. With the smallest displacement of the V8 options, this trim level is characterized by an active exhaust and hood scoop. There are some smaller upgrades scattered around the car. That said, you’re paying more for the upgraded engine than anything else. The extra power will run you at least $36,495.
Speaking of performance engines, you’ll harness the power of nearly 500 horses with the R/T Scat Pack model. The list of interior accouterments starts with heated front seats and steering wheel. It continues on to an SRT performance display, and ends with Brembo brakes, launch control, and a heavy-duty cooling system to keep the fire underneath the hood in control. The starting price here is $40,495. Or go for the Scat Pack widebody edition for $46,495.
What else do we need to say about this top-of-the-line model other than it has the most powerful engine? Well, unless you consider the Daytona 50th Anniversary Edition, which has 10 more horsepower. However, there are only 501 units of that model. So the likelihood of owning one is pretty small. All the same, the Hellcat Widebody is a proper muscle car, with plenty of creature comforts inside and eye candy outside.
For $72,095, you get the beastly engine and a top speed of 196 mph. It also comes with a performance hood, 20 inch carbon black aluminum wheels, the SRT Track Experience featre, and special Pirelli PZERO tires.
Make sure you take a look at the next section to learn more about safety features. But you might as well skip the section after that — who really buys a Dodge Charger to save on fuel costs?
Movies like The Fast and the Furious love to depict just how many safety rules you can break in a muscle car. However, the 2020 Charger actually does better than you might expect when it comes to safety. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rated it 5 out of 5 stars, in both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive variants.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) echoed similar safety ratings. They rated it “Good” in all categories except for “Small overlap front: driver-side.” There, the 2020 Charger received a “Marginal” rating, which doesn’t bode well for drivers who take a direct hit.
While Dodge certainly includes enough safety equipment on the 2020 Charger to meet and/or exceed current safety standards, you’ll have to pay a bit more to unlock the full suite of safety systems available. MotorTrend reports most of those features are housed in the Technology package. With that, front and rear park assist will complement the back-up camera. It also adds lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. You’ll have to upgrade to the Hellcat if you’re looking to round that out with blind spot and cross-path detection.
The EPA reports the fuel efficiency ratings for the 2020 Dodge Charger as follows.
Base SXT models equipped with the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine achieve 19 city and 30 highway miles per gallon (MPG). This is the same fuel efficiency you should see with the rear-wheel drive GT model. However, adding all-wheel drive to the mix results in 18 city and 27 highway MPG.
As you might expect, upgrading to the plethora of V8 engines results in a dip in efficiency. The R/T guzzles gas to the tune of 16 city and 25 highway MPG, while Scat Pack variants come out one point less efficient, both around town and on the interstate. Supercharge those eight cylinders and you’re forced to accept a 12 city and 21 highway MPG rating. All in the name of 700+ horsepower, of course. Worth it, we would say.
Horsepower dominates much of the talk surrounding the 2020 Charger. Whether it’s an admiration for the amount available or disappointment in the corresponding fuel efficiency ratings, there’s a lot to be said. Both CarandDriver and Edmunds recommend the V8 models for “the full muscle-car experience.” Even though you can’t pair all-wheel drive capability with the V8 model, “the Charger is an affordable-performance proposition that’s hard to resist.” In fact, it might be the 2020 Charger’s main selling point.
Sure, this Dodge legend may only achieve average resale and reliability scores. It has been characterized as “heavy, thirsty, and not exactly nimble.” Call it the bane of the Prius-lead green movement if you must. However, the Charger fills a niche most European sports cars can’t. In some ways, even the Chevy Corvette can’t touch what the Charger has to offer.
The Last Word
Love it or hate it, the Dodge Charger certainly commands a presence on the street. We encourage you to check out the newest Charger in person. Take a test drive and kick the tires — or better yet, leave some behind on the pavement. The Dodge Charger exudes muscle and turns heads, as simple as that. If you find yourself filling up at the gas station more often than usual, just take a look under the hood to admire all those horses. It will make you feel instantly better.