If Bo and Luke Duke had families of their own but wanted to keep their famed muscle rides, the Charger SRT8 would be their only option. Dodge's 2007 model wants to fuse power and thrills with convenience for everybody, and it succeeds while keeping a mid-range price tag.
The four doors on the SRT8 might not scream hood slide, but listen to the 6.1 liter Hemi V8 growl and you can feel the power of 425 horses. That Hemi is the crucial addition to the SRT8, giving it 25 percent more juice than the Charger R/T. Suspension has also been improved with higher spring rates and Bilstein shock absorbers, and the car rides a half inch lower than the R/T. The SRT8 features a five-speed "AutoStick," essentially an automatic transmission which allows user-friendly gear shifting.
The Charger amps up the style with 20 inch wheels, a hood scoop, rear spoiler, and a front fascia that also helps cool the brakes. Manufacturers have managed to channel the spirit of past Chargers, creating an aggressive, ready for the Hazzard Rally look. Aficionados might find the car to be bulky, especially from the side profile, and may even swear it off when seeing the four doors. But the trade-off is well worth it -- the chance to ride like greased lightning while the kids watch Happy Feet in the backseat. The interior continues the sporty theme, offering racing-style seats with suede inserts and special finishing.
The SRT8 guzzles gas at the ungodly rate of 14 mpg in the city and 20 on the highway, an appetite that results in a hefty gas guzzler tax, but drivers will not be looking for fuel economy. Performance will be the crucial element, and every other rider can always buy a Prius.
Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000 mile basic warranty; 3-year/36,000 mile powertrain warranty; towing assistance during warranty.