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2006 Dodge Charger R/T Review



By Alain Gayot

A three-quarter front view of a red 2006 Dodge Charger R/T

In short: A mean-looking, sports-oriented family sedan.

Don’t be fooled; the Dodge Charger R/T is not your typical mom and pop family sedan. It may look (and be priced) like one, but there is one rather sizeable difference: the monster V8 under the hood. With its 340-horsepower Hemi, this Dodge can keep up with sports cars while still offering plenty of room for five, an optional DVD system for the kids and a base price just under 30 grand.

Dodge Charger RT interior
Dodge Charger RT
Dodge Charger interior

Based on the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum, the Charger comes with those cars’ same rear-drive platform that originated with the last generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class. In fact, many of the Charger’s features can be traced back to German origins, such as the steering column-mounted cruise controls and the five-speed transmission. Add in the car’s Canadian assembly and Mexican-made Hemi, and the Charger is quite the international undertaking.

Nevertheless, the Charger’s spirit is all-American. With its in-your-face grille, gun-slit windows and chiseled rear fenders, this is a car designed to remind its red, white and blue customers of America’s muscle car glory days. The Hemi under the hood emphatically declares those glory days are back, if you can afford to feed the beast at $3 per gallon.

Hemi V8 engine
rear view of Dodge Charger RT
Dodge Charger RT

Our test car came loaded with more than $6,000 worth of luxury and sport options. Included in the R/T performance package were sport steering, suspension, tires and seats with faux suede, along with dual zone A/C, heated power front seats, adjustable pedals and load leveling to prevent the rear bumper from scraping the ground when hauling the whole family to Sizzler. Throw in a Boston Acoustics in-dash six-CD stereo, a nifty stowaway DVD entertainment system, Bluetooth cell phone connection, Sirius satellite radio and a fussy navigation system, and our Charger was loaded with everything we could ever want and more—although a sunroof would have been nice.

Since most folks will pass on a lot of these add-ons, though, this remains a very competitively priced vehicle. This powerful, roomy family sedan with rear wheel drive is certainly unique, and an interesting alternative to import family sedans. The Charger R/T should appeal to the guy whose wife won’t let him get that Mustang GT. For him, this "four-door sports car" should handle the job nicely.

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A three-quarter rear view of a red 2006 Dodge Charger R/T

Warranty/Service: 3-year/36,000 mile basic limited warranty, towing assistance during warranty.

Read a review of the Dodge Charger SRT8.

Price as tested: $36,480

Technical Specifications

Vehicle type: front-engine, rear-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

Engine: 5.7-liter Hemi V8
Horsepower: 340 bhp @ 5000 rpm
Torque: 390 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic

Curb weight: 4,100 lbs
Wheelbase: 120 in
200.1/74.5/58.2 in
Turning circle: 38.9 feet

Brakes: four-wheel disc with ABS and electronic brake assist
independent front and rear, optional automatic load leveling
traction control, vehicle stability control

Safety: front air bags, front side abdomen air bags, optional side curtain air bags

0-60 mph: 5.6 seconds
Top Speed: 145 mph (governed)

EPA City: 17 mpg
EPA Highway: 25 mpg

Likes: Hemi power; roomy interior; great value

Dislikes: Fuel economy; lots of plastic parts; big

Dodge Charger Cop Car

Crime Stopper
Civilians aren't the only ones enjoying all 340 of the Charger's horses — the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is also a favorite among the men in blue. The car's impressive pick up (the V8 posted best in class for top speed in the Michigan State Police Evaluation program) and smooth handling combined with an impressive braking distance make the Charger ideal for chasing down the bad guys. Besides the stylish exterior, cops don't get many fun extras, unless you count mess-resistant vinyl flooring. One significant advantage: America's finest pay only $28,805.

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated 02/17/12 NW)