Is There Still a Market For the 2016 Charger: A Car Which Focuses On Power and Aggressive Styling?

What changes will make it different?

The Charger name has existed in various guises since the fall of 1965, but the model we are so familiar with today has been around since ’05, when the name was resurrected after a 19-year absence. If you want an all-American muscle car but two doors aren’t enough for your needs, this is the car to choose. The muscular and aggressive look has been significantly altered for 2015; the vehicle has taken on a sleeker and sportier look. In addition to the striking styling modifications, the ’15 features an updated interior, revised powertrains and new safety equipment to help it appeal to a wider audience. Given such extensive updates, little of significance is expected to occur for 2016.

Why should I wait for the 2016?

Like the Dodge Challenger, the Charger was re-engineered for the ’15 model year, so things should remain essentially the same with the new version. In fact, there’s every chance that it will be a carryover.

Should I buy a 2015 model instead?

If the car were brand new from the ground up, you’d probably consider waiting until the bugs were ironed out. However, this is really just a re-engineering of a tried-and-tested design for this full-size sedan, which means you can safely buy one now.

Will the styling be different?

Unless the striking styling for ’15 is poorly received, there’s no reason for immediate tweaks. The car has already gained such modern touches as projector headlights and distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights, so expect this new look to be around long enough to make it as instantly recognizable as the old design became.

Any mechanical changes?

It’s very unlikely that we’ll see further revisions to the engines, suspension or transmission. Thankfully, all Chargers are now available with the eight-speed automatic box that once was available only on the less-powerful V-6 models. The engine lineup starts with the 292-horsepower Pentastar 3.6-liter V-6 unit in the SE and tops out with SRT that has the same 707-horsepower Hemi V-8 that we see in the new SRT Challenger. The SXT employs a cold-air intake, some engine-control software tweaks and a new exhaust system to take the V-6 power plant to 300-horsepower, but if that’s not quite enough for you, there’s also the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8, which is rated at 370-horsepower. All-wheel drive is available as an option, but only on V-6 models for the moment.

Will fuel economy improve?

Probably not. For such a big and powerful car, it isn’t too terrible right now. Not surprisingly, the 292-horsepower V-6 is the engine to choose for the best economy, with Dodge expecting it to eventually be officially rated at around 31 mpg on the highway.

Will it have new features?

This is now one of the most exciting four-door sedans on the road, combining the features you would want from a practical four-door family sedan with the looks and performance of a 21st-century muscle car. It has all the infotainment, connectivity and safety features of a modern sedan, so don’t expect anything more than minor software tinkering for 2016.

How will 2016 prices be different?

We don’t have official word just about the pricing for ’15, but with the 2015 Challenger starting at just $27,990, we expect the Charger range to start at $28,990. This represents a reduction in price from the ’14 model, which means an increase of some sort isn’t out of the question for 2016.

When will it come out?

Probably not until late summer of ’15. But since it’s likely to be a carryover, it could possibly go on sale even sooner.

Best competitors

Ford Taurus, Chevrolet Impala, Hyundai Genesis, Chrysler 300, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima

What changes would make it better?

Most of the issues have been addressed with the 2015 model. Perhaps the one thing that would make a big difference, especially to the V-8s, would be making AWD available across the entire range.

Quick hit

If you lust after muscle car looks and thrills but also desire the practicality of a family sedan, this car is the answer. Dodge has taken an already important car and re-engineered it to make it even better: It has been styled and upgraded to appeal to a much wider audience. Four doors have rarely seemed so enticing and exciting.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]