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The Dodge Charger is America’s last big sedan that isn’t positioned as a luxury car, and it’s available in a wide range of flavors powered by everything from the Hellcat all the way down to the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The debut of the Hellcat and the Challenger Demon has rendered all Hemi discussions moot, but there are still plenty of Charger versions to choose from even at a budget under $70,000.
The Charger SXT Premium AWD is one of those cars, and it comes with enough standard items to keep the model fresh for another few years. That’s a good thing, since the Charger isn’t due to be replaced anytime soon. This model can seem like a vehicle from a not-so-distant era, with its brash exterior design and big everything, but it still represents a solid value that shouldn’t be dismissed. This is effectively the last big American sedan and despite its age it’s still a good one, with updated tech on the inside that offers plenty of safety and convenience features.
Our SXT Premium AWD trim is one of the more modest versions of the current-generation Charger, offering a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 coupled with a Torqueflite eight-speed automatic transmission sending power to all four wheels; it is one of more common trim levels you’ll encounter on the dealer lot these days.
There’s no hiding the fact that this is the base engine — be thankful there isn’t a severe-sounding inline-four at the bottom of the range tempting buyers with a bare-bones MSRP — but the V6 doesn’t embarrass itself on the road, even if it’s not the most refined engine available. This motor demands a heavy foot, and it doesn’t shield the cabin from the ample engine noise that accompanies moderate acceleration. The eight-speed automatic goes about its job without much fuss, and this combination is good enough to be found throughout the Chrysler, Ram, Dodge and Jeep lineups.
The suspension in this version of the Charger is fairly neutral, as far as Chargers go: Body lean in corners is kept in check for the most part, as is nosediving during heavy braking. The wide wheels and tires keep it firmly planted in the twisties; surprisingly, this big sedan is still nimble enough to keep it tidy in the corners instead of going wide. Coupled with all-wheel drive, it takes a bit of effort to find the Charger’s limits — it impersonates a car a few sizes smaller, gently letting us know that four-wheel drift is not too far off if we keep pushing it in the corners. At the same time, the surefootedness keeps egging us on to push farther.
The Charger still offers comfortable seats, though rear seat legroom and knee room has not improved significantly over the course of the platform’s life.