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2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus Review – ‘Affordable Performance & Luxury’

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The 2012 Dodge Charger is all new inside, outside and under the hood.  After my test drive I came away with the feeling that Dodge has put it altogether with the all-new Charger that features a new 3.6 liter, Pentastar aluminum, DOHC, V6 engine that pumps out 292hp and is mated to the first ‘state-of-the-art’ 8-speed   automatic/sequential shifting transmission, the first 8-speed automatic fitted into any big Three vehicle, and gives back an excellent 19mpg/city and 31mpg/highway fuel economy specs.  What a start!  Plenty of power on hand and smooth, quick shifting enables the Charger to sprint to 60mph from a standstill in under 6sec.  The ZF 8-speed automatic is only available with the V6 in either RWD or AWD configuration.  My test SXT Plus Charger also came equipped with new Nappa leather 10-way power-adjustable sport bucket seats, fast and easy to use aluminum paddle shifters, and a ‘sport’ shift mode.  With ‘sport shift’ mode gear changes are quicker and revs are held higher for even more performance-oriented acceleration and higher shift dynamics. For even more control, you can also use the all-new die-cast steering-wheel mounted paddle shifter on the sporty and beefy leather wrapped steering wheel and view your gear selection through an all new full-color EVIC centered in the Charger’s new rally-styled instrument cluster.

The new more rigid and torsional SXT Plus frame rides on a new, sport-tuned suspension that keeps the car solidly planted on the road and quickly follows where you point it to go.  Up front is a race-proven independent SLA with high upper ‘A’ arms, coil springs over gas-charged monotube shock absorbers, lateral and diagonal lower links with dual ball joint knuckles and a 27mm solid stabilizer bar.  The rear features an independent five-link setup with coil springs, gas-charged monotube shocks, a 16mm solid stabilizer bar and an isolated suspension cradle that increases rear tracking and lessons NVH.

This sport-tuned suspension features two setting-Comfort and Sport  enabling you to dial in how you want your Charger SXT Plus to ride and handle.  It is a great feature for long trips or when you want to test your ability on the curves that you find in the back roads.

The all-new Charger SXT rides on big 18X7.5in. chrome-clad wheels wrapped with 235/55R18in. performance tires.  My loaded SXT Plus test Charger came equipped with larger 20X8in. aluminum-chrome clad wheels wrapped with 245/45R19in. all-season performance tires that increased grip, traction and gave a smooth ride.

Quickly and safely slowing the new Charger SXT Plus down from are the optional Performance Brake Package that features 13.6in. vented discs clamped with dual piston calipers up front and 12.6in. vented discs clamped with single piston calipers.  Increasing your braking power and control are standard ABS, Ready Alert Braking, electronic stability control, and all-speed traction control.

The all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus is all the performance and power that you need to fulfill all your needs.  With RWD you get the perfect balance front to rear when dicing through steep curving roads or when cruising at high speeds.

But under-the-skin performance is not all that you get with the new Charger.  The styling has been refined up front with a couple of inches pushing out of the signature cross-hair grille.  The aluminum hood now features dual scallops on top and the doors also feature new scallops that add to the high-performance look.  Deeper side extensions add to the handling prowess by lowering the center of gravity and the Rally Appearance package features a wing out the back to balance stability during high-speed driving.  The rear now features integrated dual exhaust tips, Dodge’s new ‘Race-Track’ LED light pipe that mimics a race track with long straights and tight curves.  Front, side, or rear the new Charger looks great.

The interior has been completely redesigned with more sporty cues and luxurious features that give more value and enjoyment during your drives-short or long.  All of the ‘touch points’ are soft and designed with perfect detail.  The seats are comfortable and supportive for long or short drives.  My SXT Plus came with the Nappa leather power-adjustable buckets that really held me in place when I was putting the new Charger SXT Plus through winding roads.  All of the buttons, switches, and dials now feature chrome inserts that give the car a more luxurious look.  The steering wheel is smaller and sportier featuring tilt and telescoping for the perfect reach and angle for better and more comfortable control during your drives.  The new instrument cluster is ringed with chrome and very easy to see and understand.  Other standard features on my SXT Plus included dual-zone A/C, rear heater and A/C ducts, heated/cooled dual cupholders/storage box up front with a pull-down rear armrest with dual cupholders.  The power windows feature front express up/down, power door locks can be programmed for a certain speed

My test Charger SXT Plus came with the Technology Group that includes Blind Spot with Rear Cross Path Detection, Rain Sensing wipers, power-heated sideview mirrors, HID headlamps, power-adjustable pedals, two-person memory, power tilt/telescoping steering column, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, heated steering wheel a 506amp custom stereo AM-FM-CD-DVD-XM satellite radio with 12-speakers, an 8in. screen for the navigation system, and a power sunroof.  This model sounds like a true luxury vehicle with a sport attitude, and it is once you take a test drive.

The base price for the all-new 2012 Charger SXT Plus is only $28,495.00 and $35,580 with all of the performance, luxury and safety features.

Standard safety features include advanced multi-stage front airbags, front seat-mounted side airbags, side-curtain airbags for front and rear, reactive head restraints, hill start assist, rain brake support, tire pressure monitoring system, front and rear 3-point safety belts with front pretensioners/load limiters.

The all-new 2012 Dodge Charger SXT Plus is the perfect family/personal sedan with the room to carry up to five adults and the power, performance and luxury to make any enthusiast happy.  I really enjoyed my test drive.

COPYRIGHT:2012:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base 2012 Charger SXT Plus $28,495 / As-Tested $35,580
  • Horsepower: 292 at 6,350rpm
  • Torque: 260lb.ft. of torque at 4,800rpm
  • Wheelbase: 120.2in.
  • Track: f/r-63.4/63.8in.
  • Overall length: 199.9in.
  • Overall width: 75in.
  • Overall height: 58.4in.
  • Coefficient of drag: 0.297
  • Fuel tank: 19.1 gallons
  • Headroom: f/r-36.9/36.6 with sunroof
  • Legroom: f/r-41.8/40.1in.
  • Trunk: 16.5cu.in.
  • Turning circle: 37.7ft.
  • Curb weight: 3,996lbs.

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