Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
You'll Like The 2009 Dodge Charger If...
If you’ve reached a position in life that requires you to own a traditional premium sedan, but the kid-racer in you screams, "Hey, don’t forget about having fun!" check out the 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8.
You May Not Like The 2009 Dodge Charger If...
The 2009 Dodge Charger is a pretty flashy ride, especially in SRT8 trim. If you’re looking for a powerful sedan with more subtle styling, the Chrysler 300C might be a better choice.
The Charger SRT8 receives a host of new standard equipment, including dual-zone automatic temperature control, automatic headlamps, remote start, one touch-up/down windows and heated front seats. Improvements to the ABS system and suspension, as well as a new Super Bee "buzz model", round out 2009’s updates.
In keeping with the SRT8’s muscle car image, Dodge outfits the roomy interior with a set of aggressively bolstered front bucket seats complete with the SRT8 logo embossed on the head restraints, grippy suede inserts and bright red stitching. Befitting the SRT8’s additional power, the revised white-faced instrument cluster gauges include a 180 miles-per-hour speedometer, although we don’t recommend you attempt to reach this figure unless you’re a qualified driver on a proper track. The dash and door panels are nearly identical to the standard Charger, which is to say they are awash in dull gray plastics that lack the high-end look and feel one might expect in a $41,000 vehicle.
The 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8 builds on the already sporty Charger design by adding an aggressive front end and a prominent wide hood scoop. Integrated into the lower front bumper are functional air intakes that deliver cool air to the Brembo front disc brakes. The SRT8 sits lower to the ground than the base Charger and wears 20-inch wheels surrounded by Z-rated performance rubber. Around back, the SRT8 gains a rear-wing spoiler and dual 3.5-inch exhaust outlets.
Say what you will about the Charger SRT8’s Mercedes-Benz inspired suspension and steering components, when it comes to power, the car’s HEMI engine is 100-percent red-blooded American muscle at its best. With a reported zero to 60 mile-per-hour time in the five-second range, it’s nearly impossible not to get excited climbing behind the wheel each morning. Beyond its blisteringly quick performance, the Charger SRT8’s capable suspension allows it to run circles around average family sedans. The steering feel is direct and precise, with little play in the heavily weighted system. Braking is also first-rate, aided by huge four-piston Brembo disc brakes. Although the Charger SRT8 makes a livable daily driver, interior sound levels are noticeably higher than in the base car.
The 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $41,000. The Super Bee Package adds another $2,000 and, when loaded with popular options such as navigation, power sunroof, rear-seat entertainment system and upgraded audio, the SRT8’s price tag can go as high as $46,000. To be sure you make your best deal on the 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8, check the Fair Purchase Price, which shows the typical transaction prices others in your area are paying for theirs. Of all the trim levels in the Charger family, the SRT8 holds the highest five-year resale value, on par with more expensive V8-performance sedans such as the BMW 550i and Audi A6 4.2.
The 2008 Dodge Charger SRT8’s long list of standard amenities includes a 6.1-liter HEMI V8 engine, five-speed AutoStick transmission, four-wheel anti-lock Brembo disc brakes (ABS), traction control, Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and 20-inch aluminum wheels with Z-rated performance tires. Also featured is a rear spoiler, power windows, power door locks, power-adjustable pedals, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, heated leather and suede sport seats, remote start, fog lamps and an eight-way power driver’s seat. The standard audio includes an AM/FM stereo with single CD and six Boston Acoustics speakers driven by a 276-watt amplifier.
Notable options include a power sunroof, rear-seat video system, 11-speaker Kicker Mobile Surround Sound and 200-watt subwoofer, heated front seats, front and rear side-curtain airbags, six-disc CD changer with MP3 capability, DVD navigation, uconnect hands-free communication system, SIRIUS Satellite Radio, SIRIUS Backseat TV and the Super Bee Special Edition Package.
Sport SeatsThe nicely bolstered sport seats are still wide enough to fit full-sized bodies and feature lumbar support for both the driver and passenger. Super Bee PackageWith more horsepower-per-liter than the original 426 street HEMI of the 1960s, the Charger SRT8 presents the perfect canvas on which to resurrect the Super Bee package.
Under the Hood
The SRT8’s HEMI (so named for its hemispherical combustion chambers) is related to the 5.7-liter engine used in the Dodge Charger R/T. The SRT division begins with a stronger engine block, then enlarges the cylinder bore, thus increasing displacement to 6.1 liters. Engineers then add numerous performance parts, including revised intake and exhaust manifolds, high-flow cylinder heads, a high-performance camshaft, a forged-steel crankshaft and reinforced connecting rods. While output is undeniable, without the 5.7-liter Multi-Displacement System technology, fuel consumption is less than stellar.6.1-liter V8425 horsepower @ 6200 rpm420 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/19
Imagine what it must have been like back in the ’60s and ’70s to walk into a dealership, point out the muscle car of your dreams and drive it off the showroom floor. Until recently, the only people who could recount the joy of driving a brand-new Camaro, Challenger or Boss Mustang were those who came of driving age during the 1960s. But, thanks to Dodge, the experience has been brought back to life, only this time the muscle car of your dreams isn’t a cramped, poor-handling coupe, but a sophisticated and comfortable sedan. With one of the most powerful HEMI V8 engines on the planet, the 2009 Dodge Charger SRT8 is more than just a rehashed nameplate from the past; it is the genuine article remade with twenty-first century technology.