Expert review written by the Kelley Blue Book vehicle review editorial team.
The 2018 Dodge Charger isn’t your typical full-size family sedan. Where competitors like the front-drive Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala impart a sporty look, the rear-wheel-drive Charger displays a rowdy all-American bravado backed up by a team of powerful engine options, including a 707-horsepower Hemi V8 found in the Charger SRT Hellcat.
You'll Like The 2018 Dodge Charger If...
If you need a roomy, comfortable family car, but you still have a youthful side that yearns for 1960s-era styling and performance, the 2018 Dodge Charger sedan is the logical choice. A dizzying choice of models, options, colors and engines is a rarity these days, and much appreciated.
You May Not Like The 2018 Dodge Charger If...
If you’re looking for the newest design, the most comfortable ride or the best fuel economy, a Ford Fusion or Toyota Avalon hybrid makes a better choice. The Impala’s standard front-wheel drive is a better choice in the snow, and the Charger’s reliability and resale history still lag behind most of its rivals.
New for 2018 is the GT trim with a 300-horsepower V6 engine and all-wheel drive. The SXT Plus can be equipped with upgraded performance-look styling, while new standard equipment includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. The SE trim has been dropped.
Inviting, comfortable and functional, the interior of the 2018 the Dodge Charger is a pleasant place to spend time. Cockpit-style, the instrument panel angles all the working stuff toward the driver, the gauge cluster is configurable for individual preferences, and there are numerous controls mounted on the steering wheel. In the center is an available 8.4-inch touch screen, and it and the Uconnect infotainment system are a couple of features we recommend. Front seats are comfortable for long trips, the rear bench will handle three adults and the entire well-designed presentation is also easy on the eyes.
This is no wallflower. No shrinking violet. No wolf in sheep’s clothing. No cliché. The Dodge Charger for 2018 looks like what it is: a modern American sedan with plenty of horsepower. It looks tough. It looks mean. It looks you right in the eye. Despite a roofline and overall shape unmistakably linked to previous Chargers built from 1968-1970, this sedan successfully fights being old-fashioned and remains sleek and modern front to rear. Its smoothly rounded nose makes obvious aerodynamic contributions, and the attractive rear includes Dodge’s distinctive layout of the “racetrack” taillight arrangement, which certainly stands out in after-dark traffic.
The Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 delivers 292 horsepower in the base 2018 Charger SXT sedan, and 300 horsepower in the new GT trim with standard all-wheel drive. The automaker’s notorious 8-speed automatic seems to work well here, delivering smooth gear changes without the annoying gear hunting we’ve experienced in other vehicles. Good as they are, the V6 cars are far less appealing than the Hemi-powered models. A 5.7-liter V8 in the R/T and Daytona delivers a tire-spinning 370 horsepower, while the R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392 and SRT 392 trims get a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V8. For our money, the R/T Scat Pack is the best combination of power, price and drivability. Of course, if you can lay hands on one, the 707-horsepower Charger SRT Hellcat is the one to buy, drive sparingly and then put into storage for the next 40 years. In general, the entire Charger line is smooth and responsive.
The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for a 2018 Dodge Charger SXT with RWD is about $29,600, including destination of $1,095. The AWD Charger GT is about $33,600; the R/T, the lowest-priced Hemi V8 Charger, is around $36,100; the R/T Scat Pack and R/T Daytona 392 with the 485-horsepower Hemi are around $41,000, while the SRT 392 is about $52,200. The 707-horsepower SRT Hellcat is right around $66,000, and has to be an all-time performance bargain. A “similarly equipped” competitor, such as a Chevrolet Impala, is around $28,000 but, when considering the performance levels of Hemi Chargers, “similarly equipped” competitors tend to be things like an $80,000 BMW M5. Historically, resale values on Dodges have been below average. Before making your purchase, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for a 2018 Charger.
LED daytime running lights, acoustic front glass and windshield, power windows with express front up/down, rearview camera, rear parking sensors, 7-inch touch screen with Uconnect 4, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all standard features on the base 2018 Dodge Charger SXT. Also standard are chrome exhaust tips, auto headlights that turn themselves on and off, power mirrors, 17-inch wheels and tires and an electronic reconfigurable gauge cluster. The standard powertrain is a very likable 3.6-liter V6 with a strong 292 horsepower backed by an 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive.
Trim levels are tied closely to engine choices, with corresponding moves upward not only in performance but also in features and luxury. Depending on the trim level and options chosen you can have a Charger with a base price well under $30 grand or well over $60,000, and with horsepower just under 300 or more than twice that. Major options include a power sunroof, Beats by Dr. Dre and harman/kardon sound systems, and several packages: Super Track Pak, Technology Group, Driver Confidence Group, Navigation and others. Forward emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring are available in the Premium Group.
BEATS AUDIOThe Charger’s Uconnect system is widely regarded as one of the best infotainment systems in the industry, but it gets even better when connected to the 10-speaker, 552-watt Beats Audio setup. Need more sound? There’s a 19-speaker GreenEdge harman/kardon system on upper level trims.6.2-LITER HELLCAT SUPERCHARGED V8Befitting its title as the most powerful American sedan ever built, the Charger SRT Hellcat is equipped with a 707-horsepower, 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi V8 that simply puts all other V8 engines to shame, regardless of price and pedigree.
Under the Hood
The 2018 Charger sedan is available with four engine choices. Standard in the SXT and GT models is a very likable 3.6-liter V6 with 292 horsepower (300 in the SXT Plus w/Super Track Pack, GT and GT Plus) and plenty of performance for just about anybody. Next up is a 5.7-liter Hemi V8 of 370 horsepower, in R/T and Daytona versions. It’s one more step to a 6.4-liter Hemi of 485 horsepower, in R/T Scat Pack and Daytona 392 and SRT 392 trims. And, if a 485-horsepower Hemi isn’t quite enough, there’s the 6.2-liter supercharged Hemi in the SRT Hellcat, with 707 horsepower. In all cases, the transmission is an 8-speed automatic and rear-wheel drive (RWD). All-wheel drive (AWD) is standard on the GT trim. 3.6-liter V6 (SXT)292 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm260 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg 3.6-liter V6 (SXT Plus w/ Super Track Pack, GT, GT Plus)300 horsepower @ 6,350 rpm264 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (RWD), 18/27 mpg (AWD)5.7-liter V8 (R/T, Daytona)370 horsepower @ 5,250 rpm395 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/25 mpg6.4-liter V8 (R/T Scat Pack, Daytona 392, SRT 392)485 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm475 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/25 mpg 6.2-liter supercharged V8 (SRT Hellcat)707 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm650 lb-ft of torque @ 4,800 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/22 mpg
The 2018 Dodge Charger isn’t your typical full-size family sedan. Where competitors like the front-drive (FWD) Toyota Avalon and Chevrolet Impala impart a sporty look, the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Dodge Charger displays a rowdy, all-American bravado backed up by a team of powerful engine options, including a 707-horsepower Hemi V8 found in the Charger SRT Hellcat. Of course, not every family has $66,000 to drop on a car, which is why it’s nice that even the least expensive Charger still offers a potent yet fuel-efficient 292-horsepower V6 engine, great handling, a roomy interior and plenty of features. A huge number of trims means just about every base is covered, and while all-wheel drive is on the table, there is no hybrid or diesel-engine option.