2008 Dodge Magnum Expert Review

You'll Like The 2008 Dodge Magnum If...

If you're a serious driver or image-seeker who loves big, fast, rear-wheel-drive American performance cars, yet has an occasional need to haul people and stuff, you will find the 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 right on the money.

You May Not Like The 2008 Dodge Magnum If...

If you are budget or fuel-economy conscious, prefer something less flamboyant and would like your youngsters in back to be able to see out with ease, the Dodge Magnum SRT8 might not be your kind of wagon.

What's New

For 2008 the Magnum SRT8 receives a new hood with a functional air scoop, new front fascia, headlamps and grille.

Interior Features

The two-tone gray interior features deeply sculpted, highly-bolstered power front bucket seats with suede (not slippery leather) inserts to hold occupants' posteriors in place during cornering, and all seats have contrasting red stitching. The leather-covered steering wheel has a "carbon fiber" texture for excellent grip. Other SRT8 interior touches include satin-silver finish on the center stack and a full instrument cluster with a 180-miles-per-hour speedometer.

Exterior Features

The 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 begins with a big Dodge-signature cross-bar grille and finishes with a full-width tailgate cut well up into the roof for easy loading. These extremes are well connected by an upswept belt-line, low roof and tank-turret side windows. To our eyes, it's unique and striking. The SRT8 (Street and Racing Technology) treatment includes an aggressive new performance fascia with a lift-reducing air dam and brake cooling ducts in front (watch out for high curbs!) and an integrated aerodynamic wake modifier and chrome 3.5-inch exhausts in back, plus a functional rear spoiler. Other touches include a mesh-textured grille with chrome trim, satin-finish bumper inserts, body-color mirrors and door handles and SRT8 badging. Four colors are available: Red, silver, steel blue and black.

Driving Impressions

The muscular HEMI V8 is the heart of the beast and can launch the big wagon to 60 miles per hour in five seconds. The AutoStick's manual performance disappoints, however, in that it can be slow to respond and sometimes needs a second sideways tap to get the job done when shifting gears. The ride and handling balance is also impressive. With SRT8-tuned springs and shocks, large stabilizer bars and Goodyear three-season high-performance tires on 20-inch wheels (all-season tires are optional), it corners almost like a racer but doesn't beat you up unnecessarily on rough surfaces. Steering is tight and precise, and braking is linear, stable and powerful, thanks to big four-piston Brembo brakes at all four corners.

Pricing Notes

The 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts right around $38,500 and, given its limited availability, should cost about that amount. In this price range, the Magnum SRT8's only direct competitors are Chrysler's other HEMI-powered SRT8s, the similarly-priced Chrysler 300C SRT8 and Dodge Charger SRT8 sedans. Make sure and check the Fair Purchase Price page to see what consumers are actually paying for the Magnum SRT8. Over time, the 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 is expected to retain a better-than-average resale value.

Notable Equipment

To the regular Magnum's long list of standard equipment, the SRT8 adds a six-disc CD changer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, LED lighting in the front cup holders and map pockets, power-adjustable pedals and a rear cargo net. Major safety features include advanced multi-stage front air bags, anti-lock brakes (ABS) and Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

Notable Options

Available options include a power sun roof, heated front seats, SIRIUS BackSeat TV, an SRT-engineered Kicker premium surround sound system, UConnect communications system with Bluetooth wireless technology and supplemental side-curtain air bags.

Favorite Features

SRT8-Enhanced HEMI V8
"It's the street engine that racers would build," says SRT8 Director Dan Knott. It sounds and feels terrific. Just don't expect frugal fuel efficiency.

Gangster-Wagon Styling
The standard Magnum is aggressive and slightly menacing, and the SRT8 treatment makes it more so. The custom chop-top look creates some blind spots and low, bunker-like seating, especially in back, but it's worth it if you like the look.

Under the Hood

SRT8 engineers boosted the HEMI V8's horsepower from 340 to 425 and its torque from 390 to 420 pounds-feet by increasing its displacement from 5.7 to 6.1 liters, raising its compression ratio from 9.6:1 to 10.3:1 and redesigning its aluminum cylinder heads, intake and exhaust systems for better flow and higher rpm. The block is painted classic HEMI orange, and the valve covers are black. All that's missing is the regular HEMI's fuel-saving Multiple-Displacement System (MDS), which transparently disables four of the engine's eight cylinders at light loads for better fuel economy, but that's a loss with which we think SRT8 buyers can live.

6.1-liter V8
425 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
420 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 13/18

Editors' Notes

If you've got to have a wagon, there's not another like this. The 2008 Dodge Magnum SRT8 is the baddest, boldest wagon to grace the asphalt. Based on the popular Magnum wagon, the SRT8 jacks up the horsepower with a 6.1-liter HEMI V8 engine, while underneath Dodge tweaks an already capable suspension to deliver the thrill-ride of a lifetime - at least, for the category of vehicles that can also tote lumber from the home improvement warehouse. When you're not hot-rodding around town, the Magnum SRT8 can be quite civilized, offering a comfortable ride, a roomy rear seat and a deep cargo hold. About the only thing to hold you back might be the price which, at over $38,000, places a $6,000-plus premium over our second-favorite Dodge wagon, the HEMI-powered Magnum R/T.

Video Reviews

2008 Dodge Magnum
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