MEET THE NEW 2020 DODGE CHARGER R/T
The 2020 Dodge Charger is the choice for buyers that want or need a full-size sedan but prefer not to compromise on performance or practicality. It’s precisely these qualities that have made the Charger lineup so successful over the years. Additionally, the Charger is the only vehicle in its segment with rear-wheel drive and not one, but two, throaty V-8 engines. All models share an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission, but only the V-6 model can be had with optional all-wheel drive. While the Charger lacks some of its competitors’ richer interior materials, it makes up for this shortcoming with a superb infotainment system and an engaging driving experience. Between its lively palette of color options and nostalgia-inspiring decals, the Charger is an affordable-performance proposition that’s hard to resist.
What’s New for 2020?
For 2020, Dodge’s Widebody package is now an option on the Scat Pack; widebody cars also receive unique front and rear bumper designs. Scat Pack Chargers with the Widebody package come standard with three-mode adaptive Bilstein dampers. Opting for the Widebody package also carries over the brakes and rotors from the Hellcat and 20- x 11-inch wheels wrapped with wider tires. Throughout the lineup, Dodge has added myriad wheel options, with names such as Devil’s Rim and Warp Speed, and Brass Monkey. Buyers looking to further customize the looks of their Charger can opt for the Satin Black Appearance package that covers the hood, roof, decklid, and spoiler. For those wanting to spruce up the interior, Dodge is now offering a Carbon and Suede package that adds real carbon-fiber accents to the instrument panel and console, as well as the addition of faux suede to the headliner, visors, and front roof pillars. Rounding out changes for 2020 are three new paint colors: Frostbite, Hellraisin, and Sinamon.
Pricing and Which One to Buy:
Scat Pack: $41,490
If it were our coin, we’d go with the Scat Pack: its mighty 6.4-liter V-8 produces 485 horsepower. Although it’s a premium of roughly $4000 versus the lesser R/T trim, it more than makes up for it in looks and performance. Additionally, fuel economy is nearly identical, so unless you’re on a tight budget there’d be no reason not to splurge for the Scat Pack. Our only additional options would be the Plus Group package that includes niceties such as leather and faux-suede seats, a power-adjustable steering column, blind-spot detection, heated rear seats, and extra interior lighting.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Charger channels its NASCAR roots with big V-8 power and rowdy sounds. However, not every Charger has a mighty Hemi V-8 under the hood—what a pity—but they do all share an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission and standard rear-wheel drive. In contrast, the V-6 is rather subdued but does add the availability of all-wheel drive. Dodge doesn’t build a Charger with a manual gearbox, but it would be so much cooler if it did. The standard V-6 is no slouch, yet it lacks the giddy-up of front-drivers such as the Nissan Maxima and the Buick LaCrosse. The more powerful versions excel at the strip, where the 485-hp Charger R/T Scat Pack posted an impressive 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph. The 370-hp Charger has enough ponies to outrun most family sedans.
The bright (Green Go) Charger we paraded around town had a quiet and composed ride. Its large 20-inch wheels were relaxed on most surfaces, but obstacles such as railroad crossings and potholes disrupted its composure. The big-bodied sedan was remarkably balanced when cornering, too. Although the V-6 version we tested had nearly identical cornering grip, the Daytona’s hefty horsepower advantage amplified the fun. The electrically assisted power steering contributes to the Charger’s purposeful control, but its feedback is too heavy and slow to be engaging. We’ve tested several Chargers for emergency braking, and the best results came from the high-performance models with upgraded brakes and stickier summer performance tires.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Charger is a big, heavy car with a healthy appetite for fuel. Although it has below-average EPA estimates in the city, it has fairly competitive highway ratings. We haven’t tested the V-6 version or the 485-hp V-8 on our highway fuel-economy loop, but the 5.7-liter V-8 engine exceeded its 25-mpg estimate by 1 mpg.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Charger’s interior is highly functional yet the opposite of luxurious, with more rubberized materials than the set of an adult film. Apart from excellent rear-seat legroom, its passenger space is slightly below average. The cabin’s simplistic design is classic muscle car, but options are plentiful.
Although its trunk volume is similar to those of most rivals, the Charger was able to fit an extra carry-on box than its rivals. It held 18 total with the rear seat stowed, beating the Maxima and the fastback-hatchback Kia Stinger by three. Its center console features plenty of spots for small items and a slot alongside the shifter that is perfect for storing your smartphone.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Every Challenger has a version of the excellent Uconnect infotainment system. That means standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as part of a 7.0-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen. Although the system we tested elicited good response times, some optional controls can only be accessed via the touchscreen; a Wi-Fi hotspot also is unavailable.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
The modern-day Charger has a host of optional high-tech assists, including adaptive cruise control and automated emergency braking. However, these features cost extra, and base models are excluded from the most advanced driver-assistance options. The Charger earned a five-star crash-test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), but its scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) were average. Key safety features include:
Available blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert
Available lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist
Available forward-collision warning
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
The Charger has an average warranty that lacks complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
No complimentary scheduled maintenance