Remember the “That thing got a Hemi?” commercials that Dodge used a little more than a decade ago? Personally, I had all but forgotten about the catchy-yet-instantly-annoying ads until a 2015 Dodge Charger R/T pulled into my driveway. And no, it wasn’t because the Charger still uses a similar version of the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 that launched the 2004 ad campaign. Rather, I quickly found myself fielding numerous inquisitions as to whether the 2015 Charger I was driving was a Hellcat. Sadly, it was not.
Instead, I got to spend a week with one of the more reasonable and far more attainable performance versions of this sedan: the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T equipped with the optional Road & Track. Just to get one thing out of the way really quick, that name bothered the editor in me. Like “ATM machine,” “VIN number” and “CVT
transmission,” the “R/T Road & Track” trim is tediously redundant… but I digress.
The fact that the 2015 Dodge Charger even exists in its current state is remarkable in itself. Since its acquisition by Fiat, it seems that Chrysler has continually had to play Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde with its model lineup by balancing its Fiat ownership with its American roots. While this has led to new vehicles such as the Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee, and Jeep Renegade, Dodge is still able to show its wild side with cars like the Dodge Charger. Pushing the boundaries in performance and styling has allowed the Charger to become not only an iconic American muscle car but it is now cemented in place as a global sports sedan.
A much-needed update in 2011 gave the frumpy 2006-based Charger a stylish and somewhat retro theme with its blunt front end, scalloped door lines and the LED “racetrack” taillights, which is becoming a signature cue amongst modern Dodge products like the Dodge Dart and Durango. This design was inspired largely by the 1999 Charger R/T Concept, but despite its devilishly good looks, change was definitely needed as the market for large family sedans has grown to include sedans like the Hyundai Genesis and Chevrolet Impala.
One of the key challenges of duplicating a retro-inspired concept vehicle design is then figuring out how to evolve said vehicle’s design. With the 2015 Dodge Charger, Dodge’s design team managed to do just that, though, by stepping away from boxy, ‘60s-esque styling in favor of a more aggressive body that had rounder lines and more visual flare.
To the trained eye, it’s almost impossible to mistake the Charger R/T for one of the SRT models.
Moreover, I’d argue that this particular model is the best-looking of the 2015 Charger lineup. For starters, the non-SRT-powered Charger models keep Dodge’s signature crosshair grille, but the R/T injects a little extra attitude with a matte-black grille and a blacked out center portion of the front fascia.
The Charger R/T Road & Track takes the look a step further with HID
headlights, LED fog lights, standard 20-inch wheels with black accents and classic “R/T” badges found at the front and rear of the car. As an added option, this tester was equipped with the black painted roof, which despite its surprisingly high price of $1,500 should be a no-brainer when checking off option boxes at the dealership.
Regardless of which trim level you go for, all 2015 Dodge Charger models come with the distinctive C-shaped LED daytime running lights and full-width LED taillights with a similar look as the outgoing Charger but with more of a modern flare that makes it look like a larger version of the current Dart. Aside from the smoother lines at both the front and rear, the rest of the Charger’s stylish look has basically carried over including the creased front doors and wide rear haunches – both nods to the second-gen (1968-70) Charger.
Although the 707-horsepower Hellcat model has received the lion’s share of attention for the 2015 Charger lineup, Dodge’s interior design team definitely deserves a big pat on the back for its role in refining this big family sedan. Keeping in mind that the current Charger dates back to the 2006 model year – when Chrysler interiors looked and felt as if they were designed by Lego – this particular 2015 Charger R/T Road & Track looked and felt like an entirely different car. Aside from the auto show circuit, this was the first time I had really seen the new Charger up close. Just opening the doors revealed a surprisingly detailed cabin starting with its thick-rimmed, three-spoke steering wheel, a clean instrument panel design and, of course, the bright red perforated Alcantara seats trimmed with dark Nappa leather.
Stylish new details include the “Dodge Brothers Designed in Detroit” integrated into the small cubby on the center console and the “hectic mesh” accents that encircle the gauge cluster and center stack. My real only nag about the 2015 Charger’s cabin is the goofy shifter that comes with the now-standard eight-speed automatic transmission. It is a habit to pull the shifter back out of “Park” to get into gear, but doing so puts the car in “Drive” rather than “Reverse.” Even after a week, I still found myself shifting into “D” when I was trying to back up.
One thing the current Dodge Charger has always had going for it is a massive cabin. The front seats are able to go back far enough that at 6’1” I was unable to reach the pedals, and this still allows plenty of room for the back seat passengers not to mention the cavernous trunk with 16.5 cubic feet (467 liters) of space. There are lots of creature comforts built into this particular Charger, too, with heated and cooled front seats, heated outboard rear seats and a heated steering wheel with a power-adjustable steering column.
Being more of a sport-oriented model, the Charger R/T Road & Track comes with “performance” front seats that offer plenty of lateral support during hard cornering maneuvers. More importantly, they do so without being too stiff that they are rendered uncomfortable during daily driving. Even the rear seats get a decent amount of bolstering for the outboard occupants!
Styling and comfort are definitely the strong points of the 2015 Charger’s interior, but this Charger R/T Road & Track tester also had plenty of cabin tech. Chrysler’s amazingly functional and easy-to-use Uconnect continues to be one of the best infotainment systems on the market, and the 8.4-inch touchscreen provides plenty of real estate for making it user friendly especially when it comes to phone pairing and the Garmin navigation system. The best part is that this option costs just $695. Equally affordable is the $995 Beats audio system that features ten speakers and a 552-watt output. And this cabin tech doesn’t even include the Dodge Performance Pages, which I’ll touch on in just a bit.
From rental cars to cop cars to supercars, the 2015 Dodge Charger runs the gamut when it comes to engine options, and really, there’s no wrong choice.
For buyers looking to stretch their money at the dealer and at the pump, there’s the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 that is used on almost every Chrysler product larger than a mid-size, while the SRT-branded Chargers deliver a variable amount of performance depending on your budget. Right in the middle offering a mix of both is the R/T’s 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
This engine is, by far, the workhorse across Chrysler’s fleet, and in the Charger R/T’s case, it is rated at 370 hp and 395 lb-ft (536 Nm) of torque. Dodge continues to equip this engine with cylinder deactivation, which has gotten far less intrusive, but there is still a noticeable engine drone and change in exhaust note when the four cylinders are shut off. Excluding the Hellcat V8, the biggest addition to the 2015 Charger’s drivetrain is an across-the-board use of the eight-speed automatic transmission, which surprisingly only resulted in minimal fuel economy gains over the 2014 model year.
The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T is officially rated at 16 mpg (14.7 l/100km) city and 25 mpg (9.4 l/100km) highway – an increase of just one mpg city compared to the previous setup. Fortunately, neither number is hard to attain in real-world driving. Once I got all the 0-60 runs out of my system, I averaged about 15.5 mpg (15.2 l/100km) and almost 26 mpg (9 l/100km) on the highway. If you’re looking for optimal fuel efficiency, check out the V-6 Charger rated at up to 19 mpg (12.4 l/100km) city and 31 mpg (7.6 l/100km) highway
You don’t really buy a big car like this for its fuel economy, and especially not in the R/T trim. The Charger’s primary function is as a highway cruiser, and even with the Super Track Pak (Dodge’s name for the sport-tuned suspension that comes standard on the Charger R/T Road & Track), it has a smooth, comfortable ride. Behind the wheel, the driving position is low enough to feel like a sports car, but there is enough visibility that it doesn’t feel like you’re driving a tank. As a finishing touch, all 2015 Dodge Charger models get acoustic glass for the windshield and front doors resulting in a quiet interior that is on par with more expensive luxury sedans. Previously only used on the SRT Charger, the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track comes with the Dodge Performance Pages that track key performance stats such as 0-60 and dragstrip times, braking distances and g-forces. Perhaps the best tech added to the Charger R/T’s Performance Pages is launch control.
With launch control turned on, all you have to do is step on the accelerator and brake pedal at the same time, and then let off the brake when instructed. Better yet, drivers can adjust the engine’s rev limit with launch control enabled. For optimal track driving, the Charger R/T has a three-mode stability control that allows for a full-off mode for drivers who really want to push this car to its limits… or do massive burnouts.
Of all the improvements made to the 2015 Dodge Charger, the one downside of the updated drivetrain is that it is no longer available with all-wheel drive. The only way to get Dodge’s big sedan with all-weather traction is by opting for either of the two trim levels (SE and SXT) powered by the V-6 above. In all likeliness, the all-wheel-drive system had an extremely small take-rate among customers who also wanted the Hemi; plus, this would add unnecessary weight to a car already boasting a hefty 4,200-pound (1,900 kg) curb weight.
There’s no getting around just how sizable a car the 2015 Dodge Charger is, and looking at its spec sheet reveals that: its length of 198.4 inches (about five meters) puts it just a few inches shy of the Dodge Durango. Still, when you’re behind the wheel, it is much easier to drive than its dimensions might suggest. That is mainly thanks to an all-new electric power steering system used on all but the range-topping Hellcat model, which sticks with a hydraulically assisted system.
The R/T Road & Track and R/T Scat Pack models come with a performance-tuned steering gear that makes input light and responsive, and resulted in a surprisingly tight turning radius. Option packages such as the Technology Group and Driver Confidence Group further add to the driver-assisted safety features such as Adaptive Cruise Control
, Forward Collision Warning, and Blind Spot Detection.
If you’re just looking to park any 2015 Dodge Charger in your driveway, it isn’t that hard to do with a base MSRP of $27,995 for the SE trim, but getting into the middle of the Charger’s trim lineup is where the difficult decisions must be made. As tested, this Charger R/T with the Road & Track package rang in at $43,965, which is about $4,000 more than the Charger R/T Scat Pack that swaps out the 5.7-liter Hemi for the SRT-supplied 6.4-liter Hemi with 485 horsepower.
Unless you plan on taking the car to the drag strip or you just have to have the most powerful car on your block, the 2015 Dodge Charger R/T will have enough performance for your daily needs.
As the automotive market continues to expand, there’s really no such thing as a car being in a class by itself anymore, but the 2015 Dodge Charger is about as close as it can get these days. With its sub-$30,000 starting price, available all-wheel drive, full-size space and numerous performance models, there is really no apples-to-apples comparison, although German luxury/sport sedans like the Mercedes E-Class can deliver a similarly wide range of models but at a much higher price point.
When Dodge first introduced the LX-based Charger in 2006, all people were talking about was the blasphemy that a four-door Charger represented. Fast forward to the 2015 model year, and the Dodge Charger is now as much of a performance icon as the original versions of this four-door muscle car. The 2015 Dodge Charger R/T Road & Track offers plenty of proof that you don’t need 707 horsepower to have fun in a two-ton sedan.