2011 Dodge Charger SE V6
– Aggressive styling
– Cabin space and quality
– Good ride and handling
– Weak low-end power
– Some multimedia quirks
– Bit limited rear visibility
The Dodge Charger has always been a cool car. The original was cool. The reborn sedan was cool too. But the new-for-2011 one, a heavily-updated version of the outgoing model, is simply something else, moving beyond duking it out with other Americans and straight-up hitting the Europeans where it hurts.
The new Charger retains some of the previous model’s styling elements, mostly up front, but goes for a conservative side profile, while going flamboyant on the rear end, with its 164-LED tail lamps. Our tester is the V6-powered Charger SE, and it looks every bit as premium as the V8 models. This is a big car, so even the SE’s 18-inch alloys look a bit small.
While the flip-up door handles look cheap, they’re actually modern, with intelligent keyless entry offering access at a touch-and-pull. The cabin itself is thoroughly original, and while some may like the design and some may dislike it, the interior is undoubtedly trimmed in premium soft-touch materials more generously than in a pricier Audi A5 Sportback even, with a padded dash, upper door trim and even the centre console, going even further with real metal lining a big chunk of the dashboard. The doors and armrests were also lined with swaths of leatherette, although the seats themselves were cloth in our V6 tester. Build quality is very good, with only one or two panels looking like they’re out of line, well within Lexus standards.
The styling may be swoopy, but the Charger is still a large car, so there is no shortage of headroom or legroom, both front and back. The front seats are mildly bolstered, with only the driver’s one power-adjustable, and with a steering wheel that adjusts to an alarming degree, finding the best driving position is a piece of cake. The luggage boot is also sizeable, and the rear seatback folds down for more cargo-hauling capacity. And as if going overboard on practicality, there are four covered cup-holders, pockets and bottle-holders on all doors, power outlets for front as well as rear passengers, a cargo net, a cubby to hold your phone, hooks in the boot to hang small grocery bags on, and even separate holders different-sized coins.
On the tech front, the Charger is the first Chrysler product to benefit from their new multimedia system, housed within a big 8.4-inch touchscreen display. With big icons and colourful graphics, it is easier to use than Ford’s SYNC, although we didn’t play with any voice commands. The Bluetooth phone, strong CD/MP3 stereo and navigation all worked well, although we noticed some minor issues. The USB port occasionally didn’t read our fancy “slim” flash drive, and the nav screen sometimes takes time to redraw the maps as the car moves along. Other features include a sunroof, cruise control, auto HID headlights, front and side-curtain airbags, tyre-pressure monitor, keyless starter button, rear camera with parking sensors, capless fuel filler, and a strong dual-zone a/c with rear vents. Higher trim levels get a powered passenger seat, leather and heated/cooled cup-holders.
The Charger SE is powered by a 3.6-litre “Pentastar” V6, good for 292 hp at 6350 rpm and 353 Nm of torque at 4800 rpm. The numbers are decent, but having to move a 1796-kilo full-size sedan with only a 5-speed automatic sending power to the rear wheels, we managed a 0-100 kph time of 8.2 seconds during our May test. We lay the blame on the tall gearing, seemingly intentional to improve fuel economy, and the slightly-delayed manual gear-changing isn’t very satisfying. But drag-run numbers don’t mean much, because while the Charger takes off at a leisurely pace, there seems to be an uncanny burst of power beyond 3000 rpm, so the car actually feels like a V8 on the highway! There is power where it counts, so overtaking is an effortless affair, and the engine is never stressed. The fuel consumption is remarkable too, as we got 10.6 litres/100 km with a fair bit of highway driving. Maybe that tall gearing has its benefits after all.
Chrysler has nailed the ride and handling balance too. With meaty 235/55 tyres on 18-inchers, the ride quality is smooth with a tinge of firmness on certain jittery surfaces, and no floatiness over bumps and dips on the road. More surprising is the Lexus-rivalling levels of quietness at highway speeds. Of course, it takes some care slipping into a parking space due to relatively-limited rearward visibility, but it’s handled with the help of a rear camera.
Handling is very good too. Body roll is never prominent, and whatever roll shows up is quickly quelled as soon as the road becomes straight. The steering is slightly firm and fairly direct, but offers limited feel. The ABS-assisted disc brakes do their job pretty decently. All of it is about as much as you’d expect from a big Mercedes-Benz sedan, and from what we gather, Chrysler has reserved the real sporting balls for the R/T model.
By now, you may have noticed the amount of name-dropping we’ve done, mentioning Audi, Lexus and Mercedes in, of all things, a Dodge review. But that really is how good this car has become. Looking beyond performance figures, if all you need is an entertaining, entry-level luxury sedan, the Charger SE can give many luxury brands a run for their money.
Current Model Introduced in:
Test Acceleration 0-100 kph:
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Hi, thanks for this review.
I recently bought the SE v6, similar to the one reviewed here and i wanted to update the 0-60 mph acceleration numbers. Mine does it in a 6 to 6.5 sec. I suppose the one tested here wasn’t broken in yet.
@Mahmoud – It’s probably because you bought the V6 with the new ZF 8 speed gearbox. The tested version in this article has the old 5 speed. Huge difference. Congrats on your purchase!
Hi i’m just planning to buy a sedan but is bit confused with Dodge Charger, Nissan Maxima and Honda Accord – All 2012 models only., my budget is about 100,000/- 125,000/- .
please recommend me a good ride for the family and personal use.
If you prefer resale value and reliability, the honda accord is a good choice and has a good V6 engine.if you prefer beter engine power and value for money, the charger is unbeatable in its class.but dont expect it to be as reliable as a honda or nissan.
if still not bought dont go for maxima even though i did go for charger if resale is not an issue more car for same money and drive it for next 5 years without any issues quality is top notch for dodge now so no worry for that part
Planning to buy this car this Ramadan,confused whether to go with base SE or Rallye models.Any feedback from users?
Planning to buy Charger V6 SXT+ model for city as well as highway driving. Need to know frequent maintenance issues. Guys your feedback will help.
An example of 5-speed 2011 Charger V6 posts 0-60mph in 6.4sec according to an American media,I’ve heard of.
This result could be calculated to 14.6-15.0sec bracket for 0-400m times,it’s quite respectable yet mysterious figure for her old 5-speed AT gearbox,I think.
How reliable is Charger? American reliability is learnt always lower than Japanese! Please advise as I am really attracted towards owning a Charger.
Hi guys! I own a 2008 Dodge Charger done 75K and maintained by Trading Enterprises. It’s a V6 basic with SXT hood, double exhaust and fog lamps. Do I sell it before the warranty expires in Dec 2013? I love the car and want to keep it but I’m a bit apprehensive about maintenance costs without warranty. Also if selling, what is an ideal price for it?
I was wondering how much the 3.6L V6 with full option would cost? I would appreciate it if anyone could clarify that.
Also, how about it’s reliability?
The 3.6-litres unit is fairly mighty,yet its fuel consumption seems bairly accetable to today’s standard.
Thus her hefty body weight(1797-1850kg) should be lighter by 100kg near future,I do expect.
Don’t you think the dealer here is ripping its customers when it comes to American cars? While checking the price of the base model of the Dodge charger 2013 online, it showed as 25,595/- USD, which is about AED 96,000/-. Last month I went to check out the price of the same at Trading Ent. and they informed me that the base model of the charger is AED 129000/-. This I believe is not fair as the price shown online, includes the dealer margin too!! There is a famous saying that ‘customers buy value’. I wonder what value is the dealer providing for that extra AED 33000/- because there is nothing special in their service levels too (I know that because my Jeep is being serviced here).
Of course unless you may know something more about the same ?.