Dodge Charger Widebody — Say farewell to the iconic Charger

By Jim Prueter

(January 10, 2023) When Dodge first launched the Charger back in 1966 it was a fastback version of the midsize Coronet as a four-seat two-door receiving a tepid reception with sales not what Dodge expected. The second-generation Charger with more aggressive styling with its recessed grille and flying buttress roofline and recessed rear window captured the buying public’s attention with sales nearly 100,000 units. It also greeted the arrival of the now famous Charger Daytona with its massive rear wing and aerodynamic front nose cone and qualifying NASCAR credentials. 

Over the years, powerful Detroit muscle cars like the Charger ruled the streets between stoplights and the racetracks from quarter-mile strips to NASCAR fame. Since that time, the Charger has come and gone and come back again with the current generation having been around for more than a decade.

Charger is currently offered from a mild V-6 rear-wheel family sedan all the way to the tire shredding SRT Hellcat now available with up to 807 horsepower with the Jailbreak package with numerous trim levels in between each adding more features, varying engine performances and special commemorative editions from which to choose and is the only four-door muscle car you can buy today.

For 2023 Dodge has generally announced a final sendoff of Dodge’s gas-powered muscle cars making the switch to EV starting next year for 2024 acknowledging that internal combustion engines are going away along with their aging platforms they operate on.

But both the Dodge Charger and Dodge Challenger will not fade from sight with their tails between their legs, rather in true muscle car form the final year of gasoline production cars release a host of seven commemorative “Last Call” editions as well as bringing back Heritage colors such as Plum Crazy, Sublime green, B5 Blue. These special editions will be shipped to dealers with customers unable to special order a choice of their own.

For our review here we received and tested the Scat Pack Widebody “392” powered by a 485-horsepower 6.4-liter V-8 that posted an impressive 0 to 60 mph run of 3.8 seconds using the standard launch control feature. Scat Pack includes a fender flare integrated into the front and rear facias, which adds 3.5 inches of width over the 20-by-11-inch wheels riding on 305/35ZR20 Pirelli P-Zero performance tires.

There’s an SRT-tuned Bilstein three-mode Adaptive Damping Competition suspension for even more grip and a stiff ride. Still, the ride is relaxed on smooth pavement but any road imperfections such as crossing railroad tracks, broken pavement or other road impediments disrupts its composure. Cornering is remarkably balanced and confident.

Acceleration is nothing short of powerful like being launched from a sling shot with power that comes on instantly. We loved the mellifluous exhaust notes, but rear seat passengers found it continually annoying with the inability to carry on a conversation with passengers, especially those in the front bucket seats.

The interior is definitely dated and suffers from poor ergonomics and some low-quality materials and build quality with little changed since 2015. The cabin is roomy, easy to get in and out of with large doors occupants will find an extremely roomy cabin. The interior can be best summed up as “old school.”

Regardless of trim level, all come with a version of the excellent Uconnect infotainment system meaning Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard and a part of a 7.0-inch or 8.4-inch touchscreen depending on your model. Uconnect is one of the best infotainment systems by any manufacturer. It’s intuitive, simple to learn and use but some of the optional controls are only available via the touchscreen.

At this time, not much is known about the upcoming 2024 Charger EV

Overall, after 20 years and 3 million Dodge Challengers and Chargers sold a new era of performance EVs are expected to begin rolling out for 2024. We’ll watch for details and continue to keep you up to speed as Dodge releases more information.

Meanwhile, the “buzz” Chargers and Challengers using existing powertrains and platforms as commemorative special edition tribute vehicles may be worth a grab as they begin rolling out early this year.

Vital Stats

Base Price: $47,385
Price as Tested: $64,635
Engine/Transmission: 485-HP 6.4-Liter SRT Hemi V8 paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel Economy: 15/24/18 mpg – City/Highway/Combined
Seating: 5

Crash Test Safety Ratings: Overall highest possible 5-star score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Where Built: Brampton, Ontario Canada

A powerful Detroit V-8 muscle car
Handles better than its large size suggests
Aggressive good looks

Old school interior
Extremely noisy inside
Sucks gas