Road Test: 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8


I picked one heck of a week to be sick.

There I was sniffling and sneezing, lethargically lying around the house trying to find enough energy to take the medicine that never really worked.

And the whole time, out in the driveway sat a 2013 Dodge Charger SRT8. It was like being back in elementary school and having the big cool kid down the block standing in your front yard, tossing the football up in the air and asking when I would be able to come out and play.

And oh, I wanted to play.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8
2013 Dodge Charger SRT8

In fact, the Charger SRT8 is all about playing. Oh sure, it does all the mundane stuff. It gets you to and from work. It has a backseat for the kids. It has a trunk for groceries. At first glance it’s just another full-sized sedan.But the SRT8 is a Charger on steroids (I’m sure the baseball commissioner and congress are already considering holding hearings). It has a 6.4 liter, 470 horsepower HEMI engine that will literally throw you back in your seat. The car would spin the tires off the starting line if the launch control would let it (even with it, I could manage a little squeal… from both the tires and passengers). It also has Chrysler’s Fuel Saver Technology that allows it to get 14 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. Those aren’t great numbers, but it’s not bad for an engine that could be a fuel-sucking beast.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8
2013 Dodge Charger SRT8

You can spend a lot less and still get the Charger look. The base Charger is the SE. It starts at about $26,000 and still delivers 292 horsepower. Bump up to the R/T and you’ll get the 5.7 liter HEMI with 370 horsepower which is pretty good. But if you really want to own the road, the SRT8 is the only way to go. The first time you push down on the gas pedal, you know it’s something different.The folks at Chrysler claim it will do 0-60 in the high four second range and top out at 175 mph. I believe them.

Of course, the old days when muscle cars were all about horsepower and suspension was an after-thought are gone. The SRT8 has the pieces in place to keep the power, and you, on the road. To start with it has four-piston Brembo brakes with big red calipers (always good for status when the car next to you is checking you out at the light). Throw in adaptive dampening suspension plus performance tuned steering, and you have a car that will do more than just go fast in a straight line.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 interior
2013 Dodge Charger SRT8 Interior

Inside the car is something special as well. The seats have Nappa leather with suede trim. Not only are the front seats heated, but the back ones are as well. When I finally did get around to driving the Charger, the mornings were cold so I especially enjoyed the heated steering wheel.

2013 Dodge Charger SRT8's Display Shows 0-60 Times!
SRT8’s Display Shows 0-60 Times!

The Electronic Vehicle Information Center (EVIC) will blow you away. Not only does it have all the usual controls for radio and comfort, but it has Performance Pages that could get you in a lot of trouble. One page will keep track of your 0-60 times. It shows your current, last and best time (At least you’ll be able to show the police officer what you were doing before he gave you the ticket). But that’s only the beginning. It has pages that will show you your forward and lateral G-force as well as the steering input and the engine’s power output. You can even choose gauge viewing options so you can keep track of how the engine is running. Even the navigation system works well. Of course, all this will be worthless when the video display eventually dies (and you know it will), but it’s great for anyone driving today.

Comparing 2013 Dodge Charge SE vs SRT grill
Comparing Charger SE vs SRT grill

Outside the Charger SRT8 has a few styling differences. The most obvious is the longer, blacked-out grill and the 20 inch SRT aluminum wheels.  It also has a sculpted hood with an air exhauster. Frankly, I’m not a huge fan of the Charger styling. It’s kind of chunky and seems like they’re trying really hard to incorporate the Ram Truck design. Having said that, It’s not bad. I prefer it over the Chrysler 300 (although I did like the 300 SRT8).

Yeah, it's a HEMI!
Yeah, it’s a HEMI!

Of course any doubts about the outside will disappear once you drive it. The only down side is the price. You’ll have to pony up at least $45,000. My test car with some reasonable options came in at $51,670. That’s a lot of money to spend for a car that may not have the resale value to back it up. But if you’re more interested in pleasing yourself today than worrying about tomorrow, the first time you slide into the leather seats and mash the throttle, you’ll think it money well spent.

And then there’s the medicinal effect. The Charger SRT8 was the main reason I finally got dressed and dragged myself out of the house.

I wanted to play.




Connect with Facebook