With no less than nine (count ‘em, nine) models in the 2017 Dodge Charger lineup, there is literally a Charger to fit any budget and any need. Heck if we count the Charger police pack that would make ten models. I remember the days when police cars were all Ford Crown Victorias Chevy Caprices – not exactly cool cars by any stretch of the imagination but Dodge has succeeded made police cars cool again with Police departments all over North America gobbling up the Charger.
I suppose that plethora of different Charger trims is part of the reason why it’s such a cool car. The other reasons being it looks fantastic and you can get a Hellcat version with 707 horsepower for crying out loud. It’s the most powerful production sedan in the world and gives Dodge enormous street credit.
Today I’m testing the next best thing – the Charger Daytona 392 which slides in just underneath the Hellcat in the lineup and is a new edition for 2017. Just to be clear, the Charger trims are as follows (listed in ascending order of price): SE, SXT, SXT Plus, R/T, Daytona, R/T 392, SRT 392, Daytona 392, Hellcat. You may have heard of something called the Dodge Demon but that 808 horsepower monster is only available as the two-door Challenger rather than the four-door Charger.
You really need to be careful with a machine like this or you’ll wind up losing your driver’s license before you know it. The 15.4-inch ultra-high performance Brembo brake system with six-piston front and four-piston rear brake calipers is the largest ever offered in an FCA US vehicle. They inspire confidence when needed as does the SRT-tuned high-performance adaptive damping suspension.
On the exterior the new Daytona and Daytona 392 trims differentiate themselves by adding Hellcat-inspired functional performance styling, Daytona satin black exterior hood, roof and deck-lid graphics, a satin black spoiler, Daytona embroidered performance bolstered seats and a Dodge performance steering wheel with die-cast paddle shifters. Wider, 20 x 9-inch and 20 x 9.5-inch wheels with high-performance Goodyear and Pirelli tires help improve handling on 5.7-liter and 392 HEMI-powered models, respectively.
The Charger’s interior is quite comfy and the seats do a reasonably good job holding you in place during the increased g-forces you’ll most definitely be encountering. It’s not the most visually pleasing layout in the world but not the worst either. In fact I quite like the materials and finish including the brushed aluminum trim around the infotainment system and lower console. The layout is ergonomically well designed and steering wheel controls work beautifully. I’d note that the button quality is not top notch and I question the durability of some of these controls as the years pass.
The 2017 Charger Daytona features an all-new fourth-generation 8.4-inch Uconnect system complete with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. CarPlay enables iPhone users to access Apple Maps, Messages, phone and Apple Music through Siri Voice control or the touchscreen. Android Auto enables easy and safe access to Google voice search, Google Maps and Google Play Music via the touchscreen or steering-wheel controls. According to Dodge the new Uconnect system includes performance improvements with faster startup time, enhanced processing power, vivid imagery, plus higher resolution and sharper graphics. In my humble opinion, Uconnect was already among the top infotainment systems available in any vehicle and it remains so. It’s intuitive, easy to use, easy to learn and doesn’t have an endless array of sub menus to get lost in.
You can pick up an entry-level Charger SE starting at $36,095 but this comes with a 292 horsepower 3.6-litre V6. To get a HEMI you need to move up to the R/T which starts at $43,195 and has the 370 horsepower 5.7-litre version but if you really want the full 485 horses you need that 6.4-litre HEMI found on the R/T 392, SRT 392 or Daytona 392 models at $50,195, $56,795 and $57,195 respectively. The good thing is that these HEMI versions will likely hold their value much longer than you’d expect.
With a powerful engine, comfy seats, good infotainment system and killer looks, the Charger Daytona was a car that I just wanted to keep driving. I looked for reasons to leave the house and drive this beast because of the amount of pleasure it gave me. Any car that can do this is going to be in high demand and Dodge has certainly found a winning formula here.