Arts and Lifestyle
|2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus|
|Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014|
DETROIT – One foot of snow and a rear-wheel drive sedan makes for adventurous driving that is not fun. That is exactly what happened during the weeklong test drive of the 2014 Dodge Charger SXT Plus. Worse, it was below zero and stayed that way for days.
On more than one occasion, the Dodge Charger got stuck in the snow while backing out of the driveway. Not that it got stuck in a snow bank, but it needed to be pushed to get free. The irony is that while the test vehicle was rear-wheel drive, the Charger can be equipped with one of the most advanced all-wheel systems around.
The system activates in temperatures below 40 degrees. If it is warmer than that, it will disconnect the front axle, making the car truly rear-wheel and more fuel-efficient. If you live someplace where it is possible to get serious snow, say more than four inches at once, then the peace of mind you’ll maintain with Dodge’s all-wheel drive system is worth its extra cost.
Without that all-wheel drive system, it was difficult to enjoy the many amenities the Charger offered. The car had remote start that was invaluable on mornings when the ambient temperature was 10 below zero. Heated seats, front and rear, meant that every passenger could be cozily comfortable. And the heated steering wheel meant that after a couple of minutes the driver could take his gloves off.
It’s a lot safer driving without gloves, especially on slippery streets. Gloveless driving meant that what the car was doing could be felt quicker and driver reactions to the car could be applied faster. That heated steering wheel really made a difference in controlling the Dodge Charger in frigid weather.
The test Charger had a 3.6-liter V6 that made 300 horsepower. It was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. During normal driving conditions, this combination got 19 mpg in city driving and 31 mpg on the highway. Even in molasses slow driving on slippery streets, the Dodge Charger ran smoothly and quietly. The transmission’s low gears didn’t drag the car, and the rack and pinion with hydraulic power assist steering provided much needed feel to the driver and excellent response to input.
Inside, the 8.4-inch touch screen was clear and sharp. The power seats were comfortable, and the rear seats were spacious. The Charger also had a slew of options. The test car was equipped with a navigation system, satellite radio, voice controls as well as Bluetooth. The car had auto adjustable reverse sideview mirrors and automatic high beam headlights. And for $35,375, it was a real bargain.
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