6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

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Thread: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    OK, I've had the car a wee bit over six months, rolling it out of the friendly neighborhood Dodge dealer July 30. We're at about 4600 eze miles.

    Brief review, this is the base SE model with Package 27G including connectivity group, the 8A ZF (Kokomo comes later), and Uconnect 4.3S. Whatever all that means.

    I started out wanting a Challenger. I still do. I just love the way they look. But ultimately four doors won out. I missed an excellent deal on a 300 and was really looking for a 300 because they have a bit more space here and there. End of season and there weren't many cars left in my area.

    I finally ended up back at the dealer I leased my 200 from, and (again) drove a Charger that had been on the lot for some eight months. From blue Challenger to white 300 to black Charger, I finally drove off in what I needed.

    This is my first RWD since my 1979 Parisienne 305 3A. You've come a long way, baby!
    I traded the Poncho on a 1991 Camry 2.0 5M, an excellent car. The 2-Gen Camrys were among the best.

    One of the first things I noticed was the Charger seems more sensitive to wind than any FWD I can recall. FWD as a rule are almost immune from pummeling. That includes the Concord Coach-tall Soul.
    I asked the dealer about this, a tech drove it and said it drove like any other LX. They checked the alignment and almost everything got some adjustment. I'll provide specs for those so interested.

    So...I thought maybe it's the stock Michelin Energy A/S tires. They ARE a bit squishy. Compared to the winter tires I ordered, the Michelins feel quite squishy when handling them.
    To make a long story short, I adjusted to the vehicle's driving dynamics. That or the wind stopped blowing.

    I could feel the torque steer in all my recent FWDs, and that includes the Spectra and Soul which were not overpowered cars by any stretch. So it was interesting, feeling just thrust when I nailed this puppy, and not the slightly squirrely grasping and edging that--especially--the 200 and GP GXP performed when into the go-pedal.

    I replaced the Energy A/S with Nitto NT SN-2 winter tires in the stock size, 215.65.17. I think these are a little stiffer than the Energys, not Michelin's finest effort. The car doesn't seem as affected by crosswinds with these tires aboard.
    The Nittos are OK in snow, not so great on ice or hard-packed snow. I'd buy Michelin Xice Xi3 or Xi2 if I had it to do over again.

    So...the seats are fine. I like the dual zone, which Challengers didn't have. I like the 8A and have adapted to the weird wired-not-linked trannie linkage. The ZF is seamless, kicks down quickly, and provides about 47 MPH/1000 RPM cruising in top gear. For those who read the recent write-up on the 9A, this trans DOES get to top gear at below-ticket speeds.

    The car has good roll control, the ride is close in quality to the 200 as I recall, brakes are strong. Compared to Soul, watch your head here because there's lots less headspace. The Charger and Soul have similar interior dimensions, with the Soul having more real space IMO. Yes, I know they're not competitors, but Soul was the trade-in. If the Soul had had a smoother ride and the 200 HP 2.4 it would be a great all-around car.

    SERVICE ISSUES:
    1. Alignment.
    2. Funny popping noise, sounded like tennis balls. Dealer said it was the HVAC system blend air door, which they replaced under warranty. Noise is mostly gone.
    3. Hood release lever was found hanging by its wire one day. Don't know if it was suicide or homicide.
    It either let go on its own, or I kicked it when applying the parking brake. Not a great placement, release is within boot range of the parking brake. Release replaced under warranty.

    MPG:
    You can see by my Fuelly record, which I hope the NSA is tracking also, this horse gets pretty decent MPG for two tons of road-hugging weight. The Impalas with the 3.6 do pretty well too, and when my wife had some back trouble I seriously considered trading the Soul in on an LTZ, 2012 or 2013 Impala.

    I had the O&F done at about 1200 miles, going with Pennzoil Ultra 5w-20, or so they said at the dealer. The change was free.

    I've gotten quite comfortable with this Charger and am glad I bought it. About all I want to do is find a set of 18" OE Challenger wheels/tires, with stiffer tire construction than the stock Energys, which I think would add a bit of spiff to the Charger's looks.

    Dual zone: check.
    Power: check.
    Handling: check.
    Brakes: check.
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 02-12-2014 at 03:17 AM.
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    6.2 Liter LS3 V8 Shotgun's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Good review on the Charger. Glad that you are enjoying it. They are very nice cars that appear to hold up well.
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Glad you are liking it.

    After two years, I am still smiling every time I get into mine. 20,000 miles on mine and still going great.

    I have the same typically nit picks you do, as I get in I usually hit the emergency brake with my foot. I haven't noticed the wind issues or the squishy tires though. I have the 18 inchers though.

    In the snow, with good snow tires, rwd, and 51/49 weight distribution, these things are a blast to play with and do donut's with.
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Q1: Which did you buy your Charger for, HP or MPG?

    Q2: Are you getting what (either answer) what you expected?
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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Quote Originally Posted by 70AARCUDA View Post
    Q1: Which did you buy your Charger for, HP or MPG?

    Q2: Are you getting what (either answer) what you expected?
    Comfort, HP, attitude, handling, MPG/tactical cruise radius, and so people would ask questions about hanging the ass end out.

    Yes.

    Actually I didn't expect the town MPG to be as close to the 2800 LB Soul as it turns out to be. This is one very efficient powertrain Mopar has plugged in here.

    This purchase was triggered when I woke up one morning on or about July 4 and said to myself, "Self, I want a freakin Challenger! Let's do it!"
    As the situation evolved, which unlike the fossil record actually occurred, I came THAT close to popping for a Challenger.
    No, a 300.
    No, a Charger.
    As you can see I ended up with the black Charger.
    I'm really enjoying handing out tickets for no turn signal, and texting while driving!
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 02-13-2014 at 11:25 PM.
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Cool, thanks for the update. 26.2 mpg in something that big is excellent with all of the city driving you do.

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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Ed753's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Thanks for the update, sounds like things are going rather well.

    One question, or two depending at how you look at it:

    How much has your electric bill gone up, and has that increase along with higher car note, been offset by the savings at the pump?
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    R2-D2 Astromech Droid Premium Member Neanderthal's Avatar
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    Re: 6-Month Review: 2013 Charger Pentastar 8A

    Quote Originally Posted by smokyn454 View Post
    Glad you are liking it.

    After two years, I am still smiling every time I get into mine. 20,000 miles on mine and still going great.

    I have the same typically nit picks you do, as I get in I usually hit the emergency brake with my foot. I haven't noticed the wind issues or the squishy tires though. I have the 18 inchers though.

    In the snow, with good snow tires, rwd, and 51/49 weight distribution, these things are a blast to play with and do donut's with.
    What tires are you running?

    Yes, I've gotten well sideways a few times accelerating out of corners in new snow/slush. Genie popped up about the same time I countersteered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shotgun View Post
    Good review on the Charger. Glad that you are enjoying it. They are very nice cars that appear to hold up well.
    Thanks. Like car.
    Had the weirdest dream last night. That I'd traded the Charger on a Honda Crosstour. Almost went out to the garage to check, but I was asleep at the time. Very disturbing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael_S View Post
    Cool, thanks for the update. 26.2 mpg in something that big is excellent with all of the city driving you do.
    Amen. Yes, I'm quite pleased with the FE. When we migrate east, I'll be interested to see what we get on a long journey.

    I see from my Fuelly history that the Charger does better than my 200 did. This 8A is a huge advance, I believe. The 6A Chrysler trannie has more gears but I'd take the 5A Mercedes trans before I'd go for the 6A.

    No worries, one is FWD and one is RWD.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed753 View Post
    Thanks for the update, sounds like things are going rather well.

    One question, or two depending at how you look at it:

    How much has your electric bill gone up, and has that increase along with higher car note, been offset by the savings at the pump?
    Electric bill...hmmmm. Trick question?

    The car note is what the car note is. I'm piling on to pay off early. D-I-L is needing/wanting new wheels so we need to scrub all debt off the books.
    Last edited by Neanderthal; 02-21-2014 at 01:41 PM.
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