What Changed for 2009:
- Next-generation 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine up from 340 to 368 hp
- Hemi V-8 engine now 5 percent more fuel-efficient
- All-wheel drive (AWD) models get Active Transfer Case with Front-Axle Disconnect
- SE model gets alloy wheels, additional interior chrome trim and more equipment
- LED lighting standard for front cupholders and available for door pockets
- MyGIG hard-drive radio now called UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS when ordered with navigation system
- Front side and curtain side air bags now optional instead of standard on most models
- New taillight design
- SRT8 model adds more standard equipment. Super Bee \"buzz model\" package
- SRT8 gets retuned suspension and new anti-lock brakes (ABS)/electronic stability control calibrations
The Charger is Dodge's largest sedan and is built on the same platform as the Chrysler 300 sedan. The Dodge Magnum, which also shared the Charger's platform, is no longer offered. The Charger has a sportier design than the more formal Chrysler version. Dodge plays off the Charger's muscle-car heritage by offering Hemi V-8 power and making performance packages available, including this year's Super Bee, Daytona and Road/Track Performance offerings. Unlike its 1960s namesake, the current Charger has 4 doors. Seating is for 5. Rear-wheel drive (RWD) is standard, but an available AWD system sends 38 percent of the engine's torque to drive the front wheels. The Charger is offered in three standard line models and the high-performance SRT8.
The standard line Charger models consist of the SE, SXT and R/T. The SXT and R/T are available with AWD. Standard equipment on the SE includes cloth upholstery; air conditioning; interior air filter; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; driver and passenger lumbar adjustment; power windows, locks and mirrors; remote keyless entry; 4-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with auxiliary input jack; and P215/65R17 tires on aluminum wheels. The SXT adds an 8-way power-adjustable driver's seat; 60/40-split folding rear seat with fold-down center armrest; Boston Acoustics stereo with 6 speakers and 276-watt amplifier; power-adjustable pedals; heated mirrors; and fog lamps. When ordered with AWD, the SXT also adds performance disc brakes and P225/60R18 tires. The R/T adds to the SXT leather upholstery; leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob; heated front seats; 8-way power front passenger seat; folding heated mirrors; automatic headlights; dual-zone automatic climate control; and 18-inch tires. The R/T's Road/Track Performance package has sportier steering; self-leveling shocks; sport seats with suede inserts; performance suspension; front and rear spoilers; and P245/45R20 tires on aluminum wheels with black accents. The Daytona package has the same equipment, plus remote engine starting, black grille, body-color engine cover, and special paint.
The SRT8 model adds dual-zone automatic climate control; automatic headlights; remote engine starting; interior air filter; heated front seats; and a new front-seat headrest design for 2009. It also has a Reconfigurable Display with \"performance pages\"; performance-tuned suspension; sport bucket seats; functional hood scoop; rear spoiler; reprogrammed ESC system; Brembo brakes; Goodyear Supercar F1 tires on 20-inch forged aluminum wheels; and a 180-mph speedometer. The SRT8's new Super Bee \"buzz model\" package comes with Hemi Orange paint; serialized dash plaque; special wheel design; silver Brembo brake calipers; UConnect Tunes hard-drive radio; orange seat accents; and hood and rear quarter panel decals.
Options for the 2009 Dodge Charger lineup include a sunroof; Sirius satellite radio; rear DVD entertainment with Sirius Backseat TV; 368-watt sound system; universal garage door opener; Xenon headlights; UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link; and Dodge's UConnect GPS hard-drive radio with navigation system.
Four engine choices are offered on the 2009 Dodge Charger models. Standard in the SE is a 2.7-liter V-6 engine that produces 178 hp at 5500 rpm and 190 lb.-ft. of torque at 4000 rpm. It is mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission. All of the other engines are paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission with Dodge's AutoStick manual shiftgate. The SXT has a 3.5-liter V-6 engine that pumps out 250 hp at 6400 rpm and 250 lb.-ft. of torque at 3800 rpm. The R/T's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine is upgraded for 2009. It now makes 368 hp, up from 340, at 5200 rpm and 391 lb.-ft. of torque at 4150 rpm. With the Daytona or Road/Track packages, the 5.7-liter V-8 produces 372 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. The 5.7-liter V-8 engine has Dodge's Multi-Displacement System, which shuts down four cylinders under light loads to conserve fuel, and Dodge says it gets 5-percent better fuel economy. The SRT8 gets an even higher-performance version of the Hemi: a 6.1-liter unit that provides 425 hp at 6200 rpm and 420 lb.-ft. of torque at 4800 rpm. The SRT8 is capable of sprinting from 0-60 mph in less than 5.5 seconds, according to Dodge.
EPA fuel-economy ratings for the 2009 Dodge Charger are 18 mpg city/26 mpg highway for the 2.7-liter engine; 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 3.5-liter engine with 2WD; 16 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the 3.5-liter engine with AWD; 16 mpg city/24 mpg highway for the 5.7-liter engine with 2WD or AWD; and 13 mpg city/18 mpg highway with the 6.1-liter engine.
The AWD models' new Active Transfer Case with Front-Axle Disconnect transitions between AWD and RWD automatically. When AWD is not required, the system disconnects the front axle and opens the transfer case from the drivetrain to reduce friction and therefore increase fuel economy, the automaker explains. AWD mode can be chosen manually by shifting to AutoStick mode or by using the windshield wipers for an extended period of time.
Standard on all 2009 Dodge Charger models are 2-stage front air bags and a tire-pressure monitor. Head-protecting side curtain air bags for both seating rows and torso-protecting front side air bags are optional on all but the SE; they were standard on all but the SE for 2008. Anti-lock brakes with brake assist, traction control and electronic stability control are standard on all models but the SE, where they are optional.
The Dodge Charger has earned 5-star front-impact ratings for the driver and front passenger in National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash testing. The Charger also received a 4-star rating for the driver and a 5-star rating for the rear passenger from the NHTSA in side-impact tests, and a 4-star rating in rollover-resistance tests. In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the Charger earned a \"Good\" rating for frontal offset crash protection; a \"Poor\" rating for side-impact protection without the optional side and curtain side air bags; a \"Marginal\" rating for side protection with those air bags; and a \"Marginal\" rating for rear crash protection.
Dodge introduced MyGIG hard-drive radio for 2008 and changes the name to UConnect Tunes and UConnect GPS for 2009. Both have a 6.5-inch touch screen and a 30-gigabyte hard drive (up from 20 gigs) to hold song and picture files. UConnect GPS adds Dodge's UConnect Phone wireless cell phone link, as well as a navigation system with voice control and real-time traffic information. Songs can be ripped to the hard drive directly from CDs or from a thumb drive plugged into a USB port. SRT8 models have a \"Reconfigurable Display\" located in the vehicle information center.