Plenty of observers were surprised when Dodge introduced its Magnum for 2005. Instead of a front-wheel-drive sedan like its Dodge Intrepid predecessor, the Magnum is a rear- or all-wheel-drive wagon.
In addition to two V-6 engines, a Hemi V-8 that cranks out 340 horsepower can power the Magnum. To boost fuel economy, an innovative Multi-Displacement System in the Hemi shuts down half of the engine's cylinders during light engine load conditions. Chrysler sells the closely related 300 sedan, which is offered with the same engine choices.
To counteract concerns that the Magnum won't handle adequately on snow and ice, Dodge includes a standard Electronic Stability Program and standard traction control in SXT and R/T models.
New exterior colors are available for 2007, and R/T models have standard Sirius Satellite Radio. A new Road/Track Performance Group is available for R/T models, including: 20-inch wheels; 10 hp more for a total of 350 hp; a performance suspension; and special R/T badges.
A high-performance SRT8 edition joined the Magnum lineup last year.
(Skip to details on the: SRT8)
Significantly sportier in shape than most wagons, the Magnum features distinct tapered rear-quarter windows. Big fender flares surround 17-, 18- or 20-inch wheels, depending on the model. Simple bodyside moldings are installed, and the front end features Dodge's characteristic crosshair grille. Rather than a traditional near-vertical liftgate, the Magnum's reaches well forward into the roof, which allows the liftgate to rise nearly straight up.
Five occupants can fit inside the Magnum, which has a 60/40-split, folding rear seat. Cargo volume totals 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seat up and 71.6 cubic feet with the seat folded. A tri-fold false floor allows for extra storage.
Under the Hood
A standard 2.7-liter V-6 in the base model produces 190 hp, and a 250-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 is optional. Dodge's 340-hp, 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 powers the R/T. The base V-6 drives a four-speed automatic transmission, while the 3.5-liter V-6 and the Hemi V-8 use a five-speed automatic that has AutoStick for manually selected gear changes.
Antilock brakes, traction control and an Electronic Stability Program are standard on the SXT and R/T. Side curtain airbags are optional.
Performance and handling in the Hemi-powered R/T are essentially the same as in the related Chrysler 300C. The suspension feels tauter, but not by much. Both cars ride comfortably on smooth surfaces. Each has a solid feel and confident handling. Tromping the Magnum's gas pedal from a standstill can shove occupants back into their seats, though highway-speed acceleration is less ferocious.
The 3.5-liter V-6 performs with satisfying vigor, if a trifle slow at start-off, but it's a little noisier. Engine noise with the 2.7-liter V-6 is more noticeable but not bothersome, and performance doesn't fall far short of the bigger V-6. The SXT model clings to the pavement quite well.
Models with the Electronic Stability Program behave with surprising confidence on wintry surfaces. However, you sometimes get the feeling that the system has taken over a little too much.
Backseat legroom and headroom are plentiful, but the center rider faces a large driveline tunnel. Long, slim quarter windows impair over-the-shoulder views. Even though the innovative liftgate seems handy, shorter people might have trouble closing it. Heavy rain or snow could blow in sideways, too.
To boost the performance of its Magnum wagon, Dodge installed a 425-hp, 6.1-liter V-8 in the SRT8 edition. Developing 420 pounds-feet of torque, the big V-8 issues enough energy to send the wagon from zero to 60 mph in a little more than 5 seconds.
The race-inspired interior features deeply sculpted, highly bolstered front sport seats. SRT-tuned dampers, tailored spring rates, larger anti-sway bars and 20-inch forged-aluminum wheels are installed.
Little has changed for 2007. SRT8s gain two new exterior colors, and a rear seat video system is optional. Back to top
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