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. With the same V-6 and Hemi V-8 engine choices as the Chrysler 300, the Magnum also competes with the Subaru Forester and Volkswagen Passat wagon. For 2008, the Magnum gets a new grille and some interior tweaks, including new cloth seat surfaces and a redesigned instrument panel.
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. There is also a high-performance SRT8 version that's equipped with a 425-hp Hemi V-8.
To counteract concerns that the Magnum won't handle adequately on snow and ice, Dodge includes a standard electronic stability system and standard traction control in SXT and R/T models.
New exterior colors are available for 2008, and SXT and R/T models have standard Sirius Satellite Radio. A Road/Track Performance Group is available for R/T models and includes 20-inch wheels; 10 hp more, for a total of 350 hp; a performance suspension; and special R/T badges. The package now also includes standard side curtain and side-impact airbags.
A high-performance SRT8 edition joined the Magnum lineup two years ago.
(Skip to details on the: SRT8)
Significantly sportier in shape than most wagons, the Magnum features distinct tapered rear-quarter windows. For 2008, Dodge redesigned the Magnum's grille. Chrome elements were added, and the grille was lowered and stretched horizontally. Big fender flares surround new 17-, 18- or 20-inch wheels, depending on the model. Simple bodyside moldings are installed. 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.
Light Sandstone and Titanium were added to the exterior color lineup, replacing Marine Blue and Silver Steel.
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. For 2008, the interior was tweaked with a new center console and door trim panels that feature satin chrome bezels. There's also new cloth seat material. Air filtration is now standard on the SXT and R/T.
Under the Hood
A standard 2.7-liter V-6 in the base model produces 178 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, and a five-speed automatic that has AutoStick for manually selected gear changes is standard on the all-wheel-drive SXT and both versions of the R/T.
Antilock brakes, traction control and an electronic stability system are standard on the SXT and R/T. Side curtain and side-impact 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 system 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. The hood, front and grille were redesigned for 2008, and a functional hood scoop was added. Interior upgrades include a leather-trimmed carbon fiber steering wheel, carbon fiber door handles and LED lighting in the cupholders and door pockets.
An optional Reconfigurable Display was added to the SRT cluster for 2008. The display allows drivers to receive instant feedback on performance numbers, such as 0-60 mph time and speeds. Back to top