By Aaron Bragman on April 16, 2014
Dodge is a little surprised by who's buying the current Charger: The brand says more than half of Charger buyers are the coveted millennial generation, and a third don't even cross-shop any competitors before they buy one. For Charger buyers, the car isn't a family sedan. It's a style statement, with its aggressive lines, big engines and in-your-face attitude.
When it came time to update the Charger and Challenger, Dodge decided to take a new route with the Charger. The Challenger is retro, and the 2015 model plays up that aspect; the new 2015 Charger is now more modern than the outgoing one, giving Dodge buyers a choice in how they want their performance — old school or latest thing.
The changes to the Charger's styling are fairly significant. The car is exactly the same dimensionally, but when viewed from the side or rear, it looks considerably smaller than the current Charger. There's a definite resemblance to the Dart and Durango in the new front end, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's a good face for the Dodge family, but it's such a departure from the previous Charger that it's going to take some getting used to.
Perhaps a bigger change comes in the rear, with the square, fat haunches of the current Charger replaced with smoothed-out, rounded shoulders that make the car feel almost midsize in its proportions. From the rear, a definite resemblance to the Dart and even the SRT Viper is apparent in the taillights' shape.
The R/T model is devoid of chrome, instead sporting gloss-black trim for every bit of its exterior adornment. A car this big with no bright work at all is a little unnerving, but that's the attitude the Charger seems to be going for. The last Charger stopped people in their tracks when they saw it, especially when used as a police car. This latest version doesn't do that; it's more subtle and mature.
Inside, the Charger receives a few minor updates, but it doesn't look all that different from the current one. Beige has been banished; just like in the new Challenger, black is the order of the day with black cloth standard or black, red or white leather optional. The new gauge cluster with the ubiquitous 7-inch reconfigurable LCD screen looks good, and I like how it allows the driver to customize what data is being presented. That's especially true for the new Performance Pages app, which by itself is almost enough reason to buy a new Charger, given the newfound control it allows the driver over various vehicle systems.
New metallic trim is available, but just like in the Challenger its hex-patterned screen print unfortunately looks phony and odd. It's still a comfortable cabin in the front row, with plenty of room and width galore. Rear occupants may be surprised that there isn't as much legroom as one would expect for such a big car.
Overall, it's a solid update to the Charger and one that is likely to keep the younger sporting crowd happy. Those that aren't keen on the Charger's new look can mosey over to the other side of the showroom to pick up a Challenger instead, as Dodge says that its own retro sports coupe is the No. 1 vehicle that Charger buyers cross-shop against the sedan.
Cars.com photos by Evan Sears
Detroit Bureau Chief Aaron Bragman grew up in the Detroit area, comes from an automotive family and is based in Ann Arbor, Mich. Email Aaron