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2010 Dodge Charger

$57 — $18,201 USED
Sedan
5 Seats
16-22 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 6 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • RWD performance
  • Ride comfort
  • Roomy cabin
  • Refined transmission
  • SRT8 handling

The Bad

  • Aging cabin
  • Unsupportive standard seats
  • Crash-test ratings
  • Poor sightlines
  • ABS, stability system not standard
2010 Dodge Charger exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2010 Dodge Charger
  • Standard side curtain airbags for 2010
  • V-6 or V-8
  • RWD or AWD
  • Available 425-hp Charger SRT8
  • Related to Chrysler 300

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Cars.com's Kelsey Mays takes a look at the 2010 Dodge Charger R/T AWD. It competes with the Ford Taurus and Chevrolet Impala.

by Kelsey Mays - The Dodge Charger is proof that Chrysler once made damn good cars — and has the potential to do so again.

Back in the automaker's mid-decade glory days, the Mercedes-engineered Charger and its Chrysler 300 sibling stole the show. Largely unchanged, today's Charger has aged noticeably; nearly every competitor feels more contemporary and gets better crash-test ratings. But the car still has its draw: With the short-lived Pontiac G8 gone — and the Ford Crown Victoria's headstone nearly in the ground — the pickings for big, affordable rear-wheel-drive sedans are slim.

The Lineup
From the base Charger SE to the high-performance SRT8, Dodge offers four engines across six trim levels. All-wheel drive is optional. For 2010, the previously optional side curtain airbags are now standard. Click here to compare the '09 with the '10, or here to compare the Charger with its Chrysler 300 sibling. (Note that we break out the V-8 300C as a separate model.)

I tested an all-wheel-drive Charger R/T this time around, but we've logged plenty of miles in other drivetrains over the years. Here's how they stack up:

Trims & Engines
Trim levelSE3.5L, SXT, RallyeR/TSRT8
Engine2.7L V-63.5L V-65.7L V-86.1L V-8
Base price$24,390$25,245$31,370$38,180
DrivelineRWDRWD or AWDRWD or AWDRWD
Horsepower (@ rpm)178 @ 5,500250 @ 6,400368*@ 5,200425 @ 6,200
Torque (lbs.-ft., @ rpm)190 @ 4,000250 @ 3,800395* @ 4,350420 @ 4,800
Transmission4-speed auto4-speed auto (RWD); ...

by Kelsey Mays - The Dodge Charger is proof that Chrysler once made damn good cars — and has the potential to do so again.

Back in the automaker's mid-decade glory days, the Mercedes-engineered Charger and its Chrysler 300 sibling stole the show. Largely unchanged, today's Charger has aged noticeably; nearly every competitor feels more contemporary and gets better crash-test ratings. But the car still has its draw: With the short-lived Pontiac G8 gone — and the Ford Crown Victoria's headstone nearly in the ground — the pickings for big, affordable rear-wheel-drive sedans are slim.

The Lineup
From the base Charger SE to the high-performance SRT8, Dodge offers four engines across six trim levels. All-wheel drive is optional. For 2010, the previously optional side curtain airbags are now standard. Click here to compare the '09 with the '10, or here to compare the Charger with its Chrysler 300 sibling. (Note that we break out the V-8 300C as a separate model.)

I tested an all-wheel-drive Charger R/T this time around, but we've logged plenty of miles in other drivetrains over the years. Here's how they stack up:

Trims & Engines
Trim levelSE3.5L, SXT, RallyeR/TSRT8
Engine2.7L V-63.5L V-65.7L V-86.1L V-8
Base price$24,390$25,245$31,370$38,180
DrivelineRWDRWD or AWDRWD or AWDRWD
Horsepower (@ rpm)178 @ 5,500250 @ 6,400368*@ 5,200425 @ 6,200
Torque (lbs.-ft., @ rpm)190 @ 4,000250 @ 3,800395* @ 4,350420 @ 4,800
Transmission4-speed auto4-speed auto (RWD); 5-speed auto (AWD)5-speed auto5-speed auto
EPA fuel economy (city/hwy., mpg)18/2617/25 (RWD); 17/23 (AWD)16/25 (RWD); 16/23 (AWD)13/19
Fuel usageMidgrade requiredMidgrade rec.Midgrade rec.Premium rec.
*372 hp and 400 pounds-feet of torque with Road/Track Performance Group.
Source: Automaker and EPA data

Confident Moves
Endowed a year ago with variable valve timing, Chrysler's 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 packs heat. All-wheel drive saddles the Charger R/T with another 183 pounds, but even with four occupants I was able to scoot up to highway speeds with power to spare. With 395 pounds-feet of torque at an accessible 4,350 rpm (or 400 pounds-feet with the R/T's optional, and confusingly named, Road/Track package), there's no waiting to unlock extra oomph as the tachometer needle climbs; the Charger R/T moves vigorously from the get-go. Ford tried to emulate this sort of thrust with the Taurus SHO's twin-turbo V-6, but the results feel lacking from a standing start. Displacement matters, and the era of big V-8s is fading fast. Enjoy the Charger's while you can.

All-wheel-drive V-6 Chargers and all V-8 Chargers get a five-speed automatic. It's a good transmission, though the gated shifter can be a bit reluctant to move into Drive. Upshifts are smooth and rarely happen too early, and highway kickdown comes without undue lag.

Less responsive is the Charger's all-wheel-drive system, which features an active transfer case that can automatically disconnect the front axle and route all power to the rear wheels. The benefits are tangible — preservation of rear-wheel-drive handling and better fuel efficiency — but somewhere along the way Chrysler forgot the whole point of all-wheel drive: traction. The system kicks power to the front wheels only after the rears have spent precious seconds spinning over slippery surfaces. It's hardly a seamless transition, and when you need to move out on a rainy day — say, to catch a gap in traffic — the Charger's all-wheel-drive system doesn't live up to its calling.

On the open road, the Charger's suspension rides softly. Tailored after the prior-generation Mercedes E-Class suspension, it doesn't lend a connected feeling with the road, bobbing up and down on undulating highways and becoming squirrely over midcorner expansion joints. But overall ride comfort is good, and the cabin remains well-isolated on rough pavement — something that complements its general quietness at highway speeds. Bear in mind our test car had 18-inch wheels (17s are standard) and standard suspension tuning. The Road/Track option adds a performance suspension and 20-inch wheels to the R/T, while the SRT8 has its own setup, also with 20s. The latter rides quite firmly; some may find it too punishing.

The steering wheel turns with light effort, but at parking-lot speeds I encountered pockets of less power assist, creating a sort of nonlinear, lumpy resistance buildup as I turned the wheel. Not good. At higher speeds, the steering feels too light; its skittish nature requires more corrections to stay on course than a full-size car should. Note that the Road/Track setup's performance steering and wider tires — P245/45R20s, versus the P225/60R18s on our test car — will likely affect steering feel, as will the SRT8's hunkered-down setup and high-performance summer tires.

Find some back roads, and it's not difficult to drift the Charger's tail out. Our all-wheel-drive tester was easy enough to reel back in, but performance enthusiasts will want to upgrade to the SRT8, or at least opt for the Road/Track package. Without it, the R/T's noticeable body roll and sloppy steering turn-in work against any corner-carving.

Four-wheel-disc brakes are standard. Antilock brakes are included on all but the Charger SE, where they're optional; all-wheel-drive V-6 and all V-8 models have larger front discs. Our test car's pedal delivered firm, linear stopping power. Easing off the brakes left something to be desired — the pedal felt too on-then-off to get going again smoothly.

In terms of power, other Chargers run the gamut. I haven't driven the 2.7-liter V-6, but given its modest horsepower, the midgrade fuel requirement seems peculiar. The 3.5-liter delivers adequate, though never enthralling, acceleration. Its 250 horsepower rating could be inflated, given the engine hasn't been certified according to the industry's latest SAE ratings, which typically dock a few horses. (Both Hemi V-8s have been certified.)

On the other end of things, the SRT8 delivers strong thrust, a satisfying exhaust note and precise handling. Back in 2006, our friends at "MotorWeek" clocked a Charger SRT8 hitting 60 mph in 5 seconds flat. That's not bad for a 4,160-pound car. With massive 14.2-inch front discs and four-piston Brembo calipers front and rear, the SRT8 stopped from 60 mph in 128 feet — neck and neck with the Taurus SHO. Unfortunately, the SRT8's performance returns poor enough gas mileage to strap it with a $1,700 gas-guzzler tax.

Aging Fast
Fun as the Hemi is, the Charger is getting dated. The cabin feels higher-rent than those in Chrysler's minivans and midsize cars, but competitors from the Taurus to the Toyota Avalon are better. Our tester's leather seats felt cheaply upholstered and short on lateral support; the bolstered seats in the Road/Track group and SRT8 address both those issues. The materials used below elbow level in the Charger have a crude, unfinished look, and where competitors upholster their A- and B-pillars, Chrysler's are plastic. Certain controls, from the hazard lights button to the trunk release, lack design cohesion with the rest of the cabin, and while other Chryslers have adopted Mercedes-like window switches, the Charger's are cruder. The navigation system has decent graphics but a small map view that's squeezed between a litany of on-screen shortcut buttons.

Both rows of seats provide ample legroom and headroom, but the low roofline and squat windows — something I've carped about since the Charger's early days — limit visibility in all directions. Pull up to a stoplight, and you may have to crane your neck forward to see when the signal changes.

Nuts & Bolts
In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, the Charger scores the top rating, Good, in front impacts. However, even with this year's standard side curtain airbags, side-impact crash-test results are Marginal. (Last year's full complement of optional side airbags also included seat-mounted side impact airbags, which aren't available this year. Their effectiveness is debatable: Even with optional side curtain and side-impact airbags, the '09 Charger also scored Marginal.) Antilock brakes and an electronic stability system, which most competitors include standard, are optional on the Charger SE. Other trim levels get them standard. Click here for a full list of standard safety features.

Reliability has been so-so on the V-6 Charger, with V-8 models faring a bit worse. The Charger SE starts at $24,390, which is competitive with the Taurus and Chevy Impala and undercuts the restyled — but better-equipped — 2011 Avalon by nearly $8,000. Standard features include a CD stereo with an auxiliary MP3 jack, plus the usual power accessories and cruise control. The V-8 R/T starts at $31,370; all-wheel drive adds $2,100 to $2,760, depending on trim. Move up the ladder, and available features include power front seats, heated leather upholstery, a moonroof, a navigation system and full iPod compatibility.

The SRT8 starts at $39,880, including the gas-guzzler tax. With the full bevy of options, it tops out around $45,000.

Charger in the Market
The Charger, 300 and now-extinct Dodge Magnum showed Chrysler's potential to build engaging, eye-catching cars — an opportunity the automaker squandered, delivering three years' worth of lackluster follow-ups. While it's compelling if only for sheer driving fun, the outgoing Charger will earn its place in a few garages. Cabin quality and crash-test ratings should improve a great deal when the restyled Charger arrives this fall; I only hope Chrysler preserves what made the original such a hit.

Send Kelsey an email 


Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.4
60 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.6)
Performance
(4.4)
Interior Design
(4.2)
Comfort
(4.5)
Reliability
(4.4)
Value For The Money
(4.2)

Read reviews that mention:

(2.0)

cheaply made

by eugene from Plainfield on October 10, 2018

reliable , but front end is not made to last , chatters even after replacing sway bar links. cheaply made interior parts coming loose . Read full review

(5.0)

Comfort and performance

by Caligrl from Tulare ca on September 25, 2018

The car is comfortable reliable looks and drives smooth. Alot of extra amenities. Safety and performance features really make long or short road trips comfortable. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2010 Dodge Charger currently has 0 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2010 Dodge Charger has not been tested.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Dodge

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 100,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

Latest 2010 Charger Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Charger received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker