Dodge’s Polarizing New Charger Sparks Worries

2015 Dodge Charger R/T

With the New York International Auto Show as its backdrop, Dodge (FIATY.PK) pulled the curtains back on the new 2015 Charger sedan, which you see before you now, in the R/T trim. It looks dramatically different, due Dodge engineers’ decision to completely overhaul everything on the outside. For the better, some would argue. Definitely for the worse, others say.

The subject of such debate seems to revolve around a couple of key factors, most significant of which is the Charger’s now closer resemblance of its sibling, the Dodge Dart. The formerly angular nose and aggressive lights and demeanor have been softened somewhat, as engineers and designers employed a more curve-based design language that many seem to feel has somehow weakened the car.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T

Around the back, the story continues with the rounded styling that’s evocative of the Dart. While similarities certainly exist, it may be prudent to remind those using that as criticism that the two are indeed from the same family. The Ford Fusion and new Ford Focus share many cues, as does the Toyota Corolla and the new Camry, and the new Chevrolet Malibu and new Chevrolet Cruze. The strategy isn’t meant to be mocking or lazy — it’s meant to give the lineup a sense of commonality, like a family. And the strategy is employed industry-wide.

Dart-like appearances aside, the Charger retains its chiseled doors and the meaty, aggressive stance emphasized by the thick fenders and low-slung roofline. The hood, while altered to accommodate the new front end, still has a distinctly muscle car feel to it, offered by slight scalloping of the sheet metal. Those LED running lights will come standard on all models, though all-wheel drive will only be optional on the base models, not the R/T, Autoblog reports.

2015 Dodge Charger R/T

Underneath, the Charger keeps the same 5.7 liter V8 and the 3.6 liter V6. The Hemi V8 produces a familiar 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, while the standard Pentastar V6 produces 292 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Both are mated to Chrysler’s TorqueFlite eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

Inside, there’s a new 7-inch display slotted between the speedometer and tachometer, and all models (except the SE trim) come with an 8.4-inch Uconnect infotainment system with optional navigation. It can also turn into a Wi-Fi hotspot, and audiophiles can select the optional Beats Audio System for better sound.

We have no doubt that the new car will prove to be popular. Introductions can be a shocking experience for many, as emotions and expectations are running high, and changes can take some getting used to. We’ll wait to see the car on the road before making further judgements, but we believe that the new Charger will have a more aggressive presence in real life than the few snapshots let on.