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For prospective buyers looking for real owner insights, JD Power’s APEAL study can be very useful. APEAL, which stands for Automotive, Performance, Execution, and Layout, asks owners to rank ten aspects of their car. And if you’re looking at potentially buying a new Charger, you may be surprised what Dodge owners liked most about it.

A 2023 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody darts around a track
2023 Dodge Charger Scat Pack Widebody | Stellantis

How Dodge Charger owners evaluated their cars

When looking for a new car, especially a pricey one, it’s always good to know what other drivers think. First impressions are good. But it’s just as important to understand what people like and don’t like when they’ve had a chance to live with their car for a few months. Does the car look as good as it did in the showroom? Is it as comfortable? And can it perform as well as advertised now that it’s been tested over some time in real-world situations?

Each year, JD Power asks car owners to rank their vehicles in 10 categories, from most favorite to least favorite. The categories include fuel economy, driving comfort, the infotainment system, driver safety, driving feel, the powertrain, the interior, vehicle access, walking up to the car, and starting the car.

JD Power included the Dodge Charger’s APEAL study results in its review of the 2023 model. As a full-size muscle car, the Dodge Charger has long been praised for its power, which you’d probably expect would top the APEAL list. And there’s a certain thrill you get behind the wheel of a muscle car that many find incomparable.

But neither power nor driving feel was what the majority of Charger-owning APEAL study respondents said they liked about the car. Surprisingly, their favorite aspect was the exterior styling.

Why exterior styling?

Exterior styling is certainly a surprising finding, especially given how much effort Dodge (and other muscle car manufacturers) put into performance. There are a whopping seven trims with five powertrain options. From the 303-hp 3.6-liter V-6 in the Charger SXT to the 807-hp 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 in the SRT Hellcat Redeye, Dodge is not skimping on power.

And the popular Charger has never been just about power but about how you feel behind the wheel. Sure, some of that comes with the excitement of the brand. But some of that driving feel results from deliberate design features crafted to leave an indelible impression. The Charger includes features like drag racing wheels, adaptive dampening, electric power steering, and an upgraded suspension, all to make it easy to tear down the strip or up the highway.

But Dodge knows you want to look good while doing so. So the Charger has never been about just the performance. This Dodge has long been available in various striking styles and colors.

For example, the 2023 version is available with racing stripes, trunk spoilers, special badging, body graphics, and more. And since next year’s traditional Charger will be reconfigured into an EV, Dodge has pulled out all the stops with the 2023 model. There are heritage colors available, as well as “Last Call” badging.

Where did owners rank driving feel and power?

Despite losing the number one spot, owners did rank driving feel and the powertrain quite highly. Driving feel took the second spot, while the powertrain took the third. Safety (number four) and comfort (number five) were other areas owners appreciated. However, owners were less pleased with vehicle access, as they rated getting in and out of the vehicle as their least favorite attribute.

Fuel economy was ranked second worst. But the muscle car segment isn’t known for its fuel economy. And next year’s Charger EV owners may find that aspect a bit more favorable.

Infotainment was the third most disliked attribute. Again, the segment isn’t especially well-known for top-of-the-line interior tech. The base model gets a 7.0-inch version, while others get an 8.4-inch setup. Both are fairly tiny compared to today’s standards, which likely drives the dissatisfaction.

However, for an outgoing model, the 2023 Dodge Charger certainly has plenty going for it. Its combination of looks, power, and performance are certainly selling points. And if you’re looking for one of the best gas-guzzling muscle cars on the market, it’s definitely time to grab a new one while you still can.


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