This week I’m really excited about yet another Chrysler product that breaks the mold of the boring array of cars on the market today. Really, this 2006 Dodge Charger SXT is special because I expected it to cost a lot more.
Friend and writing associate Merkel Weiss (design engineer, teacher and car nut) agree on a lot of things, but the marriage of Daimler and Chrysler is not one of them. I believe it’s great for the products and he doesn’t. In his heart of hearts I think he does, but he is hiding it well.
You can feel the solid influence of Mercedes Benz people in this “All American” product. I don’t want to say it was a bucket of bolts in the old days, but relative to what you get in today’s Chrysler’s the improvement is so great as to warrant mention. Tell you what, you test-drive this Charger SXT and if you don’t agree write me and I’ll voice your opinion next time around.
Public Service driving observation: Road Rage – don’t waste your time or energy on getting mad or even with idiots on the highway who think they are god’s gift to Nascar on our highways. They are small and insignificant and they tick me off just as much as they do you. But don’t give them the satisfaction of knowing that you are remotely aware of their presence. Move over when they tailgate you. Let them cut in to gain 20 feet of space in front of you. If they pass you – that’s ok. Disarm them by being the bigger person.
Handling & Performance:
This is a relatively big car but it handles much like a Mercedes on tight turns. Even cynical Merkel likes it handling characteristics. I took it over the San Gabriel Mountains on a wonderfully “less traveled” road from LA to the Desert. It’s hard to find but worth the trek because very few know about it – so it is a great test area for me. It revealed the cornering capability is excellent – especially for a big car.
If you read my column much you know that I can’t say enough good things about the designers at Daimler – Chrysler. They simply are the best in today’s world. They have been brave and bold in going way outside the box in giving us something different. Prowler, PT Cruiser, 300 M, Crossfire and this Charger. You gotta love them for giving you a real choice. And when you look around Chrysler is having a big impact on the rest of the competition who are copying them from design to marketing (employee discount example).
As to the resemblance to the older classic Chargers I just don’t see much influence. But that’s ok because it is a great looking car.
Fit and Finish:
Excellent and for the money this is a great buy. And for you Chrysler fans you will instantly see the dramatic difference. You’ll say, as I did, when have you seen such a well-put together Chrysler product – ever? You’ll feel the solid bolted down feeling built like a brick s.h.
This is perhaps the best for the buck this year.
You’ve gotta drive this car.
2006 Dodge Charger SXT $22,320, 2005 Chevrolet Monte Carlo $22,280, 2006 Chevrolet Impala $21,330, 2005 Pontiac Grand Prix $23,060, 2005 Pontiac Bonneville $27,965, 2005 Ford Five Hundred $22,165 (2006 price not avail).
Actually good fuel economy for a big car, most power of the competition.
3.5 liter high output 250 hp V6 engine, 5-speed auto trans with manual (AutoStick) mode, 17” steel wheels, power rack and pinion steering, dual air bags, traction control, ESP (Electronic Stability Control Program), 4-wheel ABS disc brake system, cloth low back bucket seats, front seats lumbar adjustment, air conditioning, tilt / telescopic steering column, keyless illuminated entry, speed sensitive power locks, theft deterrent system, power windows and locks, sound system with CD player, window integrated antennae, power mirrors.
19 City and 27 Highway MPG
Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is email@example.com
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