NEW FOR 2009:

– New 5.7-litre Eagle Engine with VVT and MDS
– New active transfer case on AWD models
– New exterior tail lamp design, LED illuminated front cup holders, backlite antenna replaces mast antenna, standard air filtration
– Charger SE adds standard 17-inch aluminum wheels, trunk scuff plate, cargo net, Satin Chrome door spears, chrome centre console cupholder rings and Satin Silver instrument panel bezel; side airbags now stand-alone option
– SRT8 adds standard dual-zone automatic climate control, one-touch up/down front windows, automatic headlamps, remote start, heated front seats, air filtration, carbon fibre hydrographic console bezel, and tilted head restraints
– New LED map pocket lighting on R/T and on SXT with leather package
– Rear Seat Video discontinued as SXT option
– High intensity discharge headlamps no longer optional on base R/T package
– MyGIG entertainment system with navigation now packaged with SRT Option Group II
– Electronic Vehicle Information Centre "ECO" message informs driver when MDS system is action; "AWD" message indicates when vehicle is in AWD mode
– Tire pressure monitor warning appears as "LO TIRE" in digital odometer on vehicles without Electronic Vehicle Information Centre
– Exterior colours: Deep Water Blue replaces Steel Blue

For 2009, the Dodge Charger undergoes several changes, most of them to its option packages. The big mechanical news is a new 5.7-litre Hemi Eagle engine, offering the same displacement as the previous 5.7-litre Hemi of 2008, but with variable valve timing. Combined with the company’s Multi-Displacement System (MDS), which seamlessly shuts off half the cylinders under light load, the new engine produces more horsepower but with improved fuel economy.

Also new on all-wheel drive models is an active transfer case, which disconnects the front wheels and runs strictly in rear-wheel for improved fuel economy when full AWD is not required. The system seamlessly switches between the two with no driver intervention required.

Using the same platform and engines as the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Challenger, the Charger is available with a choice of four engines: a 2.7-litre V6 with four-speed automatic in the SE; 3.5-litre V6 with four-speed automatic (AWD models receive a five-speed automatic with manual shift mode), optional in the SE and standard in the SXT; 5.7-litre V8 with five-speed automatic and manual shift mode in the R/T; and 6.1-litre V8 with five-speed automatic and manual shift mode in the SRT8. The SXT and R/T are available with optional all-wheel drive.

Features on the SE include 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, power locks with keyless entry, floor mats, power mirrors, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, cruise control, tilt and telescopic wheel, exterior temperature gauge, tire pressure monitor warning lamp, power windows with driver’s auto up/down, and variable intermittent wipers.

The SXT adds power-adjustable pedals, fog lamps, heated mirrors, eight-way power driver’s seat, and 60/40 split-folding rear seat.

The R/T adds 20-inch chrome-clad wheels, dual-zone automatic climate control, seat side and curtain airbags, performance anti-lock brakes, Electronic Vehicle Information Centre, garage door opener, automatic headlamps, body-colour folding heated mirrors, performance-tuned suspension, heated leather sports seats with eight-way power driver and passenger adjustment, rear spoiler, Sirius satellite radio, leather-wrapped wheel with audio controls, and driver and passenger auto up/down windows.

The SRT8 adds 20-inch chrome-clad forged aluminum wheels, Brembo brakes, reconfigurable electronic vehicle information centre with wheel-mounted controls, garage door opener, illuminated front cup holders and map pockets, leather-faced bolstered bucket seats with suede microfibre inserts and SRT8 embroidery, front fascia spoiler, leather-wrapped wheel with carbon fibre-style inserts, performance-tuned suspension, temperature display, compass, and tire pressure monitoring display.

Options are available for all models, including a Daytona package on the R/T that adds performance leather and suede microfibre-faced seats, side airbags, high-performance steering, Hemi Orange engine cover, remote starter, vintage badge, rear air diffuser, and black front chin and trunk spoilers.

While it has two more doors than its vintage namesake, the Charger is roomy, with a wide range of engine options and with available all-wheel drive. It’s a good choice for those who don’t want to move up to the Chrysler 300, or those who like the Challenger but prefer the practicality of rear doors to access all the seats.

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