2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD
2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD
2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Peter Bleakney

Consider the Chrysler manufacturing plant in Brampton, Ontario the Jurassic Park of the car world. In days long past, the full-size rear-drive American sedan was the dominant automotive species here in North America. Colourful, noisy, thirsty and resplendent in myriad spectacular shapes with fantastic adornments – they ruled the landscape with blind, snorting invincibility.

Then a big asteroid came along and wrecked everything. Or something like that.

Long after the extinction of these automotive giants, Ms. Chrysler and Mr. Mercedes-Benz drank too much Schnapps and Bud Light [How do you drink too much Bud Light? – Ed.] and jumped into bed. Après, while smoking ciggies amid the tousled sheets, Ms. C said, “Let’s get married and make a muscle car.”

Mr. M-B said, “Ya. Ve vill use our E-Class platform and your Hemi. It vill kick some serious keister.”

“Oh honey. Can we call it the Chrysler 300 and build it in Brampton?”


Or something like that.

Fast forward almost ten years and here in my driveway is a red 2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD. It has a 3.6L Pentastar V6 that makes 292 hp at 6,350 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,800, an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and it carries a list price of $35,395; $42,040 as tested.

Chrysler and Mercedes have long since parted ways but the legacy of that union lives on. And we are better for it.

2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD
2013 Dodge Charger SXT Plus AWD. Click image to enlarge

The Charger is big and brash, yet effectively nods to its iconic namesake while also looking forward. This particular version is arguably the most modern iteration of a car conceived so long ago in the Chrysler/Merc bed… er boardroom.

It has no gas-sucking Hemi V8 under the hood, whether 5.7L or 6.4L. The Pentastar V6 is strong and smooth, and mated to the excellent ZF gearbox it generates decent fuel figures for such a large sedan. Transport Canada rates it at 11.4 L/100 km city and 7.3 L/100 km highway. My time of mostly in-town errand running netted 11.2 L/100.

It also generates urgent acceleration and a nice meaningful growl when on the boil. The eight-speed ZF auto keeps the Pentastar in its sweet spot no matter what speed you’re traveling, so you’re never caught flat-footed.

No longer is the V6 engine a grudging reminder you didn’t go for the Hemi – it’s lighter, more fuel efficient and makes expensive noises while hustling you down the road. I’d venture to say it is the best choice for the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 now that the ZF tranny (brought on board for MY 2012) replaces the old five-speed.

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