2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD review: So what’s your problem?

2011 Dodge Challenger R/T AWD

2011 Dodge Challenger R/T AWD

Is it possible to get tired of people saying “It’s got a Hemi”? Definitely. On the other hand, is it possible to get tired of driving around with Hemi under the hood? Maybe, but if it’s the Hemi the big, brawny and bodacious—in Redline 3-coat Pearl—2011 Dodge Charger R/T we recently spent time with, the only way to get tired of it would be with red lights flashing in the rear view mirror. And with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 under the hood, that’s an all too easy potentiality.

And with all-wheel drive, as on our test Charger R/T, going rogue is undramatic as becoming intimate with a slingshot could possibly ever be.

2011 Dodge Charger R/T AWD 5.7-liter Hemi V-8

Somewhere under the plastic is the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 in the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T.

The 5.7-liter Hemi isn’t all bad boy, however. Like other 5.7-liter Hemis in other Chrysler Group vehicles, the Hemi in the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T has variable displacement, which is the official way of saying it turns off half its cylinders under cruise to increase highway fuel economy. No doubt this has a greater effect on the EPA test cycle than it did in our highway driving. The big V-8 didn’t seem to stay with its displacement varied to the four cylinder mode for very long even with the cruise control set at 70 mph, much less when our toes were tickling the engine control computer.

Dodge blithely calls the Charger a “sports sedan,” a term which to us describes a nimble corner carver, and that the Dodge Charger, even the Charger, is not. It’s a broadsword, a rapier or saber even, but not an epee. Whatever the Charger’s blade, it’s not something by which one wishes to be touche’d.

2011 Dodge Charger R/T dash

The dash of the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T is focused on the driver.

The Dodge Charger, regardless of engine and whether or not Dodge calls it a “sports sedan”, is truly a family sedan. It’s wide and roomy inside, even if the downward curve of the roofline means the average adult will have to duck when entering. The back seat is roomy for two and would accommodate three across with comfort were it not for that big driveshaft hump where the middle passenger’s legs should go. The front seats are wide and the center console is too, and even the instrument panel comes across as big.

And not only does the trunk have a generous capacity, the opening—unlike many cars with the currently popular coupe-like roofline—is bigger than the proverbial mail slot. Think of it as a parcel post slot.

The Big Dodge Charger effect isn’t missed on onlookers, either, with open maw of a grille with the trademark Dodge crosshair grille and going away with the “racetrack” LED taillights. Nor did Dodge didn’t go out of its way to silence the V-8 throb of its exhaust.

Yeah, it’s got a Hemi. So what’s your problem? It’s the 2011 Dodge Charger R/T. Enjoy.

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John is a veteran auto writer, first published in Custom Rodder magazine in 1980. Since then, he has been published in all the big car magazines, including Car and Driver, Road & Track, Motor Trend, Auto Week, Automobile, plus a variety of others, including but certainly not limited to Automobile Quarterly, Collectible Automobile, and Special Interest Automobiles. John’s work has also been featured in a number of consumer and general interest magazines such as Consumers Digest, Popular Science and others. John has written four books, including a history of the Mazda RX-7 (selling for more out-of-print than it did new), buyers’ guides for Mazda, Datsun/Nissan and Volvo cars, and is co-author of 365 Cars You Must Drive with Motor Trend editor Matt Stone, and his work has been translated into Italian, Estonian, Portuguese, Russian, and Bulgarian. John is recipient of the prestigious Ken Purdy Award for Excellence in Automotive Journalism, awarded by the International Motor Press Association, and the Golden Quill from the Washington Automotive Press Association. John has three adult daughters and has been married for more that four decades to Mary Ann, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.