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Meet the refreshed 2015 Dodge Charger; notice anything different? You would have to be pretty farsighted to miss the sedan's new Dart-like nose, and it's likely going to be quite polarizing to the car's fans. Gone are the previous furrowed, aggressive headlights in favor of a wider, friendlier look.
While the more rounded headlights and narrower grille are going to be the first thing most people notice, Dodge claims its designers have made changes to nearly every panel on the Charger. The hood dips down deeper at the front, and the doors show off a more angled version of the car's shoulder blister. LED running lights and taillights are standard on all models, and SXT and RT trims get LED foglights. Even though the front might not be as intimidating, Dodge has hung onto the sedan's muscular stance with angular contours making up the rest of the redesign.
Under the hood is the same engine range you've come to know over recent years. Both the 5.7-liter V8 and the 3.6-liter V6 return for 2015, with the Hemi making 370 horsepower and 395 pound-feet of torque, and the standard Pentestar outputting 292 hp and 260 lb-ft. All models are now equipped with Chrysler's TorqueFlight eight-speed automatic as standard. Fuel economy for V8 Chargers is predicted at 16 miles per gallon city and 25 mpg highway, compared to 15 mpg / 25 mpg last year with a five-speed automatic. All models also come with electric power steering, and the axles are cast from aluminum to save weight.
Dodge has revealed what it calls Scat Package Stage Kits that enhance the performance of the Charger and the Challenger equipped with the 5.7-liter V8, and the Dart equipped with the turbocharged 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine. The Scat Packs use Mopar performance parts that also can be bought separately. Most of the upgrades increase engine output, but Dodge somehow manages to not specifically mention the power gains associated with each Scat Pack.
The three Scat Packs offered for the V8-powered cars focus on higher power ratings, and each stage comes complete with a unique engine-management calibration to optimize output. Stage one comes with a cold-air intake and a cat-back exhaust; stage two adds a performance camshaft; and stage three really gives you the goods, adding ported polished cylinder heads and performance headers.
For the Dart, the Scat Packs focus on engine, transmission, chassis and brake upgrades. Stage one will net you a cold-air intake, a short-throw shifter and slotted rotors with performance brake pads; stage two adds a cat-back exhaust system and an engine-management calibration to increase output by taking advantage of premium-octane gasoline; and stage three adds 13-inch vented brake discs up front clamped by four-piston calipers, suspension with adjustable springs and struts and performance front and rear antiroll bars.
Both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.
It's ironic that Cadillac and Lincoln got new bosses within days of each other this month. It's also a commentary on the fact both of America's domestic luxury brands seem to be stuck in neutral.