Yay, the Dodge Charger snagged a 5-star safety rating – bully for them! Safety is a good thing. Always was, always will be. Especially when you’re talking about go-fast cars. And, let’s face facts here, Dodge Chargers are not about going slow.
Yes, yes my gearhead brothers and sisters, I am with you. I can categorically say, within my heart of hearts, Dodge Chargers are big two-door coupes, not these reconstituted four-door thingos that are running around with badges that read “Charger.”
There. Now that the mea culpa is out of the way, I can also say I can see where Dodge is coming from. First off, the coupe market is a bear to get right. It’s crowded as can be, the profit margins are thin, and the customers within the potential coupe demographic are fickle. Sure, everyone out there says “oh I’d love to have a coupe,” but then, you know . . . practicality, kids, insurance, more kids etc. etc. etc.
So, I would bet you a nice dinner that, when Dodge was reconstituting the Charger, they took a long, hard look at the facts on the ground and the bottom line, sighed, and said, “we know they used to be two-doors, but with the new one . . . ”
And then there was much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments.
More Than Looks
But, hey, you know, even though it’s not as “pure” as us gearheads would have liked, the current iteration isn’t all that bad. Look, I’m not much of a sedan guy, but this thing has got a lot going for it. First and foremost, you can get a big, stonking engine in these things. More than one, and I’m not even going to mention the Hellcat option (although I should). The handling of the modern Charger is a country mile beyond the original. Brakes? Much better on the new one. Fuel efficiency? (I know, I know, show me a Mopar freak that really cares).
The old one is not even in the ball park. And now we can add to that: Safety.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2017 Dodge Charger earns five stars overall, the highest single safety rating in the vehicle-evaluation program. The Mopar folks also note the five-star rating applies to both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive versions. Nice!
There’s a whole slew of other, modern safety bells and whistles that equip the 2017 Dodge Charger as well.
There’s an available Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus, which is essentially a gizmo that attempts to stop you from slamming into something directly in front of you. Dodge dubs it “advanced sensor-fusion technology.” The Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning-Plus (should we call it FSFCW+ ?) provides alerts, autonomous braking, and is capable of bringing the vehicle to a full stop. So that’s good if you’re an inattentive meathead who has trouble paying attention (i.e. 50.1% of the drivers I come across).
The 2017 Dodge Charger also has Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keep Assist, common gee-gaws these days under different names that beep and blurb and nag when you can’t keep it between the paint stripes. It is also worth noting that receiving this award is not a new thing. The Dodge Charger has been awarded a 5-star overall score 10 times, meaning the NHTSA has included the Charger in its annual ratings since it started publishing them.
As much as we gearheads love performance, we’re not suicidal, and safety is important for us, as it should be for everyone.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life around racing antique and sports cars. He means well, even if he has a bias towards lighter, agile cars rather than big engine muscle cars or family sedans.