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Buy a Hybrid or Hell-Raiser? The 2012-2014 Dodge Charger SRT8

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On: Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 8:52AM | By: Teddy Field

Buy a Hybrid or Hell-Raiser? The 2012-2014 Dodge Charger SRT8

If you’re looking for a family-friendly sedan that looks good, and gets great gas mileage, you won’t do much better than the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid. It’s got a well-sorted gas-electric powertrain that makes 188hp. The suspension is tuned for athletic handling, it looks like a baby Aston Martin, and Consumer Reports says you’ll average around 39 mpg. But what if you still play air guitar at stoplights, and your idea of ‘cutting carbs’ is drinking light beer? Is a hybrid Ford really going to satisfy your inner Ozzy? Probably not. You need a Dodge Charger SRT8.

The second generation Dodge Charger SRT8 debuted in 2012, and featured a raft of improvements over the previous Charger SRT8. The handling got better, thanks to a new adaptive suspension that constantly adjusts itself to keep the big beast going where you point it. Stopping power was improved with huge vented/slotted discs, topped by 4-piston Brembo calipers. A new Ready Alert Braking system was added to anticipate emergency braking, then move the brake pads closer to the rotors before you even hit the brakes.

The stability program also got three new intervention settings, the traction control system could be defeated (if you know how), and the hydraulic steering was reworked to provide more road feel. A lot of effort was put into making the 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 a better driver’s car, and it really does compare to European hotrods like the E63 AMG.

Under the hood, you get 6.4 liters of Hemi awesomeness. This highly evolved American V8 pumps out 470hp/470 lb-ft, which is enough to launch the 2012–2014 Dodge Charger SRT8 to 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds. Or, you could defeat the traction control and turn those big 20-inch rear tires to smoke. This is an exciting car to drive, yet it’s docile enough to take the kids to school. But at full tilt, that big Hemi is like Brian Johnson screaming Highway to Hell... in your ear. By contrast, the 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid is about as exciting as a poetry reading... at a nursing home.

On the inside, the 2012–2014 Dodge Charger SRT8 gets a nicely designed cabin, lots of soft touch-points, standard heated leather seats (front & rear), a heated steering wheel, heated/cooled cup holders, navigation, and the intuitive UConnect infotainment system with integrated ‘Performance Pages’ to track/display things like 0-60 times, ¼ mile times, lateral g-force, etc. The Charger SRT8 is equipped like a luxury car, and it’s got plenty of room for the entire family.

As a daily driver, a 2012–2014 Dodge Charger SRT8 can coddle and caress you, or it can be a tire-boiling brute. It averages around only 17 mpg, which is a far cry from the Fusion Hybrid’s 39 mpg. But you can get a nice used one with an extended warranty for about the price of a nicely equipped 2015 Ford Fusion Titanium Hybrid (mid-$30ks). And believe us, you’ll enjoy the Dodge a lot more than that battery-powered poetry festival.

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