With the Dodge Charger model coming to an end in 2023, we take a look at how to buy the big V8-powered Dodge Charger SRT and SRT8, how much to pay for one and the most common problems.
The Dodge Charger is coming to the end of a long and impressive production cycle that started at the Detroit Auto Show in 2005. Although the Charger name goes back to 1966, the sixth generation was introduced after a gap of almost 20 years since the nameplate was last seen on a new Dodge. With the famous model line ending, we guide you through how to buy one of the best used cars on the market for its performance and thrills.
Dodge Charger SRT Timeline
- 2006: First production Charger SRT8 with 6.1-liter V8 engine at 425 horsepower.
- 2012: Second-generation Charger SRT8 debuts with new 6.4-liter V8 engine and 470 horsepower.
- 2015: Charger SRT 392 gets a mid-cycle refresh and 485 horsepower with 8-speed transmission.
- 2019: Charger Scat Pack replaces SRT designation.
- 2020: Charger Scat Pack Widebody debuts.
- 2023: End of production of the Charger.
Dodge Charger SRT most common problems
- Every vehicle has its issues over time, and the Dodge Charger SRT8 is no exception. Especially with high-output V8 engines, the driveline is subjected to more stress than in less powerful cars.
- Thus, it’s not surprising that transmission issues have plagued Charger owners for years. Many owners have complained about gear slippage, intermittent hard shifting, and decreased acceleration. In a few instances, the Charger reportedly switched gears on its own.
- Chrysler issued a software update for the transmission control module which has since addressed the issue, and the TorqueFlite 8-speed resolved many of these issue.
- Charger owners have also complained of hard shifting, especially downshifting when decelerating. This tends to become an issue on higher mileage vehicles above 100,000 miles for model years 2006-2016. This is a mechanical problem that requires adjustment. Again, the 8-speed TorqueFlite gearbox resolved these issues.
- Chargers have also been known to experience electrical gremlins. Modern cars are incredibly complex, and very sensitive to problems like weak batteries and bad ground wires. If you’re shopping for a used Charger and it shows electrical problems, pass on that car and keep looking.
Charger SRT8 (2006-2010)
The 2006 model year Charger was a four-door family sport sedan, available with a variety of engines. Unlike the Challenger, the Charger was offered only with an automatic transmission, but you could get a V6 with all-wheel drive, or rear-drive with a V6, 5.7-liter HEMI V8, or the new 6.1-liter HEMI V8.
The 6.1-liter HEMI Charger was known as the SRT8. SRT stands for Street & Racing Technology, and 8 for the number of cylinders under the hood. SRT was a high-performance division of Dodge, and it produced several performance models of Dodge, Chrysler, and even Jeep vehicles. In the same era as the Charger SRT8, you could buy a Chrysler 300 Dodge Magnum wagon, or a Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV with the same high-output engine.
The 6.1-liter HEMI engine was naturally aspirated, and output was measured at 425 horsepower and 420 lb-ft of torque. The engine block was mostly the same as the 5.7-liter model, but with larger coolant channels and oil squirters to cool the pistons. The 6.1-liter plant also received a stronger forged crankshaft, lightened and weight-matched pistons, and heavy-duty connecting rods. An all-aluminum intake manifold was used that improved high-rpm horsepower.
At the time, the 6.1-liter HEMI was the most powerful engine MOPAR had ever put into a vehicle offered for public sale. This engine was more powerful than anything the company had made in the 1960s at the height of the muscle car era, and paired with a rear-drive five-speed automatic transmission, it would send the Charger from 0-60 mph in about 4.8 seconds, with a 13.5-second 1/4-mile time.
But buyers got more than a big engine with the SRT8. The SRT8 was a top trim vehicle, and in the 2006-2010 generation this car came with upgraded Brembo brakes for extra stopping power and track use, 20-inch wheels, and a sport interior with heated leather seats and a 6-disc CD changer. On the outside buyers got a nifty ram induction hood scoop, a tasteful rear wing, SRT badging in the grille and on the trunk lid, as well as HEMI badges on the sides.
Today, you should be able to find a well-kept Charger SRT8 for well under $20,000. Dodge made 15,829 of these first-generation hot rods, with about 14,000 of them made in the 2006-2008 model years. Special editions included the 2007 Super Bee, which offered no performance enhancement, but boasted a special yellow paint color and decal package. A total of 1,000 2007 Super Bees were made in yellow, then 1,000 in blue for 2008, and finally 425 in orange for 2009.
Charger SRT8 392 (2012-2014)
The SRT8 took a hiatus in 2011, and came back in 2012 as the SRT8 (no dash) 392, named for the cubic inch displacement of the engine. The engine was revised and upgraded to a 6.4-liter (392 cubic inch) unit called the “Apache” internally. This engine was still naturally aspirated, and measured at 470 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque, passed to the rear wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. You can spot the 2012-14 model year SRT8 by it’s enormous “drowned goldfish” grille.
The SRT8 392 improved 0-60 times to about 4.3 seconds and covered a 1/4-mile in 12.8 seconds. Top speed was limited to 175 MPH. The Super Bee was again a lower-cost option without the heated leather seats, navigation, and premium audio system. With the same power level, the Super Bee models cost several thousand dollars less and were 100 pounds lighter and $4,300 more affordable. However, the Super Bee also replaced the Bilstein adaptive shocks with standard units, so while it’s faster in a straight line, it’s not as good for road course driving.
SRT made about 5,500 Charger SRT8 392 models in this generation, including the Super Bee trim and the full SRT8 trim. Used vehicle prices for the SRT8 392 today range from about $20,000 to about $30,000.
Charger SRT 392 (2015-2018)
The biggest watershed year for the Dodge Charger was 2015. The main thing that happened was that Dodge released the 6.2-liter supercharged Charger Hellcat with 707 horsepower, which made the 6.4-liter SRT 392 the second most powerful Charger you could buy. SRT also dropped the “8” from the vehicle designation, now calling it just the SRT 392. However, engine power output was increased to 485 horsepower and 475 lb-ft of torque.
Equally important, 2015 saw an upgrade to the TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmission, which was sourced from ZF and shared in common with vehicles from Bentley, Range Rover, and Rolls Royce. The addition of three gears in the electronically controlled gearbox improved both performance and fuel economy. The shift-by-wire transmission was able to take multiple factors into account such as hill detection and lateral acceleration, and SRT was also able to include a Sport mode to allow higher revs and quicker shifts as fast as 160 milliseconds.
The 2015 revision also included a new exterior look, with all LED lights and modernized bodywork that Dodge called “leaner and more athletic.” But while the Hellcat stole all the thunder, the SRT 392 still carried the big 15.4-inch Brembo 6-pot brake package and all the usual high-trim luxury accessories. Also, the Charger R/T Scat Pack replaced the Super Bee trim level, at a lower price with a more spartan interior, smaller brakes, standard shock absorbers, and narrower wheels.
Under the skin, the 2015-2018 Charger SRT 392 had a bunch more improvements, including launch control, electric power steering with drive modes, a new cast-aluminum rear axle housing, updated suspension tuning, including the three-mode Bilstein adaptive system, and “performance pages” through an 8.4-inch touchscreen infotainment system. Notably, in 2017 Dodge added active exhaust to all HEMI-powered Chargers, including the Charger SRT 392.
Special editions in this era included the R/T Scat Pack as the low-cost stripped-down trim, and also the Charger Daytona 392, which included bodywork similar to the Hellcat, satin-black hood and trunk lid wrap, and other superficial features.
The 2015-2018 Charger SRT 392 is retailing today at about $35,000, plus or minus some for condition and mileage.
Dodge Charger Scat Pack (2019-2023)
From 2019 to 2023, the Charger with the 6.4-liter HEMI V8 dropped the SRT designation entirely, and simply became the Scat Pack. The car still featured the 485-horsepower tuning, and offered the three-mode Bilstein adaptive damping suspension, with Automatic, Sport and Track modes, as an optional extra.
Line lock for the front brakes became available in 2019. Together with Launch Assist and Launch Control, these features make the Charger ideal for drag racing. Line Lock is used before a run in the burnout box. This feature engages the front brakes to hold the Charger stationary, but leaves the rear wheels free for a burnout to heat up and clean the rear tires. Then Launch Control regulates tire slip while launching the vehicle to allow the driver to achieve consistent straight-line acceleration, while Launch Assist reads the wheel speed sensors of the anti-lock brake system to prevent driveline-damaging wheel hop at launch. The system reduces engine torque in real time to regain full grip.
For the 2020 model year, Dodge introduced an optional widebody model with fender flares, adding 3.5 inches of width as well as wider 20-inch by 11-inch wheels and wider tires. Widebody cars carried the same Brembo six-piston front calipers with two-piece front brake rotors and unique suspension tuning with Bilstein three-mode adaptive damping. With the extra grip, the Charger Scat Pack Widebody can do 0-60 mph in 4.3 seconds and a 1/4-mile ET in 12.4 seconds, and still pull .98 g on the skid pad. The 2020+ widebody Charger is the quickest and best-handling production Charger 392/SRT8 ever offered, running 1.3 seconds faster than standard Charger Scat Pack on Dodge’s 2.1-mile road course. Stopping distance is also improved to 107 feet, three feet shorter than the non-Widebody Scat Pack from 60-0 mph.
As usual, there’s more under the skin, including freshly tuned springs, sway bars, and shocks. The front springs are 27% stiffer and the rear sway bar went from 19mm to 22mm for more rear-end step-out. Plus the Launch Control, Launch Assist and Line Lock features come standard on all 2020 Charger Scat Pack models.
Charger 392 Scat Pack models from 2020 up retail for around $45,000 at present, and can range as high as $65,000 for an ultra-low miles model.
End of the line Dodge Charger
In January of 2022, Dodge announced that the Hemi V8 Charger in all its forms will be retired at the end of the 2023 model year. To go out with a bang, as it were, the company arranged for limited-edition customization for final-year models. The 2023 Charger R/T Scat Pack Widebody special edition includes 220 cars, with 20 for Canadian buyers and 200 for American buyers.
Each car included a custom-made, personalized metal certificate of authenticity with serialized vehicle build number and a special rendering of the vehicle by the Mopar design team. The special edition package was priced at $3,995 above the MSRP of the Charger as ordered.
The legacy of the Charger SRT models is excellent. At the model’s price point in any given year, this line of cars always offered the most horsepower per dollar for any sedan made in the world. With more performance than any driver really needs on public roadways, the 2006-2023 Dodge Charger SRT forms the foundation of modern affordable muscle car culture.
Looking to the future, Dodge has hinted that the new Charger will be electrified with its Daytona Concept. Whether that means a full electric or a plug-in hybrid is as yet unknown outside the company. Certainly the Charger fan base is hoping that whatever comes next is worthy of the Charger name.
How Much Should I pay for a Dodge Charger SRT?
As with all collectible and high-performance cars, mileage and condition are the prime determinants of price, as well as the options a given car has from the factory. “Rare” colors and such shouldn’t matter much as production was always high enough that nothing is unique.
As a rule, Super Bee models should cost less than the full luxury SRT8 trims.
- For the 2006-2010 Charger SRT8, prices generally range from $15,000 to $20,000.
- For the 2012-2014 Charger SRT8, prices generally range from $20,000 to $30,000.
- For the 2015-2018 Charger SRT 392, prices generally range from $30,000 to $40,000.
- For the 2019-2023 Charger Scat Pack, prices generally range from $45,000 to $65,000.