Behind The Wheel

2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus Review: Good power, Widebody package makes it a nonstarter

The Charger Widebody adds exterior width to a model that's already wide.

Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The Dodge Charger brand name is nearing its 60th birthday. While the current generation isn't quite that old, the handling and ride quality of the car are helping it show its age. Still, there's plenty to like about the 2020 Dodge Charger R/T Scat Pack Plus.

The Charger hasn't massively changed in appearance since its 2011 generational debut. It's been tweaked here and there, as well as the interior, to help it keep up with modern equipment and appearances. As delivered, the car had the Widebody format, adding a variety of equipment and width to the model.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody Scat Pack models get unique bee badging.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The tester came with a Go Mango orange paint job - a bold color matching the boldness of the car's engine.

The Charger Scat Pack, the model the tested Charger is built on, comes with a V8 engine under its hood. The 6.4-liter HEMI gets 485 horsepower and 475 pound-feet of torque and is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The power output is robust and throttle response is proper. The engine is the best part of the car.

Dodge has given the Charger Widebody six-piston Brembo brakes, body color fender flares, a performance shift indicator, leather flat-bottom steering wheel, and the Widebody Competition Suspension with active damping, and unique wheels and tires for an additional $6,000 on top of the base price.

However, the car's handling can't keep up with the power. Dodge has given the sedan a beefy steering wheel, which feels appropriate for the model, but keeping the car steering safely on the road is a chore and borderline dangerous for the average driver when they give the V8 the go ahead with a full push on the throttle.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The Charger hasn't changed too much inn the last decade.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

It would be one thing if the car delivered a connected drive with responsive steering. It is quite another with a model that has numb steering, body roll, and a suspension that lets allows the car to do more gliding over the road than showing off its stick-to-itiveness.

The steering isn't any better when it comes to parking. After a week behind the wheel, the car was no easier to park on center than it was the first day of driving. There are no forward-facing cameras to aid in the process. Also, the car's wide 305/35ZR20 front and rear tires, sitting on 20-inch x 11-inch Devil's Rim aluminum wheels greatly limited the angle the car was able to turn when pulling into a backing out of a parking spot.

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The car's seats are comfortable and provide good support.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

Setting aside the drive, the ride is actually quite decent with comfortable seats, enough space for four adults, and a relatively high-riding seat position that feels chair-like when adjusted for someone who doesn't mind what grandmothers across the country would stress is proper posture.

The Uconnect infotainment system is easy to use and works as advertised. The available 8.4-inch screen feels right-sized for the spacious interior. Though the cabin's styling doesn't impress, nor feel like it's worthy of the over $50,000 price tag that was on the tester, it's straight from the Dodge DNA and that's respectable enough.

Though the car lacks the boatload of safety tech that comes on lesser priced models from Toyota, Honda, and Nissan, the lack of them gives the car a sort of sportiness that harkens back to what could be called "the good old days."

2020 Dodge Charger Widebody The Charger's cabin is spacious.Photo courtesy. of FCA US LLC

The 2020 Dodge Charger starts at $29,895. As tested, the model came in at $50,180. For that price, I'd rather own a mid-grade used Porsche Panamera with its connected drive and potent engine, and put the extra $10,000 in a rainy day fund for when tires, an oil change, and mechanical improvements are needed.

Nissan refreshed the Maxima for the 2019 model year. For 2020, there's a few improvements and the model still retains its comfortable seats and spacious trunk.

Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

In the words of Andre 3000 at the 1995 Source Awards, "the South got something to say." The mass market large car segment is nearing extinction, according to most of the headlines and statistics you'll read. Nissan, whose North American HQ is located squarely in the Southern U.S., has found itself in a strong position to pick up the slack left behind by General Motors.

The 2020 Nissan Maxima is relatively the same as the 2019 model, with a few differences. Nissan Safety Shield 360 is now standard on the car, adding automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, high beam assist, and rear automatic braking to every Maxima model.

2020 Nissan Maxima The Nissan Maxima still features the updated exterior that was given to the car for the 2019 model year. Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Nissan has also added the Integrated Dynamics Control Module to every grade of the car (previously in SR only), which includes intelligent trace control, active ride control, and intelligent engine brake, to the car.

The enhancements make the Maxima, which is powered by a capable but not exhilarating 300-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine, a formidable choice for buyers who want a competent daily driver with a little more rear seat and trunk space than what is in the midsize Nissan Altima.

Nissan has done interiors quite well for years now and the Maxima is not an exception to that rule. For its $40,000-ish price tag when fully equipped, buyers get smooth surfaces with sleek accents. Despite cries from reviewers for Nissan to up its game here, a quick look at the market reveals that these materials are at least as nice as what you'll find in the Toyota Avalon, if not nicer.

2020 Nissan Maxima The car has a large center stack that doesn't give the feeling of roominess that makes cars like the Genesis G90 and Audi A8 so desirable. Still, it feels roomier than the Lexus LS.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Large car buyers want comfort and the Maxima delivers. Its seats are spacious and feature Nissan's Zero Gravity technology, which keeps tiredness at bay for hours at a time. The back seats are equally comfortable carrying adult occupants and in top trims, the leather on the seats, steering wheel, and shifter are supple.

The car's sore spots are predictable and common in aging Nissan vehicles like the Maxima and Murano. The car's 8-inch infotainment touch screen features outdated graphics that get crowded when using the audio function and don't know enough clear detail when using the navigation system. The A-pillar isn't the easiest to see around. It could stand to be more athletic and isn't terribly fuel efficient.

2020 Nissan Maxima The Nissan Maxima has comfortable seats, good forward visibility, and an available panoramic sunroof - all for around $40,000 fully loaded. That's a good price for a good car.Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

Still, the Maxima delivers a lot of what buyers are looking for. Sure, it's not as well-equipped or engaging as large cars by BMW, Audi, Genesis, and Mercedes-Benz, but it's literally half the price.

Buyers can now choose a factory-installed stripe to go on their Durango.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

With its throaty growl and eager accelerator, it's easy to love the Dodge Durango. For the 2020 model year, Dodge is offering the Durango SRT with two new custom appearace options that are straight from the factory - the the Durango SRT Black and the Redline stripe.

"The numbers tell the story. As Dodge performance enthusiasts move through the Durango lineup to the fastest, most powerful and most capable American three-row SUV, they want their vehicle to stand out in a crowd," said Tim Kuniskis, Global Head of Alfa Romeo and Head of Passenger Cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. "Last year, 25 percent of Durango SXT buyers chose the Blacktop Package. That jumped to more than 60 percent on the Durango R/T. Now, this new SRT-exclusive Black package gives SRT buyers an even more exclusive look and they can order it when they order their vehicle at the dealership."

2020 Dodge Durango SRT Black

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC


This also helps keep money in dealership and company coffers rather than wandering down the road to a aftermarket outfitter.

Durango SRT Black

The 2020 Dodge Durango SRT Black appearance package features Midnight Grey Metallic and Gloss Black exterior accents throughout the exterior, including:

  • Midnight Grey Metallic "SRT" grille badge
  • Midnight Grey Metallic with Gloss Black tracer "392" badge
  • Gloss Black mirror caps
  • 20-inch by 10-inch Matte Vapor wheel (Brass Monkey wheel can be optioned at no cost)
  • Eclipse Black Tint exhaust tips
  • Satin Black "D O D G E" taillamp applique
  • Gloss Black "4" badge with Midnight Grey Metallic Rhombi
  • Midnight Grey Metallic "Durango" liftgate badge
  • Midnight Grey Metallic "SRT" liftgate badge

The Durango SRT Black package starts at a U.S. manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP) of $1,495.

Redline Stripe

The Redline Stripe package features a full-length Satin Black center stripe with Redline Red accent tracers on each edge. The Redline stripe starts at a U.S. MSRP of $1,295.

I addition to these new customizations, Dodge continues to offer a wide variety of appearance options on the Durango:

  • SXT: Platinum, Blacktop
  • GT: Blacktop, Brass Monkey
  • R/T: Blacktop, Brass Monkey
  • Citadel: Anodized Platinum
  • SRT: Black

Durango stripe options on GT, R/T and SRT:

  • Bright Blue
  • Flame Red
  • Gunmetal Low Gloss (metallic finish)
  • Low Gloss Black
  • Sterling Silver (metallic finish)
  • Redline (SRT only)

The Durango SRT Black and Redline stripe are available with the buyer's choices 10 part jobs: Billet Silver, DB Black, Destroyer Grey, F8 Green, Granite Crystal, Octane Red, Reactor Blue, Redline, White Knuckle and Vice White.

Dodge dealerships are currently accepting orders for customized versions of the 2020 Durango.