My family and I went on a much needed vacation to visit family and friends in Florida. My family is me, my lovely wife and my 8 month old daughter. We arrived in Orlando and went to the Rental Car counter and according to my reservation I had been set up for either a Charger or ‘Similar’ vehicle. I was like a big kid and was really pumped at the thought I might be driving a Charger. I also thought that with my luck I would be stuck with the one ‘Similar’ car about ready to be sent out to pasture. Initially when the young lady at the counter told me I would be driving a Magnum I was a little bit disappointed. I had kinda been psyched up for a Charger. On the way out I started to try to visualize how I would have to arrange the copious amounts of Luggage that my wife and child brought along Then I had a sort of Horrifying thought; From what I had seen of the Magnums (I had only seen them driving down the street before this) there is no way on God’s green Earth that we are going to fit all of that luggage in the Cargo area of a vehicle like that. When we got to the vehicle I was pleasantly surprised whenI opened up the rear hatch and was greeted with a large cargo area that offered plenty of room for all of our luggage.
My wife commonly rides in the back with my infant daughter and a lot of times finds that the confines of the back seat are just that- Confining. Usually I have to sacrifice some of my leg room up front, as my wife is a little taller than average. Not the case with the Magnum, she was comfortable throughout the entire 4 hour drive from Orlando to Naples, and I didn’t have to ride the steering wheel.
With gas prices steadily rising above $3 a gallon, three little letters can make or break the decision to purchase or not to purchase a particular vehicle, those letters; M.P.G. (Miles Per Gallon). The Magnum I drove had a Six Cylinder Engine. OK. I said a bad word ‘Six Cylinder’ but certainly don’t write it off as a gas guzzler. Based on my totally unscientific road test calculations the Magnum averages about 23 MPG overall. (My 2006 four cylinder Chevrolet gets an average of 25 MPG under similar conditions to give you a benchmark for comparison) I drove it under various conditions. I drove it on surface streets in heavy traffic, I drove it to the mini-mart and back, I drove it on the Interstate in Heavy Traffic and I drove it on the Interstate on Cruise at 80 MPH. I drove it on surface streets in lighter than usual traffic. It did rather well in all of the conditions I drove it in.
Drive It Like You Stole It
I have been told before that I can be rather hard on vehicles, especially Police Cars. I can agree with that statement, as I realize I am very hard on my personal cars. That being said. I didn’t have any problems with this vehicle at all. It had great acceleration went from surface street speeds down the on ramp right up to highway speeds with no trouble at all. I didn’t have to red line it to get it up to traffic speeds getting on the highway. I am one of those drivers that people get nervous riding with because I wait until the last possible second to touch the brakes. (My wife has been riding around in cars with me for nearly 10 years now and still flinches at my driving sometimes) The braking left a little bit to be desired. It didn’t stop as smoothly as I would have liked. But overall the braking was decent. (IE I didn’t hit anything or anybody) As a police officer my driving style tends to be a little bit different than most other drivers, sometimes I drive full throttle to full brake like a dragster, but the Magnum was accommodating to my driving style over all.
The Magnum that I drove was a plain silver with lightly tinted windows, basically a no-frills exterior. It still gets a lot of heads turned. It has awesome body lines and is kind of reminiscent of the old 30’s and 40’s gangster (gangster as in Al Capone) rides. Exterior appearance gets an A from me. Now lets go to the Interior.
The Interior was leather. Leather is great if you have small children because they spill everything, they get goo on their hands and wipe their hands on everything. Leather just cleans right up in most cases. The drawbacks are; Its super hot in the summer and super cold in the winter. Dodge offers heated leather seats to combat the cold, but nothing is in the works for the hot seat issue. The chrome accents are great. The position of all of the controls is pretty Ideal, they even offer controls in the steering wheel for the stereo. Another great ‘Safety’ option is the ability to wirelessly connect your Bluetooth capable cell phone to hands free equipment inside the vehicle. The one I drove didn’t offer that but I do know it is an available option according to the owners manual. The interior was deceptively comfortable for Four Adults and an Infant. My biggest complaint in the interior was the placement of the stereo speakers. They were right next to my wife’s head in the back so it made it difficult to carry on any sort of a conversation with the radio going.
The Dodge Magnum I drove was a base model bare bones SXT. According to the Dodge website as it sat with no extras, the MSRP was $26,755, pretty comparable with it’s competitors.
Overall I give the Dodge Magnum a rating of 31/2 of 5 stars. I was excited initially because I thought “Family car, with sports car performance.” I was wrong. It performs like a well made family car, that’s it. I love Dodge vehicles and I am still waiting for the opportunity to drive a Charger. I will always be a ‘Mopar Guy’ but I think ultimately I was a little bit let down by the Magnum. In my opinion I am beginning to question whether or not the Magnum deserves the Dodge Label.