Last week I was in Calgary competing at the Spruce Meadows Masters. The “Masters” is one of the biggest and most prestigious horse shows on the global tour—it is show jumping’s answer to Pebble Beach. My 16-year-old French mare Pistoya has been jumping well all year, and I decided to try my luck at Spruce Meadows—I have not shown there since 2005. Spruce Meadows is a five-star show—in show jumping parlance that is the highest level. The event is famous for its attention to detail and excellent management. It is also known for its challenging courses and fierce global competition.
Pistoya flew out to Western Canada from New York ahead of me to get acclimated. I arrived in Calgary and went to pick up my rental car. Luck was on my side when the Hertz agent pointed to a 2019 Dodge Charger GT. He shamefully said, “this is the only car we have left. I hope it’s ok.” I didn’t think twice and loaded up my bags. Here is the punchline: THE DODGE CHARGER IS AN AWESOME CAR! Dodge has nailed it with this tight, agile, and fun to drive sports sedan.
My car had over 10,000 tough rental miles, yet it drove as it had just rolled off the showroom floor. The Charger GT has a 300HP V6 motor that generates plenty of power. The current Charger is available with a plethora of engine options ranging from the 300HP V6 to the fire-breathing 707HP HEMI supercharged V8. The GT’s comparatively anemic six-cylinder is an impressive motor that generates plenty of power along with a throaty growl. The car has very usable power that is always on tap. Chirping the big tires at every light is a cinch and a lot of fun! The transmission is phenomenal and is capable of great downshifts. This car just wants to be driven hard. The view from the cockpit exudes confidence. The gauges are comprehensive and well designed. There is a giant protruding bump in the hood that obscures the view of the road—yet it is somehow not offensive. The hood bump gives the Charger substance and stature and makes it look mean!
SOME GENERAL OBSERVATIONS:
Ergonomically, the car is a “10” as all the controls are where they should be. The Charger handles fantastic and is very stable at high speeds. It also has an enormous trunk with plenty of space to accommodate my five huge duffle bags of riding gear. It has race-inspired seats that provide excellent lateral support. The Alpine audio system rocks out and is equipped with XM Satellite Radio. The HVAC controls are easy to navigate, and the A/C blows arctic cold. The Charger GT comes loaded with amenities including lane change assist, back up camera, CarPlay, a huge sunroof, and even a remote starter.
The Charger GT has massive rims and tires which help make the ride comfortable and confident. The interior panels are faux stitched leather but to the untrained eye look legitimate. The abundance of stitching is a tasteful touch that adds an aura of luxury to this otherwise raw automobile. Everything about this car is aggressive, yet it is comfortable (almost soothing) to drive. The build quality rivals that of my Mercedes-Benz S550.
The only flaw is the Charger’s slab-sided styling. From some angles, it’s a great looking car. From the front, for example, the Charger is attractive. However, from other views, it’s downright ugly—particularly from the side.
If you are in the market for an aggressive fun to drive sedan that is well-made check out the 2019 Dodge Charger GT. The overall driving experience is purely American yet still sophisticated, fun, and athletic. The Charger has its own personality—it is opinionated and speaks up! Don’t count America out—this is one hell of a driver’s car.
HORSEPOWER OF A DIFFERENT SORT…..PISTOYA AT SPRUCE MEADOWS