By Teddy Field
In the 1960’s, the average American car was a big, rear-wheel-drive sedan. As time marched along, big turned to small, RWD turned to front-wheel drive, and the sedan has become a crossover. But some people still prefer the ‘old ways’, and for these automotive connisours, Hyundai & Dodge have cooked up two delicious RWD sedans. But which one is better? Well, let’s do a car comparison and find out…
2013 Dodge Charger SXT
Say ‘Dodge sedan’ to some people, and images of green vinyl and silver hubcaps come to mind. If that describes you, then you’re in luck! The 2013 Dodge Charger SXT has lots of soft-touch vinyl (usually in black), and shiny 20-inch wheels come standard. Other odes to the past include a padded vinyl dash (sans fake wood trim), comfortable sofas to sit in, rear-wheel drive, and a throaty engine note when you ‘step on it’.
With a 292-hp direct injected 3.6L V6, the 2013 Dodge Charger SXT makes more standard horsepower than a big block equipped Dodge Monaco from the 1970’s. But for even more fun, you can choose from two sport packages (Rallye Appearance Group & Blacktop Package), which add a factory cold air induction and a sport exhaust system to make a total of 300-hp. You also get a tighter sport suspension, 13.6” vented front discs with twin-piston calipers, a spoiler, and a thumpin’ Dr. Dre sound system. The difference between the two packages is the appearance. The 2013 Dodge Charger Rallye Appearance Group gets chrome 20’s with a body-color spoiler. The 2013 Dodge Charger SXT Blacktop Package however, gets black 20’s, a black grille & spoiler, and tinted headlights. If you want a custom look “right out of the box”, the Dodge Blacktop Package is the way to go.
Riding on a modified Mercedes chassis, the roughness usually associated with the LX Platform has been slowly massaged out. There’s still a firm feeling to the ride, but the handling dial has been turned up to match. Adding the performance suspension increases the road holding capability of the 2013 Dodge Charger SXT, but the standard suspension is more than adequate for most buyers.
All wheel drive is also available on the 2013 Dodge Charger SXT, and it features a unique front differential that gets automatically disconnected when no wheel-slip is detected. This allows the car to behave like a sporty RWD car under normal driving conditions. And thanks to the new 8-speed automatic, the gas mileage is a respectable 18 city / 27 hwy / 21 combined.
On the inside, there’s a marvelous padded vinyl tribute to American transportation. There’s chrome edging, and soft-touch materials, just like the padded dash luxo-barges of the 1970’s. Except here, you get a modern design, and one of the easiest-to-use touchscreen interfaces in the business. The front thrones are comfortable enough, and there’s a real feeling of heft to the car. Not a heavy barge sort of thing, but a solid, distinctly American kind of thing. Which is good, because the poor soul that’s forced to ride straddling the ‘RWD floor hump’ in the middle of the back seat won’t be feeling anything but pain. The 2013 Dodge Charger SXT is best when used as a 4-seater.
Overall, the 2013 Dodge Charger SXT is a fantastic sedan, that’ll make you proud to be an American.
2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8
While the 2013 Dodge Charger is quite happy being a blue-collar hero, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is more like that kid in school who wasn’t rich, but tried to make people think he was. K-Mart brand khakis, and a Polo Association shirt look like the ‘real thing’ from a distance, and that’s really all that most customers care about these days. If you want a smooth luxury sedan, then spend $50k and buy an E-Class. But if you want a nice looking RWD sedan, that’s adequately comfortable and refined, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is your ticket.
With sharp exterior styling, and a roomy, well trimmed cabin, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is a fantastic family/business car that won’t break the bank. Piling on the options will net you a luxurious leather wrapped dash, upgraded leather upholstery, and all sorts of electronic bells & whistles. Fully dressed, a 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 can pass for a real luxury sedan. Only a former European luxury car owner will be able to notice the lack of a precision feel.
On the road, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 handles and rides quite well. It’s not a BMW by any means. But when compared to a similarly priced 2013 Honda Accord Touring, the Genesis is the obvious choice. The newly direct injected 3.8L V6 belts out 333-hp, and an equally tasty 291 lb-ft of torque. The 8-speed automatic offers a decent blend of power delivery and fuel economy (18/28/22). All wheel drive however, isn’t on the menu.
For $34,200, the 2013 Hyundai Genesis 3.8 is a bargain, no matter how you look at it. It’s not a Budweiser & Ball Game American car like the Charger. But for a knock-off Heineken, it’s not bad.
Car Comparison: 2013 Hyundai Genesis vs. 2013 Dodge Charger SXT
|SPECIFICATION||2013 Hyundai Genesis||2013 Dodge Charger SXT|
|Fuel Economy||18/28/22 3.8L / 8-sp AT||18/27/21 3.6L / 5-sp AT|
|19/31/23 3.6L / 8-sp AT|
|18/27/21 3.6L / 8-sp AT – AWD|
|Suburban Snob Factor||7 / 10 Camrys||7 / 10 Camrys|
|NHTSA Ranking||Top Safety Pick = Y||Top Safety Pick = Y|
|NHTSA Ranking||5 / 5 Stars||5 / 5 Stars|
(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Hyundai.)