SRT-8: the real high performance model
The 2005-08 Dodge Magnum was a station wagon version of the Chrysler 300 sedan that was built in Brampton, Ont. In fact, Magnum was marketed in Europe as the Chrysler 300 Tourer. Originally there were three trim levels - SE, SXT and RT. An SRT-8 version went on sale in 2006. Engines ranged from a 2.7-litre V6 to the 6.1-litre Hemi V8. Magnum started off as a rear-drive vehicle, but all-wheel drive quickly became an option on SXT and RT models. These are almost the prototype “pimp my ride” cars, with big wheels and low roofline giving customizers a good start. Magnum got a mild facelift in its final year, including a smaller grille, square headlamps and a revised interior. Chrysler design chief Ralph Gilles has been quoted as saying that killing the Magnum was the mistake of one single executive (no longer with the company), and recently hinted that a new Magnum may be in the works.
THE GOOD STUFF
Although the RT is no slouch, with its 5.7-litre Hemi, the real high performance model is the SRT-8, with unique front and rear fascia, 20-inch wheels, Brembo brakes and a 425-hp 6.1-litre Hemi V8. The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada selected SRT-8 as Best New Modern Muscle Car in the 2006 Canadian Car of the Year awards. It was capable of going from 0-100 km/h in just a few ticks over 5.0 seconds. America’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tested a 2007 Magnum and gave it five stars in all but side impact driver protection, where it received four stars. The 5.7-litre Hemi has Chrysler’s Multiple Displacement System to help improve highway fuel economy.
The almost chopped-top look that made Magnum look so low and mean also made it a challenge to back up or parallel park - especially for shorter drivers. And because of the small windshield, taller drivers could lose sight of overhead traffic lights. The 2.7L V6 does not have the giddyup or durability to power a car this big. Magnum has a long record of recalls ranging from improperly installed seatbelt bolts to control module problems for both the transmission and ABS system. Do your homework. Electrical woes, front end suspension troubles and transmission leaks are frequent complaints. Nonetheless, Consumer Reports rates Magnum reliability as better than average. Most owners love their cars for the way they ride and their ability to straighten out even the kinkiest roads.
Some critics thought these wagons looked like hearses, but I measured one once and a coffin won’t fit. In fact, although Magnum is a full-size car its cargo volume of 4.05 cubic metres classified it as mid-size. A police version was available only to law enforcement agencies, equipped with RWD, either a 3.5-litre V6 or 5.7L Hemi, and a column shifter. Used car prices will vary wildly within each model year, with Hemi-powered versions bringing top dollar.
PRICES AT A GLANCE
Note:These are asking prices, not selling prices, in a cross-Canada survey using Autonet.ca and other sources.
Year Approximate price range
2005 $6,995 - $8,695
2006 $7,949 - $12,995
2007 $8,950 - $15,495
2008 $11,750 - $16,995
2009 $12,995 - $19,440
Engine:2.7L V6 (190 hp); 3.5L V6 (250 hp); 5.7L V8 (340 hp); 6.1L Hemi V8 (425 hp)
Transmissions:4-speed automatic; 5-speed automatic
Layout:front engine/RWD or AWD