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November 2004
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2005 Dodge Magnum SXT

The Good: Large and solid feel from the moment you touch the door and enter to the moment you come back from your drive.  Smooth ride and very stable feel.  Power and versatility with plenty of legroom.

The Bad:  Styling is not for everyone with a long front end.  Interior is not airy with thin windows.

             Dodge has grabbed life by the horns and produced a stunning vehicle.  The 2005 Dodge Magnum combines American-Muscle looks with German-car driving characteristics, all at a 'wow-em' price point.  "The Dodge Magnum offers the right formula of proportions, packaging and performance that sets it far apart from the competition," said Craig Love, Vice President-Rear-Wheel-Drive Product Team. "With its unique profile, exceptional versatility, available HEMI power and rear-wheel-drive performance, there is nothing else like it in the marketplace." 

            The Dodge Magnum's exterior offers a bold hood and large truck-like front end.  The long tapered roofline is dramatic.  Both front and rear wheels are pushed to the corners emphasizing their size and lengthening the car.  This concept-vehicle look is enhanced by a low roofline and narrowing windows as you move to the rear.  The overall body is tall and substantial offering a feeling of solidity not found on many cars in its price range. 

            Dodge Magnum blends the functional attributes of a sport-utility, the character of a sport sedan and the soul of a Viper to create a unique vehicle for Dodge.  Inside the seating position can be raised to a higher than normal position, about 2.5 inches higher than most passenger cars for a better view of the road.  In back, a flexible cargo area is offered, with a false floor under which many items can be stored and when rear seats are folded forward a large spacious area is available for storage of long items.  Hinging the top of the rear gate midway between the C- and D-pillar creates the unusually large cargo opening, providing 11.3 sq. ft. of flexibility. 

            Standard in our mid range SXT model is a manual climate control system and an easy to use stereo system.  The steering wheel is manually adjustable in tilt and telescoping functions and does not offer any remote control of the stereo.  Power door locks are speed sensitive to lock as you start to drive off.  Front as well as rear air outlets are also offered to send air to rear seat passengers faster.  There are also many areas for storage from the large and deep center armrest to the many smaller areas around the shift lever as well as in-door storage.  The driver's seat is powered eight ways, with the passenger seat only manually adjustable.  Darkened glass for the rear two windows provides privacy for rear compartments. The rear trunk space is wide and even offers built in holders for milk gallons on both sides.  The floor flips open to reveal more divided storage so that things do not slide around when you are driving fast through the curves.  A manual cargo area cover tidies things up very nicely, however we found it difficult to remove when putting the rear seats down.

            The front seats are cushioned from soft foam that is comfortable in long journeys.  Entry and egress are particularly comfortable. To our disliking was the overuse of plastic in many forms throughout the interior. Though it is a tad nicer than in the usual American offering, with the use of soft rubbery plastic used in various areas, the dash and doors are simply giant pieces of plastic.  We believe that this style will not be favored a few years down the road.  Up front, the large and deep dashboard makes the long front hood seem even farther away, making for a large car feeling in what should be a performance oriented car.  Mercedes owners will likely cringe at the turn signal and cruise control stalks, as they are exactly the same as on their higher priced cars; not to mention the suspension, stability control components, and soundproofing materials.  For eager tuners, this Magnum can easily be converted to a wood-laden, leather-wrapped interior in the aftermarket accessory market making for a luxury interior at significant savings to any other vehicle.   

The Magnum lacks fog lamps up front, something we would like to see added.  The main beams are very bright, nonetheless, with a classic clear round beam cut off at the tope edge.  The high beam is also very bright and casts light far down the road in front of the car, it is a great leap over many other cars we have tested previously.  Xenon lighting was not on our model so you would need to upgrade to the RT model to be able to include that.  In back the large lid is difficult to close for smaller people, we would like to see a better grab handle and an easy to close trunk lid.  There was also no sunroof in our model and we highly suggest it as an option to make the interior more airy and open.  We also did not like the two interior color choices, with a grey or a black being the only choices, dual tone and beige should also be options.  The Dodge web site shows most options to you but does not describe many packages and what is included in those packages so you would need to get a print brochure to be able to make your decision knowledgably. 

            Three engine choices are offered, from a 2.7 Liter V6 in the base SE model, to a 3.5 Liter V6 in the mid range SXT model we tested, to the large 5.7 Liter V8 Hemi in the RT model.  Our midrange SXT model features a high output V-6 engine.  It was plenty powerful with 250 horsepower and 250 lb-ft of torque.  Fuel economy came in at 23 miles per gallon on our test results but stated numbers are 19 city, 27 highway.  The 3.5 Liter V6 is powerful but not free flowing in the delivery of its power as German engines are.  It is noisy when revved hard and we have tested many better engines. This is mated to a four speed automatic transmission, which is a variation of the automatic used on previous Chrysler vehicles.  We found this transmission to be smooth and adequate but not of the same quality as a German built transmission. 

Drivability is where the Magnum shines.  We instantly noticed the longer wheelbase which provided a more balanced ride.  The wider track not only gives more room inside for the drivers but also makes for more stability in corners.  Noise, vibration and harshness are totally eliminated for a super-smooth and quiet ride.  Rear wheel drives helps to give a sports car like push when you stomp on the pedal.  You will find yourself driving much faster than the posted speed limit, something we found many owners doing in this highly stable car.  Now if Dodge would only lobby states to eliminate the speed limit on straight stretches of highway!

The steering is accurate yet soft, typical of other Chrysler vehicles like the Crossfire.  We would like to have more feedback to the driver in this performance-oriented vehicle in upcoming models.  The thick windows and extra insulation all around makes for a very quiet interior cabin.  We usually had to crack open a window to get more road feel during around-the-town driving.  On highways however, the quietness is beneficial.  Body dive and squat are minimal.  

The suspension is excellent and most drivers of this Magnum probably have never felt anything like it.   "The front and rear suspension are all-new. We used short and long arm design in the front and a sophisticated five-bar link, independent rear suspension. The suspension will delight performance drivers with excellent handling and improved responsiveness while also providing impressively smooth ride characteristics," said Eric Ridenour, from the Product Development department.  The SXT and SE models are tuned for a smooth ride while the RT model is tuned for greater handling performance.  In our SXT model, body roll is a bit more than we would like and we suggest the RT model for those seeking a more sports car like ride.

Four-wheel disc brakes are standard on all Dodge Magnum models.  A combined ABS and Traction Control system is standard with the 3.5- and 5.7-liter engines.  All-Speed Traction Control enhances mobility and prevents wheel slip when accelerating on slippery surfaces. Depending on how slippery, an automatically activated Winter Mode feature will select lower transmission up-shift speeds on the five-speed automatic transmission. It also provides a measure of directional stability control, an advancement beyond prior traction control systems used in Dodge.  Using the wheel-speed sensors, it can detect excessive yaw and help keep the car on the intended course, as for instance, when accelerating around a curve.  Electronic Stability Program, which includes a Brake Assist feature, is standard on Dodge Magnum SXT and RT. It is optional on the Dodge Magnum SE. It is offered for the first time on a North American-built Chrysler Group vehicle.

Many other safety features are also found on this rear wheel drive vehicle.  Auto-reverse windows help prevent injuries to children.  Weight sensing air bags inflate less so as not to hurt little ones.  Seat belt pretensioners remove slack when sudden movements of the vehicle occur.  Self-sealing tires are optional which help reduce the possibility of a flat tire.  Side curtain airbags extend to all front and rear passengers.  The Magnum has recently scored a 5-Star rating in the Governments' frontal crash tests.  The Magnum is also covered by a 7 year 70,000 mile powertrain warranty. 

The cost of our model was a total of $25,995.  The base price of the Magnum SXT is $21,870.  Our optional equipment included a customer preferred package of $2,500 and $1,000 for the 3.5L engine in the SXT model, destination of $625 brought the total sticker to almost $26,000.  For the money this is an exceptional handling vehicle with loads of room.  The ride is particularly good, and if you want head turning style, this Magnum surely delivers that.  One thing we just cannot figure out is why the Chrysler 300 Wagon is not available in the US which would offer a more elegant style than the all-out bold looks of the Magnum. 

 

 

PRICING INVOICE RETAIL
Base Pricing 25,780 27,900
Destination 625 625
Comfort Seating Group ? SXT  Includes Leather Seat Trim, Power Adjustable Pedals, Heated Front Seats, Dual Power Seat Adjusters & Leather-Wrapped Steering Wheel. 1,311 1,425
Protection Group  All Models Include Front Side Impact Air Bag Restraint System & Air Filter. (4) P225/60TR18 Self-Sealing Tires. 543 590
Moon Roof, Power 874 950

 

 
2005 Dodge Magnum
SXT Rwd 4dr Wagon (3.5L 6cyl 4A)

2004 Volkswagen Passat
GLS 1.8T Fwd 4dr Wagon (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5A)

2004 Subaru Legacy
GT AWD 4dr Wagon (2.5L 4cyl 4A)

2005 Mazda MAZDA6
s Grand Touring 4dr Sport Wagon (3.0L 6cyl 6A)

2005 Volvo V50
2.4i Fwd 4dr Sport Wagon (2.4L 5cyl 5A)
MSRP $25,370 $25,455 $27,120 $26,795 $25,660
Invoice $23,573 $23,299 $24,612 $24,707 $24,156
Warranty Magnum Passat Legacy MAZDA6 V50
Basic 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 3 yr. / 36000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi. 4 yr. / 50000 mi.
Base Engine Displacement 3.5 liters V6 1.8 liters  inline 4 2.5 liters  flat 4 3.0 liters  V6 2.4 liters  inline 5
Horsepower 250 hp @ 6400 rpm 170 hp @ 5900 rpm 165 hp @ 5600 rpm 220 hp @ 6300 rpm 168 hp @ 6000 rpm
Torque 250 ft-lbs. @ 3800 rpm 166 ft-lbs. @ 1950 rpm 166 ft-lbs. @ 4000 rpm 192 ft-lbs. @ 5000 rpm 170 ft-lbs. @ 4400 rpm
Driven Wheels rear wheel drive front wheel drive all wheel drive front wheel drive front wheel drive
Tires P215/65TR17
all season
P195/65HR15
all season
P205/55HR16
all season
P215/50VR17
all season
P205/55R16
all season
Wheels alloy rims
17 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
15 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
16 in.
alloy rims
17 x 7.0 in.
alloy rims
16 x 6.5 in.
Audio Control on Steering Wheel Not Available Optional Not Available Standard Optional
Front Air Conditioning       automatic climate control  
Air Filtration interior air filtration - Optional interior air filtration interior air filtration - Optional interior air filtration interior air filtration
Traction Control Standard Standard Not Available Standard Standard
Stability Control Standard Optional Not Available Not Available Optional
Side Air Bag dual front - Optional dual front dual front dual front dual front
Xenon Headlights Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available Optional
Navigation System Not Available Not Available Not Available Not Available DVD navigation system - Optional
SPECS
Handling Magnum Passat Legacy MAZDA6 V50
Turning Circle 38.9 ft. 37.4 ft. 35.4 ft. 38.7 ft. 34.9 ft.
Max. Cargo Capacity 72 cu. ft. 57 cu. ft. 69 cu. ft.   46 cu. ft.
City 19 mpg. 21 mpg. 20 mpg. 20 mpg. 22 mpg.
Highway 27 mpg. 30 mpg. 26 mpg. 27 mpg. 30 mpg.
Exterior Magnum Passat Legacy MAZDA6 V50
Length 197.7 in. 184.3 in. 187.4 in. 187.8 in. 177.7 in.
Width 74.1 in. 68.7 in. 68.7 in. 70.1 in. 69.7 in.
Height 58.4 in. 58.6 in. 59.6 in. 57.3 in. 57.2 in.
Weight 3895 lbs. 3455 lbs. 3535 lbs. 3461 lbs. 3269 lbs.
Wheel Base 120 in. 106.4 in. 104.3 in. 105.3 in. 103.9 in.
Ground Clearance 5.6 in. 5.8 in.   5.1 in.  
Interior Magnum Passat Legacy MAZDA6 V50
Front Headroom 38.4 in. 37.8 in. 38.5 in. 38 in. 38.9 in.
Rear Headroom 38.1 in. 37.9 in. 37.2 in. 38.6 in. 38.1 in.
Front Shoulder Room 58.7 in. 55.8 in.   56.1 in. 55.2 in.
Rear Shoulder Room 57.6 in. 54.6 in.   54.9 in. 54.1 in.
Front Hip Room 56.2 in.     54.7 in. 53.7 in.
Rear Hip Room 55.5 in.     54.1 in. 50.7 in.
Front Leg Room 41.8 in. 41.5 in. 43.3 in. 42.3 in. 41.6 in.
Rear Leg Room 40.2 in. 35.3 in. 34.3 in. 36.5 in. 34.4 in.
Maximum Luggage Capacity 27.2 cu.ft. 39 cu.ft. 34.3 cu.ft. 33.7 cu.ft. 14.7 cu.ft.

 

 

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