Long-Term Tests - 2005 Dodge Magnum R/T

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, May 11, 2005.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Grand Wagoning: Magnum fever spreads


    Published Date: 4/4/05

    Whoever said station wagons weren’t cool? Silly them. Whenever there’s a station wagon in AutoWeek’s test fleet, the keys get snapped right up. Add performance to the mix and, for those who embrace Vista Cruisers and Country Squires with sweet nostalgia, station wagons represent all that’s right in the world of cars. Muscle car power plus serious utility equals motoring bliss.

    The latest addition to our long-term fleet, this Dodge Magnum R/T in Inferno Red, is a 21st-century rendition of those icons, a car that, quite simply, has presence. Its slammed, badass body and hot rod mentality are in your face, whether you like it or not. We like the 340-hp R/T, a lot, and over the next year, will relate the good things, bad things, and anything else that comes up as we charge along the roads of the real world in this big red wagon.

    Reports from California Speedway, where we track-tested the Magnum, are pretty positive. The car did the 0-to-60-mph sprint in 5.92 seconds, edging out its Chrysler 300C sibling’s 5.99-second time (Oct. 4, 2004). The Magnum braked well, too. With very little dive, the car stopped from 60 mph in 119 feet (the 300C required 121 feet).


    While the Magnum was fine on the skidpad, exhibiting moderate understeer, its slalom test didn’t inspire the utmost confidence—to put it bluntly, the car is a bit of a pig through the cones. Clearly, its strength is straight-ahead muscle, more impressive from a stoplight than whipping through an auto*cross course.

    Could the Magnum be one of the best values on the road? Some of us think so.
    With a sticker not too far north of the average price of a vehicle sold in America—$30,000—we’ll be looking to see if the Magnum can live up to our expectations. The car’s interior build quality looks good, the Mercedes connection evident in the thunk of its doors, the shape and feel of its controls and the overall sense of solidity. The Magnum may be new to the market, but it has the gravitas of a heavy-hitting ’bahn burner both in its stance and on the road.

    Acceptable fuel economy shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. When cruising, the Magnum’s multi-displacement Hemi V8 shuts down four of its eight cylinders, which the EPA says translates to 24 mpg highway. While we’re skeptical whether we will actually see that number, anything close will be better than your typical V8-equipped SUV.

    A station wagon combines the best of both worlds, offering the utility and carrying capacity of an SUV while displaying the more refined manners of a car. In that our long-term fleet doesn’t include an SUV or pickup at the moment, a lot will be asked of the Magnum when home improvement projects and weekend getaways call for something with beaucoup cargo room.


    With five adults aboard, the Magnum has 27.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row of seats; fold the second row flat, and that grows to 71.6 cubic feet of cargo space.

    The cabin is a comfortable balance of high-zoot amenities and straightforward operation. Along with dual-zone climate control, heated leather seats, Sirius satellite radio and a navigation system, the Magnum is equipped with extra tow capacity. This makes for some happy boaters and bikers around here, who are anxious to test out the pulling power of that 390 lb-ft of Hemi torque underhood.

    As coveted as this powerful rear-driver is, one thing we’re keeping tabs on is how many still beg to drive it in less-than-perfect conditions. And even though the Magnum wears all-season rubber, we’ll still let you know: If it’s proving to be a trooper, like Auto-Week’s long-term Mercedes C320 that was fine through all seasons, or a disaster, like the Lexus IS 300 that promptly backed its way into a pole when the roads got slippery. We’ll also let you know if we find ourselves wishing we had gone with the all-wheel-drive version of the R/T for a long-term test.

    Stay with us, as there’s a lot riding on the big power-ful haunches of this hot-rodded station wagon over the next year. It should be a good one.



    Base (includes $625 delivery): $30,495
    As-tested price: $34,675

    Options: GPS navigation system with six-disc CD changer and MP3 player ($1,895); convenience group II including dual-zone automatic climate control, power and heated front seats, power adjustable pedals ($925); protection group including supplemental side-curtain airbags, cabin air filtering system, self-sealing all-season tires ($590); trailer tow group including severe-duty engine cooling, load-leveling and height control suspension ($350); Inferno Red Crystal Pearl Coat paint ($225); Sirius satellite radio with one-year service ($195)

    Wheelbase (in): 120.0
    Track (in): 63.0 front, 63.1 rear
    Length/width/height (in): 197.7/74.1/58.4
    Curb weight/GVWR (lbs): 4179/5300

    Front-longitudinal 5.7-liter/345-cid ohv V8
    Horsepower: 340 @ 5000 rpm
    Torque (lb-ft): 390 @ 4000 rpm
    Compression ratio: 9.6:1
    Fuel requirement: 87 octane

    Rear-wheel drive
    Transmission: Five-speed automatic
    Final drive ratio: 2.82:1

    Front: Short/long arm with upper A-arms, lateral and diagonal lower links, coil springs, gas-charged shock absorbers, antiroll bar
    Rear: Five-link with coil springs, hydraulic self-leveling shock absorbers, link-type antiroll bar

    Discs front and rear, ABS, aluminum 225/60R-18 Continental CH95 ContiSeal

    EPA combined: 19.86 mpg


    0-60 mph: 5.92 sec
    0-quarter-mile: 14.42 sec @ 99.2 mph

    60 mph-0: 119 ft

    490-foot slalom: 41.4 mph
    Lateral acceleration (200-foot skidpad): 0.81 g

    Idle: 43
    Full throttle: 73
    Steady 60 mph: 62


    2005 Dodge Magnum: First-quarter update - One Wicked Wagon


    Published Date: 4/25/05

    MILES DRIVEN: 5048
    FUEL MILEAGE: 17.14 mpg
    FUEL COST: $617.13
    MAINTENANCE: New tire ($158.99)

    Three months into its AutoWeek life and we love this mean-looking Magnum. Who wouldn’t? It’s fast and handles well (considering its 4179-pound curb weight). Its suspension offers a nice sport/comfort balance, and it seems well built. For those who care, this wagon can haul a lot of stuff, too. Some on staff call it the best long-term vehicle in the fleet.

    Two things jump out at us from living with the Magnum through the first quarter. One, we’ve had a chance to experience this rear-driver in the snow; two, it incurred some “self-inflicted” damage.

    First, the snow: “I’d opt for the awd version if I knew it was going to be driven in a cold-weather climate,” one editor wrote in the logbook. “Or at least I’d invest in a good set of snow tires. I almost got it stuck on a recently plowed road near my house.”

    That was an early log entry. With practice we learned to shut down the stability/traction control before attacking snowy conditions, especially if enough snow was present to induce wheelspin. Once the traction control made up its mind to prevent the wheels from spinning freely, the Magnum would eventually stop dead in its tracks and no amount of coaxing could get it to move forward. (We also learned that to roll backward down a hill for a second freaks out the car’s warning sensors, including its emergency brake indicator, though the brake wasn’t set.)


    With traction control turned off, and using smooth modulation on the Hemi’s throttle—hearkening memories of snow-driving from our youth—this beast got through just about anything, no worries. After a bit it was fun, predictable and capable.

    Now to the car’s so-called self-inflicted injuries: One night the right-front tire went flat as the car sat in the driveway. No, we don’t recall how the hole got in the tire, but it was clearly too large for these self-sealing tires to do their thing. The local tire retailer also believed it too large to repair, so a new tire was installed; $158.99 later, we were on our way.

    Then, coming off an exit ramp—the same day, no less—we clobbered a typical Michigan pavement patch or expansion joint. Unfortu-nately, it hammered the front suspension to the point where the car suffered a pull to the right. And still there was more to come.

    The next day, in a parking lot, we struck the right-front fender “ever so lightly” against the bumper of a Ford Expedition we were following. The Expedition stopped suddenly mid-turn: Our fault. The Magnum’s fender pushed inward but wasn’t creased; a scratch extended into the front passenger door. The fender and door will require professional attention.

    In all it has been an eventful quarter, though nothing we’ve done has detracted from the fun we are having with the Dodge Magnum. Now that spring is here, and the snow looks to have finally gone away for another season, the fun should continue. We’ll keep you posted.



    Long-Term Test: 2005 Dodge Magnum - Introduction

    Thanks to the Magnum's generous cargo capacity, 60/40-split seat and a little wire, we were able to transport this Queen Anne Secretary and a family of four at the same time.

    By editors at Edmunds.com

    By now, you've seen the commercials, the billboards and probably the print ads for the new Dodge Magnum. With its tapered roofline, low greenhouse and aggressive grille, this station wagon seeks to crush the old image of station wagons, that being decidedly uncool. With the availability of Hemi V8 power and a performance suspension, this wagon is today's equivalent of an old Mopar muscle car.

    With all the buzz generated by this hot-rod wagon and our staff's penchant for sporty cars with brawny V8 power, it was a given that we'd add one to the fleet. Available in base SE with a 2.7-liter, 190-horsepower V6; midlevel SXT with a 3.5-liter, 250-horse V6; and top-of-the-line RT packing the 5.7-liter, 340-horse Hemi V8, the rear-drive Magnum offers the option of all-wheel drive in all but the SE.

    Although the RT already comes nicely equipped with leather seating, powerful Boston Acoustics audio, 18-inch wheels and stability control, our long-termer still had some worthwhile extra-cost features.

    With the various option packages we ordered, our RT also came with side curtain airbags, a trip computer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, dual-zone climate control, power-adjustable pedals, heated/power front seats, Sirius Satellite Radio and UConnect hands-free communication, among others.

    By now, we're sure you're thinking "Yeah, that's nice. So how quick is it?" How about zero to 60 in 6.3 seconds and the quarter-mile in 14.4 seconds? In other words, the Magnum RT could show its taillights to a 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner packing a 383 and a four-speed. Pretty damn quick for a wagon, eh?

    And for those who might like to know how well it stops, the Magnum puts out a solid effort there as well. From 60 mph, the Magnum took 125.4 feet to come to a halt, certainly respectable
    though not as impressive as its scorching acceleration. Thanks for the wagon's superb balance is owed to a suspension derived from the previous-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class.

    But as a trio of Edmunds editors discovered, there's a lot more to like about the Magnum than just its ability to blow off sporty coupes and sedans. Road Test Editor Brian Moody explains: "The Magnum is nothing less than a bold departure from the boxy and boring SUVs and an antidote to cookie-cutter sedans. Of course, being a wagon, the car can't help but be versatile — we've already hauled plenty of cargo in back including a large toy train table and oversized Christmas gifts."

    Fellow road test scribe John DiPietro had this to say: "I took the Magnum down to San Diego, about a two-hour ride from L.A. if you avoid traffic. Thanks to the quiet cabin, absorbent ride and Sirius radio, the miles passed quickly. With the Hemi's variable-displacement system that automatically shuts down half the cylinders under cruising conditions, I averaged about 20 mpg for the trip."

    Editor in Chief Karl Brauer agreed with John and added, "The thing about the Hemi is that it's not just fast but it's very refined. The workings of the cylinder deactivation system are almost imperceptible from behind the wheel. And the 5.7-liter Hemi makes all the right noises, it's quiet under relaxed driving conditions yet provides a throaty rumble when you tap into its performance."

    Karl also felt that the Magnum offered more than the big V8 and a station wagon's practicality: "In terms of handling dynamics, the Magnum feels like a premium German sedan, which is probably its biggest advantage over the competition. The Mercedes' underpinnings come shining through, taking the form of intuitive steering feel, high-speed stability, confident handling and compliant ride quality."

    Lastly, Mr. Brauer was able to use the Magnum's 72 cubic feet of cargo capacity to move a large piece of furniture. By folding down just the "40" part of the 60/40-split second-row seat, Karl was able to transport his new desk and his family of four home from the antique store, albeit with the help of some wire to hold the hatch down.

    Overall, we're very happy with the Magnum and its dual personality. Apart from a stone chip in the windshield that we had fixed for around $60, we've had no problem with our Hemi hauler and look forward to more seat time.

    Base MSRP of Test Vehicle: $29,995

    Options on Test Vehicle: Protection Group ($590); Electronics Convenience Group ($630); Trailer Tow Group ($350); Convenience Group II ($925); Sirius Satellite Radio ($195); UConnect Hands-Free Communication ($360).

    MSRP of Test Vehicle: $33,045

    Current Odometer: 4,777
    Best Fuel Economy: 19.8 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 13.8 mpg

    Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 16.7 mpg
    Body Repair Costs: $59.95 (Windshield Repair)
    Maintenance Costs: None
    Problems: None


    Long-Term Test: 2005 Dodge Magnum - March 2005

    The return of the power wagon courtesy of killer styling and 5.7 liters of Hemi heaven.

    By editors at Edmunds.com

    If perpetual praise was pennies in this world, our long-term Dodge Magnum RT would be about ready to retire with a healthy pension. Fortunately for us, our year-long drive in the 2005 Magnum V8 super-wagon is just getting started.

    And what a start it's been: No sooner had the deep-midnight blue Magnum landed on our doorstep in Southern California that it began a number of marathon tours. After Road Test Editor John DiPietro test-piloted the rear-drive wagon on a shake-down cruise to San Diego — giving it the OK-to-fly signal (see our Long-Term Introduction) — Executive Editor Richard Homan blasted up the spine of California to his brother's home in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

    "There's a first time for everything," Homan noted in the logbook, "and this was my first time in a Magnum. This drive was so good that whatever moderate expectations I had going in, I came out with a whole new attitude about what a wagon could be."

    After another paragraph and a half of laudatory generalities, Homan veered into substantive praise: "I had always been drawn to the Magnum's sinister high-beltline shape, but what's so satisfying is how the rest of the package follows suit. The interior is smartly designed, the seats are ideally firm for a long drive and the outward vision is deceptively expansive in all directions — you'd never guess to look at it from the outside.

    "The 5.7-liter Hemi V8 is a work of genius. It's perfectly happy tooling about all day just off idle, but when you nudge into the throttle, you get a heroic surge of pure power accompanied by a full-on king-of-the-jungle roar from the exhaust.
    And on the long, straight, seemingly endless high-speed miles of Interstate 5, I never had a clue that the Hemi's fuel-saving cylinder deactivation system was shutting down four of the engine's eight cylinders when cruising at steady speeds. Building such a true American high-performance vehicle on top of the poised handling of the previous-generation E-Class platform is an inspired idea."

    Upon the Magnum RT's return, the air in its tires barely had time to cool before Production Editor Caroline Pardilla launched the car east, in the direction of Las Vegas, on a three-day trip to attend her sister's wedding (with Elvis presiding over the ceremony). "The Magnum swallowed my brother, his boyfriend, me and all our stuff with plenty of room to spare," she marveled. "Being over 6 feet tall, my brother's boyfriend was surprised by how comfortable and roomy the backseat was. And even hitting mountain passes in the rain at highway speeds, loaded up with people and cargo, the wagon never broke a sweat."

    Back home in Santa Monica, our intrepid Magnum took some time off of its busy tour schedule to get its 7,500-mile oil and filter change, plus a $28 tire rotation, from our local Chrysler-Jeep dealer. All systems were given the A-OK by the service department, and the last time we saw our long-term Dodge Magnum RT, it was headed out to collect more valentines from enthusiastic drivers, comfortable passengers and admiring onlookers.

    Current Odometer: 8,083
    Best Fuel Economy: 19.8 mpg
    Worst Fuel Economy: 13.5 mpg
    Average Fuel Economy (over the life of the vehicle): 15.9 mpg
    Body Repair Costs: None
    Maintenance Costs: $62.41
    Problems: None


  2. dmora

    dmora Guest

    for wagons i like this and the IS300 wagon with a GTE transplant :naughty:
  3. Jackie Treehorn

    Jackie Treehorn New Member

    Sep 10, 2002
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    ain't that some shit. No catastrophic problems reported from a new model Chrysler :eek3:
  4. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Staff Member

    Jul 6, 2001
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    It has excellent build quality too. :eek3:
  5. anomaly

    anomaly If you weren't around for the original HA.net spli

    Oct 12, 2000
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    Friends brother has one. Suprisingly quick for something that huge.
  6. matrix243

    matrix243 My body, is ready.

    May 15, 2001
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    fold-down rear seats to fit the casket?

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