2019 Dodge Charger vs. 2019 Nissan Maxima

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Charger offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Maxima doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Charger and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Dodge Charger is safer than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Charger

Maxima

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

96

103

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.7 inches

Neck Compression

42 lbs.

52 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

267/469 lbs.

840/589 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Dodge Charger is safer than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Charger

Maxima

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

164

391

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

57 G’s

Hip Force

243 lbs.

591 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

16 inches

HIC

270

300

Spine Acceleration

48 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

692 lbs.

997 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many Dodge dealers as there are Nissan dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Charger’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Charger has a standard 160-amp alternator (180-amp - Charger AWD/R/T and 220 Scat Pack/Daytona). The Maxima’s 150-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the Charger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Charger’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Maxima’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

The Charger R/T’s standard 5.7 V8 produces 70 more horsepower (370 vs. 300) and 134 lbs.-ft. more torque (395 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6. The Charger R/T Scat Pack/Daytona 392’s standard 6.4 V8 produces 185 more horsepower (485 vs. 300) and 214 lbs.-ft. more torque (475 vs. 261) than the Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Charger 6.4 V8 is faster than the Nissan Maxima:

 

Charger

Maxima

Zero to 60 MPH

4.2 sec

6 sec

Quarter Mile

12.6 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

113.8 MPH

99.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Charger R/T’s fuel efficiency. The Maxima doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Charger has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Maxima doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

The Charger R/T Scat Pack’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Maxima doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Charger Daytona 392’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Maxima:

 

Charger SXT

Charger R/T

Charger Scat Pack

Charger Daytona 392

Maxima

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

14.2 inches

15.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

13.8 inches

12.13 inches

The Charger SXT’s standard brakes have 18% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Maxima (523 vs. 444 square inches), so the Charger has more braking power available. The Charger Daytona 392’s brakes have 67% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Maxima (740 vs. 444 square inches), so the Charger Daytona 392 has more braking power available.

The Charger stops much shorter than the Maxima:

 

Charger

Maxima

 

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Charger’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Maxima (275/40R20 vs. 245/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Charger R/T has standard 20-inch wheels. The Maxima’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Charger has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Charger offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Maxima’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Charger’s wheelbase is 10.9 inches longer than on the Maxima (120.2 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Charger is 1 inch wider in the front and 1.1 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Maxima.

The Charger’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (52% to 48%) than the Maxima’s (60.7% to 39.3%). This gives the Charger more stable handling and braking.

The Charger R/T Scat Pack handles at .92 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Charger R/T Scat Pack executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.7 seconds quicker than the Maxima Platinum (25.3 seconds @ .8 average G’s vs. 27 seconds @ .67 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Charger a Large car, while the Maxima is rated a Mid-size.

The Charger has 6.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (104.7 vs. 98.5).

The Charger has 2 inches more front hip room, 2.8 inches more front shoulder room, 5.9 inches more rear legroom, 2.6 inches more rear hip room and 2.2 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity

The Charger has a much larger trunk than the Maxima (16.5 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

Towing

The Charger has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The Maxima has no towing capacity.

Servicing Ease

The engine in the Charger is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Maxima. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

The Charger has a maintenance free battery for long life without checking the battery’s water level. The Maxima doesn’t have a maintenance free battery, so the water level in the battery’s cells must be checked often to prevent damage.

Ergonomics

The power windows standard on both the Charger and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Charger is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Charger to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Maxima doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Economic Advantages

The Charger will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Charger will retain 47.3% to 55.65% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 36.9% to 38.7%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Charger is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because it costs $198 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Charger than the Maxima, including $113 less for a water pump, $163 less for a starter, $211 less for fuel injection, $79 less for front struts, $251 less for a timing belt/chain and $251 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Dodge Charger and the Nissan Maxima, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Dodge Charger outsold the Nissan Maxima by 89% during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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