Hello BITOG! My father, brothers and myself went away this weekend to see a MLB game. We got a rental car for the ride just for the fun factor. I went to pick it up my "premium car" through Enterprise yesterday morning and they asked me if a hardtop Camaro would work. I asked them if they had any 4 door sedans since I had 3 passengers plus myself. She looked and then said they had a 2017 Volvo S60, BRAND NEW with only 2 miles on it. I said sure, that will work. I don't know a whole lot about Volvo other than they seem to be putting 2.0 Turbos in most of their line up. I figured the S60 was either a mid size sedan or their newly redesigned crossover. I got out to the parking garage and saw it was a fairly small car, probably the size of a Civic. I was a little disappointed with the size but was glad I was getting into a more luxurious option than what I had originally expected. I got in it and saw it was nicely appointed, nice materials and lots of tech. I got about 5 miles down the road then looked into the back seat and saw it was pretty cramped, and that my brothers were probably not going to be thrilled with having their knees in the back of the front seats for 5+ hours. I then made a call back to Enterprise and asked it they could hook me up with something larger, she checked and said they could get me into a 300. I was a little "hem-haw" with that option since I was in an entry - mid level luxury car "downgrading" to a Chrysler 300 (in terms of luxury), but I said yes since I knew it would be more spacious, and at least I would get a more beefy engine (2.0 turbo in the Volvo left a bit to be desired surprisingly). I made my way back to the airport to switch out the cars and she gave me a Dodge key fob, great! What am I getting now? I walk out to the lot and see a Charger sitting there....hmmm, I've never driven one of these before...this could be interesting. I was at least glad it was a more sporty option than a 300. I opened the door and saw it was a lower tier model (SXT), so that was disappointing but I got out on the road and was pleasantly surprised by the power. It was equipped with the 3.6 Pentastar and the ZF 8 speed auto and that combo moves the big sedan out nicely! I was pleasantly surprised. Most of the trip was spent on the interstate so the drive is pretty boring, but the engine has nice low end torque that made for easy passing. The trans would typically drop down from 8th to 7th and passing was no fuss no muss. I did notice though, if it dropped down from 8th to 6th it would usually be accompanied with a clunk that was heard and felt in the cabin. I was pleased with the gear spacing, none of the gears seemed to long or too short, and this allowed the car to make the most use out of the engines power in all circumstances. At times the trans would have a slight delay after pressing the gas down to speed up quickly then when letting off the revs would hang for a while before it decided to upshift. Also, at times the trans would decide to clunk when shifting. It wasn't a violent clunk, but certainly noticeable. Overall though I was pretty impressed with this 8 speed ZF unit and 99% of the time it provided very smooth and appropriate shifts both in tame and aggressive driving. I would like the shifts to be more snappy though, I am used to driving Hondas and the VW in my sig, they are more snappy and less slushy when shifting. Steering was average, it is nicely weighted both around parking lots and on the highway, but not much feel as expected. Braking was confidence inspiring, no mushy pedal and braking started as soon as you pushed the pedal down, it was pretty responsive and was easy to modulate. The suspension was tuned well also, for such a large car it was well controlled. Not too floaty on the highway, but it also was able to soak up bumps well without being unsettled. The most disappointing thing to me was the interior. I appreciated that most surfaces you touch often were soft, but I was not a fan of the graining of the materials and they didn't seem to go (match) together. Most of the dash and door panels were a strange elephant skin looking material and some of the plastics on the control areas were a flat black cheap looking plastic that should belong on some cheap toy. I wasn't a fan of the styling of the dash or interior door panels, but that is subjective. I do however love the styling of the exterior. It is very masculine and mean looking. Overall I was very impressed with this large rear wheel drive American sedan. Great power delivery, good MPG, smooth ride, looks good etc. It made for a fine road trip car for sure! *Side note about rear seat leg room, it was lacking when compared to my Accord which is a smaller car. The Charger has a 10" longer wheelbase and is 6" longer overall than my 2012 Accord sedan, yet rear seat leg room was much less. That is something Honda has always excelled at, making the most out of interior volume.
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