Curbside Quicky Comparison: 1988 Dodge Dynasty & 2012 Dodge Charger – Progress And Heritage

Seeing these two cross-hair grilles sitting next to each other was too irresistible to pass up. We’re not going to do a full-on CC on the Dynasty right now, but let’s just stop our walk for a minute or two and quickly contemplate some of the differences and similarities of these two Dodge sedans, separated by almost a quarter century.

Just as a frame of reference, a Dynasty started at $12,295 in 1988. Add the V6 and a few other amenities now standard, and its inflation adjusted price would likely be fairly similar to the $25,495 base price of a Charger. That’s perhaps the biggest similarity right there, because once past that, the pickings get slim pretty quick.

Well, that, and the cross-hair grilles. But what’s behind them perhaps most glaringly points up the changes. The Dynasty came standard with a 96 hp 2.5 L four, and the optional Mitsubishi 3.0 V6 packed 141. Both came with the none-too smooth but reliable three-speed transaxle. The zippier 3.3 L Chrylser six was still a couple of years off, as well as the Ultra-Masochistomatic. The EPA adjusted numbers for the Dynasty are 20/26 (four) and 17/25 (V6).

The Charger’s state of the art Pentastar 3.6 L V6 packs a hefty 292 hp, or slightly more than triple the Dynasty’s standard engine. Of course, it was only just three years ago that I tested a rental Charger with the standard 2.7 V6, and found it very lacking. As in considerably less enthusiastic than the 1993 Camry V6 I compared it to. Progress is often not linear. I haven’t had seat time with one of these new ones, but I’m sure performance is more than “adequate”.  The five speed automatic is till the base tranny, but an eight-cogger is available on the higher trim models. Hmmm.  EPA numbers are 18/27. Now that’s progress we can believe in! And I won’t even begin to compare the the other dynamic aspects, especially handling.

I find myself almost surprised to say it, but this interior isn’t so bad, especially for what it is: an old-school sedan, even if it is on a reduced scale. Seats look reasonably comfy, and I like the open feel of no console, unless it’s a car that just really calls for one. Even the dash is fairly innocuous. And that looks like an airbag. Truth is, I don’t know what exact year this Dynasty is, but I’m using the first production year as a point of comparison.

And I’m not sure of this Charger’s exact year either (sorry). But let’s just say the current Charger’s interior is a pretty substantial improvement over its predecessor, which was a hard black cave.

There’s not much point talking about the stylistic evolution, which speaks for itself, and is pretty subjective. Let’s just say that for me, they’re about similarly unappealing (in their respective time periods). Just not my thing, baby!

What’s surprising is just how much similarity there is in their tail light treatment. Heritage!

Which is which? That’s too easy, but a bit surprising, nonetheless.