Bottom line: The base Charger makes sense for people who want a hot-looking, decently performing car without being seared by high fuel prices. Huge improvements in materials and craftsmanship now make it a good choice for shoppers seeking full-size family sedans.

Ride, acceleration and handling: It gets good marks in all three.

Head-turning quotient: Macho muscle beauty, Detroit vs. Ivy League. It’s not designed for people who would really rather have a 3-Series BMW.

Body style/layout: The Dodge Charger is a full-size, front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan available in a series of iterations, including Rallye and R/T.

Engines/transmission: The base Charger comes with a new 3.6-liter, 24-valve Pentastar V-6 — 292 horsepower, 260 foot-pounds of torque. A 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is available — 370 horsepower, 395 foot-pounds of torque. Both engines take a five-speed automatic transmission that can also be shifted manually.

Capacities: Seats five. Cargo capacity is 15.4 cubic feet with both 60/40-split rear seats raised. The fuel tank holds 19.1 gallons of regular gasoline.

Mileage: Real-world mileage in mostly highway driving with two passengers and luggage was 25 miles per gallon.

Safety: Standard equipment includes front and rear ventilated disc brakes, four-wheel anti-lock brake protection, electronic brake-force distribution, electronic stability and traction control, and side and head air bags.

Price: The base 2011 Dodge Charger is priced at $25,395. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $24,508. Price as tested is $26,220. Dealer’s price as tested is $25,333. Compare with Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang.