Buying A Used Dodge Magnum Is The Perfect SUV Antidote

Smart Buy / 19 Comments

Who needs an crossover when you can have a Hemi wagon?

Ask anyone who had to ride in the back of one as a child, and they will likely tell you that station wagons are not cool. Perhaps that's why the humble wagon is now a dying breed in the United States. That, and the huge popularity of trucks and SUVs. Those people who think wagons are boring need to take a ride in the 603-horsepower Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon but unfortunately, that car costs $112,450 and the Audi RS6 Avant isn't much cheaper. Luckily, Dodge built a badass station wagon that's now available for a fraction of that price.

The 2005 to 2008 Dodge Magnum was a model based on the Chrysler LX platform, the same architecture used by the Charger and Chrysler 300. It came with rear-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive, powered by either a V6 or potent HEMI V8 engine. Dodge even built an SRT-8 version as a true muscle car wagon. No matter the budget, there's a Dodge Magnum available for you.

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Why You Should Buy One

Wagons are cooler than SUVs. Period. Like minivans, many people classically considered station wagons "uncool" because they acted as family vehicles with zero performance edge. Today, crossovers have taken over as the typical family hauler, but with inferior handling and style. Since wagons are low to the ground, they handle more like a car and offer a better platform to build performance variants.

The Magnum in particular is a great wagon because it offers flexibility. Dodge offered two V6 versions for buyers who just wanted a cool looking wagon, and two V8 variants for adrenaline junkies. There was even a V8 model with all-wheel-drive, bundling muscle car performance with all-weather practicality. Since it was based on the LX platform, the Magnum has the same bold, muscular exterior design as the Charger and 300 at the time. No one can call the Magnum boring.

For the final three model years, Dodge offered an SRT-8 performance model that was extremely rare. Dodge only built 2,970 SRT-8s in 2006, 921 in 2007, and 239 in 2008. These could be quite collectible as time goes on.

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The Price

Used Magnum prices vary drastically depending on which engine sits under the hood, but they are all relatively affordable. You can pick up a used V6 Magnum with higher mileage for around $5,000, with prices reaching up to around $15,000 for a V8 non-SRT model with less than 100,000 miles. The SRT-8 model with the larger HEMI engine is much harder to find, and prices reflect that. We only found a handful of low-mileage SRT-8 models for sale, ranging from the low $20,000 range up to over $30,000. If you are OK purchasing an SRT-8 with over 100,000 miles, you can find one ranging from $15,000 to $20,000.

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The Performance

Dodge offered the Magnum with four engine options. The base 2.7-liter V6 SE only produced 190 horsepower and the larger 3.5-liter V6 SXT wasn't much stronger with 250 hp. These engines both came mated to a four-speed automatic transmission, meaning we can happily ignore them in our argument for why the Magnum is cool.

Things start to get interesting with the Magnum R/T, powered by a 5.7-liter HEMI. The V8 engine produced 340 hp, or 350 hp with a Road/Track Performance Group that added a performance exhaust an induction system. With a stronger five-speed automatic, the RT could hit 60 mph in just 5.8 seconds. This engine could even shut down a cylinder bank to save fuel, and was briefly available with AWD.

From 2006 to 2008, Dodge sold the Magnum SRT-8 with a 6.1-liter HEMI producing 420 hp. In addition to the bigger engine, the SRT-8 got larger 20-inch wheels, stiffer suspension, and Brembo brakes. This impressive muscle wagon could hit 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and complete the quarter-mile in 13.1 seconds.

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The Interior

If you like a high-quality, modern interior, the Magnum isn't for you. Dodge's interiors were functional at the time, and featured acres of hard, grey plastics. There are a few consolations though. The cabin is spacious, and the simple dashboard makes it easy to upgrade the Magnum with a newer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto-enabled head unit. There's ample space for five passengers and the cargo area houses a massive 27.2 cubic feet (that's more than an Audi Q5). Fold the rear seats down, and the cargo space opens to 71.6 cubic feet.

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Station wagons have a poor reputation in the US because automakers smattered wood paneling on the side and neglected to give them any sporting pretensions. Fast forward to today, and the wagon body style is making a comeback with hardcore car enthusiasts who now feel the same way about SUVs due to their upbringing. With the Magnum, Dodge attempted to make the wagon cool by offering two potent V8 options. Though the Magnum no longer exists, used examples are cheaper than ever and offer a great alternative as a fun family vehicle. For the truly ambitious out there, it also makes a perfect starting point for a Hellcat wagon build.

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