Exterior Design ****
I'm givin' it a four, mainly because I like the Charger's angry-eyebrows front end more than the wide-eyed, vaguely phallic nose of the Magnum. And of course, the 300's the best of the bunch. That said, I really dig the choptop styling of all the LX cars, and the semi-fastback five-door look makes it a MILF-wagon for sure, yet it remains butch enough for the boys.
It's got a damn Hemi. What more do you need to know?
Good pedal feel, modulation's predictable, I only got into the ABS once during a panic stop.
The ride's simultaneously firm and compliant. Detroit finally learned how to make a V-8, rear-drive wagon that avoids wallow like Tom DeLay avoids the citizens of Austin.
The Mag's handling belies its weight, and in some instances, the heavier rearward bias gives it a bit of an advantage over the Charger. I can't really explain this, but that's the story my ass told me, and I'm stickin' to it. That said, I'm still pissed at Chrysler's engineers for making the steering too light at highway speeds. It's the LX line's one Achilles' heel.
The five-speed in the LX cars was the first example of a decent implementation of Chrysler's AutoStick manumatic that I've ever actually enjoyed. The fact that the trans is Merc-sourced probably has something to do with it, because Chrysler itself hasn't built a decent autobox since the venerable 727 TorqueFlite.
The optional Boston Acoustics stereo system sounded great blaring everything from the Lazy Cowgirls to James Brown to Pinhead Gunpowder once we dialed out a bit of the boominess. As a kid-carrier, the Magnum's lacking in playtoys, but as an adult driver's car, it's got all you need.
The Hemi's a phenomenal toy. We can (and did) play with it all day. Other than that, the nav system's the only other toylike feature. But with a motor this good and a chassis this well-sorted, who really needs anything else?
The Magnum is fairly cavernous with the 60/40 rear seats folded down, and the hinged roof on the hatchback makes loading easier. One point off for having to lift items over a lip and reduced headroom for seats-down episodes of fleshy-union engagement.
[by Davey G. Johnson]