This is the brand that has given us the Viper, the Challenger, the Charger and all those awesome RAM trucks. Founded as the Dodge Brothers company in 1900, in its 119 years of existence, it has given its buyers many a hit. Chrysler acquired it in 1928, till finally in 2014 it became a brand of the FCA US LLC.
In 2011, Dodge and Dodge RAM became two separate marques as well with RAM jetting out pickup trucks and Dodge concentrating on cars. Like any other car brand, Dodge gave us amazing cars, but at times it produced epic duds. So here are ten times Dodge let its customers down, but we forgive it, because of the Demon!
10 Bad Car, Sold Well: 1978 Dodge Omni
While we have put the Omni and its sister the Plymouth Horizon on this list, they sold well. The Omni single-handedly brought Chrysler back from the brink of extinction, while it was on a government bailout. Somehow, Chrysler/Dodge managed to mass-produce some 3 million of these in its 13 years of existence but they didn’t build these to last. Also, despite massive sales, the Omni has poor steering, cheap build quality, and a safety record left best unexplored. It was a bad car that somehow managed to sell well because it was a front-wheel drive, and had decent fuel economy – perfect for an America still reeling under the effects of the oil crisis.
9 A Very Weak V6: 2010 Dodge RAM 1500
Most of the Dodge RAMs are good and come equipped with sturdy looks, a V8 or more engine, and a good tow capacity as well. The 2010 Dodge RAM 1500 failed to fit into this steady and sturdy mold for the simple reason of it being equipped with a V6. The 3.7-liter V6 jetted out just 216 horsepower and 235 ft-ln torque, which was not enough to pull a vehicle of this size with any semblance of speed and nimbleness.
Its crash testing scores were also less, which is a bit disturbing for a truck this size – though it looked good and was economical. Simply put, there are much better RAMs around.
8 A Bit Too Less: 2013 Dodge Dart
With Fiat and Chrysler merging in 2014 to become the FCA US LLC – everybody expected good things from the out-to-prove-themselves brand. Sadly, one of the first things FCA US LLC did was revive the Dodge Dart nameplate. This Dart was a CUV, aka a compact utility vehicle, but perhaps it was the wrong car at the wrong time. The recession had ended and everybody wanted something grand. The Dart failed on all counts – too tiny and cramped a body, cheap bucket seats, a pitiable 6-speed transmission, and a design harking back to the 80s/90s – no one wanted to be seen in a car this cheap. After a 2016 redesign did not help, the Dart slowly slunk away.
7 Just Too Girly: 1955 Dodge La Femme
While women may love pink, and so do little girls; most women do not like feminizing their cars to this pink-colored mutation. So when Dodge launched a custom Royal Lancer in a pinkened version and called it the La Femme – the market did not bite, let alone grab it with both hands.
Women did not queue up to buy it in droves despite the pink calfskin purse it was giving away as a freebie. Understanding women is an art and Dodge secularly failed as an artist with the La Femme, which was taken off the market in 1956.
6 The Rust Bucket: 1976 Dodge Aspen
Call it the Dodge Aspen or the Plymouth Volare, or simply call it a bad car – the Aspen was doomed from the start. Based on the archaic 1963 Dodge Dart platform, the Aspen was prone to rust from the moment it was driven out of the dealer – rather, sometimes it rusted even before it left the dealerships. Body integrity was a problem as was build-quality, there were electrical issues galore and much more. Some Dodge Aspens even had Volare badges on them, while some Plymouths were Aspens – because line workers at Chrysler did not give a hoot as to which was what since both were the same!
5 Not Enough Caliber: 2006/2012 Dodge Caliber
Much like the Ford Aspire, the Dodge Caliber was also a misnomer of a car name. In fact, before the 2012 Dodge Caliber, there was the 2006 Dodge Caliber SRT-4 which was the perfect case study on how to make, launch and sell the world’s worst performance car by making it too cumbersome, and too ugly.
The 2012 Caliber hosted a 2.0-liter World Gasoline Engine which was the worst power mill ever so made together by Chrysler, Mitsubishi, and Hyundai. If the sputtery engine wasn’t bad enough, the dark and dreary interiors speckled with cheap plastic were. Not a car you’d want to be associated with, ever!
4 How To Kill A Muscle Car: 1978 Dodge Challenger
If you want to learn the steps as to how to kill muscle cars, this is what you do: First, you take a muscle car nameplate and finish it off, citing the oil embargo. Then you decide to relaunch it years later, rebadging any plain old everyday car with the glorious muscle car nameplate but forget to give it any power. Or looks. Rinse and repeat. The 1978 Dodge Challenger was such a far cry from the original 60s Challenger, it made people cry. This one had a 2.6-liter four-cylinder engine that coughed up 105 horsepower, and a lower 2.0-liter base engine that managed a tear-jerking 77 horses. And since it was a rebadged Mitsubishi Galant Lambda coupe, forget about the looks as well.
3 On A Perilous Road: 2016/2019 Dodge Journey
The Dodge Journey has always a bit of a rough journey since the go and is one of the most forgettable cars Dodge has ever made. It's 2016 model came with a 2.4-liter inline-four mill that pulses out a weak 173 horses, weaker if you fully loaded this seven-seater. The 2019 example was not much better as it had a transmission that stalled as well as a bad fuel economy from its 3.6-liter V6 (optional) and a very cramped third-row seating. The reliability was below average and overall the Journey was a mediocre car with questionable looks, interiors, and power mills. Steering is poor as well.
2 All Name, No Show: 2007 Dodge Nitro
The Dodge Nitro was badly designed, badly made, and badly presented despite that nifty nameplate and trim levels names such as Heat, Detonator, and Shock. Everyone who saw or the even drove the Nitro did not recognize any redeemable feature in it. A really bad interior, as well as design, an engine that could be best described as sluggish even on its best day, and its overall cheap feel, made every owner who bought the Nitro cry bitter tears of regret. For 2007-2012, it was undoubtedly the worst car around, not just the worst car from Dodge.
1 Ornate But Weak: 1957 Dodge Royal
The Dodge Royal was part of the 1955 line-up of Dodge’s “forward-look” cars like the Coronet and the Custom Royal – and initially, these cars were welcomed because of their undeniably different and unique looks. Seeing customers line-up to get these cars, Ford and GM went into a redesigning tizzy. Sadly, Ford and GM had the last laugh because while the Dodge Royal looked good, that’s about all it was good for. Quality control was not a concept actively practiced on the Royal, and the car squeaked, rattled, and rocked all through its ride. There would be unexplained water leakage and the suspension itself would rust and break apart before you could ride these cars hard. In a hurry to be a market leader, Dodge’s reputation was further tarnished with the Royal.