2005 Dodge Magnum
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This page is all about the 2005 Dodge Magnum that we bought as our Family Car in October 2005. It's the first one in our series of "new cars" that I'll lay direct claim to as "mine" - I think Deb is afraid she'll get stuck making the payments and never get a chance to drive it...


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Yeah, It's Got A HemiBadge.jpg (20638 bytes)!

Read the window sticker for the specs - I'm too lazy to re-type all of this into a web page. I removed the prices from the scanned in version - if you want to know how much one of these costs, go visit your local dealer. My only warning is that if you test-drive one with the Hemi, you may feel compelled to pay for it and make it yours... :-)

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I really like this car. And not just because it's got a Hemi under the hood. It's a well-engineered car with almost every option I could want, style to spare, and enough cargo space to haul plenty of stuff. If you scan through the rest of my car collection, it's no big secret that I hate small cars, and this is no small car. It seats 4 + a child seat quite comfortably in leather-wrapped luxury, and moves out with some real authority. I really like driving this car - the trans is a blast in manual mode and the audio feedback from the exhaust at full throttle is a fun reminder of a bygone era of raw V8 power.

The folks at Dodge of Bellevue used to rock. With apologies to the folks at Saturn, I think I had way more fun buying this car than my previous two new cars. Every single person was professional, courteous, and helpful - from the salesman-in-training Clance Hoskin who showed us the car in detail and answered about a million questions from me, to our salesman Richard Short who answered another million questions from me and worked through all the details of finding the right car for us and making sure it got to the dealership, to Shawn the Finance Guy who helped us sort through the usual mountain of paperwork with ease, down to Karen in the Service Dept who helped answer another million questions from me about the pre-paid service plans.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, when we went back into the dealer a few years later to talk to them about upgrading to a newer vehicle (we were looking at a Charger, since the Magnum was no longer being made by then), we found out that Dodge of Bellevue had turned into a home for some of the pushiest high pressure sales goons I've yet to run into. When I turned them down for their ridiculously lowball offer on trade-in and the lack of dealing on price, the sales goon I was dealing with quite literally tried to crush my hand in anger on the final handshake and physically intimidate me on one last try to get me to buy. I was so shocked at the goon-squad style physical bullying tactics that I didn't know how to react at the time. Sorry guys, but you've lost my business for life on the basis of that one stupid stunt. Any frankly, your service department hasn't been too great to us either... At least I know how to respond know when a sales goon tries to physically bully me like that again, though I'm somewhat sad that it's now in my list of known negotiating tactics.

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Nothing is ever perfect in this world. These are minor in the overall scheme of things, but are stuff that could have really made us a lot happier. Are you listening, Dodge? The 300 doesn't come in a station wagon, so the up-sell to that is not what I'm looking for...

  •  No automatic headlights - the kind that go on automatically when it gets dark and go off automatically when it gets light. Both of our Saturns had this feature, and I can count on one hand the number of times I ever had to touch the headlight switch in the time we owned those cars. 99% of the stuff is already in the car for this to work - why didn't Dodge add this? It's like $10 extra in parts on a $30,000+ car. And they did add it on the 2006 models. Lame.
  •  The transmission is really lazy off the line if you leave it in Drive. Stop and go traffic is a bit of pain unless you manually shift down into 1st. In Drive, you have to give it too much gas to get moving reasonably so you don't leave a gap in traffic that says "please come cut in front of me", and then you always end up nailing the brakes right away. I understand the need to meet mileage concerns and such, but this just ends up forcing folks to use the manual shift mode which is almost assuredly not as good on gas. You get used to it after a few weeks of driving and know how hard to stab the gas when in drive to get the desired result, but it's still lame.
  •  Speaking of the transmission, it would be cool if they showed you what gear it was currently in even when it was in Drive. Not really a gripe, except for the fact that the manual control only goes from gears 1 to 4 and the transmission is sold as a 5-speed automatic. It looks like deceptive advertising, which in turn becomes - you guessed it - lame. Yeah, D == 5th gear, but it's lame.
  •  The on board navigation system forces you to press a button to acknowledge their version of a EULA each time you start the car. OK, I get the need to have owner accept responsibility for the proper usage of the navigation system and that they should keep their eyes on the road, but do I really need to do this every single time I start the car? I'm not 5 years old - give me a way to agree to it and be done with it. I hate stupid lawyer-induced crap like this. Lame.
  •  No memory settings for the seats/mirrors/pedals/etc. There are about 10 different things you have to set up for each driver, and my wife and I are some 6" different in height. Every driver change involves twiddling with every setting. Would a simple memory function be too much to ask? I paid enough for the car to get one - this should be just a few dollars extra in parts, and it is a big oversight for couples who are not the same size. Lame.
  •  The sun visors are next to useless for shielding the sun from the side of the car. The design of the car places the windshield header way up ahead of the driver, and the visors are pretty short because of the center control and light section on ceiling. This means that when you rotate the visors to the side, they're a good 4" in front of the typical driver's head - and that leaves about 25 degrees of open window where the sun can come in and blind you very much badly. A simple extension piece would work wonders here - the visors are overstuffed and plenty think to accommodate a thin plastic slide-out piece that would give you an extra 6-10" of sun-blocking length for the side. Again, this is a few dollars in parts and design, yet it matters a ton to folks using the car. Lame. Update: After a few years of driving the car, someone pointed out to me that the sun visors extend on their mounting rail to solve this problem. Apparently I never thought to yank on them in that particular manner, so I never knew. Turns out my wife did know about this but never mentioned it while I was griping about it. Hmm.... Anyways, many thanks to one of my website visitors, Casey, for pointing this out to me so 1) I could take advantage of it, and 2) so I could correct the web site.
  •  The seat bolsters are a bit small for my tastes and anything more than sedate driving causes an undo amount of sliding about on the seats. It's not bad - there are small bolsters on the seats, but they need more. The car handles great - please give it seats to match.


Loaner Magnum

Because we purchased at the end of the model year and we wanted to get a specific set of options, our car was not on the lot waiting for us and we could not order it in. The dealer managed to find the car that we wanted (plus a few extra options :-) in some dealership in OR, so they drove it up here. That took a few days and the dealer was nice enough to let us drive a very similar Magnum for those few days as a "loaner" to make sure we didn't loose enthusiasm for our new purchase. This car also had a Hemi and nearly as many options, but no side air bags and a few other options we wanted. The color is called 'Magnesium Pearl" and shows up much more green in the photos than it does in real life. It was a nice color on this car - my second choice after the black we eventually settled on. For the record, even Deb thinks that this car just looks right in black. :-)

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Purchasing Order

This was Vehicle #24. The first new vehicle I had to wait to take delivery of. The first time I negotiated hard with the sales and finance guys. My first new Dodge, and my first Hemi. My first car with enough options that I can't remember all of them without thinking about it for a few minutes. The first car I've owned where folks will stop and stare at it in a good way.

Comments? Kudos? Got some parts you'd like to buy/sell/barter/swap? Nasty comments about my web page so far? You can email Mike or Debbie.

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Page last updated 04/17/2011 04:13:36 PM