Dodge Challenger

Model Overview

Absent from the market for decades, the Dodge Challenger returned to the muscle car world in the late 2000s with more attitude and tire-burning power than ever. Competing directly with the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, the Challenger holds its own with powerful engine options, aggressive looks, and a monstrous sound from its eight-cylinder engine variants.


When the Dodge Challenger originally debuted for the 1970 model year, it arrived after the Mustang and Camaro, but offered a great number of powertrain choices from the 145-hp, 225-cubic-inch “Slant Six” to the fearsome 426 Hemi, the “Elephant Motor.” The Challenger only lasted five model years, but in that short time, it became one of the most storied muscle car nameplates in the industry. So much so that certain meticulously restored examples have sold at auction for six-figure sums.

The Challenger then returned for a six-year run from 1978-1984, but this new Mitsubishi-based compact coupe only offered two four-cylinder engine choices. The Dodge Challenger finally returned in 2008 ready to make a lasting impression with a massive 6.1-liter Hemi V-8 before later offering a 5.7-liter V-8 and 3.5-liter V-6.

“The good old days are now,” we said about the SRT8 model in a review. “At the dragstrip, the Challenger stormed to 60 in just 4.7 seconds; the quarter mile rushed by in 13.1 seconds at 108.3 mph.” We were impressed with the classic muscle car design, mature interior, and comfortable ride. The criticisms were minor: a soft well-mannered ride that lacked handling prowess and a quiet exhaust.

When we compared the 2008 Dodge Challenger SRT8 against the 2008 Ford Shelby GT500, we chose the Challenger, saying: “The Shelby GT500 remains a fast and compelling piece, but the Challenger is simply a better-sorted automobile, a 20th-century icon reborn with 21st-century sophistication and poise.”

For 2009, Dodge expanded the Challenger’s lineup with the V-6 powered SE trim and the Hemi powered R/T trim. We tested these two new trims along with the SRT8 trim and stated, “The SE delivers time-travel design at a deep discount, but utterly lacks the visceral and audible thrill of the original.” We enjoyed the R/T noting, “We think the R/T offers the best retro bang for the modern, shrinking buck.” Our main complaint was about the lack of handling prowess in all trims.

Then for 2015, Dodge took the muscle car world by storm by introducing the 707-hp Challenger SRT Hellcat. We matched the Hellcat against our other supercharged V-8 contender, the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, in a head-to-head muscle car comparison. The Hellcat won over the ZL1 mostly for its straight-line speed, aggressive presence, and impressive interior—but not for its handling capability.

The Latest Generation

The latest major refresh arrived for the 2015 model year, bringing a revised exterior and an available, more powerful 6.4-liter Hemi V-8. For 2017, Dodge has brought even more performance and menacing looks to the Challenger lineup by introducing the all-new Challenger T/A.

Why You’d Consider One

If comfortable highway cruising, a nice interior, and aggressive looks are on your priority list, then the Dodge Challenger is worth a test drive.

Why You’d Look Elsewhere

Driving enthusiasts who enjoy canyon-carving or track days should probably steer clear of this muscle car before the lighter next-gen car arrives. The current Challenger also has big blind spots that may make parking lot maneuvers more difficult.

Body Types: Coupe
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